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You Can’t Claim Religious Discrimination When Kicked Out of a Bar Over a Trump Hat, Apparently

You Can’t Claim Religious Discrimination When Kicked Out of a Bar Over a Trump Hat, Apparently

“The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief.”

Back in January 2017, after President Donald Trump took office, Greg Piatek, an accountant from Philadelphia visited the Happiest Hour Bar in New York City’s West Village.

Piatek wore a Make America Great Again hat, which prompted staff to ask Piatek and his friends to leave.

He sued and claimed the staff “offended his sense of being American.” His lawyer made a case for religious discrimination to no avail.

Piatek’s lawyer tried wove religion into the incident in order to make a case for his client. From The New York Post:

But on Wednesday, when the bar’s lawyer, Elizabeth Conway, pointed out that only religious, and not political, beliefs are protected under state and city discrimination laws, saying, “supporting Trump is not a religion” — Piatek pivoted.

“The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial,” his attorney Paul Liggieri told Justice David Cohen in court Wednesday.

“He was paying spiritual tribute to the victims of 9/11. The Make American Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief,” Liggieri claimed. Piatek and his pals had, in fact, visited the memorial before the bar.

“Rather than remove his hat, instead he held true to his spiritual belief and was forced from the bar,” Liggieri said.

I…I have no words. Granted, I have seen people on social media and heard people talk about how supporting Trump is a cult and they treat him like a God, yada yada yada.

The judge asked the lawyer how many others engage in this “spiritual program,” but Liggieri could not (obviously) provide the numbers. The judge asked, “So it’s a creed of one?” Liggieri had no choice but to agree.

The judge concluded that Piatek “does not state any faith-based principle to which the hat relates” and described the incident as a “‘petty’ slight.”

I am a libertarian and I cannot stand it when the government tells a business how to run things. Consumers have forgotten how much power they hold. All you have to do is get the word out that this business won’t serve this person or that person.

I have even declared that if a bakery turns down your request for a wedding cake that I will be more than happy to bake you one!!

Which leads me to my next point. When I saw this story circulating, many of the responses said BAKE THE CAKE. There have been so many stories of gay couples suing bakers because the business will not make them a wedding cake.

Piatek claimed a form of religious discrimination in his lawsuit against the bar. The lawyer for that bar said religious beliefs have protection “under city and state discrimination laws.”

THAT line right there caused my ears to perk up. Does that mean lawsuits against Christian bakers or photographers or florists will stop? After all, those business owners are being sued over religious beliefs.


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The religious claim was weak – guess that’s all he had. But I think it’d be funny for someone to open a bar in Manhattan, offering real cheap drinks, but demanding that everyone swear a loyalty oath to Trump while saluting a 10 foot tall statue of him, before they are allowed to enter. That’s allowed by this decision, right?

perhaps even better yet would be to organize 100 Trump supporters and have them all go to the Happiest Hour Bar and all pull out their MAGA hats at the same time – it’d be funny to watch the waiters try to throw out everyone in the place.

Now of course if it were a Hillary supporter the ruling would have been different. Being a Democrat is a religion,

Here’s a link to a Trump MAGA yarmulke on eBay that I’m considering for my trip to NYC:

political speech is the very epitome of free speech; why was this not argued as protected speech since most (all?) state constitutions mirror COTUS?

    Milhouse in reply to dmacleo. | April 26, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Don’t be ridiculous. Yes, political speech is protected. No government can make you take off your MAGA hat (unless they make everyone take off their hats as well). Nobody has to serve you, though. That’s their freedom of speech.

    Freedom of religion works the same way. No government can make me take off my yarmulke, unless they make everyone take off their hats too. RFRA (on the federal level and in those states with a similar law) goes further and says even if they do make everyone else take off their hats, they have to let me keep mine on. But before there were anti-discrimination laws nobody had to serve me or hire me with it on. The only thing making them do so now are those laws that explicitly say so. And in most places they only ban discrimination on religious grounds, not on political ones. In those places where political discrimination is also banned, this plaintiff would have won his case.

I’t really amazing how there is such a disparity over who must “bake the cake”

    ronk in reply to Neo. | April 26, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    it’s called protected ‘classes’.

    Milhouse in reply to Neo. | April 26, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    What is surprising? Private discrimination of all kinds is legal unless there’s a law specifically banning it.

