In our opinion: Protecting unpopular perspectives is no 'cakewalk' in a democratic republic

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 26, 2017 10:52 a.m.

    @Ranch 6:48,
    RE: "We should never tolerate bigotry"...
    ---
    Remember the definition of "Bigotry". It may not be what you think.

    Google "Bigotry definition"...

    "big·ot·ry
    Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself"...

    That's the definition.

    So saying, "group/opinion X should never be tolerated"... fits the definition.

    Obviously we tolerate your comments and opinions. You have a right to your own opinion (even if I disagree).

    The guy who won't bake the cake is a bigot. But so is somebody who says certain opinions or people, "must never be tolerated".

    That is the very definition of "bigotry".

    The lesson is... tolerate all views, even if they are different than your own.

    Disagree with them all you want. But when you say, "They must not be tolerated", that's bigotry (by definition).

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 26, 2017 8:48 a.m.

    It is funny to see the liberals cling onto their mantra that this is about discrimination against gay people. If you read the history of this case, it is not about discrimination against gay people. Nor can it lead to anything like the racial discrimination that we had prior to the Civil Rights Act.

    All that is being asked is for people to not be compelled to service events that they disagree with.

    The test is simple, you have 2 questions to ask.

    1. Is a custom item being created or is attendance at an event required?
    2. Does the event go against the business owner's beliefs?

    If you say yes to both, then you cannot compel the owner to service your event.

    To put it into perspective. Would you force a gay caterer to service an event where they are speaking out against gays?

  • Jacob_Z Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 26, 2017 8:06 a.m.

    Ranch wrote:

    "@Jacob_Z; By your logic the sandwich maker at Woolworths was an 'artisan' and could deny to serve his art to black customers."

    Huh? That's the opposite of what "my logic" dictates. Read my post again. Artisans, by definition, aren't artists, therefore, they don't create art.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 25, 2017 8:14 p.m.

    "Not only does pushing out unpopular perspectives diminish the free exchange of ideas — which is vital to the republic — but it’s also antithetical to progressive ideals often espoused by the same people who seem eager to squeeze conservative Christian perspectives from the public square"

    The marketplace ideas should not be an everybody-gets-a-trophy safe-zone. In the market analogy, the best ideas rise relative to other ideas through competition. Sometimes "unpopular perspectives" are "unpopular" for a reason...they have been tried and found wanting. Other unpopular ideas are unpopular because they are new, unfamiliar, or confusing...but will prove themselves over time as more people learn about them.

    The column also implies we should be immune from the consequences of expressing unpopular beliefs, such as the former tennis pro being shunned by her local club. Colin Kaepernick knows how she feels. So too most adults who have spoken up against the prevailing opinion, at work or within families.

    It is hard. The risks and costs can be great. But such sacrifice can elevate unpopular ideas to a position where more people take notice and begin to believe.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 6:48 p.m.

    Woohoo says:

    "There's many here commenting trying to suggest that if the baker wins that it's going to be a slippery slope back to the civil rights era. "

    --- If religion is a valid reason to discriminate against LGBT customers, then why not blacks, women or others? Which religious beliefs are going to be legitimate enough to qualify and which not? Who will decide? This is why you can't allow religious beliefs to be used to discriminate; if you do, then *anyone's* religious beliefs ought to be given the same legitimacy in discriminate as anyone else's. Otherwise you end up with "preferred" religious beliefs, which becomes suspect under the 1st Amendment.

    @Jacob_Z;

    By your logic the sandwich maker at Woolworths was an 'artisan' and could deny to serve his art to black customers.

    @Common sense conservative;

    How is ordering a wedding cake any different than ordering a birthday cake? The baker is NOT involved except to bake a stupid cake.

    @2bits;

    We should never tolerate bigotry.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 4:23 p.m.

    CSC: “The problem is that a wedding cake is a centerpiece and an integral part of a wedding, just like a ring ceremony or a dress.”

