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  1. Public, Religious, and Legal Viewpoints are Similar and Different. I am interested in an amicable dialogue discussing state discrimination statutes that seemingly go head on with a person's right to express his/her religious beliefs. I often thought of the upcoming Court battle between state made discrimination laws against a person's right of religious expression. (Note: In legal opinions, dissents, and in law review journals, when the word Court is capitalized it generally is referring to the United States Supreme Court and when the word court is not capitalized it means any other court under the Supreme Court.) It is generally known that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. This simply means the Constitution is supreme to state made law, there are no exceptions for a state statute to have supremacy over the Constitution. Here, is the wording of the First Amendment; Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. In this thread I would like to discuss (1) the ramifications of the religious and speech clauses of this amendment when juxtaposed between state made discriminatory statutes and (2) can a state government rightfully force a person to think, speak, and act if it allegedly violates a state statute which may be contrary to the First Amendment? In that context please consider also the following: Sunday Closing Laws: The Court has ruled that states cannot force an establishment to serve its customers on Sunday. This simply means the state cannot force a store to stay open or closed on Sundays. IOW, a state statute would be unconstitutional to force a store owner to serve its customers on Sundays going against the owners religious beliefs. (see Estate of Thornton v. Caldor, Inc., 472 U.S. 703 (1985).) Justice Alito recently decided with Justice Kagan saying "Viewpoint discrimination is poison to a free society." Justice Kagan (an Obama appointee) generally liberal minded in her decisions said that the Court must remain firm on this issue, during a time when free speech is under attack." I for one am happy to see how all the current justices cross political and religious opinions to uphold the freedom of speech. Legal Viewpoint: is based on legal doctrine. Public Viewpoint: is based on current public opinion of a certain topic. Religious Viewpoint: is based on religious beliefs. Regarding legal viewpoint (legal doctrine), which may or may not be contrary to a religious or a public viewpoint. It is nice to see the Court overrule a lower court's decision, when that decision was based from a public viewpoint or one that goes against a religious viewpoint (expression of belief). In other words, to me, it is nice to see a ruling by a judge be based on a legal viewpoint. I will start. Abortion: I am against all abortion, believing it is simply the killing of a human or future human being. If you kill me when I was only a clump of cells or kill me when I am 50 years old, it is still killing me. Religiously, I feel I can argue my beliefs for this stand. I know my viewpoint is even more opposed than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which allows for very few exceptions in very rare situations). Same Sex Marriage: None of my business. I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I am not against the marriage of those of the same sex so that they may have all the legal benefits of a hetrosexual marriage. State Discriminatory Statutes: I think these type of statutes generally are unconstitutional on their face because they compel a person how one should think according to the authors views. I know the intentions are to eliminate discrimination which I am all for. However, I am NOT for the forced obedience to a state law that dictates how one should think. Even if at its worse a person is racist bigot, the government should not be able to punish that bigot for the thoughts he has. Yes, education is good to help eliminate racism or prejudice towards homosexuals. Yes, I believe we should also continue in church to love everyone, but we should not be forced in how to think. Forced Speech (forced to do or forced not to do): I am NOT for compelled speech, which could be literal (e.g. write this, perform this, bake this, arrange that, etc.). It also could be symbolic; (cannot burn the flag or you have to burn the flag. You cannot wear that arm band or you have to wear that arm band, you cannot bake a religious or secular cake, you have to bake a religious or secular cake). You have to conform to the way we think (i.e. no gay discrimination) and at the same time we [the state] is allowed to show hostility to you for your religious beliefs. Just an FYI; I own a franchise (a national carpet cleaning company) that covers five states. I have in the past and currently do and will continue to give service to all of my customers. I have many times given service to known gay customers, married and unmarried. I do not serve my good customers because I am compelled by law, but I serve them because I am a smart businessman and want to continue to have their support. However, I do not think carpet cleaning or all other ancillary services I offer do not go against my religious beliefs. I don't even think carpet cleaning is an artform, although I take great pride in the knowledge, skill, and ability to clean them (message me if you want before and after pics). I would be against my church or my government compelling me to serve gays or I not to give service to gays. I would be against my church and government (be it local, state, or federal) compelling me to think a certain way, even if that way of thinking is good. I like my free-agency to think for myself! I would like to discuss from these viewpoints laws on abortion, same sex marriage, forced cake baking, flower arrangement, and photography for gay couples. Keep in mind, that these discussions must maintain a religious theme and not a political one. Please do NOT get political outside the topic of this thread. I would like it to remain open. It sometimes, it least to me, will appear that one will intentionally go political just to have a thread they disagree with or an argument that is not going their way intentionally shutdown. If that is you just bow out and simply choose not to participate.
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