The City Council of Carmel, Indiana was scheduled to discuss an anti-discrimination ordinance drafted by Mayor Jim Brainard last night. Ordinance D-2224-15 is designed to protect residents from “discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family or marital status, ancestry, age and veteran status.”
That covers the gambit, doesn’t it?
You could write a about whether or not this is the proper role of government, but let’s focus on the statement Brainard released in support of his ordinance. You can read the whole thing here, but the end of the statement merits attention:
“The ‘free exercise of religion’ guaranteed to U.S. citizens in the First Amendment to the Constitution does not give one the right to discriminate. If one were to claim that their religion allows discrimination in treatment of certain groups does it not follow that one can then be exempt from being charged with murder, robbery, theft and other crimes so long as it is done under the auspices of some ‘religion?’
“I hope that this ordinance will make clear to everyone that Carmel continues to be a welcoming place for anyone to pursue life, liberty and happiness with a common respect for each other’s dignity.”
Emphasis mine, because that paragraph exposes the complete ignorance of Mayor Brainard on where rights come from and what laws are for.
First off, the Constitution doesn’t “give” anyone rights. Rights don’t come from government. We are born with them. They are innate. Natural.
Frederich Bastiat wrote in “The Law”:
Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
We are born with certain unalienable rights and to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.
The Constitution is there to limit government, to tell them exactly where the line is drawn, not to declare what rights the government has granted to the people. Brainard seems to think the opposite.
The second sentence just compounds the ignorance shown in the first sentence. It does not follow that claiming a religious reason for denying service to someone is equal to “murder, robbery, theft and other crimes.”
Because “murder, robbery, theft and other crimes” violate the rights of the victim. That’s why laws exist. To protect the rights of free people.
You have a right to life. Ending that life against your will violates that right.
You have a right to property. Taking that property against your will violates that right.
But you don’t have a right to someone else’s labor, even if you pass a law. A majority cannot vote away the rights of the minority. They can only vote to violate them, which is exactly what this ordinance proposes to do.
Passing a law that dictates who a person must serve, even against their will, violates a person’s rights. You can dress it up and justify it however you want to make yourself feel good at night when you lay your head down on your pillow, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are simply using a gun, by proxy, to violate the rights of your fellow citizens.
It really is that simple.
In Brainard’s effort to show “a common respect for each other’s dignity,” he shows a complete lack of common respect for each other’s right to association.
A free man has the freedom to choose who they work for. A free man can refuse to bake a cake for someone if they don’t like their lifestyle or even their skin color.
Yes, it’s discrimination. Yes, it’s ugly. But I would rather deal with the ugliness associated with too much freedom than the ugliness associated with too little.
And centuries of history proves tyranny is far uglier.
Image Credit: YouTube
WIBC’s Tony Katz spoke to the Carmel City Council in opposition to the ordinance. Here are his comments, followed by a transcript:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
Mayor Brainard. Members of the Council. My fellow residents. Concerned citizens.
I speak today in favor of the residents of Carmel. I speak in favor of the recognition that no one of us is any better or any greater than the others of us. I speak in favor of the idea that I do not know if there is a God, but many believe. I speak in favor of the concept that, as opposed to statements written by elected officials supporting this ordinance, we are, indeed, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, all created equal. And that, “We are endowed by our creator with certain, inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
We are born, all of us – black and white, gay and straight, Christian and Jew – with the natural right to Life and Liberty. And with these we can search our own path, and pursue the happiness within us, neither seeking nor requiring the acceptance of others in that pursuit. We do not pursue Life and Liberty, as was horrifically misquoted. They, Life and Liberty, are ours. They belong to all of us, due to our very existence.
I speak today in favor of the right to live ones life as that person, or those persons see fit. Judge it, if you must. Have doubts about it, if you choose. But invade it? Prevent it? Lack its permission? No. Emphatically, No. The same rights that protect me protect those who are unlike me. And this, I joyfully concede, is a good thing.
Who among the decent disagrees? You live your life, and I’ll live mine. No life being greater than any other. All life being sacred. The pursuit of happiness not being impinged.
The purpose of this meeting, and my attending of it, is the consideration of this anti-discrimination ordinance. An ordinance that, on its face, does not come from a place of need. Rather, from a place of desire. Laws based on desire are dangerous things.
Carmel Council President Rick Sharp, was quoted as saying that…it was important for the city to set a tone of nondiscrimination, especially after the “turmoil” from passage of the state religious objections law. His quote – “We want to make sure people understand we are a community that welcomes and embraces diversity and abhors discrimination,”
As if we do not already. As if a law could make it so.
I take no position on the ordinance in question based on religion nor based on culture. I accept that two men or two women can spend their lives together. I agree with others who believe that government has no business being in the marriage business, nor creating subsets of classes by giving tax benefits to married couples and not to all – couple, single, you name it. I accept that Christians and others have the right to say no. Not to the serving of the general public, but to the specific instance that goes wholly against their religious underpinnings. The only thing that separates the free man from the slave is the ability to say no.
I opposed RFRA. Not because Christians don’t need protecting, but because they are already protected by the Constitution of the United States.
I oppose this ordinance for the same reasons. Gays and Lesbians in Carmel are not a special class. Neither are Christians. There should be, in America, no special classes. There should only be Americans. This legislation creates a subset class; something that, on its face, should make rational Americans sick to their stomachs.
I do not wish to speak in negatives. I desire only to speak in positives. So, allow me to state my position: I am positive that this is a horrible law. This is what happens when government decides that good intentions are more important than good governance.
Laws do not make us more moral. They do not make us more decent. They can not stop prejudice and hate. It’s sad, but true. The only way it can be made worse is to create laws that try.
We’re better than that. Here, in Carmel, Indiana, we’re better than that. Do not vote for this law. Thank you.