Politics

‘Enough is enough!’ Michigan Shop Owner Refuses To Serve Gays, Receives Death Threats

A Michigan auto shop owner posted on FaceBook that he will refuse service to openly gay people.   Outrage and intolerance immediately followed.

 Michigan shop owner

Brian Klawiter Dieseltec

 

Dieseltec

Brian Klawiter owns Dieseltec located in Grandville, Michigan.  Klawiter is a Christian, and is proud of his faith in God.  In a post that quickly went viral, Klawiter wrote on his business FaceBook page:

“Our rights as conservative Americans are being squashed more and more everyday. Apparently if you are white (or close to it), you have a job, go to church, and own a gun… That translates into racists, privileged, bigot, conspiracy theorist. Too many of us say nothing. Well, freedom of speech isn’t just for Liberals, THEY are the ones that need to learn to “co-exist”, THEY are the ones who need to WORK to be “equal”

Therefore, in the spirit of freedom (whats left of it) and MY right to operate MY business as I see fit:

Guns ARE allowed at DIESELTEC, so much so in fact that we will offer a discount if you bring in your gun. (“On duty” cops are excluded because thats not their gun, thats my gun bought with my money, off duty absolutely!)

I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)

We, as a team, work hard for what’s ours. We are not protected by unions or contracts. We absolutely MUST provide our customers with a service level that would make them come back or tell their friends about us. We don’t have a “right”, and we are not “entitled” to our pay. We must EARN it.

I am not racist, you are for assuming I am, however, I am really quick to judge… if it acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

It IS a free country and I support your right to your opinion, that being said, if you don’t like what I have to say I reserve that same right to tell you to go cry to your momma (cause your daddy would probably smack ya’, better yet, yes, go tell your dad.)”

 “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

We’ve all seen these signs, or the similar ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service’.  The notion is that a business owner has the right to work with or service whom he chooses.

The entire United States is covered by the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination by privately owned places of public accommodation on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. Places of “public accommodation” include hotels, restaurants, theaters, banks, health clubs and stores. Nonprofit organizations such as churches are generally exempt from the law.

The federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, so gays are not a protected group under the federal law. But about 20 states, including New York and California, have enacted laws that prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation.  Michigan has no such law.

Within His Rights

Klawiter is within his rights to refuse service to gay people.  He could also refuse service to Green Bay Packers fans, or people who drive red cars, or any other reason as long as he isn’t refusing serviced based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, or disability as covered in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

If there is no state, federal or local law prohibiting discrimination against a particular group of people, then you can legally refuse to serve that group of people.

There are always consequences

Clearly Klawiter has the right to refuse service.  But why?  Klawiter says it is a moral decision.  While he has received support on social media, he has also received condemnation, even death threats.

Klawiter isn’t backing down.  Once again taking to social media, Thursday Klawiter posted on FaceBook:

 “Listen up folks, If you have an opposing view to mine that IS OK, what is NOT OK is threats to kill me, my family, and friends; threats to burn down my shop and my home. I will stand firm on my views and will not back down, however, because of the ridiculous backlash I am requesting any supporters of ours that would be willing to stand with us to help secure my home and business. (There also seems to be a TON of confusion about one of my comments, the bolt and nut thing was a reference to physiology, bolt penis and nut vagina. I DID NOT threaten to purposely put a vehicle together wrong to harm someone.”

Capitalism

Whether you agree with Klawiter or not, neither side is expressing nor exercising tolerance.   Gay, straight, Christian or atheist, paraphrasing Rodney King,

Can’t we all just get along?’  

Everyone’s personal views deserve respect, even if they are intolerant.  That’s  tolerance, that’s freedom, that’s American.

Want to know what is also American?   Service customers to the best of your ability, take personal pride in your work, and laugh all the way to the bank.  That’s the American way.

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Thomas E. Cheever, P.E.

Thomas E. Cheever, P.E.

While attending college, Thomas Cheever enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Upon graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, he received a commission in the United States Navy where he earned the rank of Lt. Commander. A life long pilot with over 5000 flight hours, Thomas Cheever has piloted aircraft from single seat experimental race planes to U.S. Navy A-7 Corsairs and F/A 18 Hornets. Today he is president and senior engineer with Florida Technical, Inc. a consulting engineering firm serving clients throughout Florida and the southeast.

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