Apple, the One-Percenter

Sorry, Apple CEO Tim Cook: one may be able to use an iPhone without reading the instruction book, but surely you shouldn’t thrust your company into politics without first reading the text of the law you hate.

Mr. Cook, in his own words “on behalf of Apple”, opposes legislation recently passed in Indiana, already existing in nineteen other states, and based on a statute Bill Clinton signed into federal law in 1993. And what does Indiana’s shiny new law state? That “a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless the governmental entity demonstrates that the burden “is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest”.

There you have the crux of the law, in thirty-one words. Not one of which promotes discrimination.

Mr. Cook, and many others in the media, would have you believe that laws protecting religious freedom automatically excuse, condone, and indemnify business that “discriminate” against others on the grounds of sexual orientation. And Mr. Cook explicitly states that these laws “go against the very principles our nation was founded on”.

Understandably, U.S. History class was a few decades ago for Mr. Cook, so nobody can fault him for forgetting that the Founding Fathers sought to create their own country for the primary purpose of practicing the religions of their choosing without the government compelling adherence to any specific set of beliefs. Wrong you are, Mr. Cook: Ensuring that government cannot easily infringe on the free practice of religion in the state of Indiana is perfectly congruent to “the very principles our nation was founded on”.

Eighty-six percent of Americans identify with Judeo-Christian religions. By one survey, less than two percent of Americans comprise the LGBT community. The numbers do not lie, Mr. Cook: you clearly are among the one-percenters on this issue. (Considering your stock performance last week, sir, I apologize for being the bearer of more bad news.)

Somehow, our society has devolved to the point that the defining issue of its current age is sexual identity. Somehow, members of a “protected class” have weakened to the point that they rely only upon the law, and not themselves, for protection. Somehow, savvy political activists have figured out how to make unfounded noise about popular causes to drum up hatred under a different brand name.

And those activists would have you forget that their behavior is nothing more than bigoted, anti-conservative discrimination.

One could attempt to argue that I am a privileged white male who has never had to fight for his rights. And one would be wrong. Some of my rights are under constant attack (my right to freedom of religious expression and my right to keep and bear arms are two high-profile examples). The difference is that I fight for rights guaranteed in the Constitution, not imagined in the media.

Small businesses are not at all served by rejecting paying customers. Especially in today’s climate, one whiff of a business “discriminating” will bring down far more media mayhem than most small businesses could ever survive. So if the proprietor of a privately-held concern declines, based on religious objection, to transact business with you, Mr. Cook, or one of your one-percenter cronies, you do have recourse: Write the business up on Yelp. Give it a bad review on Facebook. Complain to a lobbying organization. And the people who agree with you will patronize other shops, while the people who support the shopkeepers will drive more business in. Vote with your feet.

But don’t complain when the religious faithful that the one-percenters have dismissed and assaulted for decades look to existing, rational, defensible law to protect their endangered beliefs from the reverse bigotry of the one percent.