How the Obama Administration Turned Regulators Into the Speech Police

In this screengrab from video, Don Vander Boon works in his office at West Michigan Beef Company.

By Maggie Gallagher Published on May 11, 2017

The saga of Don Vander Boon has received little attention outside the Christian media. But among the growing threats to the livelihoods of gay marriage dissenters, the Vander Boon case stands out.

The family runs the West Michigan Beef Company for, as they put it, “the glory of God.” This is what they tell their employees. No employee has ever complained.

According to Don Vander Boon, the trouble with the USDA meat inspectors began in 2015. One day, he saw newspaper and magazine articles celebrating gay marriage in the company break room. So, he printed off an article explaining why gay marriage was against God’s will. He put the essay on the breakroom table with the other magazines.

Unfortunately for the Vander Boons and their employees, on July 1, 2015, then Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack issued an “Anti-Harassment Policy Statement.” He told USDA inspectors what to do if they spotted any “disrespectful” written or oral communication on LGBT issues. The inspectors now had an obligation to “take immediate and appropriate corrective action.”

Just think what an army of regulators can do to freedom if the government tells them to take immediate corrective action.

Going Off the Record

Let’s pause for a minute and see what this means. In the past, someone would have to complain before federal agencies charged with preventing discrimination investigate a company. This creates a “case and controversy” and a public record on which courts can intervene. But here the USDA instructed the meat inspectors to intervene on their own.

What does that look like in practice?

In 2015, Dr. Ryan Lundquist, the USDA’s inspector in charge, saw the offending article. He removed it and reported it to USDA Frontline Supervisor Robert Becker. The two men then called Vander Boon on the carpet. Behind closed doors, and without witnesses, they told Vander Boon three times he had to remove that article or else. What was that else? They would withdraw all USDA meat inspectors. That would, in effect, shut down his business.

Think about the vast web of health, safety, environmental, investment, banking and tax regulations that surround us. They’re supposed to exist to further some public good, not to harass dissenters for the current sexual orthodoxy.

Becker pointed to the new anti-harassment policies. Karnail S. Mudahar confirmed to Vander Boon that the meat inspectors’ new anti-gay marriage morality policing was pursuant to policy. When the Daily Signal called the USDA, the agency said it has “zero tolerance for any form of workplace harassment or intimidation.”

Regulating the First Amendment Away

Think about the vast web of health, safety, environmental, investment, banking and tax regulations that surround us. They’re supposed to exist to further some public good, not to harass dissenters for the current sexual orthodoxy. Just think what this army of regulators can do to freedom if the government tells them to take immediate corrective action.

This is all according to Vander Boon of course. The USDA has never publicly commented on the matter. A private conversation is not a public act. The courts can’t review it. So far, the USDA has refused to respond to Don Vander Boon’s formal complaint, except to say they had passed it on to the USDA’s Civil Rights office.

Now imagine a good Christian man facing the real threat of losing a family business, one on which your family and your employees’ families depend. Even if you finally could win in the end, the business would still be gone. Your suppliers and your customers would have gone elsewhere while waiting for the meat inspector to return.

How widespread is the use of health, safety, investment, environmental and/or banking regulators to “directly intervene” in enforcing speech codes?

Even if the threat is not credible, it’s free speech buzzkill.

Should Christians in Business Just Stay Silent?

Maybe you think Don Vander Boon took an unneeded risk. Sir Thomas More himself might have advised silent prudence. But a man like Don Vander Boon should not have to face such dilemmas. He does so because one side of a culture debate now has all the power. Gay marriage dissenters are punished. Advocates are celebrated. The net result is to kill free speech on one side of the debate.

I’ve seen the same dynamic at work when I was on the frontlines of the gay marriage debate. In one epic state battle for a marriage amendment, every wealthy man I asked to donate to get the measure on the ballot faced private attacks on his business interests. In some cases, it was as slight as a complaint from a major vendor. “We only do business with companies that have a nondiscrimination policy,” one CEO was told. “And your personal donation to this marriage amendment calls into question your company’s commitment to nondiscrimination.”

Virtually no businessman whose business was attacked in this way donated again. But no businessman who gave in support of gay marriage was ever attacked for it.

And this was just a private behind-the-scenes business threat, backed by no government power.

One thing we know: The regulatory state now has power that it should not have.

How widespread is the use of health, safety, investment, environmental and/or banking regulations to “directly intervene” in enforcing speech codes? How many other federal regulators now see themselves as the speech police? How many businesses and workers, which we never hear about, receive such threats?

Congress Should Investigate

Here’s one way we could find out: The Republican Congress could investigate. They could subpoena Dr. Ryan Lindquist and Robert Becker and Karnail S. Mudahar and ask them: Did you make this threat? Was it based on government policy? How many other times have you threatened to pull health and safety inspectors because you saw a pro-gay marriage pamphlet lying on a table? Have you used the pretense of safety to squelch free speech?

That last question refers to what may be now be happening to the Vander Boons’ company. (I owe my knowledge of this phase in the USDA battle to gay bloggers.) Last August 16, the USDA sent a letter threatening to pull meat inspectors and shut down the Vander Boons’ West Michigan Beef Company.

Why? It has nothing to do with gay marriage. Instead an inspector claimed he saw a violation of humane slaughtering laws.

The GOP Congress needs to pass some version of the First Amendment Defense Act.

