The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Rethink your childish logic

| Thursday, March 6, 2014

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article condemning lawsuits against bakeries for not selling wedding cakes to gay couples. I argued we ought to respect the religious and property rights of the bakers. People should not be forced to sell a cake for a ceremony they view as sinful. In fact, I don’t think the government has the right to force people to sell their personal property at all.

Anyway, after the release of this article, I was attacked for being an ignorant, stupid and bigoted person. The list goes on and on. In general, anyone who publicly disagrees with anything the gay rights movement supports is now open to be labeled an ignorant, stupid and bigoted person by members of society. For a movement that talks so much about tolerance, it doesn’t seem to tolerate my views. And I never even said I oppose gay marriage or civil unions. All I said was we shouldn’t force people to sell a product to anyone, but the actual content of my statement doesn’t matter to my critics; all that matters is that it went against the views of the gay rights movement, and therefore, it must be bad. I must be condemned, because anyone who doesn’t agree word-for-word with the gay rights agenda is a terrible person.

You know, there was a time in this country when we could have an intelligent debate. People took others with opposing viewpoints seriously and treated one another with respect. This age is long past. Now, as soon as I say something with which the liberals disagree, I get attacked for being a bad person. If I say I want to adjust welfare to make it more conducive to getting people back to work, I am attacked for hating poor people. Never mind that out of genuine concern for them, I refuse to support policies that hold them back. If I say I want a drug test as a prerequisite for welfare recipients, I am again accused of ill will towards the poor. Never mind that I think hard-working Americans struggling to get by shouldn’t have to give others free drug money. If I say I want there to be identification requirements to vote, I am accused of being a racist.

Now this one really gets me. You need identification to do so many things, such as driving and getting into bars. Are these requirements also racist? If I say I support deportation of illegal immigrants, I am also accused of racism. Never mind that I think a country, by definition, ought to have secure borders. And, again, when I say we shouldn’t be forced to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, I’m a bigot.

What happened to our society? Why have we gotten to the point that instead of offering intelligent counterarguments, we mindlessly attack our opponents for being bigots? This mindset is extremely dangerous. It promotes a lack of diversity in beliefs, and this makes it easier for the people in charge to exert control over us. Part of the reason Americans have remained free for so long is due to our wide-ranging set of beliefs and society’s willingness to accept this diversity. But we’re moving away from this. Many liberals think everyone ought to agree with their views, and, if you don’t, you’re a terrible person. I caution you to beware of falling into this trap. After all, what is more important: freedom, or conformity?

Raymond Michuda is a sophomore in the College of Engineering. He can be contacted at rmichuda@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not
necessarily those of The Observer.

About Raymond Michuda

Contact Raymond
  • Dtnorth

    Looks like a duck, walks like a duck. It’s a duck.

    • South

      Intelligent contribution.

      Argument by assertion.

  • none

    Do you support the repeal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

    • Dude

      The civil rights act clearly denied the rights of business owners to refuse service to those that violate their specific belief system.

      If I hate black people, then the government shouldn’t force me to sell my property to them. It’s a free country

      • Francis

        What, what a waste of a ND degree.

  • Seriously?

    If your beliefs support the systematic oppression of a group or groups, then yes you are a bigot. There were intelligent responses to your viewpoint, yet here you just try to defend your ignorant, and yes most definitely racist, beliefs by stating that because they are your opinions, everyone should accept them.

    And don’t even get me started on your use of “illegal immigrants,” among other problematic and racist views you spewed out.

    • Reality Check

      Oh I forgot, we must conform to the term “undocumented.” Next time I am in a bar underage, I will just tell that bouncer that I haven’t received the correct documentation. Those who break other laws should just be considered legally misunderstood? You prove this author’s well thought out point by calling him a racist and should be ashamed of yourself. His views do not support oppression, but rather liberty. Notre Dame shows support for this ideal in fighting the HHS mandate which requires it to provide something our religion considers a moral evil. They are not oppressing the sexually lax among us but are protecting our liberty as a Catholic organization to practice our beliefs.

      • Francis

        Because being in a bar is such a huge human rights issue…and age requirements for alcohol consumption are so inherently against human dignity. Poor white kid problems.

        The HHS mandate does not disrespect Catholic religious freedom. And in reality, the church, that is, the people of God, do not believe in the flawed teachings of Humanae Vitae. Neither did the majority of the papal birth control commission.

