Two conservative leaders have spoken out against retail giant Walmart's opposition to the religious freedom bill in the company's home state of Arkansas. One says he is stunned by the opposition; the other vows not to darken the doors of Walmart again.
On Wednesday's "Washington Watch" program (on American Family Radio), host Tony Perkins talked with the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, about Walmart's statement opposing the religious freedom bill, saying it would paint the wrong message about the state. Perkins, president of Family Research Council, made it clear he's not going to support a company that doesn't share his values.
"I'm not going to Walmart. I think I have an obligation as to how I spend my money, not to be used by those who I'm doing business with against me and my values," he stated.
"As long as Walmart is taking a stand against religious freedom, I'm not going to be darkening the door of Walmart. It's not vindictive, it's just the fact that I'm not going to empower those who are working against the values that I care for – and religious freedom is a fundamental freedom which everything else we care about hinges on."
Huckabee, governor of Arkansas from July 1996 to January 2007, is convinced Walmart's leaders have been taken in by misinformation about the bill.
"There is a big difference between discrimination and discretion. None of us has the right to discriminate, but all of us should have the right to use our discretion when it comes to what's proper, what's fitting. If I went to my barber and said I'd like for you to shave a swastika in my head and my barber was Jewish and said I'm not going to do it - do I get to sue the barber and say she has to put the swastika in my head because I demand it? Where does this stop?"
Gov. Mike Huckabee
American Family Radio
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
"It's just baffling to me. I know the CEO of Walmart very well, I know most of the executives there – [and] I'm stunned [by the statement from Walmart]," he told Perkins. "I think that they have been led down a path maybe from people in their organization who have been persuaded to believe that the shakedown from the left is legitimate in the same way that I think people have been shaken down by the likes of tax cheat Al Sharpton."
Corporate America's stance: 'The bully wins'
Huckabee acknowledges that Walmart isn't the first corporate entity to fall for a misinformation campaign that pushes intolerance of traditional values.
"It looks like that most of corporate America has decided that the bully wins – and they have been bullied into taking a position that is irrational and illogical. Because there is no crisis here," he emphasized. "There is nobody arguing to discriminate against anybody for anything. What is being asked for is that people would have their day in court – that's all it does," he adds, referring to the Arkansas
Perkins contends that corporate executives are being hypocritical by voicing opposition over religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas when they're doing business in places that are questionable.
"They're doing business in China, Iran. How safe are they when it comes to religious liberty or protection for their customers?" Perkins posed. "Then, you've got not only the corporate executives like Tim Cook (of Apple) doing business in African and Arab regions of the world where homosexuals are killed, but then you've got some of these governors like the governor of Connecticut who said nobody from our state can go to Indiana – and yet they have a [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] that's even stronger."
Huckabee also wonders about the inconsistency of corporate reactions to religious freedom laws.
"When Tim Cook says he doesn't want to go do business in Indiana, is he serious? Does he really not want Apple Computer to sell to anyone in Indiana?" the former governor asked. "I thought the most incisive tweet I saw was one that said that it appears that now the leftists would like to put more sanctions on Indiana than on Iran. I think that says it all."
Discrimination vs. discretion
Huckabee offered his explanation of the difference between discrimination and discretion.
"None of us has the right to discriminate, but all of us should have the right to use our discretion when it comes to what's proper, what's fitting," he explained. "If I went to my barber and said I'd like for you to shave a swastika in my head and my barber was Jewish and said I'm not going to do it - do I get to sue the barber and say she has to put the swastika in my head because I demand it? Where does this stop?"
He offered another example:
"Let me put it this way. If I'm a baker and ... you come into my bakery and you want to buy doughnuts or cupcakes or a bag of bread and I say, No, I'm not going to sell that to you because I think you might be a homosexual – that's discrimination.
"But if the person comes in and says I want you to put two men on top of the wedding cake – now they're infringing upon your artistic freedom, for one, and your religious liberty, number two."