Friday, February 21, 2014

Should Businesses Have the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone?

Yesterday, the Arizona House and Senate passed some very controversial legislation allowing businesses to "discriminate" by refusing to provide services to people if doing so violates their own personal religious beliefs.  This bill is being viewed as specifically as an anti-gay type bill (which it is).

But I think it does bring up an interesting question.  Should PRIVATE businesses be able to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?  It makes sense to me that any sort of federal, state, or municipality should not be allowed to discriminate, or for that matter, any private business who accepts or has accepted any sort of taxpayer funding.  But for the solely private business, should they not be able to discriminate if they want to for ANY reason, not just religious?  Shouldn't that be one of the rights of a private business?  The State of Arizona was short sighted, and in my opinion somewhat foolish, by limiting this to a gay vs. religion type bill, which itself is discriminatory as it is a governmental agency selecting who can and cannot discriminate.  Either everyone should be able to or nobody should be able to.

And as consumers don't we also reserve the right not to shop at these businesses and to tell all of our friends not to shop there either?  It's one thing to sue a business because they cheated you or did not follow up with a service you paid for, but should we be able to sue them for simply refusing to take our money?

I know this conjures up images of segregation, whites only restaurants and what not, and maybe I'm naive, but I'd like to believe we now live in a country where we as a society would simply refuse to shop as such a business or that some enterprising individual would take advantage of all the money these businesses are refusing and set up shop next door offering their services to everyone.

Remember for America to remain great one of the things we must be willing to do is defend the rights of those with whom we disagree.  Although, I disagree with discrimination, I think we should be cautious limiting the rights of any other American to do so in their private business.  If consumers can sue business for refusing to serve them because of the business owner's personal beliefs, then when will businesses be able to start suing consumers for refusing to shop at their store because of that owner's same believes?  There are many people who won't shop at certain businesses not because of the business itself, but the personal beliefs of the business owner.  Consumers boycott businesses all the time for things like animal testing, religious beliefs, political leanings, etc... (See Chickfil)  Since we as consumers have the right to discriminate against a business because of the owner's personal believes, I'm not sure the business should not maintain that same right.  And not just because of their religious beliefs, any belief or reason they might have.  Remember, we don't have to shop there.      

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One Reason Relationships Fail- Our obsession with the Hunt

My wife and I finally took in our Valentine date the other day treating ourselves to a mid-day movie.  We weren't able to do much on the real Valentines day as I took a pretty nasty spill off a horse I was breaking.  After separating my pelvis and wrenching my back pretty badly I was off my feet for a few days with my wife having to be my nurse.

The movie we took in was the typical "chick flick" with the unlikely couple meeting and after getting off to an awkward start they fall in love only to have some type of conflict arise that threatens the relationship.  Then, as usual, the dude makes a fool of himself to demonstrate his great love and they get back together and all is well.  Take 90% of the chick flicks over the past 30 years, insert said plot and simply change out the characters and locations.

This movie bothered me a bit more though as in this situation, the guy was a total (feminine product) who's whole goal in life was to hook up with as many girls as possible and then bolt as soon as they start to get attached.  It concerns me when I look around our society and see the high number of failed relationships and marriages that perhaps we are starting to romanticize the wrong aspects of life.  

I understand movies are to entertain us so I'm not at all casting any blame on Hollywood.  I don't think Hollywood influences our actions nearly as much and they provide the mirror to show us who we already are.  After all, their goal is simply to run and business and make money, so they will give us what we want, and we tell them what we want by what we pay for.  

So with that, it makes sense to me that we worship guys who sleep with as many girls as they can, and we worship the girl that can finally tame this person.  (And if there is one thing I've recently learned its that when you set your mind to taming the wildest creatures you can easily get hurt). In both situations its not really about love or the relationship, its about the hunt!  For the guys its about conquering as many women as we can and for women its about conquering that guy and getting him to settle down with you.  

If this is the fabric with which we use to build our marriages and the foundations of the relationships with whom the raising of our children will be built upon, then is it any wonder we are having such vast relationship problems in our society?  

Mind you I had an extreme comparison as in the few days prior to see this movie, I got to watch my wife of almost 16 years helping me just to stand up.  Our life is probably pretty boring compared to what America is in love with, and sadly, I have to admit I haven't really done a great job of appreciating what I have.  It's pretty humbling to have someone else have to lift your legs into bed for you just so you can lay down straight.  Thankfully, my injuries aren't that bad and I should be back to normal in a couple weeks, but it reminded me of what true love really looks like.  And it reminded me that I have what so many are looking for although sadly, I've often taken it for granted.  So with that, Karra, I love you!  Thank you so much for being my wife and such a great mom to our kids!  I'm sorry I don't express that to you more and that it takes stupid things like this for me to see it.      

In America, we are quite consumed with finding love, but not very concerned with keeping it.  And thus as a society we remain on that never ending merry-go-round of finding then re-finding love, rather than finding and maintaining love.  We will know our priorities have changed when most of the movies are about maintaining stable and committed relationships rather than the hunt.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Christian Movie "Snub?"

Recently there has been a lot of chatter in Christian circles about a song called, "Alone Yet Not Alone" from a movie of the same name being snubbed for an Oscar due to the "Christian" content of the film.

I've seen a bit of an uproar on Facebook and other social media from the faith community claiming that the film is being discriminated against by Hollywood, and that Christians are now the victims of discrimination from the entertainment industry.

I have to admit this makes me a bit sad.  Not so much that Christians are discriminated against in the entertainment circles but that we actually care!

If we are going to get upset over a Christian movie not being nominated or selected for an award, I have to wonder what was the original purpose of the movie?  Was it to share a message of Christ's love with those who so badly need it?  Or was it to win an award?  It seems odd to me that we would create music or movies or whatever for a world with whom we normally disagree and then become upset when we don't receive their praise.  Since when was the praise of man such a high priority for Christianity?

How Christlike is it for us to produce material that is supposed to share Christ with others and then cry about it when we don't win awards for it?  Why is the opinion of the non-Christian so important to the Christian?  Unless of course we have begun to lose our way.  Unless our faith has become less and less about demonstrating love and more about winning elections and Oscars and whatever other prizes are out there.  If that's the case, why should anyone choose a religion that looks just like everything else in the world?