Question: Should Baronelle Stutzman’s freedom of conscience rights be equal to Sophie Theallet’s?
In this “anything goes” environment of sin, evil, and death, there is a huge battle going on regarding freedom of conscience rights. It usually comes down to opinions of those who like to defend and acknowledge secular freedom rights, while objecting to and destroying religious freedom rights!
Over the past 8 years, leftist judges on the bench very obviously choose to select secular arguments over religious ones. In both cases, however, we need to recognize that freedom of conscience should be recognized and included in such decisions!
Alliance Defending Freedom is a Christian conservative organization that sends lawyers out to defend those whose religious beliefs have clashed with secular humanism beliefs and practices; oftentimes sending Christian business owners out of business due to lawsuits filed against them.
From Alliance Defending Freedom (ADL) website:
The Founding Fathers recognized that all people have inalienable rights that flow from the Creator. These rights are grounded in the unique, Judeo-Christian concept of man’s inherent dignity as a creature made in God’s image, endowed with reason, free will, and an eternal soul. The Founders understood that one of Government’s primary tasks is to preserve the freedom for each person to follow his own conscience, so they enshrined certain fundamental rights in our nation’s constitution to guarantee this freedom.
As secular forces chip away at our nation’s Judeo-Christian roots, religious freedom is increasingly threatened. Yet the First Amendment continues to reflect the Founders’ belief that “[t]he Religion…of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise [religion] as [conviction and conscience] dictate.”
Alliance Defending Freedom defends religious freedom and opposes all attempts to compel people to compromise their beliefs or retreat from civil and political life as the price for following their faith.
There have been many instances where the leftists have purposely sought out Christian businesses, sent individuals into the business to challenge their deeply held religious beliefs by asking them to accommodate their gay “marriage” ceremony with flowers, a cake, or other service which would clearly violate the business owner’s freedom of conscience rights.
Today, there is a leftist freedom of conscience situation that has been “celebrated” by the media of mass deception, whereas all of the previous lawsuits done by leftists against Christian business owners have Christians labeled – by the media and their supporters – as “bigotry,” “hate,” “anti-gay (or whatever orientation),” “racist” etc.
Why, exactly, was this done?
It was done to make the demand that Christian beliefs and freedom of conscience does not (or should not) matter in the public business arena. In their minds, leftist demands (and beliefs) should outweigh (or, more accurately, even trump) any Christian business owners beliefs and/or freedom of conscience.
Well, today Alliance Defending Freedom shares a situation where a dress maker’s “freedom of conscience” came up when she made a public statement to the news media that she refuses to “dress” the future First Lady, Melania Trump.
The article isn’t up at the ADL website yet, so I will share it in its entirety here until the link shows up (which includes additional links within the text) on the site.
Conscience Rights for All
A concept that is not difficult to grasp, but seems difficult for some courts and legislators to carry out: Freedom of conscience extends to all people.
If you’re a cake artist, a floral artist, or another creative professional, you’ve seen the news and felt, rightfully so, that your freedom is in danger.
If, however, you are a fashion designer? You’re probably feeling pretty good right about now:
“Donald Trumps election has brought no shortage of controversy. One of the latest comes from clothing designer Sophie Theallet, who recently wrote that she ‘will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady.’ In explaining her decision, she invoked her deeply-held belief in ‘individual freedom.’
“‘[A]s a family owned company, ‘ Theallet explains, ‘[w]e value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world.’ She considers her and her family’s work to be “an expression of [their] artistic and philosophical ideas.’
“Ms. Theallet describes her design work to be ‘an expression of [her] artistic and philosophical ideas,’ and leftist elite are quick to agree. But why do they become so skeptical when the person asserting her artistic freedom is a floral artist whose views they don’t like?
“It’s because many in that crowd don’t care about true freedom–a freedom that belongs to everyone. If they did, they would recognize that Barronelle Stutzman, no less than Ms. Theallet, is an artist whose conscience rights must be protected. If they did, their views of art or freedom wouldn’t hinge on the nature of a person’s convictions.”
The mainstream media covered the decision of Ms. Theallet, with nary a hint of accusing her of bigotry. This is, after all, a matter of conscience and freedom, not bigotry.
As Mary Katherine Ham writes, at The Federalist:
“But these are the same arguments the left and media have dismissed from Baronelle Stutzman, a Washington florist who thinks making custom bouquets for a same-sex marriage doesn’t comport with her personal beliefs. In appealing to the state Supreme Court after a three-year legal battle, Stutzman’s lawyer argued this week ‘that arranging flowers is artistic expression protected under the First Amendment. Stutzman — a Southern Baptist — would have been more than happy to sell prearranged flowers out of the cooler because that was “not custom expression.”‘
In other words, the exact same logic applies to both the fashion designer and the florist (and the baker and the photographer). Off-the-rack dresses, pre-arranged flowers, and other similar “pre-expressed” products are not a problem; nobody is going to stop the president-elect’s wife from purchasing a dress from any given fashion designer.
If, however, you believe that Ms. Theallet has the freedom to opt out of providing creative expressions for the president-elect’s wife (she does), then it strains the imagination to find a reason to force Mrs. Stutzman to provide custom, creative expressions for an event to which she has an objection.
Hat tip: Alliance Defending Freedom