    But they are not. Wedding cakes are generally featured and consumed at a reception that is often far removed in space and time from the wedding ceremony. While wedding cakes are wrapped up in tradition, it would be a stretch to construe either the cake or reception as “centerpiece and integral” to the wedding. In the particular Colorado case, the reception was days after the wedding in another state over 1500 miles away. The cake had no role in the wedding. The couple would still have been married with or without the reception or cake. The reception had no secular legal nor spiritual or sectarian function, it carried no religious significance. The reception was not the Eucharist or a seder. It was a party and the cake was merely dessert.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 4:15 p.m.

    @Common sense conservative: I highly recommend reading the court rulings on these cases. Courts have repeatedly addressed the issues you're raising.

    The legal reasoning has to do with the fact that straight people don't marry people of their own gender. The conduct is so closely tied to identity as to be indistinguishable. There's a legal staying "a tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews." Anyone can buy a yarmulke but the instances in which gentiles purchase yarmulkes are so few and far between as to be meaningless.

    There is also the question of "compelled" speech; can someone be forced to say something they don't believe? Courts have held that in the case of a wedding, a reasonable observer would conclude that any message belonged to the couple being married, not the person who baked the cake, took the photos or arranged the flowers.

    You're right; it's not about the cake. It's about being treated fairly by businesses open to the public. Why should one class of persons, in this case lgbt persons, be forced to search far and wide for a business willing to provide them the same service they gladly provide everyone else?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 3:49 p.m.

    This statement struck a cord with me...

    "Not only does pushing out unpopular perspectives diminish the free exchange of ideas — which is vital to the republic — but it’s also antithetical to progressive ideals often espoused by the same people who seem eager to squeeze conservative Christian perspectives from the public square"...

    It is.

    It is "antithetical' to the definition of "Progressive" to want to crush people for having diverse ideas, or belief systems.

    "Progressive" is all about diversity (not only in race , but also in ideas and ideals).

    This recent trend by some in politics to crush any ideas that are not in line with our political ideals... is bogus IMO. And I would think it would be totally disgusting to any "Progressive". And yet... they applaud it today.

    Progressives seem to be the new Conservatives and "Religious Right" of the 1980s. They act the same. With intolerance of anything other than their beliefs.

    What has become of Liberals? And their tolerance (even of ideas that are way out there)? Where are the Liberals of my youth? They seem to have been co-opted by an intolerant bunch. That only wants THEIR ideas in the public square.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 3:05 p.m.

    @Woohoo
    "As recently as a couple weeks ago a survey was done asking college students whether hate speech is protected speech. Only 39% responded correctly. 44% responded that it's not protected. I am thinking that a lot of respondents here would've fallen into the group that got it wrong."

    Protected is kinda relative, the government can't infringe on it but you sure can't say that kind of stuff at an elementary school and a business can kick you out for it. I think some of the 44% were thinking of those kinds of situations.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    How is this any different than not wanting to let a black person sit at my lunch counter? What if my religion doesnt think black people should be able to sit with white people?

    This isnt about diversity of thought, this is about public accommodation. Bakers who want to take this silly 'stand' should form a private club where they let us ALL know just who they wont bake a cake for.

    /I also find it silly that the baker thinks of themselves as an 'artist' but at least that is debatable.

  • Common sense conservative Herriman, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 12:44 p.m.

    The picture of "refusing to serve someone because of sexual orientation" is a straw man. Of course that would be discrimination and repulsive. Has anyone ever heard a news story of a gay person who simply ordered a birthday cake and was refused because the bakery didn't like gay people? Nope! The problem is that a wedding cake is a centerpiece and an integral part of a wedding, just like a ring ceremony or a dress. It forces the bakery to be involved to a degree they aren't comfortable with in something that violates their conscience. If a liberal cake shop owner was asked to make a cake for something they felt deeply opposed to, say a Donald trump inauguration party, should we force them to? Shouldn't they be allowed to politely refuse? For gay couples, it's not about the cake. They can easily go to any other cake shop down the road that will happily bake their cake, and everyone goes home happy. But they want the publicity and something to be angry about.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Sept. 25, 2017 11:39 a.m.