        How’s that for a reality check.

        • Elucidating

          You don’t get to vote on Catholic doctrine.

          Stating that the HHS mandate doesn’t disrespect religious freedom rings hollow when dozens of entities are suing and every US Bishop and the majority of Catholics think it does.

          You’re just more attached to your political party than the Catholic faith.

        • Reality Check

          That fails as a reality check….
          Illegality is illegality, not “undocumented.” If they were legally entitled to documentation they would have it.

          If you don’t believe in Humanae Vitae, then you aren’t actually Catholic, theologically speaking.

          • Jessica

            One’s actions might have been illegal, but a PERSON cannot be. Think about how you are labeling human beings.

          • Reality Check

            It is actually an adjective describing their status in the country, which is illegal

          • Humanity

            No, calling them an ‘illegal’ is meant to dehumanize them so it’ll be easier to commit human rights violations against them.

  • Alumnus

    Democrats are only tolerant of other people that share the exact same beliefs as they hold.

    • none

      We’re more about tolerance in the legal sense. I support everyone’s right to state that they believe a particular opinion is wrong or stupid. But I don’t want to pass a law saying that those stupid opinions can’t be held. It is quite obviously different to withhold full civil equality from a group of people based on your religious beliefs. Surely you realize that. This attempt by the right at trying to take the term “tolerance” hostage is getting very tiresome.

    • Francis

      Yes. Democrats will never support the views of racists, Nazis, the KKK, or any other group that betrays fundamental American values. There are plenty of other countries in the world that run on bigotry. Those people can move to those countries. They do not belong in the US. Too many noble Americans have shed their blood to support our rights. Racists, anti-immigration, anti-homosexual, anti-human rights conservatives have no place in our country. God bless America.

      • D

        Wow this is scary. That has to be one of the most totalitarian comments I have read. I think this is making the authors point for him.

        • huh

          I think it’s just a poorly constructed joke. Not really sure what the point is, but I don’t think it’s meant to be taken seriously.

  • Jane

    The problem is that you don’t understand the racist foundations of your policy positions. Immigration laws are antiquated and racist. Fixing the immigration system by penalizing those here illegally and granting a path to citizenship is not amnesty, yet your side says it is (so much for a coherent counterargument). Anyways, the problem with your side is that you characterize immigrants as lazy people who drain our economy. In reality, they benefit our economy. Anyways, apart from those facts just listen to what your people say on the radio and tv. They hate immigrants, especially the brown ones. Defending our borders is great, we should do it. No Democrat hates that idea. The issue is that you all have demonized the immigrant. Misplaced priorities. You’d think they were the ones behind 9/11 and our economic woes.

    Religious freedom does not mean one can discriminate against and hate other groups. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to shun and reject homosexuals and other “sinners.” I don’t care what your religion is, choose whatever you want. But you cannot refuse service to people based on their race or sexuality. Grow up. Read the Constitution. Read the Bible. Take some philosophy, theology, and political science classes here. Stop wasting your time clinging to political and theological positions that betray the very foundations of Christianity.

    I support drug tests for welfare recipients, especially those who benefit most from the system. That means we should start at the top with corporations that receive massive tax cuts and welfare from our government. These white men ought to be held to the highest standards. We cannot allow our precious tax dollars to subsidize the unethical behavior of sinners. We need to test them for drugs and STDs on a regular basis. High priced call girls should not be subsidized by our precious hard work. Of course, we all know it is the poor wasting our money, not those who created the financial crisis in 2008.


    • John

      “Religious freedom does not mean one can discriminate against and hate
      other groups. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to shun and reject
      homosexuals and other “sinners.” I don’t care what your religion is,
      choose whatever you want. But you cannot refuse service to people based
      on their race or sexuality. Grow up. Read the Constitution. Read the
      Bible. Take some philosophy, theology, and political science classes
      here. Stop wasting your time clinging to political and theological
      positions that betray the very foundations of Christianity.”

      This is abrasive, intolerant, and inaccurate. No one is in favor of shunning gays or refusing service based on their sexuality. People do have a right to act according to their conscience however. You may want to read the Constitution.

      • huh

        What about people whose consciences say they can’t serve black people?

        • John

          They’re refusing service based on race. Who is in favor of this? Refusing involvement in a gay wedding is very different, from saying “no gays served here.”

          • huh

            People have a right to act according to their conscience is what you said. So my question is still relevant. Could you answer it?