Let me quote at length from that letter:

On August 15, 2016, at approximately 1310 hours, the Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) observed a downed dairy heifer in the barn and an employee attempting to captive bolt stun the down animal to render it insensible. Your written animal welfare program describes the procedure for disposal of down cattle requires that after the animal is captive bolt stunned, it is immediately stuck in the heart to initiate exsanguination and ensure humane euthanasia. After the application of the captive bolt stunner to the head of the dairy heifer, the employee was observed to stick the animal in the heart area of the chest with a long blade knife. The SPHV noticed the animal exhibited rapid eye movement and natural blinking. The respiratory rate began to increase and the animal began vocalizing. The employee did not have additional cartridge charges for the hand held captive bolt device or any means of re-stunning the animal located in the immediate area. The employee left the area to retrieve additional cartridges. The animal continued to exhibit rapid breathing and increased vocalization until the employee returned approximately one minute later, reloaded, and applied the hand held captive bolt device, successfully rendering the animal insensible at that time.

Charged for Following Procedure

So, by the USDA’s own account, the employee obeyed the proper procedures. Due to a technical error, the cow was only partly sedated and experienced pain. The employee went for another stun gun charge, soon returned, and sedated the cow. The USDA’s letter calls this incident “an egregious violation of the humane handling requirements specified within the provisions of 21 U.S.C. 603, Section 3 (b) of the FMIA, and 7 U.S.C. 1901 and 1902 of the HMSA of 1978.”

Really? Might this be regulatory revenge against the family-owned business? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. One thing we know: The regulatory state now has power that it should not have. It gives bureaucrats the authority to treat a good faith glitch as an egregious attempt to break the law. In politicized regimes (aka “banana republics”) the heavy hammer of the government swings above the head of any political dissident who runs a business.

The regulatory state gives bureaucrats the authority to treat a good faith glitch as an egregious attempt to break the law.

Congress Must Act to Defend Our Freedom

What can we do to stop this shut down on free speech?

President Trump’s executive order won’t help. The GOP Congress needs to pass some version of the First Amendment Defense Act. It should give private people like Don Vander Boon the right to sue when regulations are misused to punish gay marriage dissenters.

Unlike many conservatives, I’m not upset at President Trump. During the campaign, he avoided the conflict between gay marriage dissenters and the LGBT community. He pivoted to the Johnson Amendment whenever the subject came up. He is doing the one concrete thing that he promised to do: appointing spectacular judges.

These judges will help. But they won’t help the Vander Boons much unless we can persuade Congress that it’s in their interest to pass new laws to protect dissenters.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Wayne Cook

    When will some national journalist, commentator, or government leader going to admit that our government has become socialist and not representative?

  • Christian Cowboy

    We need to be asking God in our prayers to give our elected representatives wisdom and also boldness to stand up against the attack on our country by satan and his workmen.

  • Timothy Horton

    Virtually no businessman whose business was attacked in this way donated again. But no businessman who gave in support of gay marriage was ever attacked for it.

    I wonder how many years it will take for you people to realize society no longer tolerates your religious-based bigotry and intolerance towards the non-hetero minority. In the deep South it took decades to end racial discrimination by businesses. Are you trying to top their nefarious record?

    • Paul

      Actually ‘society’ agrees with marriage being one man one woman, and people using the bathroom corresponding to their sex, it’s liberal politicians and radical judges who are forcing their world view on the people.

      • Timothy Horton

        Sorry, the S.S. Religious Based Bigotry has sailed. Marriage Equality For All has taken its place at the dock.

        • Paul

          Even the very liberal populace of California voted in a Constitutional amendment that a marriage was between one man and one woman, but the people were usurped by activist judges. Sorry but we won’t go away just because you wish it, we may have lost some battles thanks to packed courts and homosexual agenda driven politicians but the culture and legislative war is far from over.

          • Timothy Horton

            Overall support for same sex marriage in the U.S. is now at 61% and still rising. It’s over 80% with the 18-35 demographic. Take your religious prejudices back to the 19th century where they belong.

            Love wins

          • Paul

            California Prop 8 was approved by the voters in 2008, nice try though. As for younger generations, congrats on infiltrating public schools with your homosexual brainwashing, most conservatives were asleep and in denial of that impact. Also all the pro homo media agenda has had an impact as well.

          • Timothy Horton

            This is 2017. I know you religious conservatives love to live in the past when you could get away with your hateful bigotry but that time is gone. No one will miss it.

          • Paul

            Still up to your name calling, I suppose it’s necessary in your effort to marginalize your opponents. Supporters of the wisdom and common sense of traditional marriage and the Constitutionally enumerated right to freedom of religion won’t be going away no matter how much you call them names.

          • Timothy Horton

            Some day you bigots will realize freedom of religion means freedom to have your own personal beliefs. It doesn’t mean freedom to harm others in the practice of those beliefs.

            You may get temporary relief by Man Baby Trump stacking the courts with his religious toadies but it won’t last. The era of allowable religious-based discrimination and intolerance is over.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What harm Timothy ? you keep saying it but you don’t specify, businesses refusing to cater to ss marriages, something that they 10 years ago wouldn’t have been forced to have done

          • Timothy Horton

            60 years ago businesses had the right to deny serve to Blacks too. It took anti-discrimination laws to help correct the wrong and the damage done. Unfortunately it’s taking the same sort of anti-discrimination laws to end the damages to the LGBT minority too. Bigotry and prejudice die hard.

