The owner of an auto repair shop in Michigan has become the latest center of attention in the culture wars after writing a post on his Facebook page saying, among other things, that he would refuse service to “openly” gay people.
Dieseltec owner Brian Klawiter also says that he will run his business based on his Christian beliefs.
Klawiter is sticking by his guns:
“I am a Christian,” wrote Brian Klawiter, owner of Dieseltec in Grandville, Michigan. “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.)”
Klawiter also stated that he will offer a discount for customers who bring their gun into his shop — on-duty police officers excluded, he said, because their guns were purchased with tax dollars.
Dieseltec’s new policy seems to have been inspired by recent battles over “religious freedom” laws in Indiana and Arkansas. “Enough is enough,” the owner began his post. “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.”
Naturally, when his Facebook declaration went viral, local NBC affiliate station WOOD-TV got a hold of him and to further elaborate on his new policy. “If you have a vehicle that needs to be repaired, we’d be happy to do that for you,” he told the channel. “But if you want to come in here with your boyfriend and you want to openly display that, that’s just not going to be tolerated here. We don’t believe that here.”
The story was picked up by Huffington Post and ThinkProgress; and, as a result, his post has since shot up to being among the top 10 trending items on Facebook.
A GoFundMe page was started, purportedly in support of the auto shop, but has since been removed.
On Thursday afternoon, Klawiter claimed in a new Facebook post that he had not requested anyone set up a crowdfunding page to support his business. However, he said, “I will stand firm on my views and will not back down” in the face of alleged threats to attack his business.
What if the two guys who come in are just a couple of buds hanging out for the day? If they start making out, that’s one thing (no doubt a gay couple will try that so they can bring a nice, fat lawsuit), but otherwise, define “openly” gay. That kind of stupidity is just one reason this guy’s business deserves to go belly up.
It’s one issue to refuse to take an active part in a gay marriage ceremony or ritual by supplying flowers, or food, or photography, or any other wedding service based on religious convictions. That principled stand should be protected. But to refuse service to someone based on their sexual orientation is clearly illegal. It’s not a question of applying your religious beliefs to your business. It’s a matter of obeying the anti-discrimination law in your state — and if your hatred of gays is so profound that you can’t do business with them, you should probably find another line of work.
Besides, any businessman who refuses perfectly good money based on a personal dislike of a customer is a bad businessman. A gay person’s money is just as green and just as good as a straight person’s cash. Deliberately taking a loss because you disagree with how someone lives their life is senseless.
Now it’s not likely that Klawiter’s business will rise or fall based on the number of gay customers he might turn away in Grandville, Michigan. But his attitude could convince straight people concerned about his overt bigotry to take their business elsewhere. That might, indeed, cut into his profits — which makes me question why he took to Facebook so that all the world would know of his prejudice.