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A warning to 'cake artist' supporters: Faith-based discrimination works both ways

To the editor: High court justices inclined to side with the devoutly Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding reception should ask whether they want to shield both believing and nonbelieving bigots from discrimination lawsuits. (“There’s no ‘gay wedding cake’ exception to anti-discrimination laws,” editorial, Sept. 13)

Consider an atheist gay newspaper publisher who hires only fact-focused reporters. When he finds that one such reporter has converted to evangelicalism, can he fire her for fear that her dispatches may evince a biblical (and anti-gay) spin?

How about salespeople whose “inherently communicative” efforts are so vital to businesses’ success? Can a humanist employer, for example, turn down a Southern Baptist for sales work if she feels that his faith's antipathy toward gays will impede his solicitation of LGBTQ customers?

Religion historically has been a singularly divisive force. Hence our courts should review “religious liberty” claims with great skepticism — and bear in mind that faith-based discrimination works both ways.

Aaron Mills, Solana Beach

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To the editor: The Colorado baker did not refuse service to anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or any other characteristic.

In fact, he said he would have served the couple anything other than a wedding cake. The baker refused to produce that cake because he found the message of the cake offensive.

What if an African American baker was asked to bake a cake with the Confederate flag on it? Should he have no right to refuse service in that instance?

Ben Evenstad, Los Angeles

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To the editor: There’s a simple way to test whether it’s OK for a business to refuse service to gay people — or pretty much anyone else — based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs”: Just replace the word “gay” with the name of another minority.

If the baker in question had told a Jewish couple that baking a cake for them would equate to endorsing their refusal to practice his personal religion, he would rightly be called a bigot. Blaming one’s bigotry on Christian teachings is just a smokescreen.

Geoff Kuenning, Claremont

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