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We reported the other day about how the US Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favor of the Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding, citing his religious beliefs. Despite the 7-2 ruling in the baker’s favor, most analysts described it as a “narrow” victory, citing the specificity of the ruling and the likelihood that it has not really set much of a precedent.

I commented:

It seems to me that the world would be a better place if people did not use religion to discriminate, and if people were not hostile to other people’s religious beliefs. But that’s not the world we live in.

When this case first made the news, I wrote that “it would've been nice for the gay couple to simply have gone to another bakery, and for the ACLU not to have been involved. It would have been nice, it would have been less confrontational, and everybody would've been happy.”

I continue to believe that religion should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, but I’m also a “whatever gets you through the night” kind of guy when it comes to other people’s religious beliefs. This creates, to be honest, a tension that, best I can tell, also is felt by the Supreme Court - which has bought itself time to keep thinking about the issue as other, similar cases make their way up the line.

Not surprisingly, I got a lot of email about this. Here are a few of them…

One MNB reader wrote:

Thinking myself about the word ‘discriminate’. We all ‘discriminate’, for a wide myriad of reasons. The reasons, along with our society in general, have become more extreme in the view of either acceptable or unacceptable. Both of course pending ones point of view and experience.

So ‘discriminate’ is not a dirty word. Would you discriminate and refuse to give your entire personal savings to Bernie Madoff?

If you agree that discrimination is a healthy and normal part of decision making, then it comes down to what personal values shape our decision making.

So please replace the word ‘Religion’ in your statement with the following and see if it still holds true: intellect; experience; math; personal responsibility; common courtesy; talent; effort; etc.

Point being that we all have different reasons for decision making (discrimination is the derogatory word used when one doesn’t agree with the decision made), but stating person A’s values which drive their decision making is less than person 1’s values, is de facto imposing a ‘religion’ of the state.

If this was an atheist, Muslim, or Jewish baker who declined a Christian heterosexual wedding, this logic, and my opinion, would hold exactly the same.

I have a little trouble with your logic. Discriminating against Bernie Madoff by not handing him by life savings is the same thing as denying someone products or services because of their race or sexual orientation or gender or ethnicity? I don’t think so … but I do think that people who would make such an argument probably are folks who have never had to deal with real discrimination.

MNB reader Ron Rash wrote:

I agree with you that it would have been better for the couple to go elsewhere. I also believe that the baker should have taken the order.

Not the world we live in.

However, I do believe that it is the right of everyone to practice their religious beliefs up to the point it interferes with others’ rights. But the same can be true of secular beliefs. Everyone has the absolute right to hold whatever beliefs they choose, whether that be gay marriage or any other identification that is not harmful to others.

To me, both sides went too far, and both sides did not go far enough. “Far enough,” would have been to politely tell one another that they disagree, and each go their own way. Ha, I am a dreamer.

In the end, it sure as hell should not have involved the Supreme Court, who I believe handled this with the correct ruling, even if it is narrowly defined.

From another reader:

A couple thoughts. When you suggest that gay couples should find another baker and not be confrontational, I’d point out that many of us live in areas where we don’t have that luxury. I live in an area with few grocery stores or service providers. If a business owner declined to make me a cake or sell me a book or work on my kitchen sink I’d be out of luck as in many cases I have one or two choices of vendors.

Certainly, that situation doesn’t apply to a couple living in Denver or Seattle, but why should they be treated differently from me and why should I have to drive hours to receive/order services I could get locally?

You’re right. When I suggested that, I was being that guy who never has suffered discrimination because of race or sexual orientation or gender or ethnicity.

It is this tension between civil rights and religious freedom that creates situations that end up being court cases that end up in the US Supreme Court.

From yet another reader:

Surprised you printed the view that someone shared, which included the comment about 'every possible made-up sexual preference'. This person is the definition of a bigot and that view is completely and utterly unacceptable.

On another subject, from MNB reader Dena Pizzutti:

I thought I would continue to add to the meal kit discussion!

I believe another downside to the current meal kit options are the lack of choices.  As a former member of Blue Apron, one could pick from only a handful of meals and there were no customization allowed within.  Grocery chain The Fresh Market seems to have a nice in-store solution to this.  The stores are small format (more convenient to run into quick after work), and for $20 they will sell a meal for 4.  All of the pieces are merchandised near each other (a cooler will sit next to the shelf stable products, for example).  You can choose your type of cheese, or from a couple side dishes, for example.  

While I don't work for Fresh Market, I assume they are working well because these promotions seem to be coming out more frequently with more meals and I prefer that to the Blue Apron experience I had. 

As you have said, grocery chains had all the components to make meal kits, they just didn't think of it.  It's nice to see one taking a crack at a form of it.

We referenced yesterday a Financial Times piece about how companies making faux meat products seem intent on replicating the meat experience , as opposed to coming up with their own unique, differentiated experience.

One MNB reader responded:

After working on an organic farm as a teenager a decade ago, I decided that meat wasn't for me anymore. When White Castle debuted the Impossible Slider a few months ago, I had to give it a shot... And I'm hooked. Meat-alternative imitations are largely hit & miss on taste, texture and look, none of which come remotely close to resembling the real thing they're attempting to imitate. But the Impossible Sliders are pretty damn close to what I remember hamburgers tasting, looking, & feeling like. If you haven't yet, I challenge you to go purchase one for $1.99. I personally recommend splurging for a few cents more & throwing the ghost pepper or jalapeño cheese on there.

But MNB reader Joy Williams dissented:

Great call-out.  If I don’t eat meat, I don’t want to eat fake meat that is attempting to mimic that which I already do not want. Make something delicious/interesting/inspired in its own right.

And finally, from MNB reader Jeff Gartner:

One of your readers today commented on Howard Schultz's political leanings: Schultz is to the left of the left and when you try to message this garbage, it really pisses people off." 

Wow, according to an analysis in the Washington Post, Mr. Schultz seems to be very much the moderate: "In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Schultz thinks the rising federal deficit is the single greatest threat to America and must be reined in. He also does not support either a federal jobs guarantee program or a universal single-payer health-care system."

So, the reader must be referring to Schultz's history against racial discrimination and for LGTQ inclusion to mislabel him as "left of the left," while obviously revealing his/her own prejudices and affinity for Trump's culture divisiveness.

KC's View: