CHQ Staff | September 10, 2013
If you are a Christian in today’s America you are steadily losing the freedom to control where and how and for whom you will labor. And when that happens you are no longer free – you are a mere subject, a virtual slave whose work day is directed by government officials who have the power of economic life or death over you.
Think we are exaggerating?
You must not have heard about Sweet Cakes By Melissa, the Gresham, Oregon family run bakery that, after months of vile threats and intimidation, and an investigation by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, announced that their store would be shut down due to the continuing harassment from pro-same-sex “marriage” advocates.
As Todd Starnes of FOX reminds us, last January, Aaron and Melissa Klein made national headlines when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Mr. Klein. “I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin.”
The lesbian couple filed a discrimination complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and Starnes reports that within days militant homosexuals groups launched protests and boycotts. Klein told me he received messages threatening to kill his family. They hoped his children would die.
Ultimately, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries announced they had launched a formal discrimination investigation against the Christian family.
Commissioner Brad Avakian told The Oregonian that he was committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether the bakery discriminated against the lesbians.
“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is to ‘rehabilitate.’ For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience…” (Emphasis ours)
In other words, give up their religious beliefs.
Or take the case of Elane Photography v. Willock in which the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photographic artist could not refuse to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony, even though New Mexico does not currently permit same-sex marriage.
You can read the truly astonishing ruling through this link.
In this case the homosexuals who were demanding that Christians violate their beliefs to participate in their “commitment ceremony” argued that Elane Photography violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act (NMHRA).
As Tamara Tabo reported in the “Above the Law” blog, “Elane Photography argued that it did not violate the NMHRA but, if it did, this application of the law violated the photography business’s Free Speech and Free Exercise rights under the First Amendment.”
The court disagreed, as Tabo noted, writing that “when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”
In a stunning concurrence to the ruling, New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Bosson made it clear that people of faith must now choose between conscience and commerce. “At some point in our lives,” he said, “all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others.” Elaine and her husband, Jonathan, he said, “are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” as “the price of citizenship.”
Such a finding is stunning not only because it raises homosexual conduct to the same protected status as race, but because it requires the participation of those whose religious convictions forbid homosexual conduct.
This is far beyond the requirement that everyone be treated with equality and humanity in such things as food service and other “public accommodation.”
It means the government can actually compel you to participate in something that is against your religion.
And if you are compelled to work against your will or to provide your talent or artistry against your will you are truly a slave.
To those who say “slave” is a word too charged in American history to be used in this context, I say perhaps “bondsman,” the word Lincoln used in his Second Inaugural Address, will fit even better.
For how else do you describe the situation of a person who has no choice and is forced to labor to the benefit of others, whose situation can be changed at the whim of his oppressor and who is punished if he objects or tries to leave?
Bondage is exactly the situation that those believers who oppose same-sex “marriage” and who refuse to participate in what their faith tells them is wrong find themselves in in today’s America.
Fortunately, the Alliance Defending Freedom has taken up the cause of Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin of Elane Photography. You can learn more about this case through this link and about the Alliance’s work to, as Alan Sears put it, “defend the right of all Americans to hear and speak – and simply live out – God’s truth.”