    @ Deadalus, Steven,

    I probably should have clarified my point further. I was speaking of business owners stating their religious preferences in advance in some fashion (such as the letters "LDS" or a "fish" symbol for Christians). If a same-sex couple comes to that business, the business would be legally obligated to serve them -- non discrimination. Knowing the business owner's religious preference in advance, however the couple could decide for themselves whether to patronize that business or go elsewhere. The couple would be making the decision, not the business owners.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 25, 2017 10:57 a.m.

    @sashabill's idea for "business owners to state...religious preferences [and consumers] decide for themselves...to patronize that business...."

    This is a practical solution if SCOTUS grants Masterpiece the half-baked theological loophole they seek, allowing any vendor to conjure any sort of religious basis for refusing service to a protected class listed under a state public accommodations law.

    The Secretary of State office could add another online business record form, with check-boxes corresponding to protected classes. The owner can indicate which ones it will refuse to serve, for religious reasons.

    With that data made public, the market would take of itself. Likely some boycotts, mixed with some counter-boycotts (consumers who patronize a store -because- of who they refuse to serve).

    But here is the rub: part of the twisted appeal of discrimination at the retail level is the power to humiliate those who the business owner disfavors, without warning: an unsuspecting customer walks in, and is told "we don't serve your type here" loud enough for the other customers to hear.

    This system would eliminate that power, and will be resisted for that reason alone.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Sept. 25, 2017 9:51 a.m.

    I have mixed feelings about this matter. I sympathize with the baker in Colorado. Yet if we take this out to its logical, conclusion, wouldn't we end up with a "free for all" where any business owner of any religious persuasion (or no religion ) could discriminate in products or services against anybody of another religion (or non-religion) that they disapprove of?

    Devout Protestants, for example, could refuse to serve Catholic weddings (or vice-versa). Christians, of any denomination, could refuse to serve non- Christian weddings, and vice versa. Atheists and agnostics could refuse products or services to religious weddings. I could very well imagine fundamentalist Protestant business owners refusing to serve Mormon weddings.

    Perhaps one approach to this matter would be for business owners to state (in advertising or by word of mouth) what their religious preferences are, and if they contribute to efforts in support of traditional marriage. Same sex couples could then decide for themselves if they want to patronize that business or go elsewhere.

  • Dmorgan Herriman, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 9:49 a.m.

    Thanks Daedalus, Stephen for an articulate, factual, reasoned response in a debate filled with bias, prejudice, and ignorance. What I submitted was rejected by the moderator. I'm happy that yours made the grade.

  • Jacob_Z Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 7:46 a.m.

    Re: "Since when is a cake maker an 'artisan'?"

    I suppose you could say they are artisans, because they are skilled at a trade, or because they make their cakes by hand in relatively small numbers.

    According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, an artisan is "a worker who practices a trade or handicraft: craftsperson."

    The American Heritage Dictionary says that an artisan is "a person skilled in making a product by hand."

    As applied to food, artisan means "made in a traditional or non-mechanized way using high-quality ingredients" - Oxford Dictionaries online.

    At any rate, "artisan" and "artist" don't mean the same thing. Artisans aren't artists:

    "artist ... B. And /artisan/. Although these terms were once synonymous, they have undergone DIFFERENTIATION: an /artist/ is someone skilled in any of the fine arts (such as painting), while an /artisan/ is a crafter or one skilled at a trade.... Yet /artist/ has degenerated to the point where many people use it in reference to anyone with a talent." - Garner's Modern English Usage, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, 2016.

  • UtahDemocrat Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 25, 2017 7:19 a.m.

