Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Friday, August 14, 2015

What Does it Take to have a Polite and Civil Society?

From one of my FB Friends,
if we are going to have a polite and civil society, we cannot force our views on other people, no matter what those views are. We can invite, we can try to persuade, we can even peacefully boycott. But we cannot force. The gay couple involved wants to FORCE another person to do something for them. This is the crux of the matter, in my opinion. The moment you begin to use force, i.e., coercion from government, which will either fine the people involved or put them in jail, you are nothing more than a bully.
And in relation to this story,
he is not refusing to conduct business with a defined segment of society. He is more than happy to bake cakes for gay people. The issue is that he does not want to participate in an event he disagrees with, which is a first amendment freedom of expression issue. (There is actually a Supreme Court precedent on this). In addition, there are no public accommodation issues involved because there are plenty of other bakers who would be happy to take his business. As a Mormon, if an evangelical didn't want to bake a cake for my temple wedding, I would happily say "thank you for letting me know you are a bigot -- I will take my business elsewhere." This is what the gay couple should have done.
I have a different FB friend that took issue with my post.
So the black child who forced the elementary school to let her attend was a bully? 
The accused who forces the government to give him access to the tools necessary for defending himself is a bully? 
The woman who forces her employer to stop harassing her is a bully? 
Your friend is wrong. Government force, used by the weaker party to level the unfair playing field that is imposed by the powerful is not a bully. The bully is the one who used a position of social advantage to keep another person down.
Here is my response,
I think the general principle is outlined in D&C 121. It is possible to do otherwise but it is not the most effective way of making change, especially transformational change.  
Gahndi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela did more than the US government ever could have done by the force of law.

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