    There is no federal law against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, so as far as your local US Attorney is concerned you are free to refuse to sell cakes, not just for gay weddings, but even to all gay people. You can put up a sign saying “No faggots served here” and the US Attorney will make no objection. Depending where you live, state and/or local law may say otherwise, and that’s where the bakers you refer to got into trouble.

    The same applies to discrimination on political grounds. There’s no federal law against it, so it’s legal wherever there is no state or local law saying otherwise. You can put up a sign saying “No Democrats”, except where state or local law says you can’t.

      Today you are right to be the curmudgeon. I view this as “Judge rules according to 200+ years of precedent, news at 11”.

      Some sites are actually reporting this as establishing new precedent. Good grief.

      forksdad in reply to Milhouse. | April 27, 2018 at 10:56 am

      What is the weather like on your planet this time of year? You well know if this case was reversed a judge would find the “I’m with her” guy had to be served.

      It’s Calvin Ball the rules work one way and only way. It’s whatever serves the democrats.

        Milhouse in reply to forksdad. | April 27, 2018 at 5:06 pm

        No, I do not know it, because it’s not true, and you know that very well. You have not a shred of evidence for your defamatory claim, and are simply making up lies because it makes you feel superior. You are a disgrace to the right side of politics, and your existence justifies those who call us “wingnuts”.

          forksdad in reply to Milhouse. | April 28, 2018 at 10:47 am

          Look stampy, you see the pretty Christmas lights on the tree in front of you and miss the entire forest burned down all around it.

          These cases are only decided on the merits when it suits the left when it doesn’t they invent entire new justifications out of whole cloth. It’s been happening longer than you’ve been alive. So what they didn’t have to burn this tree to the ground to get what they want. The rest of the damn forest is a stump farm.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | April 30, 2018 at 2:43 am

          No, you are lying. What you write is simply not true.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Neo. | April 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Although I believe the decision in the “gay wedding cake” case was correct, I think it was made on a wrong principle – that of special protection, rather than upon what I think is a defensible principle of non-discrimination (for lack of legal authority to do so as a state-licensed entity).

    In the “gay wedding cake” situation, the bakers had a state-issued business license. That license imposed obligations that the bakers assumed voluntarily by applying for and accepting the license. In doing so, they surrendered certain of their rights in order to exercise the benefits granted by the state through the license. The state licenses businesses not only for the benefit of business people, but also for the benefit of the communities in which the businesses reside, both for the services they provide to the community, and the potential job opportunities and other benefits the business may attract to the community. Among the obligations (voluntarily assumed by those who seek and accept a business license) is to 1.) abide by the laws and regulations governing their business, and 2.) to provided their services without prejudice, to everyone legally able to avail themselves of the service and able to pay for it. If the bakers will sell a wedding cake to this couple over here, they must also sell a wedding cake to that couple over there, regardless of their personal feelings concerning the impending state of matrimony between the respective couples. If a baker makes wedding cakes for nobody, then the baker is fully within his or her right to refuse wedding cakes to all. But if a baker makes wedding cakes for some, he or she must make wedding cakes for all. The state cannot create an entity authorized to do that which it cannot do itself (in this situation, discriminate against gays), therefore, the business cannot discriminate either.

    This new situation was argued on, and lost because of, the same principles of the wedding cake case – special protections. As such, I believe it is fatally flawed. But if you want to play this game with politics, here’s how it can be played:
    Gay couple walks into a bakery and orders a cake for their wedding. Sorry, your support for certain civil rights for gays indicates you are of a political persuasion I’m not willing to serve.
    Straight couple walks into a bakery and orders a cake for their gay friends’ wedding. Sorry, your support for certain civil rights for gays indicates you are of a political persuasion I’m not willing to serve.
    Straight couple walks into a bakery and orders anything after exiting a car with “Feel the Bern” stickers. Sorry, your support for certain civil rights for gays indicates you are of a political persuasion I’m not willing to serve.

    The argument in this case should not have been the customer’s rights, but rather the business’s inability to discriminate because its state license doesn’t permit it to do so. Non-discrimination works for everyone. Special protections do not.

      Aarradin in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 27, 2018 at 3:23 am

      So, you don’t think the US Constitution 1st Amendment “conscience clause” protection applies if there’s a city ordnance saying you must violate your faith or lose your business?

      Last I checked, the US Constitution was the Law of the Land.

      Semper Why in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 27, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Do you seriously think that a bar doesn’t have a state-issued liquor license?

