Should Businesses Refuse Services To Protest LGBT Legislation?

The issue of transgender bathroom use has been a divisive topic recently. There’s a wealth of commentary on nearly every side of the issue. There are even some sympathetic, nuanced perspectives that I think are profitable.

I don’t have much to add the primary conversation, but one thing that struck me was the protest from businesses and individuals.

Bruce Springsteen, PayPal, Disney, and others have boycotted or threatened action in response to legislation concerning transgender bathroom use and other LGBT issues.

Not surprisingly, there was a public response to those actions. These businesses and individuals were met with praise and criticism alike. Public policy issues like this draw plenty of commentary, but it’s always a mixed bag. My concern is not with the quantity of commentary, but the quality.

There seems to be some inconsistency in the attacks and affirmations.

The same people that currently praise these businesses criticized others standing up for their convictions. Likewise, the same people that currently criticize these businesses praised others for doing the same.

I immediately thought of the Christian baker controversy of last year. These bakers didn’t want to bake a cake for a homosexual marriage, as motivated by their beliefs.

Generally speaking, social liberals called these bakers bigoted, while social conservatives praised their convictions. The roles seem to have been reversed this time. Social conservatives call PayPal and others bullies, while social liberals applaud their actions.

This is an incredibly hypocritical stance on both sides.

If Christian bakers should have the right to refuse service other businesses should too. Similarly, if the Christian bakers are bigots for refusing service then other businesses are too.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

It’s totally unfair to ostracize one business for acting on its convictions while admiring another for doing the exact same thing. Social liberals and social conservatives are both guilty of this.

I suppose you can argue that only businesses with your beliefs and convictions should be able to boycott or refuse services. That’s a biased position, but you can hold it.

You cannot, however, argue that it is a business’s right to do so. If so, then other businesses you don’t agree with have license to protest as well.

Sometimes we might have to grit our teeth through a protest or boycott, even if we don’t agree with the beliefs behind it. Our beliefs may motivate a boycott or protest in the future.

So should businesses refuse services for their beliefs?

That’s a complicated question that I cannot answer for you. However, regardless of your stance on that question, you should be consistent in your answer.

What are you thoughts?

You Won’t Be Happy Anywhere If You’re Not Happy In Your Boring, Little Hometown

I see it everywhere, all the time.

“I’m so tired of [insert hometown, home county, or state].” “Can’t wait to get out of here.” “Back in [x] for 10 minutes and I’m ready to leave.” “I hate living here,” and on and on. There are people endlessly pining to be anywhere but where they are now.

True, where you’re at right now might not be the most exciting place on earth. There might be a single grocery store or a few supermarkets. There might be one restaurant or hundreds. There might be a single watering hole or a thriving entertainment district. The fact still remains:

Happiness is not a place.
There’s no location, no matter how intriguing or bustling, that can bring you happiness or fulfillment.

I come from a tiny town in Alabama. There are just under 1,000 voters, so we’re not exactly a bustling metropolitan hub of excitement. There’s a single grocery store (plus a Dollar General if that counts?), a single fast food restaurant, and a single gas station. There’s not much to do, to be quite honest. Trust me. I get it.

What I don’t get is why so many people, especially young people, hate their hometowns. Most people from my area are dying to leave. They think their current location is just a stop on their way to a bustling city with things to do and people to meet. But I feel like I should let them know. You read the title, but I’ll reiterate it again:

You won’t be happy anywhere if you’re not happy in your boring, little hometown. 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to travel, or even live somewhere else. I’d love to see every inch of Creation that I can. I want to taste all the food, hear all the music, and live all the culture the world has to offer.

I could do all of that twice and still be unhappy, though. You have to learn to be content, no matter your situation, and no matter your location. Abound and abase.

I love living in Birmingham when I’m at school. There’s tons of music, food, parks, events, and new places for me to experience. But I also love living in my hometown. It’s a little slower paced, for sure. But it’s not a toxic hole of monotony to be escaped; it’s the potter’s wheel that helped mold me into who I am. There’s beauty there just like there is anywhere else.

You absolutely cannot wait for your life to begin or to improve once you move out of where you are. You can have a fulfilling life right where you are. You should have a fulfilling life right where you are.