    There is a difference between seeking freedom from religious oppression and seeking freedom to be the religious oppressor. The Colorado Baker was asked to do what he does, bake a wedding cake, in exchange for the thing that everybody else provides for a wedding cake, money. He was not asked to create any sort of gay variant of what he had done thousands of times before. The offered money was just as legitimate as any other pain customer's. The only difference was the sexual orientation of the people willing to pay him money.

    For the marketplace of ideas to thrive and ensure great ideas rise to the top, bad ideas must not be insulated from criticism. The baker's decision, the Church's amicus brief, and this editorial are rotten apples in the bottom of the marketplace barrel.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 25, 2017 7:17 a.m.

    No @Woohoo, not a slipperly slope, this will be a vertical cliff.

    A small, petty and temporary cliff that will completely erode within a generation. But binary step-down that will give bigotry a day-pass, so it would not be without pain or consequence. Which is the whole point, isn't it?

    Under the specific facts of the Masterpiece case, for the baker to prevail, SCOTUS must create a weirdly specific loophole to its existing precedent under Empl.Div. v. Smith, that only applies to those states that added LGBT as a protected class to their public accommodations laws, and did not pass a mini-RFRA.

    The basis for such a request is the theological equivalent of a unicorn: a religious sect that regards it a sin for a merchant to bake a generic wedding cake for a reception that occurs well after and 1000 miles away from where a same-sex couple received a valid marriage license.

    Granted, relatively few bakers (or artisan plumbers, etc) will be foolish enough to concoct equally absurd reasons to discriminate against citizens whose hard won civil rights are more established (race, gender) but LGBT are still easy targets for tiny tantrums over being on the losing side of Obergefell.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 25, 2017 7:10 a.m.

    I'll bet the legal question comes down to this: Were the customers asking for an explicit message on the cake or just a generic wedding cake?

    If a message, then the court will probably say the baker has the right to refuse. If no message, then the court will probably say the baker has no right to refuse. At that point it becomes a 1st Amendment issue.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    Sept. 25, 2017 2:57 a.m.

    @Woohoo, writes,

    "This is silly seeing as back then the government had laws forbidding whites from serving blacks and vice versa. The government can't forbid a business from doing business with anyone. "

    Check your history book. There was never a law that forbade white Woolworth employees from serving blacks at their lunch counter. It was the policy of that particular [white] Woolworth manager.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Sept. 24, 2017 10:58 p.m.

    I have mixed feelings about this issue. I sympathize with the baker in Colorado -- yet, if we take this out to its logical conclusion, wouldn't we end up with a virtual "free for all" where anybody of any religion (or no religion) could discriminate in selling products or services toward anybody of any religion (or non-religion) that they happen to disapprove of?

    Devout Protestants could refuse to serve Catholic weddings (or vice versa); Christians of any denomination could refuse to serve non-Christian weddings, and vice-versa. Atheists and agnostics could refuse to serve any kind of religious weddings. I could very well imagine fundamentalist Protestant business owners refusing to serve Mormon weddings (Since Mormons are a "cult," they believe that Christ and Lucifer are "brothers," and yadda yadda.)

    Perhaps one approach to this problem would be for religious business owners to let it be known (through advertising or word of mouth) what their religious affiliation or preferences are. Same sex couples could then decide if they want to patronize that business or go elsewhere. Either way, it would be the couple making the decision, not the business owners.

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    Sept. 24, 2017 9:10 p.m.

    As recently as a couple weeks ago a survey was done asking college students whether hate speech is protected speech. Only 39% responded correctly. 44% responded that it's not protected. I am thinking that a lot of respondents here would've fallen into the group that got it wrong.

    There's many here commenting trying to suggest that if the baker wins that it's going to be a slippery slope back to the civil rights era.

    This is silly seeing as back then the government had laws forbidding whites from serving blacks and vice versa. The government can't forbid a business from doing business with anyone.

