Oregon: The Triumph of Rhetoric Over Reason

We live in interesting times here in Oregon.

Let me explain by discussing two things that have been in the news quite a bit lately.

In addition to medical exemptions for fragile patients, Oregon currently allows parents to forgo vaccinations for their kids under what is labeled a “non-medical exemption,” more commonly known as an exemption for “personal beliefs.”  

These personal beliefs can be religious, philosophical, or based upon the rantings of dangerous lunatics who know nothing of science and who believe a measles vaccine will make their child autistic because former playboy bunny and noted high school graduate (!) Jenny McCarthy told them so.

It’s no wonder Oregon enjoys the highest rate of unvaccinated children in the United States, since we have such medical luminaries as Jolynn Reynolds spreading the word that vaccinations should be optional.  

Jolynn has a creative approach to logic, in that she doesn’t like it.

I’m their parent, I’m in charge of that decision and I sure would hate to inject them with something that has a potential high risk of hurting them.

Jolynn also said, prior to watching the educational video one must view before obtaining the non-medical exemption, that it couldn’t possibly change her mind.

To summarize: this woman (and thousands like her) made a decision based on surfing the Net which endangers her children and others and flies in the face of every study ever done on the subject by medical and epidemiology experts, but she is certain watching the video produced by such experts will not sway her.

People this stupid shouldn’t reproduce.  Perhaps her refusal to vaccinate her children is Darwinism at work on behalf of the rest of us.

While the Oregon legislature now contemplates closing the “non-medical” or “I believe everything I consume on the Internet” exemption, the nuts have come out of the woodwork to claim their “freedom” is being violated.  Most people with unreasonable and nonsensical beliefs are obsessed with the notion of “freedom” and constantly on the lookout for those who would wrest it from them.

I tell ya, I bet most of the 400 people globally who will die today from the measles wish they could be a part of such an oppressive government as ours.  

And the “freedom” issue brings me back to my opening salvo:

We live in interesting times here in Oregon.  

In Oregon today, you can refuse to immunize your child and start an epidemic of a long-conquered disease because of your personal beliefs, but you can’t refuse to bake a cake.  If you do refuse to bake that cake, you can be fined out of existence.

I won’t belabor the facts because they are easily found via the Google Machine, but as you may have heard a bakery owned by alleged Christians called Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to make one of those sweet cakes for a lesbian wedding, making the bakery guilty of both stupid business practices and being jerks.

It also got them in hot water with the law, because the couple was so distraught over having to, um, find another bakery, that they filed a discrimination complaint with our Bureau of Labor and Industry, a.k.a. BOLI.

In its infinite wisdom BOLI found that the bakery did discriminate, and in its infinite stupidity BOLI fined the bakery $135,000 for the emotional damages suffered by these women.  

$135,000.  I thought lesbians were supposed to be tough?

Let me be clear lest you assign beliefs to me I do not hold:

I am a proud atheist, but I respect your right to believe in whatever nonsense you may choose.  

In return, I think of religion like a penis: you can be proud of yours, you can even talk about it with me if you want, but please don’t shove it down my throat.

I also believe in equal rights for everyone.  I’ve recently decided to just leave it at that because of the hysteria over certain labels, especially “feminist,” so consider me a humanist.  I believe simply this:

All humans have the same rights under the law.* 

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Given my lack of religious beliefs and my status as a humanist, one might think I believe BOLI reached the right decision.  I don’t, and here’s why:

Let’s assume I completely lose my mind and convert to Islam, and not the nice kind I’ve heard exists.  No, I’ve converted to radical Islam:the mean, jihad-y, cover-up-yer-women and bomb-Americans-into-ribbons type.  

So I’m walking down the street, planning my next assassination of a cartoonist, and suddenly I’m overcome with the urge to memorialize the Charlie Hedbo Paris massacre with a cake.  That day was a big win for Allah!

Because I’m a fan of Papa Haydn, I adjust my burka and saunter in.  When asked what I need, I say the following:

I would like a cake memorializing the death of the infidels who impugned Mohammad with their pencils.  Can you do that for me?  

Here: I’ve brought a gruesome photo of the youngest victim.  Can you please reproduce that on my cake and caption it with the words ‘death to infidels, especially those who are really good at drawing!’?

I betting Papa Haydn won’t make me that cake.  But I’m pretty sure they’ll let me buy a cookie at the counter.

Back to our exceedingly fragile lesbians Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer:

In their lawsuit, the two women professed the experience of not being able to secure a cake from Sweet Cakes by Melissa left them feeling “mentally raped,” along with 88 other symptoms including:

  • acute loss of confidence
  • doubt
  • excessive sleep
  • felt dirty and shameful
  • high blood pressure
  • impaired digestion
  • loss of appetite
  • migraine headaches
  • pale and sick at home after work
  • resumption of smoking habit
  • shock
  • stunned
  • surprise
  • uncertainty
  • weight gain
  • worry

Wow.  Those cakes must be pretty fucking good.

