We Don’t Serve Your Kind Here!
So, a State Senator walks into a bar. Because he doesn't support special rights for a politically powerful special interest group, he is denied service and told to leave the bar.
And there was much rejoicing
I'm in the minority on this one.
First, a little background. State Senator Stacy Campfield has been pushing a bill for several years now regarding teaching about homosexuality is grade school. The text of the current bill
The general assembly recognizes the sensitivity of particular subjects that are best explained and discussed in the home. Human sexuality is a complex subject with societal, scientific, psychological, and historical
implications; those implications are best understood by children with sufficient maturity to grasp their complexity.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.
Recently, Campfield was invited onto The Gist
, a radio show by Mike Signorile to discuss the bill. During that interview, Campfield made some statements about the origin and transmission of AIDS that are not politically correct, including observing, correctly, that transmitting AIDS through heterosexual contact is much more unlikely than transmission through homosexual activity. Following the contentious interview, Mr. Signorile chose some of the more incendiary quotes and highlighted them in a blog post.
The blog post is a beautiful example of taking quotes out of context to make the subject look bad. For example, when Signorile asked Campfield why heterosexuality should be discussed in classrooms and not homosexuality, Campfield's answer was :
"The only reason well, natural reproduction. If you’re talking in science classes you need to be able to talk about how natural reproduction works XY chromosomes and that sort of thing. If you didn’t talk about heterosexuality, you would not be able to talk about natural reproduction."
Certainly not a controversial answer. Sexuality should only be discussed in a classroom when it is directly related to the science of the reproductive processes. The social aspects should be left to the family. You may disagree with that, but it isn't hateful by any means.
But in his blog post, Signorile substitute's this quote from a couple of minutes later in the interview as Campfield's answer:
"I just think there are situations where some kids maybe sexually unsecure [sic] in themselves or sexually confused and don't necessarily know clearly what direction they are. If someone, a person of influence, says maybe you're gay, maybe you should explore those things -- maybe the child, who is young and impressionable, says maybe I am gay."
Then juxtaposes this quote, also from another part of the interview:
"[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce. It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school."
The two quotes above come from different sections of the interview, but Signorile uses them to try and make Campfield look hateful. Additionally, he misquotes Campfield in the second quote, in my opinion deliberately, to make him look like he's comparing homosexuality to bestiality. In fact, what Campbell said was
"It happens in nature, but so does bestiality That does not make it naturally, necessarily something we need to talk about with children."
Now that is quite a difference. Signorile not only repositions a quote, he changes it from a simple statement of fact (There are some aspects of sexuality we don't need to discuss with children) to a value judgment on homosexuality.
I'm not going to go through the rest of the blog post. It's more of the same and Campfield does get some facts wrong. But the post is a hit piece plain and simple. Of course, it got widespread attention, and I'm willing to bet almost nobody went back to the original interview and listened. They just believed what they already prejudged about Campfield.
So, fast forward to yesterday. Martha Boggs, owner of The Bistro at the Bijou, reacting to the Huffington Post article, refused to serve Campfield, and asked him to leave the restaurant. She then posted on the restaurant's Facebook page
, "I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discrimanted[sic] against."
The irony of using unfair discrimination to protest unfair discrimination is amazingly obvious.
And amazingly stupid.
As the day has gone by, I've watched more and more people weigh in on this one, and they all seem to say the same thing. "Way to go Martha! That'll show 'em!"
Show them what? That prejudice and intolerance are okay, as long as the target is unpopular? How do we get to a point where we have people can say, and with a straight face, "Discrimination is evil, bad, hurtful, and ignorant. Unless I agree with it; then it's okay!"
After all, what Boggs did is no different than a bar owner throwing out a (insert minority of your choice here) and saying "We don't serve your kind here!" Does anybody think that this episode is going to do anything to cause Campfield to change his mind? Did it do anything to educate him? Did it show tolerance or acceptance? Or did it show that narrow minded jerks exist on both sides of the ideological divide?
Suppose a restaurant refused to serve the head of Planned Parenthood, or any of their supporters. Would that be okay?
Folks, tolerance isn't worth a flip if you only tolerate the folks you agree with. That's just good old high school conformity dressed up in flashier clothes.
Martha Boggs' actions were flashy, and drew a lot of attention, but ultimately petty, childish, and potentially actionable. I doubt Campfield will pursue it; his post on the matter
is fairly simple and straight forward; certainly far more mature than Ms. Boggs.
