Religious Freedom

“If You’re Buying, We’re Selling!”

May 12th, has come and gone, and despite significant opposition, Bozeman’s NDO was unanimously voted into provincial adoption. There will be a final read before full adoption, but it is merely a legality.

Throughout the individual Commissioners’ discussion, a great deal of nonsense occurred. I know this is a harsh statement, but I don’t know how else to properly describe it. Yes, proper dialogue and logic were used at times, however, true philosophy was left to the die on the wayside. While not a precise and complete list, I’ve compiled some of the major thoughts that were severely lacking. I wish I could do full justice to each and every error, but I have not the time. For brevity, I paraphrase the various concepts which the Commissioners used to form and justify their position on the NDO, and refute them succinctly… or at least I try.

Mayor Krauss adopted the mantra of “if you’re buying, we’re selling” during the April 28th meeting to describe what he viewed as a “good” way to run a business. It’s as simple as that… if you’re buying, I’m selling. That statement, taken in its simplicity, means that if you’re buying anything, I’m selling it. If you’re buying, bread… I’m selling it. If you’re buying meth… I’m selling it. If you’re 12 and want to buy cigarettes… I’m selling it.

Unqualified, that phrase means no discernment is made on who one sells to, an utterly ridiculous proposition. As demonstrated, by itself, that phrase even excludes lawful prohibitions. I hope that this is not what Mayor Krauss means, but it is what he said. He tried to utterly simplify who one should do business with based purely on the fact that they want whatever you’re selling and that you should sell them whatever they want.

Likely, he would quickly back peddle and say, “Of course you shouldn’t do anything illegal!” Yet, he didn’t say that. He said, “If you’re buying, we’re selling.” Validly arguing that one should not do anything that is illegal, is a qualification, an addition to the original statement. If the statement can’t stand on its own, then you can’t universally apply it as Mayor Krauss suggested we should. If a business owner chooses to follow the law and only sells goods in accordance with the law, this demonstrates the use of discernment in the realm of business, the very thing that Mayor Krauss’s statement throws out.

In a similar stream of oversimplification, I-Ho Pomeroy gave an anecdote whose moral was that she runs her restaurant for “money” and that is why she has a business. Again, if we take her at her word and her only and primary motivation is money, that would lead her to serve spoiled food if it meant she gained more money (and she could get away with it). In reality, it is highly unlikely that her only motivation is money, even though she said as much. Her statement itself alluded to running a business for more than profit when she explained her desire to bring good Korean food to Bozeman.

Deputy Mayor Taylor gets credited for the next concept, but, to be fair, all of the Commissioners are guilty of using it. How it plays out is as follows:

Someone says, “Is there discrimination? Do we need a NDO?”

Deputy Mayor Taylor stands up and says, “There is! We must have a NDO as it is the only way to fix it.”

Someone: “OK. With a NDO in place, how will that change the Transgender bathroom situation? What are we to expect from the legal statute you have put into place?”

Taylor: “In practice, nothing will change. We expect everything to continue exactly as it has been.”

Someone: “But I thought we needed to put statutory law in place to protect these people in bathrooms? And, you put a clause in the NDO specifically to that point.”

Taylor: “We do!”

Someone: “You just said you expect everything to continue exactly as it was.”

Taylor: “I did and it will.”

Someone: “Then there wasn’t a problem in the first place.”

Taylor: “There was! We must have a NDO as it is the only way to fix the discrimination that exists!”

Someone: “???”

While that particular scenario played out over the transgendered’s use of the bathrooms, the concept, that we expect nothing to change, came up consistently. In regards to the potential abuse of the law and a frivolous excess of lawsuits, the Commissioners felt that “people” are generally good and “we expect that they will do the right thing.” However, they clearly don’t think that people will do the right thing since they decided a NDO was necessary to force everyone to adhere to the Commissioners’ view of the “right thing.” They actually think that members of the LGBT community will do the right thing, but those opposed to the NDO are doing the wrong thing and cannot be trusted. The Commissioners are making a distinction between two groups of people and nominate one, the LGBT community, as the morally superior group. This is, in fact, statutory discrimination; the very thing a self described Non-Discrimination Ordinance should prevent.

Ultimately, Bozeman’s Commissioners have created a statutory law that makes homosexual values not only as good as, but better than the values of those who disagree with the LGBT lifestyle. The underpinnings of all of the Commissioners’ erroneous logic is the belief that the LGBT’s action are the highest good. With that in mind, the Commissioners’ illogical justifications make sense. It is abundantly clear that this NDO is not about leveling the playing field, but instead is a moral mandate that homosexuality is more right, is more moral, than Christianity or any other religion that disagrees with the LGBT’s values and beliefs.

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