            Now the religious conservatives are clamoring for the “right” to ignore any anti-discrimination laws as they see fit. They got all spun up last week with Trump’s EO on “religious freedom” then cried like babies when they didn’t get their way.

            It’s really a pity we have to enact laws to get some people to treat their fellow humans fairly.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What does those laws have do with denying ssm when those issues have never been put at the forefront up till now. Those laws persucuted blacks but the people who are wanting the bills to protect freedom of religion aren’t targeting regular gays who may come and buy from them it was only an issue when marriage was brought up and they suggested they could not serve as the privately owned business have had the right to do under the free market.
            You do realise it was many christians and republicans who brought forward the civil rights movement and giving rights to black people in the us.
            Where do you get the absolute morality that says it’s wrong to treat people unfairly ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Where do you get the absolute morality that says it’s wrong to treat people unfairly ?

            Wow. Now we’ve got a religious conservative arguing that morality is subjective. Welcome to the rational side.

            You should read up on this idea called “The Golden Rule”. It’s lasting human wisdom, predates the Bible by a thousand years. It’s not an absolute morality because no such thing exists but it’s been a time tested and proven way for humans to best get along.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            How am I wrong ? When have religious conservatives argued morality is subjective ?
            Golden rule is consistent with the bible
            where has the golden rule been before Christ and why do you still support it being a biblical value, why do you at all support this value?
            If absolute morality does not exist and is an illusion then all morality that is used, decided upon and presented by society is all relative, all you say then is relative and is then just simply arbitrary. If you believe all of morality being, non absolute, then why are saying we are wrong if we say homosexuality is a sin ?

          • Timothy Horton

            The Golden Rule was described in the writings of Confucius almost a millennium before the Bible was written. It didn’t originate in the Bible. It’s been a common thought discovered by virtually every culture known to exist.

            Relative does not mean arbitrary. There were very good non-arbitrary, non-religious reasons for making incest and polygamy illegal. For incest it was the very real danger of inbreeding which often produces mentally and/or physically defective children. For polygamy is was the upsetting of the man/woman balance in society. If you had one rich man with 20 wives then there were 19 other males out there with almost zero chance of marriage. There are absolutely ZERO non-arbitrary, non-religious reason for denying equal marriage rights to same sex couples.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            “Relative does not mean arbitrary ” what does that even mean. you state dangers about incest and polygamy but forget about the dangers that occur in gays and transsexuals. If we are going on this naturalistic view for reasons then you should know that for the both survival of the species it need the procreation for our species to survive even when looking at the weak vs the strongest or fittest lens on how we are to go about further then homosexuality is a defect (weakness) to aid and for our species to thrive and survive. But all of this does not argue for there to be any form of morality. Even when something’s illegal or laws there is always disposed and inclined some sense of absolute morale.
            For someone who says “love wins” you forget that love is not something that can proven by the natural sciences and by effect cannot be be confirmed by the scientific methodology yet you still towards it gravitate towards it just like morality.

          • Timothy Horton

            but forget about the dangers that occur in gays and transsexuals.

            There is no inherent danger in being non-hetero, either to self, anyone else, or society as a whole. The only reason you have for discrimination against them is the intolerance taught by your religion.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            “There is no inherent danger in being non-hetero, either to self, anyone else, or society as a whole” o really that’s a lie. Really if you take the naturalistic “survival of the fittest” evolution view then homesexuality is something that is a weakness and non-detrimental to the survival or aid of our species.
            “Discrimination” “intolerance” Timothy you just said there’s no such thing as absolute morality, then why are invoking principles that suggest that I am objectively doing something wrong? If you believe in morality being subjective then why are trying to subject others to your morale? In order for there to be true “intolerance” or “discrimination” there has to be a moral law code that applies to everyone but if subjective then what you may call wrong to you to someone else it may opposite or otherwise.

            Also what is non hetero what does that imply?
            If it just implies non heterosexuals then why still can’t incest and polygamy not count? You do realise that there are gay incestuous people and gay style polygamy.

          • Timothy Horton

            Really if you take the naturalistic “survival of the fittest” evolution view then homesexuality is something that is a weakness and non-detrimental to the survival or aid of our species.

            No it’s not. Look up kin selection. You don’t have to reproduce yourself to be an evolutionary benefit as long as your presence helps your siblings survive. As it turns out the genetic component of non-hetero sexuality also causes females in your lineage have higher fecundity. I’ll excuse your ignorance of that aspect of evolutionary biology as it’s a rather esoteric topic.

            If you believe in morality being subjective then why are trying to subject others to your morale?

            Group morality benefits the entire group. Humans are a social species and while the discrimination against minorities may help your particular tribe it’s detrimental to the overall species. I look at the big picture.

            Also what is non hetero what does that imply?

            (facepalm) If you don’t even understand what non-hetero means you have no business being in a discussion about human sexuality.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Timothy you still have not fully answered my question yet!
            “No it’s not. Look up kin selection. You don’t have to reproduce yourself to be an evolutionary benefit as long as your presence helps your siblings survive. As it turns out the genetic component of non-hetero sexuality also causes females in your lineage have higher fecundity. I’ll excuse your ignorance of that aspect of evolutionary biology as it’s a rather esoteric topic. ”
            1. According to what data?
            2. Since when does not being able to reproduce help your survival?
            3. Your the one to talk about esctoicism
            4. If even when talking this to account you still have not fully explained why something like polygamy is morally wrong

            “Group morality benefits the entire group. Humans are a social species and while the discrimination against minorities may help your particular tribe it’s detrimental to the overall species. I look at the big picture.”
            What big picture if naturalistic evolution is true and so is survival of the fittest then at the end of the day you have no say of how the overall outcomes are met or the “bigger picture” of how species are to thrive or how life will continue.Unless there is objective morality, discrimination has no continuity or even meaning unless it is cry against someone’s intristic worth that is transcended both of which are not determined by the natural sciences. For there to be naturalistic evolution our species survival is detrimental with or without the aid of discrimination. In short this phrase has no basis and no leg to stand on.
            You seem to be invoking something that does not exist towards the means of naturalism just for the sake of some form high moral ground which state ultimately does not exist?