The change of scenery, the different people, the happenings of other places are just distractions. Those things can keep you occupied, entertained, and satisfied for a time, but that new place you once longed for will soon be as old and worn out as the one you left.

Sometimes I Wish Christians Would Stop Talking About Gay Marriage

Christians, I love you. You know that. We’re more than conquerors, we’re redeemed, we’re liberated from the weight of sin.
Christ’s death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection paved the path of salvation for you and me. We’re brothers & sisters and will sing our Savior’s praises throughout all eternity. Amen!

But there are moments when I’m almost ashamed of some of you. This week has been a bad week for level-headed, thoughtful discussion as the controversy over the Confederate flag, passing of Obamacare, and now the ruling on gay marriage have all happened in a few days’ time.

As always, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media has been a hotbed for scholarly wisdom to be bequeathed upon on us simpletons.

Conservatives, liberals, and every other political affiliation came out with guns blazing, bashing the other side over the decision.

A healthy, calm discussion isn’t bad at all, I think it’s vital to sharing and shaping ideas. But as many of you have observed, that type of discussion is the exception, not the norm.

Many claiming to be Christian are being downright hateful. Slinging hurtful words and using dogmatic diction that isolates people, rather than showing them the love of Christ. I’d venture to say that many of these people aren’t actually Christians at all, but just assume the name without experiencing the radical change.

We cannot make Christ’s banner of love into our banner of hate. Calling homosexuality a sin isn’t wrong, it’s outlined as such in both the Old & New Testaments numerous times, but picking fights and cutting others down is.

Sinful homosexuality is just as wrong as sinful heterosexuality, an addiction to pornography, a casual lie, non-biblical divorce, lusting after another, neglecting personal worship, gluttony, greed, pride, and every other sin you can imagine.

Sinful homosexuality is just as wrong as having a hateful heart. How can someone who has experienced grace be so calloused towards others’ sin? Jesus would never have spoken the way some of you are speaking. We are called to bring others home to Christ, but we can’t lead others to the riches of God’s grace when we push them away with hateful hearts.

So, if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. Your hateful attitude is hindering, not helping. 

7 Things You Learned After Your Freshman Year Of College

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE IT THROUGH YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR!

You’re a big kid now. College wasn’t necessarily a picnic though, you learned some stuff. You’re now the wisest you’ve ever been thanks to college. Let’s recap just a few things you might’ve learned in your freshman year.

1. College ain’t no joke

shutterstock_1017017412

You heard everyone say college is hard, but you had no idea till you’re at your wits’ end and in the trenches. The difficulty of the work usually isn’t that intense, it’s the amount. Having to juggle assignments from your different classes is exhausting. You’ve mastered multitasking though. So that’s a plus.

2. High School was terrible

hs-sucks

Can you imagine staying in the same building for 8 hours? Eating lunch at the same crappy cafeteria every single day? That’s awful. Sure, you did it for four years, but now you’ve tasted freedom. You can eat lunch wherever you’d like and hammock outside between classes. Yay independence!

3. Sleep is for the weak

349cf0adbd727d2a0503ce872330b2e2.1000x667x1

You might not have had to last 3 days on 3 hours of sleep during finals, but you felt it. You probably pulled an all nighter. You might have only gone to bed before midnight like twice. That’s fine, that’s more than most.

4. Eating alone isn’t bad

Eating-Alone-510-x-339

High school you would’ve dreaded sitting alone in a room full of people at lunch. No one eats lunch alone if they have a choice, right? Wrong. You realized it’s alright to sit in a hall with a few hundred other people socializing and be completely alone. In fact, it’s one of the most peaceful parts of your day.

5. Professors are people too

Black_Professor-mod1_1_t580

You come into college imagining a strict old man that lectures fast and won’t answer questions. Don’t get me wrong, those guys are definitely out there, but you learned that most professors aren’t that bad. They’re real with you in a way that your high school teachers couldn’t be. They’ll talk about being hungover or about being a “horndog” in college. They’ll level with you. They’ll say they won’t grade your paper cause they’re watching football this weekend.  And biggest thing of all is that they cuss. In high school some teachers did, but it was always scandalous. Here, it’s commonplace.

