Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
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10-10-2014, 09:46 AM
Rainbow Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
So, my older brother...who is devout Christian...posted a link to a story about a t-shirt shop in KY who refused to print a "Gay Pride" t-shirt, was sued, and lost.

http://www.kentucky.com/2014/10/07/34680...nated.html

Here's what my brother said:

It is becoming illegal in America to believe something is wrong and live according to that belief, if the government declares it to be right. Or to believe something is right… if the government declares it to be wrong. There is a misunderstanding here of what religion is, what freedom is, what the limits of government are and what it means to be tolerant. We either stop and work through the implications of what these things mean or we become an oppressive, intolerant and coercive society in which all must bow to the state belief… the state religion…

Me: Do you think business owners of one race have a right to refuse to service people of other races? If not, why is it ok for Christian business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation? Discrimination is discrimination, doesn't matter what your reasoning is behind it.

Him: The person who had the T shirt shop was refusing to print a MESSAGE he didn't believe in. He wasn't refusing to print the shirts based on any characteristic of the people requesting them, but because of the message they would communicate. Do you not agree that there is at least a DILLEMMA here, when people can be forced to provide a service that goes against their own conscience? And if there is a dilemma is there not a need for some reasoned dialogue?

Must Jewish Kosher butchers or Muslim butchers provide pork to me if I request it? Must a hindu T-Shirt shop owner print a shirt for me that says "Let's eat more cows" if he is offended by that idea?


Me: Yes. There's really no difference. If you own a t-shirt shop that's open to the public and serves everyone, you still can't discriminate because someone wanted a message that you don't agree with. I would be offended if it were my shop and some guy walked in and wanted "F--- Cops" on a t-shirt, but if I say, "No, I'm not doing that, get out." I better be prepared for a lawsuit, because I supposedly opened a business that was public and served everyone. I suppose they could put up a sign that said, "Christian messages only on shirts" or "No profanity" or whatever.

Him: (and this blew me away): This isn't about Christianity. (Me: Blink ) And I disagree. I think we are going down a bad road. I agree that there is a dilemma here regarding "discrimination" … what I'm saying is that how we define that word is leading us into a problem of conscience that needs to be discussed.

Me: LOL! Really? Hm. I'd be interested to know how many atheists would refuse to print a gay pride t-shirt for someone.

Him: Would only Christians? Are there no messages an Athiest would refuse to print? None?

Me: They made a decision based on their faith. Yes?

Him: Is it wrong to make a decision based on what you believe is true?

Me: (going back to the "are there no messages an atheist would refuse to print: comment): I can't think of any....no. Again, I wouldn't be too happy to have to print "F--- Cops," but I'd do it.

Him: Ok then what you're saying is there is no message that offends you enough or that you believe deeply enough is wrong or harmful to others that you would feel you need to refuse to print in order to maintain your own personal integrity. But what if there were? There may not be for YOU. But what if there is for someone else? The law here is saying that regardless of what you believe you must go against your own conscience, shut down your business or go to jail. That means you must violate your conscience based on whatever the government says is right TODAY. And maybe it will not be right tomorrow.

I'm a songwriter. I write about what I believe is true. Must I be forced by the state to write about things I believe are false, if the state so decides?


Me: Not the same thing. After some consideration, as far as what I might refuse to print on a t-shirt, I think I would draw the line at anything that threatens someone else or some group. If some guy walked in and wanted me to print "I shoot (n-words)" with a photo of Obama with a target on his face? I would feel pretty confident that I can refuse service to him. I may still have a lawsuit to deal with, but I'd feel confident that I might win. If I didn't, I would just have to print the darned shirt. But printing the shirt doesn't meant hat I, personally, shoot (n-words), or that I support that behavior.

Him: So if there are things you do think would refuse to print and it is based on harming others, can you see that perhaps this guy thinks that the message he is being asked to print is harmful to others? You may disagree with his opinion but if he believes it is a harmful message, can he not decline? And yes, given the state of things, then he will have to face the lawsuit and he might lose and all of that. All I am saying from the start is that we are getting to a place where our GOOD desire to have no "discrimination" has gotten us to a place where matters of conscience and morality demand that we have a deeper dialogue. That it's not just a simple "you're a t-shirt guy, print the shirt."

And it is the same thing … my comment above about my writing IS the same and IS a fair comparison because I do the work COMMERCIALLY. I sell my writing. I sell my songs.
I write articles for magazines and newspapers. I write web content for businesses. When I write the web content, I often do so in the voice of the company "we give great service" "we have the experience our competitors don't have." …. I have do decide if I think I'm writing for a client who is honest or one that is lying. If I think what I'm writing is NOT TRUE, whether I can prove it or not, if I BELIEVE deeply that in fact they are NOT good at what they do, can't I say "Hey I don't want to write for you guys any more."

I just wrote a music score for a video … a documentary about a local town. Must I now be forced to write a music score for ANYONE who requests it, whether or not I endorse their message or belief? WHOSE belief trumps my own? It's a fair comparison.



Someone else on the thread: The idea of leaving your religion at home (or at church) works fine if your religion can be so confined. For those of us who believe, however, that our faith should permeate every aspect of our lives, that dichotomy simply doesn't work.
The issue also isn't where you would draw the line versus where I would draw the line and finding a happy medium. The issue is that you shouldn't be able to draw my line for me anymore then I should be able to draw your line for you.