            “(facepalm) If you don’t even understand what non-hetero means you have no business being in a discussion about human sexuality.”

            Why ? Especially considering that “human sexuality”, as you put it, is trying to push its way out into the general public and into many people’s lives and homes?

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What does the year have to do with it and what past ?

          • DR84

            “Love wins” says the angry and spiteful man.

          • Timothy Horton

            Love still wins. 🙂

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Really what of incest and polygamous relationships then ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Feel free to lobby for them if that’s what you want.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            I’m asking you the question, if you say “love wins” why Aren’t you fine or actively pressuring for this to be acceptable ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Go ahead and make your case for them if they matter that much to you.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What ? I am asking you the question, why are you not answering the question ?

          • Timothy Horton

            It doesn’t bother me if you’re in favor of incest and polygamy. Go for it if it makes you happy.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What ? where do I say I that I was in favour of incest or polygamy ? why do you keep backsliding from the question I’m asking you ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Just who do you plan on having incest with? Are they aware of your desire?

          • Shaquille Harvey

            What are you even on about ? You are the most inception person on the web. you claim to be a person who is of “reason” yet you show none of it, no actual examples or data. You claim to be a person who cares for “the people”, yet you bash everyone and slander people who has a different from you
            You don’t have the Curtesy to have a confersation with others yet you claim moral high ground. You have no ground actually you don’t care about other issues, only if they consist with the LGBT or abortion. I have constantly asked questions and sidestep each one. You have answered none. You have no consistency and you have no absolute moral ground, just a superior moral complex.

          • Timothy Horton

            I am under no obligation to respond to the same tired old and frankly stupid “slippery slope” argument: “if we let same sex couples marry we have to let people marry their dog, or marry a tree!”

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Why ?

          • Ken Abbott

            What you cheer for, Mr. Horton, is not love but sexual libertinism. But this comports with the spirit of the age, so you are correct to note its increasing acceptance. I never knew morality to be determined by majority vote, though.

          • Timothy Horton

            What you cheer for, Mr. Horton, is not love but sexual libertinism

            What I cheer for is equality under law for all, not just those you personally approve of.

          • Ken Abbott

            And yet you frame this with the question-begging adage “Love wins,” as if that’s supposed to seal the argument.

          • Timothy Horton

            Love wins over hateful bigots who still seek to oppress and deny equal rights to a minority. Not for any bad thing the minority has done but simply because the bigots’ religion teaches them to be intolerant.

          • Ken Abbott

            More sloganeering. What “love” are we talking about? And isn’t whether or not homosexuality is a “bad thing”–in other words, a moral concern–at the very heart of the matter?

          • Timothy Horton

            Your religion teaches non-hetero people are second class citizens not worthy of equal rights. The large majority of the country disagrees. Sorry but you don’t get to decide who or what is “moral”. Society does as reflected in the secular laws which are enacted.

          • Ken Abbott

            Actually, “my religion” teaches nothing of the sort. Biblical Christianity upholds the essential worth and dignity of all human beings, created as they are in the image of God, and Christ erases the separations that people make up to exert undue power over one another–male/female, Jew/Gentile, slave/free, to use the parlance familiar to Paul’s first-century Mediterranean world. No one in Christ is a “second class citizen,” and Christians are not interested in denying anyone equal rights, although we oppose the imposition of special rights. Furthermore, if Christianity declared that non-hetero people are second class citizens, as you suppose, there would be no concern or effort exerted to persuade them to accept the gospel. Why preach to the unworthy?

            What is legal or enacted by popular majority is not necessarily moral, Mr. Horton, otherwise you are arguing ad baculum.

          • Timothy Horton

            Biblical Christianity upholds the essential worth and dignity of all human beings,

            Except for the LGBT minority, who are all evil sinners deserving of no civil rights or respect. And all other religions, especially Muslims.

            What is legal or enacted by popular majority is not necessarily moral

            Actually by definition it is. 100 years ago a woman wearing a bathing suit that showed her shoulders or legs was considered immoral. Marrying someone outside you own religion or race was considered immoral. Society determines what’s moral, not you.

          • Ken Abbott

            “Except for the LGBT minority, who are all evil sinners deserving of no civil rights or respect.”

            If being an evil sinner was the criterion for loss of civil rights and/or respect, all of us, myself included, would be disrespected and without rights. So your claim is hyperbolic, to say the least.

            “Society determines what’s moral, not you.” I sincerely hope not. Neither one of us wants to live in such a world, Mr. Horton. If a society is held to no other standard than what a majority of people want at any one time, flee immediately, for the Reign of Terror could start at any moment.