6. Balancing free time and school

school-life-balance

The problem is that you have to do the vast majority of your work in your time outside of class. This might’ve been difficult for you, since there are literally hundreds of other things to do. You can take up cactus keeping, rock climbing, ultimate frisbee, start a band, join the ballroom dancing club, and so so so much more. You’ll eventually have to bite the bullet and do your school work, though. The key is to do it earlier than the hour it’s due.

7. College is only as fun as you make it

This is the big one. College is a world of opportunity where you can branch out and discover yourself. You can do all the things mentioned above and so much more. You can create friendships that’ll last a lifetime. You can unearth a passion you never knew you had. Or you could sit in your room and watch Netflix for 16 hours straight. You could’ve gotten out ahead of your work, or get swamped. You had a choice to make college awesome or awful. Which did you do?

That’s just scratching the surface of what you might’ve gotten out of your first year of college. Did I miss anything? Do you have a funny story? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t Be Ignorant On Gay Marriage, Alabama

Alabama’s Gay Marriage Ban was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. There will be a blizzard of appeals, debate, and people on both sides of the issue embarrassing themselves. But that is not the point of this post.

I have an issue with people comparing the discrimination of homosexuals today to the discrimination of blacks in the 60’s. I’m not speaking on comparisons to interracial marriage, but to the nationwide hate that faced African Americans from this period.
Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage or even homosexuality as a whole, it is absolutely ignorant to compare the two.

True, I could see where homosexuals have been denied something because of their sexuality: a job, promotion, adoption, or any of the many things that never reach headlines. I see that. I can sympathize with that argument to a reasonable extent.

But that pales in comparison to the atrocities faced by the Civil Rights Movement.
To even suggest that homosexuals’ issues are equitable to that of African Americans facing discrimination in pre-Civil Rights Act America is absurd. Even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, violence continued on for years.

King
Especially those in Alabama, you should know better. Our state was the battleground for Civil Rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a famous letter from a Birmingham Jail. The Montgomery Bus Boycott started by Rosa Parks took place in our state’s capitol. Martin Luther King also led a massive march from Selma to Birmingham. We have memorials everywhere,19551201_Rosa_Parks_Mug_Shot reminding us of the past. We are bombarded with it in History class. Our classmates, coworkers, and churches have family that lived it. How could we have forgotten?

Honestly, the comparison angers me. I’m always shocked whenever I hear this argument. Homosexuals have experienced prejudice, no doubt.
Homosexuals have not faced systematic oppression and outright hate like African Americans did in the 60’s.

There are no gay water fountains.

Men Drinking from Segregated Water Fountains

There no restaurants that only serve straights.

8a17588u-master-1000

There are no signs placing gays below dogs.

cr0024_enlarge

There are no police officers beating gays for having a different opinion.

Rev.-WEB-VOL-1-030

There are no German Shepherds attacking gays at peaceful protests.

1111_civil-rights

There are no fire hoses unleashing 290 pounds per square inch of water on gays.

22235_h500w820gt

There are no crosses being burned the yards of gay houses.

mlkjr

And most importantly, there are no lynchings of gays.

I won’t post pictures here, but all you have to do is Google “Black Lynchings” to see these travesties. In many of the earlier pictures (not necessarily 1960’s) you will see children gathered around watching this murder, because it was commonplace.
Blacks were drug behind trucks, torn between horses, lit on fire and hanged regularly. There were churches and schools being bombed. In fact, Birmingham had the nickname of “Bombingham”. The hate led to white civil rights workers being murdered as well.

Violence ran rampant in the Deep South especially, but discrimination and segregation was everywhere. Hundreds of years of tensions were reaching a boiling point. I pray our country never sees discrimination on such a scale ever again.

Iamaman.previewThis was one of the lowest points in the history of the United States. There was so much wrong being perpetrated on a daily basis. Jim Crow Laws and the Ku Klux Klan separated blacks and presented them as subhuman. Black life was far from sacred, it was often despised.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not think every person that is for gay marriage compares the two. I actually think it is a relative minority, but they are a loud minority. It only takes one person to made this ignorant statement. I also don’t want you to think I’m minimizing the battles homosexuals are facing. I am not. Homosexuals often face hate rather than understanding. I understand their resentment and feelings of discrimination. I honestly do. But.

It amazes me that people can think these two situations are comparable. They most definitely are not. Conversations on gay marriage should happen. Comparisons to the Civil Rights Era should not.

What are your thoughts? Have you heard anyone use this comparison before?