Me: The problem with the "I shouldn't be forced to go against something I believe" argument is what if you truly believed....or your "religion" said that African Americans are inferior to you, and you should never serve them. Is it right then to refuse them service?

Also, no I don't think that printing a t-shirt that has a message about gay pride is the same as printing one that threatens physical harm to someone.

----------------------

So at this point, I'm fairly happy with my arguments. The only part of it I'm unsure about is his "Jewish Butcher" comment. Should a Jewish butcher be forced to serve pork, and if not, what makes him different than the Christian t-shirt shop guy?

I'm also not sure about the laws here in general. If the t-shirt shop had big signs on their windows stating that they are a "Christian" t-shirt shop, and that the don't print non-Christian messages on shirts, does that absolve them, and give them the right, legally to refuse to print the gay pride shirt?

Anyone have any thoughts for me here?

Thanks!

AJ
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10-10-2014, 09:54 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
(10-10-2014 09:46 AM)AJRyan6of7 Wrote:  So at this point, I'm fairly happy with my arguments. The only part of it I'm unsure about is his "Jewish Butcher" comment. Should a Jewish butcher be forced to serve pork, and if not, what makes him different than the Christian t-shirt shop guy?

The Jewish (or Muslim) butcher doesn't sell pork to anyone, therefore there is no discrimination.

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10-10-2014, 09:56 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
Yep, that was kind of my thinking, too. But, I suppose I could say, "Well, a Christian t-shirt shop doesn't sell gay pride t-shirts to anyone, therefore, no discrimination."

How do I clearly define the difference?

AJ
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10-10-2014, 10:00 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
(10-10-2014 09:56 AM)AJRyan6of7 Wrote:  Yep, that was kind of my thinking, too. But, I suppose I could say, "Well, a Christian t-shirt shop doesn't sell gay pride t-shirts to anyone, therefore, no discrimination."

How do I clearly define the difference?

AJ

I think the difference is that the T-shirt guy is probably willing to print T-shirts that are offensive to one group, but not ones that are offensive to another.

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10-10-2014, 10:02 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
Hm. Good point.

Smile

AJ
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10-10-2014, 10:23 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
So here's some more of the exchange:

Me: ...if your personal belief, or personal religion stated that African Americans were inferior to you and you should never serve them, then you should have the right to refuse service to them?

Him: There's my argument. We need a deeper dialogue about what it means to discriminate, and what it means to have freedom to follow one's conscience. I don't believe that I should refuse service to someone based on race, but that doesn't answer the question as to whether I should be forced to write blogs describing something in glowing terms that I believe to be wrong or harmful.

And as for the t-shirt message threatening physical harm, is physical harm where the line is drawn? What about psychological harm? or other forms of harm? And then it comes down to who decides what is harmful. It's very complicated and, as I said, it is a deeper question than just "you're a t shirt guy, print the shirt." Just because the person who wants the shirt printed doesn't see the harm, does that mean the t shirt guy should be coerced even though he does?


Me: It would come down to you proving physical or psychological harm. I'm not even sure I would object to psychological harm. I would say that printing "God Hates Fags" on a t-shirt psychologically harms people. Would I refuse to print it? Probably not. Would I think the person who wants it printed is a bad person? Yes. But, I wouldn't refuse them service.

----------

It's shocking to me that someone wanting a gay pride t-shirt would be equated in his mind to someone threatening physical harm on a t-shirt. To him, they are the same, and that blows my mind.

AJ
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10-10-2014, 11:06 AM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
(10-10-2014 09:46 AM)AJRyan6of7 Wrote:  So at this point, I'm fairly happy with my arguments. The only part of it I'm unsure about is his "Jewish Butcher" comment. Should a Jewish butcher be forced to serve pork, and if not, what makes him different than the Christian t-shirt shop guy?

The butcher is running a shop that sells specific products and can choose to sell or not sell anything in particular. A kosher butcher wouldn't be expected to sell pork; a vegetarian restaurant wouldn't be expected to serve hamburgers, etc. The T-shirt shop is specifically offering printing services on T-shirts. If I walk in and say I want custom printed ponchos they may or not be able to help me and that's their decision. If I say I want a T-shirt printed with a message on it well, that's their business and they should do it.

Not agreeing with the message isn't enough when running a business in a free society.

Does he think an atheist-owned print shop should be able to refuse customers wanting something with a religious theme?

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10-10-2014, 12:12 PM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
yeah, it doesn't seem like a discrimination to me either for the same reasons as above.

It's just bigoted and a loss of money for them is all.


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10-10-2014, 12:22 PM (This post was last modified: 10-10-2014 12:26 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
I really don't see why the t-shirt shop couldn't refuse to print whatever, after all they are a private business and service isn't being refused because of gender, race, disability or even the religion of the customer.

I don't see discrimination in this situation.


*Edit for example:
My t-shirt shop. A Chinese guy wants a shirt that says "Eat more shark-fin soup" and I tell him no. He might say I am discriminating becuase he's Chinese and I'd say, no, I don't like the message and has nothing to do with you being Chinese. I think I'd win in court.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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10-10-2014, 02:47 PM
RE: Is there anything atheists would refuse to print on a t-shirt?
The T shirt shop isnt refusing service either like the cake lady was.

Choose a different saying, I'll print it.

The Cake lady was refusing service to her for being her.
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