    At the same time the government shouldn't force anyone to conduct business with anyone either.

    The baker served LGBT people but was unwilling to use his artistic talents to celebrate their wedding by baking a cake for them.

    There's plenty of people that support SSM in this country. It has grown continually over the last decade or so. This seems more or less like the couple trying to force their beliefs on others that don't think like them.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 5:40 p.m.

    As several Supreme Courts have ruled over the years, marriage is a fundamental right. Under federal law, marriage is a civil right. And the Supreme Court has ruled this right extends to people who are LGBT. Religious people are free to be married in the church they prefer according to the laws in their state. No church is required to perform marriage rites for anybody. And it will remain so.

    The question is, when I apply for a business license should I be allowed to discriminate against classes of people, based on race, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability etc?

    Where do we draw the line?

    If I work at a grocery store can I refuse to sell alcoholic beverages which are against my beliefs and as such I will be condoning sin? As a waiter or waitress in a restaurant can I refuse to serve coffee/tea/alcoholic beverages?

    Will the LDS Church sign join an amicus brief on the side of religions which believe in polygamy? If not, why not?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 4:34 p.m.

    You're not protecting (or defending) an "unpopular opionion". The baker may maintain whatever opinion he wants. What he cannot do is discriminate as a business owner against a small, despised, subset of the population. How hard is that for you to grasp?

    "Among them is religious freedom and free speech."

    --- Neither of which grants the right to discriminate against someone, nor, I might add, to VOTE on whether or not they should be allowed to enjoy the same rights you enjoy.

    "...but, as an artist, he would not produce a gay-wedding cake because of religious-based objections...The problem here is that emerging LGBT rights are coming into conflict with established First Amendment rights such as religious liberty and the freedom of speech. "

    --- His business makes wedding cakes. His business is NOT him and it has NO religion or religious beliefs as a for profit business. The problem here is that a Business Owner is refusing to sell to SOME customers the very product he will sell to EVERY other customer who walks through his door. He doesn't ask *any* of them if they're "worthy" of his products.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 24, 2017 4:28 p.m.

    @What in Tucket: "Personally I would be glad to bake a cake for a same sex couple if I knew how to bake one."

    Good news!

    The recipe you use to bake a cake for an opposite sex couple should work just fine.

  • zzzz Mapleton, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 3:53 p.m.

    Why was this opinion written DesNews? Perhaps the authors can clarify if they are adding value or simply adding noise to the discussion.

  • kwhitjr Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 2:20 p.m.

    Thank goodness this is your opinion and not actual fact. If you own a business it is your obligation to serve anyone who walks through your door, anything less is discrimination.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 2:05 p.m.

    A few decades ago it was pretty common (even today a poll found that 16% of people support a ban on interracial marriage) for people to have religious views in opposition to interracial marriage.

    Should those bakers be able to refuse to bake cakes for interracial weddings?

    If you say yes, are you only saying yes because that sort of belief is uncommon enough these days that doing so would likely just need to financial ruin for their business based on public will? What if racism was still very common to the point that about half the country opposed interracial marriage and this bakery and many others would have no problem refusing to bake a cake for an interracial couple? Does discrimination become acceptable only when it becomes uncommon?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 24, 2017 1:55 p.m.

    Seldom Seen Smith "Our country has no cultural norms"

    Of course we do..all men are created equal therefore you can't discriminate against someone with your beliefs because of who they "are" (Black, White, Gay, Straight etc.).

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    Sept. 24, 2017 12:35 p.m.

    Our country has no cultural norms, no glue to hold it together, America is disintegrating.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 9:13 a.m.

    A baker should be allowed to refuse service to anyone they wish. Personally I would be glad to bake a cake for a same sex couple if I knew how to bake one.

  • JJohn02 Canton, MI
    Sept. 24, 2017 9:10 a.m.

