Published in the Bergen Record, December 5, 2015

Regarding "Religion used to hide bigotry" (Your Views, Nov. 28) and "Why a friend is suing me: the Arlene's Flowers story" (Other Views, Nov. 25):

I would say the letter writer is hiding his own bigotry towards the concepts of individual freedom of choice and the right of freedom of association.

In the case in question, the florist shop owner runs a private business and should be free to do business with whom she chooses, or to abstain from doing business with anyone, for any reason. The operative word here is "force." By declining to make a floral arrangement for a gay wedding she is in no way "forcing" her religious views (right or wrong) on others.

The trouble with liberal progressive types like the letter writer is that they think they have some divine right to micromanage the personal and commercial affairs of others. They are the intolerant ones doing the "forcing."

Right-wing religious conservatives and liberal egalitarian progressives have a common thread running through their views — namely contempt for individual liberty and private property rights. We libertarians uphold both personal freedom and economic freedom. Having to force people together against their will is just as immoral as government keeping people apart. Let people, regardless of who they are, decide for themselves.

Mark Richards
West Milford