      Semper Why in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 27, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      Do you seriously think that a bar doesn’t have a state-issued liquor license?

      Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 27, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      While licensing for specific trades that require special skills is defensible, requiring a license just to run a business seems clearly unconstitutional, except that the Supreme Court decided the wrong way on the Slaughterhouse cases.

So it’s okay to refuse service based on political but not religious belief? Then the Christian bakers should have the right to not cater gay weddings because it goes against their politics.

This would NOT mean they can refuse service to gays in general, a protected class. Events are not the same as people, though.

    Milhouse in reply to malclave. | April 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    No, they do not. You are (deliberately?) reversing the reasoning. It’s OK to refuse service based on the customer’s political beliefs, except where state or local law says otherwise. It’s also OK to refuse service based on the customer’s sexual orientation, again except where state or local law says otherwise. It’s not OK to refuse service based on the customer’s religion, because federal law says you can’t (state and local law generally says so too). In none of these cases do your political beliefs, sexual orientation, or religion enter into it.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | April 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      The “gay wedding cake” case was decided based upon the argument presented by the respondents. In that case, they argued that serving a cake meant for a gay wedding was a violation of their religious liberty. The decision was made that special protections for sexual orientation shielded the cake-buyers from the bakers’ religious beliefs that might otherwise have allowed the bakers to refuse them service. Politics was not mentioned by either party, to the best of my knowledge.

      Had the bakers made politics the basis of their defense, the “bar” case suggests they may have been successful at defending their refusal to make the cake. (That is, if the presiding judge was as equally stupid. Allow me to make it plain that I disagree with the decision in the bar case as well as with the reasoning behind the cake case.) Personal political beliefs do not have the special protection that was necessary for the “religious liberty” defense to fail. Please see my post above.

      Aarradin in reply to Milhouse. | April 27, 2018 at 3:16 am

      So, the Constitution allows denial of service to whomever we please for any reason – and we don’t even have to state the reason.

      Then, state and federal courts can force us, by means of laws, to violate that constitutional right above whenever the person denied happens to be seen in a favorable light by liberal social justice warriors. But NOT if they oppose, in any way, liberal ideology. Simply by picking and choosing who ‘deserves’ special protective status, and who does not. Jews, asians, military, police, Christians, conservatives, heterosexuals, etc do not qualify and yet are the most openly discriminated against nationwide in hiring/promotion policies (affirmative action is enforced by the feds) and college admissions, etc, etc, etc.

      Even to the point of punishing people for refusing to violate their 1st Amendment “conscience clause” RIGHT to not participate in ceremonies that their religion has, for thousands of years, taught to be an abomination.

        Aarradin in reply to Aarradin. | April 27, 2018 at 3:20 am

        “Constitution allows denial of service to whomever we please for any reason”.

        Since I know someone will ask:

        Freedom of Association, implicit in the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech, per SCOTUS in NAACP vs Alabama.

        Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | April 27, 2018 at 5:11 pm

        Wrong. anti-discrimination laws, where they exist, do not protect favored classes, they prohibit discrimination on certain grounds. No state can or does prohibit discrimination against black people, or women, or homosexuals, or Catholics. They prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, or sex, or sexual orientation, or religion. There is no difference at all between discriminating against men or against women, against homosexuals or heterosexuals or bisexuals, etc. If a category of discrimination is banned, it is banned in all directions. If it is not banned then it is lawful in all directions.

      txvet2 in reply to Milhouse. | April 27, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      I hate to get into an argument between lawyers, but it seems your reasoning is flawed. After all, there’s no reason to deny service to a customer based on their beliefs (which you claim is legal), unless they conflict with your own beliefs (which you claim is illegal).

The purpose of the hat is that he wore it because he was visiting the 9/11 Memorial

Men who wear hats indoors are annoying.

Men who wear hats to memorials are intolerable.

Take off the damn hat.

And put on a tie.

Leave the yahoo behavior to liberals.

Thought I read the guy had a tab over $100 and he tipped $30 some odd dollars.
This isn’t really something to get worked up over. Let us get pushing on judicial nominees. Write your congress critter.

So, per our Judicial system’s current rulings:

The State CAN punish you, with fines and jail time, if you refuse to violate your 1st Amendment “conscience clause” RIGHT by not accepting a contract for a specially designed cake, or a contract to photograph, or a contract to host in your banquet hall, a “gay wedding”.