    The Colorado baker was asked to make a wedding cake, not a gay wedding cake. He never discussed design ideas with the couple, he simply refused them service when he realized they were gay. It is illegal to discriminate against LGBT people in Colorado. The question in this case is whether he should be allowed an exemption to that law based on religious beliefs.

    If the couple had asked for a cake with a message supporting same sex marriage then he would have been allowed to refuse the order and this wouldn’t have ended up going so far in court.

    It is not his belief that is being attacked here, no one would tell him he can’t have his own beliefs. The problem that is being addressed here is his action based on his belief

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:58 a.m.

    This editorial contains a factual error which will no doubt confuse the discussion. The baker was not asked to bake a rainbow cake; read the various rulings and you'll learn that there was no discussion whatsoever of the design of the cake.

    The various court rulings on this and similar cases make for educational reading. The courts have done their best to inquire into the questions about religious freedom and again and again reach similar conclusions - a reasonable observer will not conclude that the person baking the cake or arranging the flowers or taking the photos believes any specific thing about the wedding taking place; they are being paid for and providing a professional service.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:54 a.m.

    This is not really about cake, and it is disingenuous to ask us to abide by your argument. And it is certainly not about "artistry" as the businesses in question make, (arguably) craft to specifications and sell a product.

    The discussion is not about the free exercise of any particular religious belief, no one is going to tell the religious how to conduct their services or edit their holy texts or define their member acceptance policies.

    The discussion is not about free speech, as the right to speak one's mind on the subject is not being questioned.

    The discussion is the conduct of ones business affairs in the public sector. And you are asking the public to accept the notion that in the conduct of public business an individual can cite some vague religious belief to discriminate against a minority.

    I thought we settled this argument in the '60's, over 50 years ago, when we passed laws outlawing discrimination. We started with racial minorities, and expanded that right to live in peace to others unjustly denied full participation in American society.

    Shame on the DN for putting forth an opinion that turns back the clock

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:51 a.m.

    "Liberalism has always insisted it is the duty of the majority to fight for the minority, whether or not it suits one’s own private interests. Evidently, for some, this duty stops with religious perspectives."

    Perhaps there is a fundamental difficulty with the "religious perspective" when, instead of letting it rule our own lives, we insist that everyone else must be bound by it, too. This becomes particularly problematical because "religious perspectives" are inevitably driven by someone's understanding, not in terms of what makes for good public policy after long study, not in terms of academic research about the issue, not in terms of what works as a matter of simple pragmatism, but always in terms of what "God wants." To whatever extent people govern their own lives -- and not mine -- by what they view as what "God wants," there can be no objection.

    The really frustrating thing about all this is that, the moment anyone tells me what "God wants," they're also immediately foreclosing any further discussion of the issue. No dissenting opinions are permitted once we believe we know what God has decided for us.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    "but it’s also antithetical to progressive ideals often espoused by the same people who seem eager to squeeze conservative Christian perspectives from the public square."

    Good point.

    Just because someone says that they believe in a position, doesn't mean that they do. We should stop deluding ourselves that if someone claims to be progressive and is advancing right wing views on suppressing the first amendment and rights of conscience that they really are progressive.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    "An artisan baker in Colorado refused to make a rainbow cake for a gay wedding. "

    Since when is a cake maker an "artisan"? How many of you have ever said Boy, it's Mary's birthday Friday, let's go see the artisan to get her a cake"?"
    Is a house painter an artisan? How about a landscaper? A dressmaker/tailor? How about a hairstylist? Can they discriminate against certain people because of religious issues? How about christians that don't recognize mormons as christians? Can they discriminate due to their religious views? Nobody's asking the baker to officiate at a gay wedding. Just make your goods for all customers.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 24, 2017 7:19 a.m.

    " Evidently, for some, this duty stops with religious perspectives."

    If your "religious perspective" includes refusing to serve Blacks, gays, muslims, jews, are any other segment of American society, that's not perspective, that bigotry. And that's against the law.