I don't agree with everything Campfield says, and certainly not all of the legislation he produces. I do, however, believe that he should enjoy the exact same amount of protection under the law as everybody else.
And no less.
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Very well said.
Posted by Nelson's Mama on 01/30 at 05:33 PM
Completely agree with you 100% Rich.
Posted by Melissa Granju
on 01/31 at 04:44 PM
I have to say, I have yet to see any bills for "special" rights.
Just requests for the same rights everyone else has.
Hell, not even rights, the PRIVILEGES that heterosexual marriage brings with it, such as a better tax rate, next of kin rights, et cetera et cetera.
Posted by cspradlin on 01/31 at 09:38 PM
Campfield does enjoy the same amount of protection as everyone else. Boggs doesn't have to serve anyone.
Campfield's discrimination is wrong because discrimination against a group of people is wrong. It's prejudice. It's bigotry.
Boggs was discriminating against Campfield as an individual for being a bigoted idiot.
Posted by Les Jones
on 02/01 at 08:17 AM
cspradlin, go read in the comments about this event on other venues. See how many people say it was okay to deny service to Campfield based on his beliefs because he is not part of a "protected class."
That's the heart of this issue. I can be barred from a restaurant for holding to my beliefs; yet others are protected from the same treatment by an arbitrary law.
For example, most of us agree that bullying is bad, and most school systems already have rules in place to prevent it, and to punish those who do it anyway. So why do we need legislation to make a special case out of bullying people based on their sexual orientation? Is that somehow more hurtful than bullying people based on their weight? Or their social status? Are gay youths somehow deserving of special protections that fat nerds aren't?
Obviously not, at least, not if we really believe in equal treatment under the law.
And I do.
Anytime you single out a group for special treatment, you diminish the rights and protections of those not in that group, and that is precisely what happened to Campfield. He holds opinions that are unpopular, so the 'in crowd' bullied him.
Which brings me to Les's comment.
Boggs can't arbitrarily refuse service to all people, just those that aren't in a protected class. For example, she can refuse to serve people she considers to be ugly, because ugly people don't have a big lobby in Washington. She cannot refuse to serve people based on their race.
The double standard here is obvious.
A landlord in East Tennessee refused to rent to an unmarried couple, based on his religious beliefs. They sued and won.
Yet everybody wants to think that Boggs can throw Campfield out because they don't like what he said.
Either we have equal protection, or we don't, and right now, we don't.
Going further, Boggs didn't just discriminate against Campfield; she labelled him as a homophobe and said that they weren't welcome in her establishment. Whether you agree with him or not, Campfield is professing the official position of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, that it is not normal, and that it is a sin. Agree or not, it is the announced policy of the Catholic Church. If you can be denied service based on your religious beliefs, then you are indeed being discriminated against based on your religion.
Ironically, the same folks who are piling on Campfield for displaying his religious beliefs are the same ones who vocally defended the Muslims building a mosque in Murfreesboro.
Apparently, some religions are more tolerable than others. What is really odd in this case is that in Islam, homosexuals are stoned to death. While that punishment is rarely carried out in the US, it is very common in Muslim dominated countries where Sharia is the law.
But I've given up expecting logic or consistency from that crowd. Celebrate folks who stone gays, but castigate a guy who said that maybe homosexuality is a topic best left to parents at home, and not state run schools.
Posted by Rich Hailey on 02/01 at 11:57 AM
What does the Catholic Church have to do with it? Is Campfield Catholic? Is he pushing the "don't say gay" laws in Tennessee schools based on Catholic teachings? If so, I object based on the principal of separation of church and state.
Besides which, someone can have bigoted views that they believe are supported by the Bible. Lots of racists did. That doesn't mean their views are correct. It also doesn't mean they aren't bigots.
Boggs didn't throw him out for being Catholic or practicing his religion. She threw him out for being a bigot against gays.
"Yet everybody wants to think that Boggs can throw Campfield out because they don't like what he said."
She can throw him out. Legally and morally. And she did.
Posted by Les Jones
on 02/01 at 12:09 PM
What if Campfield were black? And still held to the same beliefs ... and then was tossed out of a restaurant? Would that be bad because race is a protected class (unless the race is white)? Or must the restaurant owner specify the reason why they are tossing him out? OK if it's his morals, not so OK if it's his skin color?
