Letter: Take another look at what Arlene's Flowers controvesy says about intolerance

August 16, 2013 

Regarding the Arlene's Flowers controversy, a recent letter asserted that tolerance and intolerance work both ways (Herald, Aug. 13). While seemingly logical on the surface, the argument is specious. As presented, it equates intolerance of injustice, i.e., discrimination, with the intolerance that caused the injustice.

The writer presented the controversy without the context of law, and the law does indeed work both ways. A homosexual shopkeeper who refused service to a couple because they were heterosexual would likewise be guilty of illegal discrimination.

Any shopkeeper is free to invoke divine law according to personal beliefs and refuse to abide by the civil law. It's called "civil disobedience." There have been historic campaigns of civil disobedience in the United States -- for women's suffrage and black civil rights, for example. Those who engaged in such conscientious actions suffered the civil penalties until the laws were changed.

What current law dictates in the case at hand is yet to be adjudicated.

JIM STOFFELS, Richland

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