Letter: Arlene's Flowers

February 25, 2014 

Could someone explain why Arlene's Flowers is being sued? The media seem satisfied with a "refusal to sell flowers" explanation, but that appears to be a gross oversimplification. Maybe the owner declined to participate in the wedding? There is a world of difference between the two.

The state has a limited right (obligation) to enforce morality. "Thou shalt not kill" and "thou shalt not steal" come to mind. But this can be a slippery slope. Where does it end? Do we order kosher delicatessens to sell ham sandwiches? Could the attorney general demand Sandra Bullock or Taylor Swift star in pornographic films? Was Joseph Stalin justified in executing political enemies because the state was right and they were wrong?

What about my obligation to judge right from wrong? When the state becomes the only judge and arbiter of morality and conscience, you create the very situation the drafters of the First Amendment wanted to avoid. Opposing points of view are easily silenced. Citizens (now peons) become slaves to the state.

Yes, my judgments will be wrong at times. But I prefer making those mistakes and learning from them.

DAVID W. LANGFORD, Richland

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