April 9, 2014
SCOTUS Leaves Christians Defenseless
The photographer was accused of violating New Mexico's "sexual orientation" law which mandates that there can be no denial of service based on discrimination by those offering their services to the public. Here are the facts, as reported by World Net Daily: In 2006, Elaine Huguenin received an email from a woman, Vanessa Willock, asking if she would be “open to helping us celebrate our day,” a “commitment ceremony” between her and her same-sex partner. When Elaine and her husband, Jonathan, politely declined because the ceremony was at odds with their beliefs, Willock found another photographer, for less money. But that did not stop her from filing a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, demanding the Huguenins be punished. And that is the primary objective ... to punish.
The Huguenins said they would “gladly serve gays and lesbians” by taking portraits. But photographing same-sex marriages or commitment ceremonies would “require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs,” according to their petition to the Supreme Court.
OK, I feel like a broken record whenever I try to discuss my convictions on this subject. It's really very simple for me. While my religious beliefs do not condone the redefinition of the word "marriage" to become anything other than the Biblical meaning, I would not tell another person how to conduct their lives. It is their choice. But it is equally my choice to not be coerced into approving their choice. Doesn't it seem as if the New Mexico law is doing just that?
Let me just put it into terms that apply to me. I am a writer. I am also a Christian who honors my God's commandments to the best of my abilities. There are certain actions that He has made clear to me that He does not approve of, and of which He would not want me to write in an approving manner. I am guilty of some of them; therefore I am not comfortable passing judgment on others who may commit different acts that offend Him. I can only change me and my heart, with His help.
But my religious beliefs and consciousness regarding an issue like same-sex marriage are the same beliefs that would not permit me to write and glorify someone's actions who is a murderer, an adulterer, a gossiper, a slanderer, an abuser of his/her parents, a God-hater, a greedy embezzler, a liar, and so forth. Before those of you who disagree with me, go all Duck Dynasty on me .... I am not equating same-sex marriage with the act of murder. I am just trying to make the point that the Bible is my standard for a broad spectrum of activities. That doesn't mean that I think no one should be allowed to write about them; I simply choose to let someone else do that honor, should they so desire.
But forcing me, as a Christian, to say that I approve of what Jeffrey Dahmer or Bernie Madoff did is no different than forcing a Christian photographer or baker to use their artistic expression in approval of same-sex marriage. No one is saying that you can't have your wedding cake or your commitment photographs; in fact, in every single case brought before the courts, the couples have been able to find someone who is happy to supply the service. Just don't force someone who chooses to abide by their religious convictions to do something against their faith and their will.
Yet by declining to even consider the case, the Supreme Court of our land is, in effect, condoning the decisions of the lower courts. And it doesn't stop there! I could hardly believe it when I read that one of the New Mexico State Supreme Court justices said that being ordered to compromise one’s beliefs is simply the “price of citizenship.” As a group, the New Mexico justices released this statement, in part: At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead... In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."
In short, Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin must compromise, show tolerance and respect for others who are different than they. But because they are Christians, they cannot expect the same treatment. They, apparently are not worthy of tolerance or respect; and anyone who disagrees with their religious beliefs does not have to compromise. And exactly why doesn't Vanessa Willock have to compromise to accommodate the contrasting values of Elaine and Jonathan? Where is Vanessa's respect for someone who believes differently than she does? Where is the outrage over the "social injustice" perpetrated against the Huguenins? But remember, it is not about justice; it is all about punishing.
I am afraid this is just the beginning of the legal persecution of Christians. When Judge Tim L. Garcia of the New Mexico Court of Appeals says that states can require Christians to violate their faith to do business; and the United States Supreme Court does nothing to protect our rights to practice our faith as commanded, then where does it all lead? If we are Bible-believing Christians, we know good and well where we're headed. It's not going to get any easier from here on out. We must make up our minds to continue and persevere in our faith. As our Lord told us, there's a price to be paid to follow Him. You have a choice ... compromise or stand firm. What will you do?
Revelation 14:12 "Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."