One would think that the inability to buy a cake coupled with loss of appetite and the resumption of a smoking habit would lead to weight loss rather than weight gain.  But I digress…

In case you care, the owners of the now-shuttered bakery, Melissa and Aaron Klein, had served this same couple numerous times before.  They were not refusing service to them in their place of business, they were merely drawing the line, because of their kooky religious beliefs, at making a wedding cake for them.

Oh, and by the way?  Gay marriage wasn’t legal in Oregon when this case arose in January, 2013.  

So Sweet Cakes was fined $135,000 for refusing to make a cake for a wedding that wasn’t legal until over a year later, when a federal court ruled in May 2014 that the Oregon constitutional ban on same-sex unions violated the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution.

This decision is an embarrassment to our state and BOLI and I hope it is overturned on appeal.  At the very least the damages should be reduced to what these women actually suffered:

$3.47 

That’s my estimate of how much money they spent driving to another bakery, one that isn’t so short-sighted and prone to misinterpreting the words of Jesus to mean gay people should not marry.  

What Jesus really said was that gay people should not abuse the legal system and claim ridiculous physical and mental ailments because someone would happily sell them sweet cakes from their shop, but not bake them a damn wedding cake.

Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

Rachel and Laurel need to build a bridge and get over it.  These two women are a textbook example of the abandonment of personal responsibility in our culture today.  

All those problems they claim were not caused by the Kleins.  Those problems were pre-existing and self-caused and trying to blame the (allegedly) shitty status of their lives on this bakery is reprehensible.

As for their marriage?  I wish them luck because they are going to need it.  

If the Great Cake Incident of 2013 fucked them up six ways from Sunday, wait until something bad actually happens.  I hope to hell they don’t have children, because all of those symptoms above?

Kids cause each and every one.

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*With the exception of my favorite divorce lawyer, who should only have the rights afforded to the elephants at the Oregon Zoo.  

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Tamsen

    I completely agree with all of the above. I was just last week belaboring our over-litigious society compared to European nations and used the infamous Starbucks coffee case where someone sued and won because they spilled a cup of too hot coffee in their lap and claimed it was Starbuck’s fault for serving coffee that was too hot. Low and behold, what’s all over the news this week, but another such case. A police officer claiming that a free cup of Starbucks spilled on his lap (not his fault of course) which inflamed his Krohn’s disease resulting in him having to have surgery to remove a piece of intestine, resulting in difficulties in his marriage and loss of fucking between him and his wife. He claimed damages of $10M. Really????? It was a fucking free cup of coffee that he spilled, he’s a police officer which means he’s union, which means he has good medical insurance, so really, WTF? This is Starbucks’ fault? Our society, and I mean everyone, whether gay, lesbian, black, young, white, rich or poor, and of whatever religious persuasion or no such persuasion, needs to take RESPONSIBILITY for their own lives and actions. There, rant done.

    1. Neal Feldman

      At least try to keep your facts straight.

      1) It was a McDonald’s, not a Starbucks.

      2) The coffee was at least 20-30 degrees hotter than advised, for safety.

      3) She suffered third degree burns, required skin grafting etc so her medical costs alone were nearly $300,000.

      I am sure the megacorps are pleased you want to absolve them of THEIR responsibilities, fobbing everything off on their victims.

      I agree the cop is an idiot and we can hope the court sent him packing. But the McDonald’s case? Nope, that is NOT an example of a frivolous lawsuit

  2. John

    I believe the real problem is too much government – which Ms. Descamp has accurately identified. Our overly litigious society exists because of our form of government – one may sue anyone or anything if he or she wishes. It’s up to the courts to determine what’s frivolous or what’s not.

    On the other hand, a government agency responding to a ridiculous claim from a couple of cry babies is a waste of resources. Wrong – yes. Illegal – no. Whatever happened to the old “We reserve to the right to refuse service to anyone?”

    I think that free enterprise could / should address this sort of issue – if the owners of a business are idiots and reserve the right to refuse service, then the word will get around. When the word gets around, normal humanists will determine that they do not want to patronize that business, and it will suffer.

    Ultimately – this comes from a redneck in Central Oregon, one must wonder why anyone cares about what “kind” of wedding at which the cake will be served.

    Further, if the government that we elected determines that immunizations are required, we’re supposed to live with that. It’s called “majority rule.” That means that if you don’t want your children immunized, home school them or send them to some private institution where disease is encouraged, and immunization is not required.

  3. Swifty

    Yep. The lawsuit is going too far.
    Ironic that Oregon pharmacists may legally exercise “conscientious refusal”.

  4. Neal Feldman

    Seriously you need to get your facts straight.

    1) The fine against the Bigot Bakers was primarily due to the Bigot Bakers posting the couple’s personal info on their website which caused a great deal of harassment, death threats, etc.

    2) The fine is already covered by the over $300,000 sent to these professional martyrs by their fellow bigots. Seems they are doing fairly well, and that does not even include speaking fees from the Martyr Merry-go-round.

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