The State CAN punish you if your dining establishment, bar, or any other business a clever lawyer can define as a “public accommodation” refuses service to someone you don’t want to do business with if they are a “protected minority” or otherwise have “protected” status due to sexual perversion.

But, if you are police, white, Christian, heterosexual, or merely hold non-Liberal political views, then you CAN be discriminated against by ANY business at any time, nationwide. Not only can they refuse contracts for special, unique, services, but they can also deny you service for any of their normal products that they sell to anyone (and are not specifically designed, by you, to celebrate whatever it is the establishment finds offensive).

Seems to me, you can NOT have it both ways – which liberals currently do.

This judge actually has it correct – we ought to be free to do business, or NOT do business, with whomever we like. And not even have to answer why not if we deny service. But, that has to apply equally across the board.

Don’t like it? Use your 1st Amendment speech rights to denounce that business. Call for a boycott, protest (legally) on the sidewalk outside, etc. That’s fair game.

Punishing *some* people for exercising their actual rights, while allowing others to do so, is not.

    Immolate in reply to Aarradin. | April 27, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Colorado law forbids discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. This means that a cashier at Wal-Mart could not refuse to sell a basket full of groceries to a gay person simply because of their sexual orientation. Your agreement with Colorado law, while relevant to discussions about what should or should not be, is not relevant to the case at hand.

    If I go into Publix (best cakes you can buy in a grocery story says everyone with a lick of sense and most without) as a gay man to buy a cake, my local cake artist Dominique could not refuse to sell me the cake based on my being gay. Dominique usually just makes cake, and however artistic and expressive his designs, he is not endorsing or condoning my behavior by selling me his masterpiece, anymore than a Christian giving someone a bowl of soup at a homeless shelter is endorsing or condoning alcohol or drug addition.

    If, however, I instruct Dominique to use his legendary lettering techniques to inscribe “Isn’t it great to be gay!” on my cake, it could, potentially, be a violation of his right to be faithful to his religious convictions.

    The facts of what was asked for are in dispute. The gay couple says they just wanted Masterpiece to make them a cake, not a gay cake. Masterpiece says otherwise. Who you believe makes a pretty substantial difference in this case.

    IANAL, but my understanding is that appeals courts are not finders of fact, but rather interpreters of law. If that is the case, and the lower courts found the gay couple more credible, then I’m not sure that SCOTUS can overturn this case unless they find the Colorado anti-discrimination law unconstitutional. That doesn’t seem all that likely. However, they took the case, which means they must have seen a matter of law that needs to be resolved.

    Perhaps it is the fact that the defendant claims that, because each of his cakes are custom works of art, that making a cake for a gay couple therefore constitutes an artistic creation condoning their lifestyle. That seems a stretch. I think that while your Subway sub may be customized to your particular taste, the creation of the sub doesn’t constitute a violation of the sub-maker’s religious convictions unless you request they spell “go homo” in black olives.

    I realize that matters of law don’t hinge upon my innate sense of fairness or right and wrong, but that is where my logic takes me. I am a Bible-believing Christian, but even churches have to deal with the world and its laws as they are rather than as they wish them to be.

      Semper Why in reply to Immolate. | April 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      The facts of what was asked for are in dispute. The gay couple says they just wanted Masterpiece to make them a cake, not a gay cake. Masterpiece says otherwise. Who you believe makes a pretty substantial difference in this case.

      Masterpiece says that they refused to make a custom cake celebrating the gay wedding and that they offered to sell the gay couple any of the non-gay-wedding cakes in the shop. Masterpiece’s religious beliefs mean that they do not make gay wedding cakes. Masterpiece also refuses to make Halloween cakes for the same reason.

      The Colorado legal system, in its infinite wisdom, decided that this mean that Masterpiece was discriminating against the gay couple and not the event. Presumably using the logic that a gay wedding is not significantly different than a straight wedding in the eyes of the law. Well, if you ignore the part about the law that accommodates religious beliefs.

    Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | April 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    There are no “protected minorities”. There are protected grounds. No, you can not be refused service because you’re white, or Christian, anywhere in the US. You can be refused service for being heterosexual only in those places where you can also be refused service for being homosexual. Ditto for political views; wherever it’s illegal to refuse to serve Democrats it’s equally illegal to refuse to serve Republicans, or communists or nazis or whatever.

    and there is no “conscience clause” in the first amendment.

The guy got off better than if either Tony Soprano or Raylan Givens had been in the bar, just sayin.