Religious Discrimination: Not Always A Piece of Cake

Religious Discrimination or Gender Discrimination?
We’ve all read about the baker or photographer who refuses services to the gay wedding couple. In the clash of sincerely held beliefs of “right and wrong,” someone will get hurt. One such case will be decided in the 2017-18 term by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Colorado baker refused to prepare a wedding cake for a gay couple based on his religious convictions that homosexual marriage is sinful, and he should not be compelled to express approval of the marriage implicitly by his preparation of an item [the cake, and quite likely, the message written on the cake] celebrating the marriage. The Colorado court ruled for the gay couple. The baker’s cake is now served up on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Religious Discrimination May Depend on How You Slice It.
Society’s view on the right of homosexuals to enter same sex marriages has shifted rapidly over the decade. This rate of cultural change is amazing. California, for example, went from a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite sex persons to being compelled by its State Supreme Court to allow such marriages. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that the due process clause and 14th amendment of the federal Constitution restricted the States from denying marriage licenses to same sex couples. Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. ___ (2015).

Is a wedding cake an expression of belief that, if compelled, would be a violation of the baker’s religious liberty under the First Amendment? Justice William Brennan in Sherbert v. Verner (1963) stated: “The door of the Free Exercise Clause stands tightly closed against any governmental regulation of religious beliefs. Government may neither compel affirmation of a repugnant belief, nor penalize or discriminate against individuals or groups because they hold religious views abhorrent to the authorities, nor employ the taxing power to inhibit the dissemination of a particular religious views.”

The Baker [Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado] states that he views the use of his cakes as messages, and that some messages violate his religious beliefs. He has written: “And that rule applies to far more than cakes celebrating same-sex marriages. I also won’t use my talents to celebrate Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism, or indecency.” The Denver Post .

The photography and wedding cake cases are distinguished from blatant homophobic bias by the “expressive” message the writing and/or images project. The business people who refuse to create these expressions do so because the expression is antithetical to their religious belief. Likewise, their religious belief is antithetical to those who are refused the goods or services the businesses provide.

Religious Discrimination or Religious Freedom?: Tough Questions for the Court.
Rights collide in a democratic society. The right of free speech collides against the public safety when the speech is certain to cause mayhem and death to innocent people. The right to “bear arms” is limited by laws requiring the registration of weapons after a background check. The current “wedding cake” dispute will require the court to balance two contending societal values: the freedom to marry, and the freedom of religion.

The Supreme Court has again put itself in the role of umpiring a societal battle that raises numerous questions:

  • Is the icing on the cake a form of governmentally compelled expression contrary to the baker’s religious freedom?
  • Is the icing on the cake the baker’s expression of approval of gay marriage, or simply a product specification he delivers for expression by the purchaser?
  • Is the icing on the cake offensive to the baker to the degree that it is an attack upon his religious convictions?
  • Is the icing on the cake readily available from other bakers not having the same religious convictions as Phillips?
  • Which religious beliefs merit First Amendment protections and which will be deemed unconstitutional?
  • Which religious practices does a free democratic society decide to be forms of illegal discrimination?

In addressing these questions, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to decide whether the icing on the cake is a form of expression that unduly restricts Phillips’s freedom of religion. Is Phillips correct that he is somehow forced to approve homosexual marriage by preparing a cake for the wedding? Is the act of applying a message on a cake his adoption of the message as his own? Is his baking participation in a ceremony he finds repugnant to his religious conviction? Repugnancy and abhorrence seem to be in full supply by both parties to the case. When the Court makes the call, there will booing from one side or the other within the stadium of ideas.

Light Weight Necklace: The Gorgeous Ornament of the Modern Women

Women have always had a love for the necklaces. No matter how modern the women are or how stylish ornaments she adores, she will always stare at least once at the glass door of the jewelry shop from where she can get a glance of a beautifully designed necklace!

A magnificent necklace is, thus, a part of the life of a lady, no matter from which age, cast or community group she belongs. This piece of jewelry has been in tradition since our ancestors and we, the Y-Gen ladies, have inherited it from our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers or someone else before her. This ornament is a compliment to the Indian culture and heritage and we will love to pass it on to our next generation also. But time has changed a lot and women no more stay only at home. The modern women manage household & office at the same time. Therefore, no matter, how much she loves to adorn necklaces, her daily activities won’t allow it. But when ‘there is a will, there is a way’. Keeping this problem in mind, many jewelers have started making light weight necklaces that are not only sassy but classy, without that extra weight.

These necklaces can be worn in office parties, casual ceremonies, festive occasions and in any anniversary. They will go perfectly with all kind of dresses whether it is traditional saree, classic salwar kameez or trendy Anarkali gown. The feature that makes it unique is its light weight for which it can be easily carried out whenever you want.

Modern jewelry designing houses strive to make necklaces that are worth wearing. Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum can be used to manufacture them, but they go fit & perfect in gold. The light weight comes when the gold is purified and tactfully engraved in order to make magnificent designs. The necklaces are then sent for the hallmark authentication and after a few assessment, if they pass the tests, the hallmark is engraved on them.

Gold necklaces are a part of auspicious ceremonies too and are worn in weddings of many Indian communities, especially the Bengalis, Gujaratis, Marwaris & South Indian brides love to wear them on their big days. They are also considered as the sign of purity and are presented to the bride in their wedding.

The specialty of light weight necklaces is that they look stunning and carry the classy & traditional look in their appearances, but at the same time, they are light and can be carried easily in any occasion by women of any age.

Best Fifteen Bands Who Have Y In Their Names

A fellow music enthusiast just borrowed a CD that I encouraged him to hear, figuring he would appreciate the style mixing several genres. I was disappointed when he returned the album, What For by Toro Y Moi, admitting that he found it too inaccessible.

What bewildered me more, though, was his second remark. He said that he kind of knew before hand it would not appeal to him, for he seldom liked a band with the letter Y in its name.

On my way home I began to consider that, if his remark had been sincere, all of the great bands he was missing because of his inexplicable dislike of the 25th letter of the alphabet. After all, two of the bands that highlighted the Woodstock festival fit that category, Iron Butterfly and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Here are fifteen of the other best bands who have a Y in their names.

Fountains of Wayne

Mostly known for the hit “Stacy’s Mom”, the band has recorded six outstanding albums since its inception in the mid-nineties.

The Byrds

Linguistically there is no Y in their name, but that letter distinguishes the group almost as much as its eclectic blend of rock, country and folk.

The Cyrcle

Several covers of Simon and Garfunkel tunes became minor hits, but their biggest single was “Red Rubber Ball.”

Bad Company

One of rock’s first supergroups, formed from members of Free and Mott the Hoople, had a dozen hits like “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Can’t Get Enough” reach the charts.

My Morning Jacket

Jim James and his Louisville gang have been making indie rock for two decades, highlighted by records like Evil Urges and Water Fall.

The Yardbirds

Both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page had stints with this early rock ensemble, whose most memorable hit was “For Your Love.”

The Jayhawks

These guys keep getting better and better after twenty years of alternate country, thanks in part to the lyrics of Gary Louris.

Green Day

Billie Jo Armstrong fronts the most well-known current trio in rock, whose “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” has become a staple at graduation parties, wedding receptions, and TV shows like Seinfeld.

Journey

Most of their hits came during the eighties, but the band has soldiered on in spite of losing singer Steve Perry.

Styx

Like Journey, these eighties hit makers have continued performing in spite of the departure of their co-founder and singer, Dennis DeYoung.

Pink Floyd

Dark Side of the Moon has often been labeled as the greatest album since Sergeant Pepper by The Beatles, but the quartet also made iconic records like The Wall and Wish You Were Here.

Young Fresh Fellows

Now that Scott McCaughey is now in his sixties the first adjective does not really apply, but the music from these indie rock fellows still sounds fresh.

The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward and John Lodge co-founded the band, who has for the most part remained in tact from the sixties to make hits such as “Nights In White Satin” and “The Story In Your Eyes.”

Vanity Fair

Sharing a name with a famous novel by Victorian author William Makepeace Thackeray, these guys had hits with “Hitchin’ a Ride” and “Early in the Morning” in the beginning of the Seventies.

Steely Dan

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have created a half dozen of the best records in rock history, classics like The Royal Scam, Aja, and Can’t Buy a Thrill.