Struggling to make ends meet on a small county church salary, the pastor was livid when he confronted his wife with a receipt of $250 for a dress she had bought. “How could you do this?!” “I was outside the store looking at the dress in the window, and then I suddenly found myself trying it on.” she explained. “It was as if Satan was whispering in my ear, ‘You look fabulous in that dress. Buy it’” “Well,” the pastor replied, “You know how I deal with that kind of temptation. I say, ‘Satan, Get behind me!’” “I did,” replied his wife, “but then he said, ‘It looks fabulous from back here, too!’”
One of the most sought-after jobs by all the top fashion designers is to be chosen by the first-lady (wife of the President of the United States) to design outfits for them to wear during their years at the White House. The selection means millions of dollars in both free publicity and clothing sales. But for the first time in fashion history, top dress-makers are letting it be known that Melania Trump better not show up at their studios, as she will be shown the door. Why? Because her husband’s conservative values are not their liberal values and therefore, even though a public business, they cannot in good conscience violate their principles.
Bara Stutzman is a 72-year-old florist. Throughout her many years running a small, family-owned business in America, she has served everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.
For over nine of those years, she had a regular customer named Rob – a gay man who she considered a friend. Soon after the law changed to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses, he asked Bara to design the flowers for his upcoming wedding. Realizing that her convictions about marriage would not allow her to use her artistic talents in this way, but wanting to show compassion, she politely declined his request, explained her dilemma, and offered to refer him to nearby florists who would help him celebrate his ceremony. Rob seemed to understand and the two of them hugged before he left the shop that day. So you can imagine Bara’s surprise when soon thereafter the man (along with the state’s attorney general) filed a lawsuit against her. In it, he claimed that she discriminated against him, simply because she declined a request to use her artistic skills to celebrate a marriage that conflicted with her belief. (Stutzman is not alone in being sued for refusing to do same-sex weddings; others include a wedding photographer, a wedding cake designer, and a farm that rents its scenic property as a wedding venue.) The state offered Bara a settlement (issue a public apology, donate $5,000 to the gay-rights movement, and promise to never turn down a gay wedding again). But the born-again Baptist widow, grandmother of twenty-five, and cancer survivor refused and now faces financial ruin with court costs of up to $1,000,000.
And here’s the hypocrisy. Those in the press who so vilified these owners of small businesses for placing their conservative beliefs above that of serving the public; have in turn made heros and heroines of these owners of large fashion houses for placing their liberal beliefs above that of serving the public.
The bottom line? It was William Shakespeare who so observantly said, “O consistency, thou art a jewel.”