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Comment: Re:Senator Barack Obama voted for RFRA in Illinois (Score 1) 751

What makes you believe that those are Cook's personal politics, and not Apple's corporate politics? If corporations are persons, then they can also have legitimate political positions.

Also, why do you believe that this is ruining the corporate image of Apple, rather than enhancing it?

Comment: Re:Businesses Have A Right to be Jerks (Score 1) 751

From past experience (e.g. Jim Crow), we know that in some cases allowing people to discriminate results in discrimination so pervasive that it severely affects the targeted group - basically, they're unable to obtain the services anywhere, or they can only obtain them for significantly higher prices or significantly lower quality.

Comment: Re:We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service (Score 1) 751

So out of curiosity, are those signs that say "We reserve the right to refuse serve to anyone" legal? If they are, then why would they need to pass this law? If not, does a business have the right under ANY circumstance to refuse service to someone outside of where the law demands it (like a bartender refusing to serve an intoxicated customer)?

It is generally legal to refuse service to anyone, except for certain explicitly protected categories (gender, age, religion etc). The catch is that on the federal level, the said protected category list does not include sexual orientation. In some states, it is protected on state level. In some, it's not protected on state level, but is protected on the municipal level. The latter is especially common in large metro areas (which lean liberal pretty much everywhere) in otherwise conservative states.

So, basically, the reason why that law makes a difference is because it overrides various municipal bylaws prohibiting such discrimination, and carves out a religious exemption that pretty much anyone can arbitrarily claim in practice.

And yes, businesses can arbitrarily discriminate in other ways. They can refuse to serve intoxicated customers, for example, or people with mustaches (though in some cases discriminating based on some trait can be illegal if it is found that in practice it results in clear discrimination against some protected class by virtue of correlation).

Are businesses considered to be public and therefore must be open to everyone or are they considered private and open only to whomever the owner wants (like a private club)?

They can be either, it all depends on how you set things up. If you have some notion of membership, and only serve members, then you can apply pretty much arbitrary filters for people wanting to become members, including those protected classes - i.e. it's perfectly legal to have a whites-only private club, for example (though of course you'll get a lot of flak in the media as soon as it comes out).

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 751

And to further clarify. The problem with exceptions is that as soon as you open the gates, you need some safeguards to prevent your exceptions from growing so numerous as to effectively render the right useless. Which means that you can just allow arbitrary exceptions for free speech, or vague blanket categories that are not protected. It has to be very, very narrow for the original right to remain meaningfully protected.

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 751

I assume you mean this as a rhetorical question, but the same people who protect the rights we are given are the ones who decide the scope of those rights. How else could it work?

For example, by codifying the eligible exceptions into the same document that enumerates the rights, and asserting that anything that is not so codified is not an exception.

Among people upset enough about immigration to visibly protest it on school grounds, a disdain for anchor babies is quite common. A sizable number of anti-immigration individuals would like to deport anchor babies along with their parents. There are even Congress representatives who have pushed bills to this effect. This is not some extreme opinion. Well it is extreme, just not extreme for the anti-immigration crowd.

You missed my point. It's not at all clear why the display of a US flag in the context of Cinco de Mayo has anything to do with anti-immigration sentiment. I would argue that such interpretation, in the absence of any other context, is in fact rather bigoted itself (because it assumes that flag = hate).

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 751

You may disagree with it, but most people understand free expression should be limited in some cases. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is one example. Not allowing US flags to be worn simply to incite anger on a school campus is another. No one was being offended by the US flag, they were being offended by the context in which they were worn.

And who decides what are those cases where the right should be limited? Are you aware of the track record of such limitations?

For example, you bring up that famous line "fire in a crowded theater". But do you know its origin? It's from a SCOTUS case that ruled that anti-war speech encouraging draft resistance is not protected speech (this was during WW1). As a result, a number of people from the US Socialist party were jailed for distribution of leaflets with anti-war propaganda.

Luckily, that decision was overturned later, and now the standard for speech that gets outside of the protected boundary is when it can trigger "imminent lawless action". Wearing the flags is obviously a very far cry from that, even if you're right about their meaning (though I do think that it's extremely biased on your behalf to treat the mere presentation of flag as "deport anchor babies").

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 751

You touch on something I was just thinking - you replace "homosexual" with "Jew" and you get pretty close to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935.

Not at all. Nuremberg Laws placed a large number of state-enforced prohibitions on what Jews can do. These laws do not do such a thing - they enable private discrimination of homosexuals, but they don't enforce it by the power of the state.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 3, Insightful) 751

but Christianity never could have started rolling in the first place without some sort of charismatic leader.

At least one popular theory is that said charismatic leader is Paul, and Jesus was just a figure that he appropriated for his purposes (elevating him to godhood status in the process).

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 751

I believe It's discrimination to not hire/or fire based on sexual orientation. I do not believe that it is discrimination to refuse to take the money and provide services to someone who wants to you to make a cake for their same-sex wedding.

Both cases are exactly the same - you refuse to conduct a trade with someone on account of some trait X that they possess. It's just that in one case you're paying them money in exchange for their labor, and in the other case they're paying you money in exchange for your labor.

You could argue that people should have the right to discriminate (freedom of association etc). But if you do, then you have to do it consistently.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir