A “gay” activist contends churches that lobby to preserve the right of religious believers not to promote homosexual behavior should lose their tax-exempt status.
Activist sets litmus test for religious freedom in America
Jeran Artery of the homosexual-rights group Wyoming Equality made the assertion on his Facebook page and deleted it a short time later, reported Jason DeWitt at Top Right News.
The issue arose recently because of the fierce opposition to Indiana’s adoption of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would allow groups to use their faith as a defense in claims of discrimination. But the opposition prompted lawmakers and the governor to “fix” the law and insert specific protections for “gays.”
This issue isn’t new, with such cases dating back a decade. However, they have been increasing in recent years.
The dispute is illustrated in Colorado, where a Christian baker, Jack Phillips, is defending himself in court for declining to bake a case for same-sex ceremony.
And the same time, Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission ruled that “cake artists” at Azucar Bakery, Gateaux and Le Bakery Sensual were perfectly justified in refusing to bake cakes that “violated their conscience.”
Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom said Colorado’s decision establishes discrimination as a precedent.
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“We commend the commission for reaching the right conclusion that these cake artists should not be forced to violate their conscience, but clearly the commission should have done the same for Jack Phillips,” he said Monday.
The commission found that the three cake artists have the freedom to decline creating unique cake creations because the artists found the requests offensive.
But all Americans “should be alarmed that the same commission determined that Jack doesn’t have that same freedom,” Tedesco said.
“Like the other bakers, Jack happily serves all people but declines to use his artistic talents to create cakes that violate his conscience. The commission’s inconsistent rulings mean that the owners of these three cake shops may run them according to their beliefs, while Jack cannot. He risks losing his life-long business altogether if he continues to run it consistent with his faith. Such blatant religious discrimination has no place in our society.”
See the Wyoming posting:
On an ADF blog, Joshua Tijerina decried the outright “hypocrisy” of corporations such as Walmart, Apple, Microsoft and Angie’s List, which all opposed the Indiana religious freedom law.
“It is important to clear the fog of this hypocrisy: It is OK for a business to support LGBT issues with its decisions and values (like Apple did), but it must shutter its doors if a business seeks to exercise religious freedom (like Barronelle Stutzman did),” he wrote.
“Now, ADF is a legal organization, so what does the law say? According to ADF attorney Doug Wardlow religious freedom is a fundamental right, and ‘wherever we go and whatever we do, our freedoms go with us,’” wrote Tijerina.
“He points to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell as a prime example: The United States Supreme Court held that the federal RFRA, which applies to ‘a person’s’ exercise of religion, includes natural persons as well as entities such as corporations, partnerships, firms, societies, and the like. Both Indiana’s RFRA and its federal counterpart thus recognize that a person doesn’t give up her religious liberty just because she forms a business entity,” Tijerina wrote.
“Opponents of religious freedom agree that business entities should act on what they believe, but only if those businesses agree with them,” he wrote.
In the latest court brief in the Phillips case, ADF argued that Americans are guaranteed freedom to live and work according to their faith.
ADF said the rights Phillips seeks to preserve would “protect the right of Colorado baker Marjorie Silva to decline to create a cake that references biblical teaching about sex and marriage based on her ‘standards of offensiveness’ or a gay Colorado photographer to decline an offer from Westboro Baptist Church to shoot photos at its latest demonstration.”
“These are just results that rightly and universally protect conscience. Phillips’ conscience is deserving of the same respect and protection.”
But the left-leaning Think Progress equated a Christian baker or photographer wanting to practice their faith in their business to racism.
The website wrote about Maurice Bessinger, who reportedly argued pro-slavery issues and failed to convince the courts he should be exempt from anti-racism laws.
“Bessinger’s legal claim that religion should provide a license to discriminate rears its head over and over again in modern American history. It reared its head just over a week ago in Indiana, when religious conservatives briefly pushed through legislation that could have enabled them to ignore local ordinances protecting against anti-LGBT discrimination,” the site said.
WND reported a few weeks ago that a number of homosexual bakers, approached about doing a cake with a message supportive of traditional marriage would refuse.
“Christian bakeries that refuse to make pro-homosexual marriage cakes are getting sued left, right and center. They get fined, they get death threats, and they lose their businesses,” Shoebat observed.
So, Shoebat.com decided to call 13 prominent pro-gay bakers and ask them to make a cake with the message “gay marriage is wrong.”
“Each one denied us service, and even used deviant insults and obscenities against us,” he said.
“One baker even said that she would make me a cookie with a large phallus on it just to insult us because we are Christian,” said Shoebat.
At Americans for Truth, President Peter LaBarbera said the LGBT lobby’s “campaign to portray the fervent defense of historic, Judeo-Christian teachings on sex and marriage as Hate, Bigotry & Homophobia – Big Gay Inc.’s top three slanders against people of faith and morals – is itself profoundly hateful and bigoted.”
“But we should expect such calculated smears from a Sin Movement that is essentially engaged in a political and cultural war against Nature and Nature’s God. Casting aside the lies and slanders, we will not be deterred in our defense of Truth.”
Matt Slick at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry explained: “Discrimination is not automatically bad. I discriminate on the kinds of foods I eat, on the programs I watch, and what movies I let my kids see. In fact, we all discriminate. We all have criteria by which we judge what is and is not acceptable. I discriminate against child molesters, and I will not let them be with my children unattended. I discriminate against various theological teachings that contradict the Bible. I discriminate all the time and so do you.
“When it comes to homosexuality, I believe that God has condemned it as a sin (Rom. 1:18ff). But my agreeing with God that homosexuality is a sin is not the same as discriminating against homosexuals. I have no problem working with homosexuals in a secular environment. I have no problem with homosexuals being my neighbors. I have no problem with working out at the gym with homosexuals. In things like these, I don’t discriminate.”
He explained: “To say that condemning homosexuality is wrong is a statement dealing with morality – not with legality. There might be various laws for and/or against homosexuality, but saying that condemning homosexuality is wrong is a moral issue.”