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Three Reasons It Isn’t Over

The Supreme Court has spoken.

It wasn’t a surprise, but it was disappointing. In a 5-4 decision, the Court created an oven-fresh, new right to marry someone of the same gender.  The Court provided no limiting principle that would prevent their logic from extending to other kinds of relationships whose profession of love is not currently acknowledged with a marriage license.

The decision was a setback for the rule of law.

The Constitution says as much about marriage as it does about the Seahawks.  When the Constitution is silent on an issue, then that issue should be resolved by the legislative branch of government.  The states (or Congress) should have been allowed to continue wrestling with this issue and reaching a resolution based on the input of the people through their elected representatives.

But as it turns out, the voices of 51 million people from thirty-one states who voted for laws defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman were overruled by five, unelected lawyers in Washington, DC.

For a number of people, the response to the Court’s decision was relief.  Sentiments like, “At least it’s over!!” and “Can we please stop talking about gay marriage now?”

Unfortunately, the conflict between the sexual revolution and the nation’s faith-based people and institutions may only intensify in the coming months and years.  Here’s why.

1. The LGBT political leadership doesn’t want to coexist:  An entire industry was built to accomplish what happened on Friday.  That industry is not going to suddenly declare itself obsolete. You don’t raise money by declaring victory. Now that “full equality under the law” has been accomplished, there will be another crisis requiring their attention, and another, and another…

2. Some people are still free to disagree: The goal of the LGBT political movement has always been to eradicate the belief that homosexuality and heterosexuality are different.  That is why they promote policies that allow someone to decline to decorate a cake critical of same-sex “marriage,” but not decline to decorate a cake supportive of it.  The goal is to create a government that punishes beliefs about homosexuality they disagree with. Therefore, as long as you have the freedom to run your business, non-profit, university, school, or church according to your beliefs, their job is not done.

3. Now it’s easier to call you a racist, legally speaking:  The 14th Amendment was written to stop the government from treating people differently because of their race. Now that the Supreme Court has discovered a new right to marry someone of the same gender in the 14th amendment, it’s easier to argue that those who don’t celebrate homosexuality are the same as racists. As a result, the ability to remove tax-exempt status, cut off federal funding to religious universities, and otherwise marginalize people who believe in natural marriage became easier.

Marriage has been redefined most recently, but it may not be the last word to be redefined.

Soon, “religious freedom” may mean only the freedom to believe what you want in your head and maybe talk about it at church or at home. You may need a license though. In the same way, “civil rights” may soon be redefined so that a person can be forced to celebrate an event they disagree with but not free to say something “offensive”.  After all, that’s “hate speech.”

The world is changing quickly, but the truth about marriage remains.

And the need for courage only grows.

So you stayed out of the debate about marriage because you didn’t feel like telling someone else how to live their life.  Great.

But what will you do when they start telling you how to live yours?

Will you surrender all your freedom in an effort to avoid being misunderstood? Let’s hope not.

But we’re going to find out, because, despite what we all wish, this is far from over.

A Response to Today’s Marriage Ruling

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that all fifty states must redefine marriage directly, forcing all states to provide same-sex licensure and mandating all states to recognize same-sex marriage from other states. This new order results in a definition of marriage that weakens the institution by making it about the desires of adults rather than the good of children.

Today’s decision serves as a reminder that societal change does not start with massive laws being passed, but that change begins with mass conversion. In preparation for an upcoming trip to the Holy Land, I have been reading through the Gospels. How fitting that today, the day that the Supreme Court of the United States would rule to make same sex unions legal across the nation, I would read the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke — the chapter about the risen Lord…“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is NOT here, He is RISEN.” What a reminder that our hope is not in any man, in any policy, or any institution! Our Hope is in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who alone is risen Lord and reigning King. While the earth and its desires may be passing away, Jesus is redeeming hearts and lives by the power of His Holy Spirit.

So today, may the people of God rejoice in our risen Lord and may the people of God be reminded that we will triumph over the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.

The word of our testimony is a powerful influencer on culture. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Washingtonians, now is the time to speak. It is a time to share about marriage as God designed it, a union between a man and a woman for life. While by their judicial proclamation the Court may be able to declare same-sex marriage legal, they will never be able to declare it morally right. The Court does not have the power to overturn Natural Law. Now is the time to advocate for strong marriage policies and to work to ensure that the government never penalizes one who believes that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. If the risen Lord is for us, who can be against us?

February 20, 2015 Legislative Update Conference Call

Hosted by: Joseph Backholm

Topics: Arlene’s Flowers court ruling, Abortion Insurance Mandate, Sexual Orientation Change Therapy, Immunizations Exemptions, Parental Notification, Employer Contraceptive Mandate.

 

 

 

Judge Rules Against Arlene’s Flowers

In a decision that has significant implications for business owners who hold the historic view on issues of marriage and sexuality, a Benton County Superior Court Judge ruled yesterday that it is illegal to refer business for same-sex ceremonies if you are willing to provide business for any wedding.

Judge Alex Eckstrom ruled that Arlene’s Flowers and its owner, Barronelle Stutzman, violated Washington State’s non-discrimination law when she declined to provide floral services for a long-time customer.

As a result, both the business and personal assets of Barronelle Stutzman are at risk of state seizure.

In his ruling, the judge quickly dismissed the idea that the First Amendment’s guarantee to the free exercise of religion protected Arlene’s Flowers.

In support of his conclusion that the non-discrimination law trumps whatever protections the First Amendment might have once offered, he favorably cited the recent New Mexico Supreme Court decision in which the court ruled that being forced to take pictures of a same-sex commitment ceremony was the “price of citizenship.”

The judge also rejected the argument that the Washington State Constitution’s conscience protections offered any relief.

The State Constitution says that “[a]bsolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual….”

However, the judge concluded that the state could force businesses to choose between their faith and business because the state can restrict religious practices “inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.”

Apparently, declining to be part of a same-sex wedding is now “inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state.”

While the founders came to this country to flee religious oppression, the court has essentially said that anyone who holds to the historical understanding of marriage and sexuality may not be in the wedding industry.

A couple points to keep in mind with all of this.

Arlene’s Flowers did not and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. She happily serves people who identify as gay, including the customers involved in this incident for nine years.

This was an event that she did not want to be part of.

Opponents of conscience rights argue that if she’s allowed not to be part of a same-sex ceremony that “White’s Only” signs will start appearing in store windows throughout the land.

Here’s the difference.

She objected to the service being requested, not the person requesting the service.

It’s a big difference.

It’s the difference between having a “White’s Only” sign in your business and deciding not to print material for the Black Panthers because you don’t like what they’re about.

One is overt bigotry, the other is simply the ability to be yourself.

Yesterday’s decision is not the end of the story for Arlene’s Flowers. This decision will likely be appealed, and many subsequent decisions may be appealed as well. It could be years before there is a final resolution to this dispute.

However, the need for people to stand alongside Barronelle Stutzman and demonstrate to our government that she is not alone is critical.

Please call your legislators now at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to act to protect religious freedom. You can also email them by clicking here. Have your friends do the same.

The legislature can solve this problem quickly if they are compelled to.

You can also call Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who filed this lawsuit at 360-753-6200.

Please be respectful in all your comments, but please be heard.

Some are passionately committed to creating a country in which diversity has been thrown on the ash heap of history.

Unless our commitment to preserving religious freedom and conscience rights exceeds their commitment to destroying them, we’ll lose. Just like Barronelle Stutzman did yesterday.