          • Timothy Horton

            If being an evil sinner was the criterion for loss of civil rights and/or respect, all of us, myself included, would be disrespected and without rights

            Then why do so many Christians fight against giving the LGBT community equal civil rights in things like marriage? Or child adoption? Why the demand for Christian businesses to be able to ignore the anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT folks?

            Your words say one thing but your actions say the exact opposite, and it’s the actions that count.

            “Society determines what’s moral, not you.” I sincerely hope not.

            What you hope doesn’t matter. The reality is society determines what is moral, which is why what is deemed moral has changed so many times in different countries and different times.

          • Ken Abbott

            “Then why do so many Christians fight against giving the LGBT community equal civil rights in things like marriage?”

            In large measure because we profoundly disagree on the nature of marriage, that it is a covenantal and not merely contractual relationship between a man and a woman and not something that is subject to redefinition. A sexual relationship between two men or two women is immoral, and no civil right can be predicated on a moral wrong.

            “Or child adoption?” Because it is in the best interests of the child to have a father and a mother, not two parents of the same biological sex. And wherever and to whatever extent possible, the child should be cared for by her actual biological parents, which is an impossibility in a same-sex arrangement.

            “Why the demand for Christian businesses to be able to ignore the anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT folks?” A Christian business owner ought to be able to decide whether or not a particular business transaction involves him in an immoral action and to refuse to participate if such is the case. But that right extends to any business owner–we ought not to force people to act against conscience, which is neither right nor safe. Let’s use the example of the bakers, since that has been often at issue. If I had a bakery, I wouldn’t inquire or intrude one bit into the plans of someone who comes into my shop and buys a cake–I offer them for sale to whomever wants them and is willing to meet my asking price. But it is another matter if someone comes in and requests that I design a cake specifically to be used in celebration of something I cannot in good conscience participate in, whether that be a same-sex marriage or a KKK rally or the grand opening of a pornography store or an Internet cafe that specializes in hacking other people’s computers for identity theft purposes. At basis, these requests are for individuals to be permitted the integrity of their consciences, which is something I think we all want no matter what we do in life.

            Parenthetically, Mr. Horton, you really don’t know anything about the relation of my words to my actions.

            “The reality is that society determines what is moral.” So Robespierre and company were right to send so many fellow Frenchmen and Frenchwomen to the guillotine? So the Roman Catholic Church was right to crusade against the Albigensians? So the Nazis were right to round up homosexuals, including those who had been party members, and kill them out of hand? Those societies determined what was right and good in their own eyes, after all. Or does “moral” simply mean whatever is generally accepted, in which case it really means nothing at all; it is a wax nose that may be molded to suit prevailing preference?

          • Timothy Horton

            Thanks for confirming the hypocrisy. You claim to uphold civil rights and/or respect for all yet you just admitted you spit on the LGBT minority when it comes to marriage, adoption, and discrimination in the public marketplace.

            Then you sit and wonder why so many people today are disgusted with your religion’s hypocrisy.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            “Your religion’s hypocrisy”
            Timothy you do know muslims reject ss marriage and believe LGBT to be something of a sin. many muslims live in the us and many Muslim private owned businesses would also refuse to cater to a gay marriage as well.
            Why aren’t you calling them out ?

          • Mike Painter

            “A sexual relationship between two men or two women is immoral.” In your opinion. You have trouble differentiating opinions from facts.

            “Because it is in the best interests of the child to have a father and a mother, not two parents of the same biological sex.” Don’t pretend you care about children. You care about keeping alive the false idea that gays are incapable of being parents in order to disenfranchise gays. What a child needs above all is love, and gay people can provide that. They deserve to be able to adopt the same as any straight couple. There’s no indication that a child raised by a gay couple is worse off than a child raised by a straight couple.

            “I wouldn’t inquire or intrude one bit into the plans of someone who comes into my shop and buys a cake.” If you are Christian, wouldn’t you want to? Don’t you want to know if someone would flirt with the idea of divorce or planned to never have kids before allowing them wedding cake? Or is this just about being spiteful against gays and has nothing to do with Christian sexual standards at all?

            “I cannot in good conscience participate in, whether that be a same-sex marriage or a KKK rally or the grand opening of a pornography store or an Internet cafe that specializes in hacking other people’s computers for identity theft purposes.” A same-sex marriage isn’t similar to any of those things in the slightest. You’re prejudiced and heartless to make such comparisons. Do you have a wife, Mr. Abbott? Did it ever occur to you that the way you feel about her is the same as the way a gay person feels about his partner? How would you feel if someone compared your marriage to KKK rallies and pornography and theft? Pretty horrible, huh? You should try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes sometimes.

          • RWS

            “100 years ago a woman wearing a bathing suit that showed her shoulders or legs was considered immoral. Marrying someone outside you own religion or race was considered immoral.”

            If you refer to the United States, you write in ignorance. Showing legs and shoulders in a bathing suit a hundred years ago was normal. Fifty years earlier, it was racy — but not evidence of the wearer’s immorality. And marrying outside faith or race was not immoral, even if disdained or despised (or, in the case of race in some States, actually constrained by law).

            Get your language straight and stop relying upon pop’ distortions of the past. You simply embarrass those of us who might otherwise agree with you on major propositions.

          • Timothy Horton

            You need to read a history book and stop relying on your own foggy 100 year old memories.

          • RWS

            Forgive me: I really should be more patient with the ignorant instead of simply assuming that those who write as you did deliberately invent “history” to serve their own ends.

            The irony, of course, is that articulate arguments can be made to advance our viewpoint without recourse to fantasy. Why not give it a try?

