first_imgInstead, the would-be customers stated only that they were seeking a wedding cake before Phillips said he could not serve them.Phillips argues that producing any custom cake for a same-sex wedding would communicate his personal celebration of the ceremony.But most people wouldn’t interpret the paid labor of florists hired for a wedding to be an endorsement of the couple’s union, either.Arguing before the justices, Phillips’ attorney struggled to draw a consistent distinction between her client’s work as a “cake artist” and that of the hairdresser or caterer.For just that reason, the Supreme Court will find it hard to grant Phillips an exemption without bringing the entire structure of anti-discrimination law crashing down around him.What if, as Justice Elena Kagan asked, a chef refused to serve a same-sex couple on their wedding anniversary?What if a baker refused to craft a custom wedding cake for an interracial couple? Both Phillips’ attorney and U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco insisted that discrimination on the basis of race would not be tolerated, but they could not make a clear case as to why Phillips’ objections were different.Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony Kennedy both suggested the need for tolerance not only on the part of Phillips and his supporters but on that of gay Americans as well.Perhaps the couple could have sought out another baker rather than forcing Phillips into an awkward situation, Kennedy mused.To be sure, many well-meaning people may have found the cultural shift toward full acceptance of same-sex marriage to be uncomfortably rapid.But politeness and tolerance are social values, not legal principles. They are not reasons to overturn anti-discrimination law.When a “cake artist” opens the doors of his bakery, he commits to serving all customers equally.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post.In 2012, Jack Phillips declined to design a custom wedding cake for a gay couple who entered his bakery, telling them that his Christian faith prohibited him from crafting cakes for same-sex marriages.The couple sued — and last week Phillips’ lawyer made the case before the Supreme Court that the baker had a constitutional right to refuse the request. The justices should reject this radical proposition.The laws of Phillips’ home state of Colorado prohibit public accommodations — such as bakeries — from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.The baker has no objection to a selling a cake off the shelf for a same-sex wedding, but he argues that creating a custom cake would force him to celebrate that union.In his view, that’s a violation of his First Amendment right to speak as he chooses. Yet by all accounts, the happy couple did not ask Phillips for a cake bearing a message with which the baker might disagree — such as “God Bless This Gay Marriage,” as a group of First Amendment scholars hypothesized, or a rainbow flag. That could make for a harder case.last_img read more

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionAt recent public meetings, my statements regarding the Lystek Inc. move into the Glen Canal View Park, located in Fultonville, represent a concerned citizen and neighbor, and not those of the Fonda-Fultonville Central School Board of Education.Bonnie CoutureFultonvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesTroopers: Colonie man dies in Montgomery County Thruway crashFeds: Painting stolen by Nazis and found at Arkell Museum returned to familyEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared on washingtonpost.com:Many years ago, Robert Benchley, a celebrated humorist, essayist, film actor and regular at New York’s Algonquin Round Table, took time in an article to reflect on misconceptions about his city, widely viewed in those days as a cesspool of sin, gin and cynical sophistication. In truth, he wrote, the typical New Yorker goes through life sharing many of the hopes, fears and attitudes of the typical citizen of Peoria, Minneapolis or Fresno.He is, wrote Benchley, someone “at whom one does not look a second time, because there are so many of him and, furthermore, because he would not justify a second look … a composite of the small-town qualities of every State in the Union.”Billy Graham, who has died at age 99, must have had much the same insight when he launched his “crusades” into the teeming cities of mid-20th-century America: a realization that the country was a good deal less jaded and materialistic than many believed it to be and that people everywhere were seeking continuity with their past, reassurance about the beliefs of parents and family, and guidance for the future.Above all, perhaps, they wanted someone who understood this, who spoke to their needs in ways they could understand and who could, quite simply, be trusted. America has been heavily influenced, even shaped, by its preachers, from Jonathan Edwards to Henry Ward Beecher to Billy Sunday and the televangelists of today.Some fostered great and needed social change (northern Protestant churchmen and women created the abolition movement); others sought to impose their will on a dubious nation (as in Prohibition).Many of the most famous of the evangelists had their day in the public eye and quickly faded. He drew nearly a quarter of a million people over three days.When he was young, Graham had a close friendship with Charles Templeton, a fellow evangelist.The two eventually parted ways, with Templeton going on to what he saw as a more intellectual and skeptical view of religion, and to a career in writing, commentary and politics.Many years later, Templeton (who died in 2001) recalled of his old friend, “I disagree with him profoundly on his view of Christianity and think that much of what he says in the pulpit is puerile nonsense.But there is no feigning in him: he believes what he believes with an invincible innocence.He is the only mass evangelist I would trust. And I miss him.”More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationcenter_img A few were frauds or hypocrites and were eventually discredited.But through a half-century and more, the Rev. Billy Graham maintained his standing.From the 1950s, when he filled big-city arenas across the country with his upbeat, joyful revival meetings, through his emergence as a world figure who preached to thousands upon thousands and was consulted by heads of state all over the globe, including a series of American presidents (not all of whom could be described as questing spiritual beings), Graham kept his message relatively simple, which may be one reason it endured.He was never a great hero of the political left or right, though he took a stand fairly early in this country’s civil rights movement against segregation, and spoke often, if somewhat vaguely, on the need for social justice.It was in one of his presidential sessions that Graham had what may have been his worst moment, when the White House tapes caught him going along with some of Richard Nixon’s maundering about Jewish influence in the media.The episode was mortifying for a minister with a long history of support for Jewish-Christian understanding, but it was not an experience exclusive to Graham during the Nixon years.In 2005, Graham held his last full-fledged crusade in New York, which had become a city with a large and vibrant variety of evangelical Christian believers, their numbers greatly augmented in recent years by immigrants.last_img read more

