Can you refuse to provide services?

This episode isn’t so much about entrepreneurs as it is about how the government or double-standards can take freedoms away from people; freedoms that you might think aren’t in jeopardy.

The first example is about whether a business owner can refuse business based on the owner’s deeply-held beliefs. There are two different sets of ideas on this, but many times their held by the same people.

The second example asks; can you make a product in your kitchen that is non-narcotic, perfectly legal, and that other people want to buy? Maybe, maybe not. The government may have something to say about that. What do you have to say about it?

Mentioned links:

Designer Sophie Theallet Vows Never To Work With Melania Trump

University Students Stumble over Who Has Freedom to Live and Work According to Beliefs

Amish Farmer Sam Girod is in Jail… His Enemies Want Him there for Life

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Show transcript

Should Sophie Theallet be sued? Most people, I imagine, would say No, she shouldn’t. He name was in the news recently, but you might have missed it.

Ms. Theallet had been providing dresses for Michelle Obama to wear, but has said she will refuse to do so for Melania Trump. Why? Well, because of her deeply held beliefs about discrimination and prejudice, and her thought that Donald Trump doesn’t share her values. She noted that, as a family-owned company, she doesn’t want to provide services to someone who’s behavior is incompatible with the values that she lives by.

Does this sound familiar? Well, don’t get ahead of me just yet.

The Alliance Defending Freedom decided to go out and find out what the youth of today thought of this, so they got a camera and a microphone and went to the University of Wisconsin – Madison and asked students if they agreed with what Ms. Theallet was doing. Turns out all the students they interviewed thought that she should be allowed to turn down work if it violated her beliefs. The ADF then asked the students about a local ordinance that said that if you do turn down work, that you can be sued. They thought that, too, was violating your rights as a business. Then the interviewer asked them if a Christian church asked a Muslim singer to sing at their Easter service, should the church be able to sue the singer if the singer turned them down. It was a little stickier situation for the students, but generally they thought that, no, the singer should not be forced to perform against their religious beliefs.

Then the ADF interviewer moved to a question about a local story. Should a photographer who is a Christian be forced to take pictures at a same-sex wedding ceremony? All of a sudden, the students got very quiet. Apparently, to these voters, being forced to violate your political beliefs, or certain types of religious beliefs, are beyond the pale. But for Christians, the double standard has to kick in. I wonder how many of these students who back Ms. Theallet’s family-owned business also thought the family-owned Hobby Lobby was wrong.

So consider this: who is consistent in their beliefs; conservatives who want freedom for all businesses, or liberals who have different standards based on whether or not you agree with them? Because when you get down to it, that’s really the only difference in their double-standard. If you agree with liberals, they’ll let you do what you want. If  you don’t, you get thrown in jail. And remember, these are the people who think conservatives are the ones trying to force their beliefs down everyone’s collective throats.

It’s one thing to laugh at this hypocrisy. But if that’s all we do, the Left will simply continue to erode our religious freedoms, all in the name (ironically) of “fairness”. They’ll get the last laugh. We need to speak out and point this out. Sharing this podcast episode is certainly one small way, but this is a big deal. The more the better. In a bit of turnabout being fair play, perhaps we need to press into service the #Resist hasthtag. That would both get the point across, and drive them nuts.

Samuel Girod is in jail, and there are people who want to leave him there for a life sentence. What awful thing did Sam do to deserve this punishment?

Samuel, an Amish farmer in Owingsville, Kentucky, made an herbal salve in his kitchen and sold it. That’s why he’s in jail awaiting a trial that could put him away for 50 years or more. At age 56, that’s why such an outcome would be a life sentence.

How did things get this far? Government overreach; that’s how.

Here’s the short version of the story. The long version is in the show notes, and it’s truly eye-opening. For the last 16 years Sam and Elizabeth Girod and their 12 children made homemade herbal salves as a family. They sold it from their farm and at a few small stores near them. Their main salve is the one Sam called “Chickweed Healing Salve.” It’s made with wild-harvested herbs like chickweed, rosemary, comfrey, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils. You could make it yourself, but there were plenty of folks that were fine to have Sam and his family make it for them.

About 12 years ago, the ball got rolling. See, Sam used the word “healing” in the name, and had testimonial claims on the label. Further, he did not have one of those FDA-approved disclaimers on the label saying that the government had not evaluated the claims.

Now, Sam is Amish, so he doesn’t have a computer at home where he can research this. The FDA got in touch with Sam and told him to change the name, so he did. It was now just “Original Chickweed”; not “healing” nor a “salve”.

About 3 years ago, a local health official in Missouri noticed Sam’s salve in a convenience store. He informed the FDA, and they swooped in and seized the salve. See, Sam had promotional brochures printed that were available in the store with those testimonials again; people who said that it worked for them. Well, that’s just too much. According to the FDA, only drugs can heal, and so Sam’s a drug dealer; an illegal drug dealer at that. And now he’s selling drugs across state lines! He missed a court date a few months ago and is now being held in jail on contempt of court charges, and he has a litany of charges against him that could leave him in prison for life. For a salve.

Now, I do understand that we need consumer protection laws against snake oil salesmen. And Sam made a big mistake by representing himself in court. I guess my question is; is this what we want from the FDA? Is this how our tax dollars need to be working? It just seems like this is way out there. And as the link in the show notes mentions, almost all of the charges against Sam stem from the assumption that only drugs can heal. Once you accept that, the rest of the charges fall in line. If you don’t, is there a case at all?

Filed under: Economics & TaxesGovernmentLaw EnforcementReligion