What if the reason for tossing is because he is behind legislation that upholds gun owner rights? Plenty of people think that legislators who are pro-gun are idiots. Is it OK to calls them names and refuse service to them because of that?
Further, holding to the Biblical statements that homosexual acts are sinful* does not make one a bigot, no matter how hard you twist it. Belief in God means belief in His Word ... ALL of it, not just the parts with which we choose to agree or are socially acceptable in this corrupt world or are politically correct ... and His Word states that it is a sin. Not only that, but it is also a sin to condone others in sin.
1 Corinthians 6:9-20
... to name but a couple passages.
As for "separation of church and state" ... Campfield and most other politicians derive their world views from their faith, be it Christianity, Judaism or even atheism. Should we only have legislators who profess NO faith whatsoever? Although, that might seem a good idea, since that would preclude all of them. Remember, the separation thing is just an ideology, not a law or part of the Constitution. The Constitution is more protective of Campfield's right to state his beliefs than in barring him from creating legislation based on those beliefs.
Lastly, his proposed legislation is not discriminatory to anyone. It simply states that discussion of sexual preferences is not an appropriate topic for elementary and middle school-age children. At that level, only the science of reproduction is discussed, and as homosexuality is incapable of reproduction, it is irrelevant. Any discussion of homosexuality should be conducted by the parents - not the school. Personally, I would broaden that to prohibit any discussion of sexual preferences or behaviors.
Of course, his haters have twisted the intent of the legislation to mean something it does not ... but that is what hate does. You know, like the guns on campus bill (which is also Campfield's ... is he still an idiot for that?) has been twisted to mean that EVERY student and teacher/professor MUST carry a gun on campus which will lead to rivers of blood flowing under the volleys of bullets. Right?
Campfield is certainly responsible for a good deal of way over the top rhetoric and proposed legislation. He grandstands like nobody's business and seems to thrive on the attention. A buffoon at times, for sure, and not exactly the brightest bulb on the chandelier (I still recall fondly our "asinine" confrontation), and misinformed on some facts, but hateful? Bigoted? That's a real stretch ....
Posted by LissaKay
on 02/01 at 02:52 PM
"OK if it's his morals, not so OK if it's his skin color?"
That's exactly right. If you throw him out because of his morals you have a disagreement with the man. If you throw him out because of the color of his skin then you're just a bigot.
"What if the reason for tossing is because he is behind legislation that upholds gun owner rights? Plenty of people think that legislators who are pro-gun are idiots. Is it OK to calls them names and refuse service to them because of that?"
It would be her right. I'd disagree with her and would boycott her restaurant, but it would certainly be her right.
"Further, holding to the Biblical statements that homosexual acts are sinful* does not make one a bigot, no matter how hard you twist it. Belief in God means belief in His Word ... ALL of it, not just the parts with which we choose to agree or are socially acceptable in this corrupt world or are politically correct ... and His Word states that it is a sin. Not only that, but it is also a sin to condone others in sin."
As far as the Bible, the state isn't a church and neither is a public school, and neither is Bogg's restaurant. No one has to live by Campfield's religion or yours either, for that matter.
If you think the whole world's sinning and going to hell that's your right. But there are a lot of sins in the Bible and a lot of sinners in the world. Once you start pointing your finger at all the sinners you're liable to find yourself a very lonely person.
Posted by Les Jones
on 02/01 at 03:08 PM
Les, you know better than to conflate two separate issues. SB 0049, the "don't say Gay" bill, has nothing to do with separation of church and state, or discrimination. All it says is that homosexuality is best discussed in the home, at a time when parents decide their children have a need and are ready to handle the information, rather than at the whim of a teacher. Ms. Boggs herself said this morning that she had no issues with the bill.
According to her interview this morning on WOKI, she objects to Campfield because of two specific pieces of legislation, the revision to the bullying code, and the bill for gender specific bathrooms. Ironically, Campfield did not author, sponsor or co-sponsor either of those bills.
So, if the bill he didn't sponsor doesn't bother her, and the two that do bother her, he didn't write, then why throw him out?
There are only two reasons available. Either she threw him pout based on his beliefs, or she threw him out because of a personal hatred. In the first case, she's guilty of discrimination on the basis of religion. In the second, she's guilty of being a bitter, vindictive bitch, not a hero standing up for principles. Given her tone this morning when speaking about Campfield specifically, and the folks who voted for him in general, I lean towards the latter.