          • Mike Painter

            Ugh. The whole “We just want to SAVE THEM” argument. Even if you’re self-deceived enough to think you really are doing good for gays, you know deep down what your true motivation is: “I want to send them back into hiding because I don’t like them.”

          • Shaquille Harvey

            How do they want to send them back into hiding?

          • Mike Painter

            A lot of fundamentalists seem to yearn for the return of “the good old days” when being openly gay was taboo and made someone a social pariah. They don’t like seeing gay couples in public acting as couples do. Acting indecently with PDA is one thing, but simply holding hands or hugging is another thing entirely, and fundamentalists won’t even stand for that if it is between people of the same sex. A lot of fundamentalists perceive gay couples as “shoving their homosexuality in everyone’s face” by simply walking down the street together or putting up a picture of themselves on social media. If you are fine with people being openly gay and participating in society without having to conceal that they are gay, then I have no problem. But it seems the fundamentalist response to gay rights advancement and acceptance of gay people has been to try and turn gays back into the outcasts they once were. They say they want to rid the world of gay people for some “divine good” and they may genuinely believe they can turn people from gay to straight, but what they are ultimately concerned about is not “helping” gay people, but rather getting them out of the public eye because they simply don’t want to look at them. Is this not true?

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Again having no understanding of christians and Christian theology. most christians believe gay like prostitution or fornication are each a sin ( in this case sexual sin/immorality) and that each person including themselves are sinners and in need of a saviour. Which is why they want to bring them to Christ. What good ole days are you even referring to. As for “shoving homosexuality” with a small percentage of the population being gay or part of the LGBTQ+ it is disconcerting that they are continually pushed forward in most TVs programmes, films where unesscory characters need to now somehow be gay. Where this movement is being put into literature, especially for kids and into schools to be learned about along with pride events most people, that especially Christians are tied are being forced to cohere with it and even though they might not harm or want to say wrong doings to the lgbtq, just by saying something or voting for tradition/ christs marriage they are villianised for it.
            The closest you get towards “the good ole days ” that many christians predicate to, is that society prior towards the modern day did not push this forward this constant sexual frenzy or any of these taboos out in the general public though it was known of and chastised of in many communities. That sex was private and was to stay that way and that people were to live by a pure standard.

          • Mike Painter

            Christians need to realize that a gay person does not need saving from a gay relationship. A gay relationship is better likened to a straight relationship, not prostitution and fornication. Two people of the same sex can be in love and expressing love is not immoral, be it physically or emotionally. I honestly do not care if a gay couple (or a straight couple) is having sex often or never. If they are in love, they should be together. The advancement of gay rights will secure that a gay couple will be seen as equal to a straight couple. Christians want to stop that in favor of having gays ignore their sexuality/romantic love for another person or else be obligated to “cure their gayness” (which is not possible, no matter how badly Christians think it is). Christians say, “We’re fighting for morals,” but they ironically can’t see the immorality in their anti-gay causes. They can’t see that gay couples are really in love, really human beings like anyone else, and that denying someone the right to express their love for their partner, just as straight people have been doing freely since the beginning of time, is wrong. Also, being openly gay doesn’t amount to being lewd or part of a “sexual frenzy.” A man saying, “I love my husband” doesn’t have to be sexually explicit. It’s only explicit because Christians imagine it to be. The whole idea that gay people are sex maniacs and that gay relationships are about nothing but sex comes not from a sense of morality, but from prejudice. Also, it doesn’t matter how small LGBTQ numbers are. Why don’t they deserve representation? Minorities are the ones in most need of representation. And who cares if there is media with gays in it, even if you think it is unnecessary? I accept Christian media has a right to exist, even if I don’t like it, think it’s unnecessary, and don’t consume it. Also, the whole thing about LGBTQ “being in schools” is merely to teach kids to respect LGBTQ peers, not to talk about sex. You can say, “Some boys like other boys and some girls like other girls” without getting into sex, and kids will accept that and not bully gay peers. Sounds like a good thing to me. And you act as if traditional marriage is in danger and needs “voting for” to be saved. It’s not going anywhere. Last I checked, it was unaffected entirely by gay marriage. Traditional and gay marriage can co-exist fine. They have been in the U.S. for almost two years now.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Really a gay relationship is like being straight so why has homosexuality been condemned throughout human history.
            Why has no civilisation thought being gay as the same as being straight?
            You talk on love but please define it ? Who’s love ? Does that open to matters such as incest or polygamy ? If not why ?
            Are those “loves” and attractions the same as well.
            what of, dare I say it, if speaking on the matters of how we feel poeple such as peadophiles are those feelings important and morally acceptable? Why are some loves in this world still treat as immorally wrong, and if you agree why ? How do you define as something that is morally right and immorally wrong?
            You say that gays can’t be cured,fine, but does also perpetuate towards peadophiles as well ?
            You say gay marriage doesn’t affect anyone accept for the businesses who have refused to take part in them.
            “Also, the whole thing about “LGBTQ “being in schools” is merely to teach kids to respect LGBTQ peers, ”
            really so you think it’s ok to talk on trans issues onto a children who are at a vunerable age and are premature understanding who they are and understand the world around them?
            You speak on prejudice but understand christians and Christian theology so little.

