Did you know there was a Libertarian Party presidential debate last week?
I don’t blame you if you didn’t, as the mainstream media all but ignored it — and maybe justifiably since the Libertarians have zero chance at winning the presidency. That being said, the debate was very interesting. Several different issues of interest to us here at The Pulse 2016 were discussed, including abortion and religious freedom.
Three candidates participated: former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who ran as the Libertarian Party nominee in 2012; tech entrepreneur John McAfee; and Austin Petersen, a 35-year-old, libertarian blogger/policy wonk who could easily pass for Marco Rubio.
On religious freedom, a sharp contrast emerged between Johnson, who wants to force religious dissenters to take part in marriage ceremonies, bake cakes for gay weddings, etc., and Petersen, who argued for conscience protections for people of faith:
PETERSEN: I just want to say that, you know, yes, Governor Johnson has stated that he does side with him [Bernie Sanders] on social issues, and we had a big kerfuffle in Oregon last week because Governor Johnson has stated that he believes that bakers should be forced to bake wedding cakes for people they disagree with — homosexual couples. And this is a big problem because we’re running for President as a Libertarian…
STOSSEL: But is he correct in quoting you?
JOHNSON: Yes, but I think that if you discriminate on the basis of religion, I think that is a black hole. Look, I think you should be able to discriminate for stink, or you not wearing shoes, or whatever, but I’ll tell you what, if we discriminate on the basis of religion, to me, that’s doing harm to a big class of people —
PETERSEN: Should a Jewish baker be required to bake a Nazi wedding cake?