Magazine | July 10, 2017, Issue

Letters

Obergefell and Forced Labor

With respect to Alexandra DeSanctis’s article “Religious Liberty after Obergefell” (June 12), it is surprising to me that no defendant has cited the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, . . . shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The verdict against Ms. Stutzman of Richland, Wash., would force her to provide labor to another person under penalty of law in clear violation of the 13th Amendment. Requiring a store to sell off-the-shelf items to any purchaser is one thing; requiring personal service is quite another.

Robert C. Whitten

Cupertino, Calif.

Alexandra DeSanctis responds: This particular argument hasn’t been used in court to defend the rights of businesspeople such as florist Barronelle Stutzman, but your last point seems to hint at one possible policy compromise. Many on the right and the left agree that there is a distinction between a pre-made bouquet, for example, and flowers custom-designed for a client, such as the ones Stutzman was asked to create. Because the latter involves personal artistry — and, as a result, can be understood as a sort of participation in a customer’s same-sex wedding ceremony — some believe business owners should be free to refuse. They would still be legally required, however, to sell pre-made bouquets off the shelf to every customer, no matter the event in question.

Corrections

In the Week (June 26), the home paper of Bob Novak’s long-running column was identified as the Washington Post; in fact, it was the Chicago Sun-Times.

In John J. Miller’s “Fifty Flags,” in the same issue, the Maryland state flag’s crosses bottony were misidentified as fleurs-de-lis. The Ohio state flag was described as having the “angled shape of a cavalry guidon,” but in fact it combines the swallowtail of a cavalry guidon with the angled shape of a naval burgee.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue

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Features

Books, Arts & Manners

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Politics & Policy

Poetry

LOST PRAYER A prayer well known and repeated, and repeated, the mind focused on the words, on the words, becomes an internal ceremony, with little room, and then no room for another thought; sooner or ...
Letters

Letters

Obergefell and Forced Labor With respect to Alexandra DeSanctis’s article “Religious Liberty after Obergefell” (June 12), it is surprising to me that no defendant has cited the 13th Amendment to the ...
The Week

The Week

‐ Can it be mere coincidence that Ossoff is a Russian name? ‐ In spite of the total lack of available information, a host of figures in the media were convinced ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Making Sense of the Iran Chaos

One would prefer that correct decisions be made according to careful, deliberate plan. But a correct decision made impulsively, through a troubling process, is still nonetheless correct, and so it is with Donald Trump’s decision to refrain from military action against Iran. The proposed strike would represent a ... Read More
U.S.

In Defense of Coleman Hughes

Picture the scene: A young man walks into a congressional hearing to offer witness testimony. His grandfather was barbarically brutalized by people who are now long dead. The nation in which he resides built its wealth of his grandfather’s brutalization. The question: Should his fellow citizens pay the young ... Read More
Education

College Leaders Should Learn from Oberlin

Thanks to their social-justice warrior mindset, the leaders of Oberlin College have caused an Ohio jury to hit it with $44 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a case where the school couldn't resist the urge to side with its “woke” students against a local business. College leaders should learn ... Read More
Elections

Joe and the Segs

Joe Biden has stepped in it, good and deep. Biden, if he has any hope of ever being elected president, will be dependent on residual goodwill among African Americans from his time as Barack Obama’s loyal and deferential vice president — so deferential, in fact, that he stood aside for Herself in 2016 even ... Read More
Film & TV

Toy Story 4: A National Anthem

The Toy Story franchise is the closest thing we have to an undisputed national anthem, a popular belief that celebrates what we think we all stand for — cooperation, ingenuity, and simple values, such as perpetual hope. This fact of our infantile, desensitized culture became apparent back in 2010 when I took a ... Read More