It’s been a fine week for Hollywood celebrities to speak out against their liberal masters. First, Vince Vaughn shocked sensitive liberals with his comments on gun control, telling a GQ interviewer that banning guns to stop violence was akin to banning forks to combat obesity. Now Star Trek veteran Patrick Stewart is following Vaughn’s lead to speak out in favor of religious freedom.
First, some background. America isn’t the only country trying to find a balance between LGBT acceptance and religious freedom. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, a small bakery run by Christians Daniel and Amy McArthur has been fined and charged with discrimination after refusing to supply a customer with a cake supporting gay marriage. Stewart, best known for playing Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, appeared on Newsnight to criticize the decision.
“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”
Stewart went on to say that he could not stand silent for the judgment. “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”
It is the latest skirmish in the battle between free expression and an increasingly powerful LGBT lobby. At issue is religious freedom, the line between discriminating against a person and discriminating against an idea, and the rights of private business owners. Of course, to say there is anything “at issue” is something of an optimistic way to look at it. The reality of the situation is that, in almost 100 percent of these cases, the courts have found business owners guilty of discrimination.
It stinks. In these cases – nearly one and all – it is not a particular customer being turned away. Business owners aren’t eyeballing gay customers and refusing to serve them. They are refusing to compromise their religious beliefs by actively promoting and participating in gay wedding ceremonies. In every one of the most publicized cases, the same customers bringing discrimination charges against Christians could have easily ordered something else. They would have been gladly served. Yet courts have decided again and again that not only are gay people protected against discrimination, gay ideas are as well. And that’s simply incompatible with a free society.
Good for Patrick Stewart for taking what is becoming a very unpopular position. Both Vaughn and Stewart displayed extraordinary bravery this week by standing against the liberal establishment. Actors have been punished in the past for expressing views that don’t hew to the Hollywood standard, and these two men know that full well. Both have chosen the more difficult path because of the causes they believe in. If there were more in the spotlight like them, we might not be losing the culture wars so dramatically.