When commerce and values compete

Originally published in the Washington Times on January 27, 2019.

Last week, I received an email from a company in Massachusetts, informing me they refused to do business with my university.

The message was as follows: “Dear Oklahoma Wesleyan University, We find [your] president’s publicly expressed views of LGBT and transgender people to be hateful, hurtful and abhorrent. We therefore must decline your request [to provide any service or sell any of our products to your university].”

What was it that Oklahoma Wesleyan was interested in purchasing? Here’s a copy of our actual inquiry: “Dear, Mr. Jones, We are looking for a museum quality display case for a scroll of the Torah we have recently acquired If you could provide a catalog or other information that would be most helpful.”

Reading the above, you might rightfully ask what in the world I, as president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, said that has the owners of this small cabinet manufacturing company so up in arms? What did they find to be so “hateful, hurtful and abhorrent?”

Was it when I penned a defense of human freedom in this column and said, “If we are not objectively defined as human beings and if we can’t defend the ontological, biological and theological premise of what it means to be a man and be a woman, i.e. to be human, then freedom for the human race is lost”?

Was it when I defended the rights of women in this same column and said, “Our cultural infatuation with the subjective construct of ‘gender fluidity’ has resulted in women losing their rights to their own showers, their own restrooms, their own scholarships and their own sports?”

Maybe my offense was suggesting that “If human beings, human purpose, and human rights are henceforth predicated on subjective desires rather than on biological reality real women and other true minorities will be required to forfeit their legal position, their personal privacy, and even their own identity to those claiming to have equal status simply because of their unmoored and unscientific feelings.”

Or it might have been when I challenged my own church and said, “How can the church — the Evangelical church, the Holiness church — not see the salvific tragedy in celebrating and codifying any group of people based on their desires? I thought the message of salvation meant our identity was in our Lord and not our libido, and that the beauty of the Gospel was that, through confession, we become new creations in Christ.”

Was my crime of “hateful” rhetoric when I contended that “Ours has become a culture of expression and choice where right and wrong are not determined by self-evident truths, but rather by personal feelings and popular fads?”

Or was it when I concluded by stating, “When you dumb down the definition of the person to ‘being’ a homosexual or even a heterosexual, you have just admitted you think they are actually defined by nothing more than their desires and that their human identity is little more than the sum total of their sexual appetites and inclinations. Is this not the ultimate insult to what it means to be human?”

I also once said in this column that “It never ceases to amaze me how those who wave the banner of ‘love and tolerance’ become so vengeful when presented with a cogent argument that challenges the vacuity of their broken ideas.” I went on to suggest that these opponents can’t seem to stop themselves from showing their “two-faced hypocrisy and self-refuting duplicity with their shouts of ‘I can’t tolerate your intolerance and I hate you hateful people!’”

They claim to be champions of science while ignoring science. They pretend to be feminists while denying the feminine. They posture as champions of inclusion while shamelessly excluding all they don’t want to include. It is like watching a dog chase its tail. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Does the owner of this small little store in Massachusetts not see the irony of his response? Is he really so deaf and blind as not to hear and see the very rhetorical branch upon which he sits creaking and cracking as he saws away at it so feverishly?

In addition to all the above, there is one final and overarching irony in this story. Everything above should lead any informed reader to the obvious question: If a baker in Colorado is wrong for refusing to sell his product to those who disagree with his views on homosexuality, then isn’t a furniture company in Massachusetts equally wrong for refusing to sell their product to those who disagree with their views on homosexuality?

In other words, shouldn’t we all be asking, “Isn’t what’s good for the goose also good for the gander?”

Perhaps so, but as a mature human being, made in the image of God; with moral awareness and the ability to choose my actions (rather than be defined by my appetites, base instincts and childish emotions) I think, rather than suing everyone who disagrees with me, I’ll just choose to remember what my mother once said about “sticks and stones” and simply move on and buy my furniture from someone who isn’t a religious bigot.

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