first_imgJim came to the Gazette in 1985, just a month out of college. For two years, he worked as a clerk in the sports department, staffing the desk at night to do local bowling roundups, horse-racing agate and other tasks. Within two years, Jim took over as the high school guy and, as he’s proud of saying, he never left that position.The sports beat was a natural fit for Jim. At Guilderland High School, he played receiver and safety on the football team. On the lacrosse squad, he played midfield and also was named a team captain.For college, Jim went to SUNY Morrisville, where he studied journalism technology, and then SUNY Oswego, where he was a communications major.As a full-fledged member of the Gazette’s sports staff, Jim became known for his evenhanded approach to story selection, both in terms of the sports that he elected to cover and which games he chose to cover in those disciplines.“Jim would look at a Friday night high school schedule and closely examine it before finally deciding where he should go,” one former colleague recalled. “He wanted to make sure he covered the game that meant the most to the most people.”“And he gave each sport its due,” the colleague added. “Jim was a high school football player at Guilderland, but he didn’t try to minimize other minor sports. He even became an avid field hockey fan.”Beyond his egalitarian approach to coverage, Jim has made a name for himself as one of the good guys. His amiable demeanor and easygoing style are traits that have served him well in his dealings with players, parents, coaches. They’ve also made him a well-liked member of the entire Gazette staff. Categories: Editorial, OpinionIf you’ve been to any local high school sporting events over the past 32 years, the chances are pretty good that you may have seen Gazette sportswriter Jim Schiltz roaming the sideline or watching the action from press row.Jim has covered high schools for the newspaper almost exclusively since 1987. Over that span of time, he’s covered thousands of games/events (his tally is somewhere around 6,000 at last estimate) and he’s interviewed a similar number of athletes, coaches, athletic directors.In his trademark Mets ball cap, Jim is a familiar figure at Section II events, everywhere from Schoharie to Saratoga and Mechanicville to Fort Plain.Over the years, he’s covered all the great athletes, all the best teams. But he’s also written his fair share of offbeat stories about athletes who’ve overcome great physical challenges and mediocre teams that defied the odds to win championships.Jim, after all, is in it for the stories. He appreciates greatness, no doubt. But he mostly just loves a good story.One of Jim’s most memorable assignments involved a real nail-biter of a football game between crosstown rivals Schalmont and Mohonasen. The action was back and forth, back and forth. Scoring, however, was at a premium on this day. Schalmont eventually broke the stalemate, but not with a touchdown or field goal. It was a safety. The game’s final score: 2-0. Then there was the time when a sectional basketball game between Guilderland and Columbia went to five overtimes. Jim was there for the epic battle, pen and pad in hand. He still made deadline. It was a night he’ll never forget.Stories like these are part of the history of Capital Region sports, as they are part of the history of Jim’s career. After all these years on the beat, Jim is part of the the local sports landscape, not merely an observer.Last week, Jim’s contributions to the local sports scene, especially his reportage on high school football, were recognized with the announcement that he’ll be inducted into the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame this summer.It’s a wonderful honor for him, but it came as no surprise to Jim’s peers in local sports media.“With his encyclopedic knowledge, first-hand experience and unbridled passion, Jim in many ways embodies the sport in the Capital Region,” one former local sports scribe wrote to me in an email.Similar sentiments were expressed by colleagues around the region, including competitors at other outlets.“Having covered high school sports with him for years, I know a number of coaches and former players who think very highly of him,” wrote another longtime local sports writer. “He is passionate about what he does, and they all appreciate that.” More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes For years, he was a key player on the newspaper’s softball team, where he played shortstop and was a key hitter in the batting lineup. He was a nifty fielder and the team’s spark plug.“He was always up” for the games, remembers Jim’s longtime colleague Jeff Wilkin.“Jim was great for morale, great for the game,” said Wilkin, the softball team’s captain. “We used to kid around that he ‘made the hard plays look easy …. and the easy plays look hard!’”Jim’s passion on the softball field was right in line with his commitment to his job.“Covering high school sports isn’t just a job for Jim Schiltz,” one longtime colleague said of him. “It’s a calling.”Miles Reed is the editor of The Daily Gazette. He can be reached by calling 518-395-3106 or emailing reed@dailygazette.com.last_img read more

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