Unlike the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1964 Civil Rights Act completely upended the constitutional right to freedom of association, for whites that is. It’s still perfectly fine to have, for example, BET, an entire television network devoted to blacks, a channel whose employment of whites is most certainly disproportional to the percentage of whites in the general population.
A week back, there was a NYT article entitled “Religious Right Cheers a Bill Allowing Refusal to Serve Gays“, which cited as examples of intolerance:
In New Mexico, a [Christian] photographer declined to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. In Washington State, a [Christian] florist would not provide flowers for a same-sex wedding. And in Colorado, a [Christian] baker refused to make a cake for a party celebrating the wedding of two men.”
Pat Buchanan uses this NYT piece as his starting point to discuss on the AZ bill that Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed (“Gay Rights, Civil Rights, And How Freedom Dies“):
“Religious freedom,” said Daniel Mach of the ACLU to the Times, is “not a blank check to … impose our faith on our neighbors.”
True. But who is imposing whose beliefs here?
The baker who says he’s not making your wedding cake? Or those who want Arizona law to declare that either he provides that wedding cake and those flowers for that same-sex ceremony, or we see to it that he is arrested, prosecuted and put out of business?
Who is imposing his views and values here?
What we are seeing in Arizona in microcosm is what we have witnessed in America for half a century: the growing intolerance of those who preach tolerance and the corruption of the concept of civil rights.
We have seen the progression before.
In 1954, the Supreme Court declared that segregation in public schools was wrong and every black child must be allowed to attend his or her neighborhood school. By 1968, the court was demanding that white children be forcibly bussed across entire cities to insure an arbitrary racial balance.
Under the civil rights acts of the 1960s, businesses were told that in hiring, promotion, pay, and benefits, black and white, men and women must be treated alike. Equality of opportunity.
But, soon, that was no longer enough. We needed equality of result.
Pat offers this at the end of his column:
A radical idea: Suppose we repealed the civil rights laws and fired all the bureaucrats enforcing these laws.
Does anyone think hotels, motels and restaurants across Dixie, from D.C. to Texas, would stop serving black customers? Does anyone think there would again be signs sprouting up reading “whites” and “colored” on drinking foundations and restrooms?
Does anyone think restrictive covenants against Jews would be rewritten into contracts on houses? Does anything think that bars and hotels would stop serving blacks and Hispanics?..
And, indeed, some bigots might revert to type. But so what?
Cannot a free people deal with social misconduct with social sanctions?
And isn’t this what freedom is all about? The freedom of others to say things we disagree with, to publish ideas we disbelieve in, even to engage in behavior we dislike?
As for the Christians of Arizona and same-sex unions in Arizona, if they don’t like each other, can they not just avoid each other? After all, it’s a big state.
Believe it or not, there was actually a time when a figure like Pat Buchanan was a viable political figure on the national stage.