Not to mention that she told a story about gladly serving KKK marchers in her restaurant last year. Apparently, Boggs is okay with people who lynch and/or terrorize African-Americans; it's openly conservative legislators that get her dander up.
Les, one of the foundations of the Constitution is that the Rights enumerated in it are not the only rights we have as people. Do you realize that your argument contradicts that? You are arguing that if a group is not specifically mentioned in civil rights legislation, that it does not share in those rights. To put it another way, some people have more rights than others.
As an example, fat ugly men are not listed in civil rights legislation. Does that mean that employers can discriminate against them? That restaurants can refuse to serve them? That they can be forced to the back of the bus?
Are you really okay with that? Because that is precisely where your argument leads.
Posted by Rich Hailey on 02/01 at 03:43 PM
So now we are down to brass tacks. It's perfectly OK to discriminate against those with whom you personally disagree, ie., Campfield.
Yet you state that it is wrong for others to discriminate against those with whom they disagree, but with whom YOU agree, ie., also Campfield, re: guns on campus.
Personally, I think such behavior is childish and ultimately ineffective. Were I the restaurant owner and my customer a Senator who is proposing legislation with which I disagreed, I would instead take the opportunity to speak my views directly to them, while affording them the same gracious service I offer all my other guests.
It's a sin to engage in homosexuality. It is a sin to lie. It is a sin to commit murder. It is a sin to engage in adultery.
Does that mean that Bible-believing Christians are bigoted about liars, murderers, and adulterers as well as gays? The logic does not flow.
You catch your child in a lie, you tell her it's wrong to lie. Does that mean you hate your child? Or that you are discriminating against her when you tell her you will not tolerate lying?
Further, stating that a particular behavior is a sin does not mean that I think I am innocent of sin myself. Quite the opposite. I will be the first to proclaim that I am a sinner - just like every other human being in the world. And all sinners in this world (that is, everybody) are indeed condemned to hell, but for the grace and intercession of Christ, who has taken the punishment of our sins onto Himself, if we accept that gift and repent of our sins.
Oh, and this is not MY religion. It's God's Word. No, neither you nor anyone else has to believe it. Or live by it. But we will all die by it.
Posted by LissaKay
on 02/01 at 03:48 PM
"Yet you state that it is wrong for others to discriminate against those with whom they disagree, but with whom YOU agree, ie., also Campfield, re: guns on campus. "
I have no idea where you got that idea from.
"It's a sin to engage in homosexuality. It is a sin to lie. It is a sin to commit murder. It is a sin to engage in adultery."
According to the Old Teastment tt's a sin to eat shrimp. Jews don't eat meat and milk in the same meal. Mormons don't drink caffeine. Muslims don't ear pork. The world doesn't run by the rules of your religion.
Posted by Les Jones
on 02/01 at 04:03 PM
Rich, so you know I blogged about this topic this morning and linked to this post.
Posted by Les Jones
on 02/01 at 04:15 PM
<blockquote>I have no idea where you got that idea from.</blockquote>
<blockquote>"What if the reason for tossing is because he is behind legislation that upholds gun owner rights? Plenty of people think that legislators who are pro-gun are idiots. Is it OK to calls them names and refuse service to them because of that?"
It would be her right. I'd disagree with her and would boycott her restaurant, but it would certainly be her right.</blockquote>
In your words, she was right to discriminate against someone with whom you disagree, but not when the target of discrimination is someone with whom you agree. Throwing someone out of one's place of business because one does not agree with their beliefs is stupid and childish, whether it's over gays wanting to push their agenda into elementary schools, or the right to carry a gun on campus.
<blockquote>According to the Old Teastment tt's a sin to eat shrimp. Jews don't eat meat and milk in the same meal. Mormons don't drink caffeine. Muslims don't ear pork. The world doesn't run by the rules of your religion. </blockquote>
So, you're saying that Jews are bigoted against those who eat shrimp and cheeseburgers? And Mormons are hateful to coffee drinkers? And Muslims will behead you for eating bacon? (Wait ... they will, nevermind.)
Once again ... not my religion. God's Word. I follow it and proclaim it.
Stating one's beliefs does not make one a hateful bigot. Or a bully. Nor should it lead to getting tossed out of a restaurant.
Posted by LissaKay
on 02/01 at 04:39 PM
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