          • John

            What religious group’s teaching says that it is immoral to serve food to minorities?

          • huh

            Well, setting aside the fact that people did cite biblical passages and religious beliefs to defend both slavery and segregation, that isn’t really relevant. I could probably google something to find people with sincerely held religious beliefs that are inherently racist, but I don’t feel like wading through that slop. If you want to look at it as a hypothetical, feel free to do so (but it’s my position that it isn’t, for the record).

            Now please answer my question.

          • John

            Acting according to conscience can be limited legally. Discriminating against gays or blacks should be illegal. Refusing participation in an objectionable event is not discrimination based on sexual orientation however since a business owner might serve gay customers and only object to gay weddings. I hope that helps.

          • huh

            It’s just splitting hairs though. At bottom, it’s discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation. I appreciate you not thinking other forms of discrimination should be allowed though.

            When you hold yourself out as a business that caters to certain kinds of events, but then you refuse to cater to that event when it involves gay people, that is discrimination, plain and simple. If you cannot handle serving the general public without discriminating against minorities, then perhaps you are in the wrong business.

          • John

            Would you apply the same standard to a gay baker who doesn’t want to provide service to a Catholic pro-marriage event?

          • huh

            Yes. They should bake the cake if asked to do so, as you should not discriminate against someone on the basis of their religion. It’s really not that complicated.

          • huh

            However I’d add that a pro-marriage rally is not really about religion, and it’s more about politics. And a political group will not be thought of as a protected class. Refusing to serve someone because they are a discriminatory bigot (just to use an example, not necessarily your example) is not the same thing as discriminating against someone due to their minority status. But still. they should bake the cake. because it’s a business.

          • John

            I appreciate the consistency of your position. I personally think that conscience laws should take precedence over non-discrimination ones in most cases. I think a person’s right not to violate their conscience is more important than someone else’s not to be offended.

          • huh

            “The right not to be offended” is minimizing the issue greatly. Have you ever experienced discrimination on the basis of your race or sexual orientation? It runs a lot deeper than being offended, and I think a large part of the problem is that people in the straight, white, Christian majority cannot recognize that.

          • John

            I have. I think that conscience rights should still take precedence.

          • huh

            I’m going to take a wild guess that you are white and heterosexual (correct me if I’m wrong). Could you please give me an example of when a public business discriminated against you in any way?

          • Guest

            Affirmative action?

          • huh

            Also this “conscience rights” thing seems to be just an arbitrary construction. I don’t see that anywhere in the Constitution. And again, you think they bow to certain things… but not others. Why do you get to decide where that line is drawn? Can’t use it to refuse to serve interracial marriages, I assume. Right?

          • FYI

            Racism is often laced into the doctrines of denominations of christian groups throughout the country such as the Appleby Baptist Church in Texas, the Mormon Church up until 1978, and Westboro Baptist church to name a few.

  • John

    As someone who disagrees with redefining marriage, I think you ought to take a more respectful tone. This isn’t going to change hearts and minds. You can see that being antagonistic just leads to more bigotry from both sides.

  • Hi

    We have already had this conversation, when the Civil Rights Act passed, fifty years ago. You seem to disagree with our conclusion. If you think the government can’t force someone to sell to a gay guy, then it can’t force someone to sell to a brown guy, either. Our society has rejected your opinion, because your opinion is disgusting.

    • D.W.

      Again, he never said that. He said people shouldn’t be forced to sell to anyone in a way that supports an activity they disagree with. He didn’t say it’s OK not to sell to gay people. He said it’s OK not to sell for the purpose of supporting a gay wedding, whether the purchasers of the cake are gay or not. Should animal shelters be forced to give dogs or cats to people who want to eat them (which is generally legal if killed humanely)? Should they be forced to give them to people who will use them to hunt (also legal)? Should tailors be forced to sew outfits for the Klan? You are entering dangerous legal territory, but you fail to see it because you’re currently on the other side politically. If you chop down all the laws to get at the devil, where will you hide when he turns back ’round on you? -St. Thomas More.

      • Hi

        The klansman can demand hemming like the black man can demand lunch. I am not chopping down the laws. These are the laws.

        • D.W.

          100% wrong. A Klansman cannot demand hemming because there is no protection from discrimination based upon the purposes of the services demanded. A black man can demand lunch, because there is legal protection against discrimination based upon the race of the customer.