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Response to a recent disturbing column

| Sunday, February 23, 2014

I, like most Notre Dame students, am a busy person with deadlines to meet. That being said, on Thursday, I read a Viewpoint article that compelled me to drop pressing issues and write a response to Raymond Michuda’s article “You can’t make me sell a cake.” Throughout, Mr. Michuda defends the right of businesses to refuse services to gay people because of “religious objections.” He makes the dangerous claim that nothing is unreasonable about a business refusing services if they believe gay people are sinners. “I don’t see why the gay couple’s desire for a wedding cake should supersede someone’s religious beliefs,” asserts Mr. Michuda. If you need help understanding how truly disturbing this statement is, replace gay with interracial. Many of the people supporting these new discrimination laws would have had the same stance during the civil rights movement, though they will deny this fact. It is true, however, that the people who enacted and supported Jim Crow laws were very Christian, and more often than not their Christian faith reinforced their racist convictions.

Next, for some reason, Mr. Michuda rants about property rights and how, if you’re not hurting anybody, you can decide to refuse services to anyone. Just read paragraphs five and six. It’s really quite impressive. Having already justified discrimination against homosexuals, Mr. Michuda seamlessly proceeds to make the case for discrimination against anybody in the name of freedom. Essentially, the government has no right telling us who we can and cannot discriminate against. The implications of this inherently backwards method of thinking are grim. It sets us back 60 years.

Yet we return to the homophobic Christian baker. Mr. Michuda, because of people like you there are places in this country where the baker can refuse a gay cake. My question to you is, can a banker refuse a gay bank account? Can a diner refuse an interracial couple dinner? Can a university refuse a gay student? The only answer here is no, they cannot. It is irresponsible and embarrassing for you to claim otherwise.

The title of the article, “You can’t make me sell a cake,” is indicative of the level of maturity of his argument. Where does common human decency fit into the equation? More importantly for you, Mr. Michuda, when does shame come into play?

I am not gay. I can only imagine what it is like to be gay on this campus, especially when people like Raymond Michuda are vomiting up articles like this in our school newspaper. I found it appropriate that the article beside Mr. Michuda’s was written by a Mexican-American student lamenting the discriminatory predilections of her pupils here at Notre Dame. Students like Mr. Michuda will be talking about the “Notre Dame family” for the rest of their lives. The people they advocated discrimination against most likely won’t.

Peace and love.

Tim Galano
fourth year
off campus
Feb. 22

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Chris

    First of all, your comparison of gay rights to the suffering and discrimination faced by blacks is offensive. Black Americans were segregated by law and assaulted by police and military. Your conflation of the two issues is lazy and myopic.

    Second of all you obviously have not even done the most basic research on the case in question. The baker who you condemn as “homophobic” without knowing anything about the situation did not refuse to serve gay people. The baker regularly served gay clients, but objected to being involved in a gay wedding ceremony. The issue was not with the couple, but with the ceremony itself. The real question is whether private businesses should be forced to cater any event whether they agree with the morality of it or not. An apt comparison would be try to force a gay baker to make cakes for a pro-marriage rally.

    In future try to at least be informed on a basic level, and refrain from labeling the 42% of Americans who value traditional marriage as “homophobic”.

    • Sirch

      Could you please define “traditional marriage?” And where its value is derived?

      I assume you mean “holy matrimony” in the sense of Christian marriage and the fact that it is defined as valuable in the Bible.

      The Latin root word for marriage predates Christianity and all societies have marriage, regardless of their religion. So if you want to call marriage of a man and woman “traditional marriage,” you can, but its value can’t be derived from the Bible, as traditional marriage is inherently a-religious.

      If, perhaps, you mean “Christian marriage,” then gay marriage in no way “de-values” other marriages.

      If my assumption is wrong, please explain to me your point.

      • Chris

        I don’t mean holy matrimony. I mean marriage as it has been legally recognized by the US government for the past 250 years. It’s value, or the reason that government has an interest in legislating it, is found in the fact that historically it has provided a structure to help ensure that children are raised by their biological father and mother.

        But you fail to address any of the actual points that I made: 1) that comparison of gay rights to black segregation is offensive in the extreme, 2) that the baker objected to serving a gay wedding ceremony not individuals, and 3) that it is absurdly bigoted to label all those in favor of traditional marriage as “homophobic”.

        • The Crusader

          So you’re telling us that discrimination REQUIRES violence? No, homosexuals are not being beaten like blacks were, but that does not mitigate the severity of what is happening here. Discrimination is discrimination, and black people and homosexuals stood on the same ground in that regard.
          There is nothing about providing cakes for a wedding that makes a person “involved.” People that are “involved” in a wedding are the people that actually have a part in the ceremony. Cakes are not part of getting married. People eat cakes at weddings, and that’s as far as cake’s involvement goes in a wedding.
          If people don’t want homosexual marriages to have religious significance, fine. Religion isn’t a legal proceeding. People that believe that homosexuals should not have a legal right to marry are bigots. Plain and simple. If you don’t believe me now, you’ll believe it in 10 years or so, when some of the 42% of those people you speak of realize “hm, maybe we were wrong.”

          • Chris

            1. Try to follow. This is obviously difficult for you. I never said that discrimination requires violence because that would be a ridiculous claim. I said the comparison to what blacks suffered in this country is absurd and ignorant.

            2. It is so very tolerant of you that you believe you have the authority to decide what constitutes participation in an objectionable event for another person. I’m glad you can clarify the dictates of their conscience with such magnanimity.

            3. Believing that marriage has a fundamental purpose is not an inherently bigoted position. It is one that Obama and Clinton held until a year ago. Your display of intolerance is incredibly closed-minded, judgmental, and uninformed however.

            4. Your assumption that western liberal democratic values represent the pinnacle of human morality and that those who disagree are on the wrong side of history is myopic and elitist.