          • Mike Painter

            Many ancient cultures accepted homosexuality. Look at the Greeks and Romans. Eastern cultures and Native American cultures accepted it also. My definition of love is this: sharing a life and intimacy with an adult person while working together for the good of your friends and community and putting your partner’s needs above your own. Straight couples can do that. And gay couples can also. It is irrelevant that gay couples can do one less sex act than straight couples. Gays and straights are generally similar in how they perform their relationships, no matter if you perceive that they aren’t. Why would I oppose incest and polygamy and pedophilia if I support gay relationships? Because they are not similar to gay relationships at all. Incest brings family shame and is antisocial. Not to mention it can result in birth defects in any resulting offspring if it is heterosexual. Polygamy is about getting a lot of sex from many different people. True love is only between two people and is unconditional. Yes, from what I understand, you can’t “cure” pedophilia, but there’s actually a good reason for pedophiles to stay celibate. Children can’t give consent. Raping children is not good, clearly. There are sound reasons for opposing incest, polygamy, and pedophilia. The only argument against homosexuality is “tradition” and “religion” and “morals” based on one’s prejudiced perception rather than reality. As for kids and trans issues, fun fact: I knew about sex change operations when I was very young. And I just accepted that some people were unhappy in their genders. I grew up to be perfectly happy being a male. Being trans is ultimately a biological phenomenon, like being gay. You can’t “teach it,” you can’t “learn it.” All the kids are learning is to be nice to LGBTQ people. Not a bad lesson. As for your accusation that I am prejudiced myself, I don’t doubt there are Christians who really don’t hate gays, and I am aware some churches are totally accepting, but I still think good people can still be misguided in their ideas. I think the anti-gay teachings of Christianity aren’t rational or compassionate and I don’t see a place for them in public policy. The idea that gays being openly gay translates into sexual anarchy is a false one. Straight or gay, people will always be sexually excessive because that’s how humans are. Sexual anarchy is a human problem, not a gay problem. Christian theology typically links homosexuality to licentiousness, but an honest meeting with any average gay couple will quickly show that isn’t the case. That said, I don’t doubt that there really are promiscuous, sexually reckless, lewd gay people, and I condemn them as well as any senselessly anti-gay Christian who’d equate such gay people with the gay people who are in a committed relationship.

    • maggie galalgher

      Until I’m dead. That’s probably how long it will take for you to see the error of your ways in this too. I hope that’s a long time from now for both of us.

  • m-nj

    here’s the root of the problem… “USDA’s Civil Rights office”… why doe the USDA have a “Civil Rights” office? Their job is to enforce health regulations, not police race/sex relations. And we know that almost every agency has these off-scope offices embedded in them… “civil rights”, “diversity”, blah blah blah… Congress and states must act to gut and refocus the overbearing bureaucracy

    • Timothy Horton

      Part of the USDA’s job is to protect workers from dangerous and/or harmful working conditions. That includes protection from harassment based on race, religion, color, nationality, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or parental status, genetic information, or reprisal.

      Leaving anti-gay literature in the employee’s break room is no different that posting nude girlie calendars in the offices of female employees or distributing White Supremacy literature in front of black employees. Coming from management it’s a form of intimidation and harassment and is illegal.

      • Charles Burge

        If that’s the case, they why the trumped up charges of failing to follow proper slaughtering procedure, when the business did, in fact, follow proper procedure? If the USDA has the authority you claim it does, why didn’t they file charges pursuant specifically to that regulation?

        • Timothy Horton

          I didn’t see any evidence any charges were trumped up. Do you have any?

          • Charles Burge

            Evidence that I could present in court? No. But it does seem to be an overly zealous citation for what appears to be a very minor infraction (kind of like getting a speeding ticket for going 1 mph over the limit). The evidence is indeed circumstantial, but it sure smells like extortion to me.

          • Timothy Horton

            So no evidence of “trumped up” charges of any kind. Just pure political propaganda. Got it.

          • Charles Burge

            It’s pretext for harassment. That’s painfully obvious.

          • Timothy Horton

            They issued a warning which apparently was heeded.

          • ericdijon

            Harassment must be pervasive and dropping a document out on a table falls well short of it.

          • Timothy Horton

            It’s also intimidation by management. You can’t squirm out of this one.

        • maggie galalgher

          You get the point even if Tim doesn’t. This is an unaccountable bureaucrat threatening on the spot to shut down a business on the spot chilling speech immensely. No witnesses, no official act, no court oversite.

          • Timothy Horton

            The real point is intimidation and harassment of employees by their boss is illegal. This guy was let off with just a warning which the inspector didn’t have to do.

            You scream “freedom of speech!” but what about the freedom of the workers to not be harassed and intimidated by their boss?

      • DR84

        Why do you hate the First Amendment?

        • Timothy Horton

          The First Amendment doesn’t cover hate speech, intimidation, or harassment as in this case.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Since when does the constitution say that ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Since all the laws currently on the books prohibiting hate speech, intimidation, and harassment were found to be Constitutional.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Oh so suddenly it has been implemented in there now !
            Second, please do explain to me what is hate speech? is it actually real thing ? if yes, why then has it not been considered around before ?

          • Aliquantillus

            What you say is nonsense. Just expressing an opinion is neither harassment or intimidation. Besides, when people are disencouraged to commit evil acts or to give their assent to perversions, this is for their own good. Laws which are contrary to the Natural Law should be abolished. And the present laws are just a form of incitement against traditional decent people. That is what this deterioration in public morality really is: An attempt to force people to call evil good and good evil. In other terms the laws of Sodom and Gomorrah.

          • Timothy Horton

            It depends of the opinion and how it is delivered. A boss telling his secretary she’d get better raises if she wore miniskirts and see through blouses isn’t free speech, it’s harassment. Lecturing your workers that gays are evil sinners when some of the employees might be gay isn’t free speech, it’s intimidation.

            Sorry but those who advocate discrimination and intolerance against a minority portion of the population aren’t “decent” people. Far from it.

          • Aliquantillus

            And why are they not decent people? Intolerance against evil is good. A minority isn’t right in its viewpoint because it is a minority! A minority can be evil, and it doesn’t gain moral standing because it is persecuted or discriminated against.

          • Timothy Horton

            Non-hetero people aren’t evil. It’s the people who persecute and discriminate against them for no other reason that their religious book teaches hatred and intolerance who are evil.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            How can you say there is evil if there is no absolute morality in this world Timothy ?

          • Timothy Horton

            Bigotry and discrimination are evil using the morality of honest and fair people. You wouldn’t understand.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            That makes no sense, you have not answered the question. How can yo be evil if there is no absolute morality ?

          • Aliquantillus

            It is not only religion but also natural reason which condemns homosexaul acts as perversion.

            Besides, “for no other reason that their religious book teaches hatred and intolerance” would be a sufficient reason in case the true religion. In fact it is your intolerance against religion which is the real problem. You belong to a humanistic pseudo religion which claims universal authority and wants to eradicate the entire Judeo-Christian heritage of the West. That pseudo-religion is the true an impacable enemy of tolerance.

          • Timothy Horton

            No, it’s only religion which teaches hatred and intolerance for no reason. You demonstrate that with every post.

          • Shaquille Harvey

            Really Timothy say that to the victims of atheistic regimes
            Also which religion because only attack one people’s worldview here ?

          • Aliquantillus

            You are contradicting yourself by your intolerance against religion. But your intolterance is also against the European philosophical tradition. From Aristotle to Kant philosophers have denounced homosexuality as immoral. And you have not in any way demonstrated why homosexuality should suddenly be considered virtuous or moral. So please demonstrate this first instead of simply flying with today’s political correctness.

          • maggie galalgher

            Hate speech is actually protected by the First Amendment. Hate crime laws are attached to crimiinal acts, adding extra punishment if they are based on hatred for a protected class. But can say hateful things and nobody can throw you in jail for it.

          • maggie galalgher

            I try not to though.

      • ericdijon

        Please, stop conflating what you desire with truths–truths that are relatively simple to produce that reduce your position to tears and fears. The mission statement the USDA provides in their “Strategic Plan – FY 2014-2018” reads: We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. OSHA’s mission statement: With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance is in line with what you feel is the USDA’s job. Both organizations adhere strictly to Title VII guidelines for what you well described as harmful working conditions: protection from harassment based on race, religion, color, nationality, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or parental status, genetic information, or reprisal.

  • Autrey Windle

    HELP, GOD, HELP!!!!!! IN JESUS NAME…amen.

    • maggie galalgher

      He will!

  • Mark of the Beast, folks; either agree with sin or lose your livelihood. It’s right there in Revelation.

  • cestusdei

    We can’t even retreat to our own homes, churches, and family businesses. They will follow us. This is persecution. They are intolerant bigots.

    • Timothy Horton

      In your homes and churches you can be as intolerant and bigoted as you want. If you own a business with paid employees you are bound to follow state laws regarding employer conduct. That includes not harassing, intimidating, or discriminating against employees due to race, national origin, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

      Those are the same rules every other business owner has to follow. You don’t get a pass because of your religion.

      • Shaquille Harvey

        Hold on you state religion, who’s religion ? does that statement encompass to all religions ( including christians ) or just some ? If all, then why does it not guarantee and inshrine then freedom of religion, which has been protected in the us history and constitution/laws, not count for those Christian business owners now ?

      • ericdijon

        So, your point is that you have no right to dissent if the nature of your dissention is the doctrine and dogma of your faith–right? If that’s the case, then no one gets to express dissent except the specifically protected. Or am I reading you wrongly–since people on one side of the issue may privately be intolerant and bigoted, but those on the opposing side have infinite public rights and legal standing?

        • Timothy Horton

          Practice your religion to your heart’s content as long as nobody else is harmed in that practice.

          Discriminating against minorities in a open-to-the-public business harms the minority and all of society. That’s why we have anti-discrimination laws in the first place.

          If your religious convictions are so strong you can’t obey the same laws everyone else is required to and can’t treat all customers equally, find another business.

          What part of that don’t you understand?

          • ericdijon

            What part? Pretty much all of what you write is not understandable. I think that’s the chief reason you keep receiving so many questions and requests for clarification. You take great pains to respond with hyperbole that you believe is truth, but I see that most commenters see through all of it. No response to me is necessary, but you are more than welcome to claim the last word.

      • cestusdei

        NO, the COTUS says free exercise. That does NOT mean we can’t live our lives publicly. You go back to your closet. Besides we are not safe even at home. You will follow us there. You hate us. You won’t go after a black baker, but a Christian one is open season. Our only hope is that you will eventually go so far that everyone realizes what you really want and steps back in horror.

  • maggie galalgher

    I appreciate and read all your comments. Poor Tim doesn’t read very closely does he?

Inspiration
Your Purpose is Revealed in God’s Design and Desire for Creation
Hugh Whelchel
More from The Stream
Connect with Us