Archive for the ‘Barronelle Stutzman’ Category

Should Compromising Religious Beliefs Be the Price of Citizenship?

December 1, 2016

Yesterday, I posted the content of an email entitled  “Conscience Rights for All” that I had received from Alliance Defending Freedom. Today, I was not able to find a link to the article. However, there is a link at the ADF site which shares an excellent essay on this topic from The Public Discourse website. The post goes into more detail regarding this very important issue and the current battle going on within the courts of our nation.

The Public Discourse: SOGI Laws: A Subversive Response to a Nonexistent Problem.

Excerpt:

The “price of citizenship” in a free society can never include our freedom of conscience. If we surrender that, then we have surrendered free society itself.

Throughout history, every person under every regime has had—in the most elemental sense—the freedom to form a unique set of beliefs and values. But, uniquely, citizens of the United States have long been guaranteed the fulfillment of that freedom. That is, we possess the freedom to live peacefully according to our beliefs and to follow the dictates of our conscience.

This freedom—codified by the First Amendment—is a pre-political right that rests in our dignity as human beings. But the cultural movement for “tolerance” and “inclusion” has reduced freedom of conscience to a lesser-than right, a token that exists subject to the decisions of judges and lawmakers.

In recent years, laws that provide special privileges to individuals based on their self-proclaimed gender identity or sexual preferences have emerged across the country. Commonly known as SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) laws, these legislative undertakings are typically fueled by activist groups and represent a subversive response to a nonexistent problem. Available data confirm there exists no significant social pattern or practice of unjust discrimination against these groups. This is not only because the vast majority of Americans already respect each other and are fair-minded, but also because anyone engaged in baseless discrimination faces the prospect of social and financial consequences brought on by public pressure and boycotts.

SOGI laws, however, use the full force of the law to punish individuals who seek to live peacefully and to work in a way that is consistent with their consciences. Elaine Huguenin, Barronelle Stutzman, Jack Phillips, and Blaine Adamson are just a few of the small business owners who gladly serve all people without exception, but who also face legal punishment because they declined to participate in certain events or to create custom art that would have violated their consciences. In Elaine’s case, she politely declined a request to use her expressive photography skills to tell the story of a same-sex commitment ceremony. Her attempt to remain peacefully true to her faith’s teachings about marriage led to a seven-year court battle that culminated in a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court against her and her husband, Jon. One justice stated that the Huguenins “now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” and added that this compulsion “is the price of citizenship.”

Barronelle Stutzman is a 72-year-old grandmother who faces the loss of her business, savings, and home for referring elsewhere a request by a long-time friend and customer that she participate in the celebration of his same-sex wedding by designing custom floral arrangements for it.

In Iowa and Massachusetts, not only religious citizens but even houses of worship are under attack. Churches currently face government-imposed mandates requiring them to open their restrooms to individuals based on their subjectively determined sex rather than biological reality.

Conditional Surrender Fails to Advance Religious Liberty.

[In] the current cultural standoff, proponents of religious freedom and freedom of conscience simultaneously confront opportunities for victory and defeat. We can either choose to enter the arena and strive valiantly for victory, or we can join “those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat,” choosing to negotiate the terms of our own surrender. Now is not the time to partner with proponents of SOGIs in hopes of catching a few crumbs of liberty that fall from the table. Freedom of conscience is not a token to be surrendered as the price of citizenship in a free society; it is the mark of citizenship and the fruit of a free society.

James Gottry is a lawyer and writer with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group founded to preserve and defend religious liberty.

Read it all at:

The Public Discourse: SOGI Laws: A Subversive Response to a Nonexistent Problem.

Related article:

The Federalist: BuzzFeed Wants To Destroy Chip And Joanna Gaines For Being Christian And Wildly Popular.

Hat tips to all links.

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Where Sin Abounded, Grace Abounded Much More

June 13, 2015

Yesterday I had a lively conversation with someone special in my life about the homosexual “marriage” issue.  She has been very busy with her own life and doesn’t usually watch the news.  I informed her that there have been lawsuits filed by homosexual activists who felt “discriminated against” because certain Christian business owners refused to participate in homosexual “marriage” ceremonies.

Even though hundreds of flower shops (and/or bakeries in other cases) would be willing to service them, the two homosexual men (in the case of Baronelle Stutzman) decided to file a lawsuit against her. In fact, several flower shops offered to provide flowers free of charge to the two men! But that wasn’t enough to satisfy them. They needed to go through with a lawsuit in order to “teach her a lesson,” run her out of business, destroy her livelihood and possibly even take away her home!

I ask, where is the tolerance in that?

I shared the story of Baronelle Stutzman which can be seen in the video below.

I explained most of what was shown in the above video to her, and she did say that what was happening to Stutzman “wasn’t right.”

I was glad that she ended up understanding what is at stake in the homosexual “marriage” agenda vs. the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association rights of Christian business owners.

Ultimately, the decision made by the Supreme Court will come down in favor of either religious liberty or “special rights” for the homosexual legal agenda.

I told her that I fear for this country if the Supreme Court makes a sweeping decision (like Roe. vs. Wade regarding abortion becoming legal in all 50 states in 1973) that demands the recognition of homosexual marriage without any freedom of religion, speech and association exclusions for those with religious objections towards being involved in such “ceremonies.”

This morning, I awoke with the following thought in my mind.

“The day that Jesus is not close to me is a day that doesn’t exist.”

It was very comforting to me! I think that it was a message from the Holy Spirit of God to help me focus on Jesus and to remind me that I am “not of this world;” just as Christ stated in John 8.

I know that the promises of the Bible are real and enduring. No matter what transpires in this fallen world, God is with me…always! And no one can ever take away my salvation which has been obtained through Jesus Christ!

Rom 5:1

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have [fn] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Rom 5:2

through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Rom 5:3

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

Rom 5:4

and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Rom 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Rom 5:6

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Rom 5:7

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

Rom 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 5:9

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Rom 5:10

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Rom 5:11

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Rom 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Rom 5:13

(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Rom 5:14

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Rom 5:15

But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Rom 5:16

And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Rom 5:17

For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Rom 5:18

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Rom 5:19

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Rom 5:20

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Rom 5:21

so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

*******

Update:

I wrote this blog post late last night. This morning, I found a new Christian blog that had a great post which explains what Barronelle Stutzman mentioned in the video regarding Christ being the Groom and the church (all born-again Christians – not a specific denomination or building) being His Bride.

Grace Life Thoughts: Thinking About Marriage.

Read it all at the link!

Here is an important excerpt:

Jesus Christ often taught about marriage during His ministry on earth during the early part of the 1st century AD. The Pharisees used the issue of divorce from marriage as a way to trick Jesus. Jesus supported the traditional definition of marriage from the Genesis account in His answer to the Pharisees.

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’ They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?’ He said to them, ‘Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 19:4-9

Jesus added the words, ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate,’ to the understanding of marriage. Many pastors still use those words during marriage ceremonies.

Marriage, from a biblical perspective, is between a human male and human female. Two life events can dissolve a marriage: death and sexual immorality.

“A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:39

“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9

Since God invented marriage with its true meaning and physical boundaries, God is the only Being who can change marriage. Will He change marriage? Here’s how Jesus answered a group of Sadducees who tried to trick Him with a question about marriage and the resurrection. Keep in mind that the Sadducees didn’t even believe in a physical resurrection, which makes their evil intent even more obvious.

“The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: ‘Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.” Matthew 22:23-33

God designed ‘male to female’ marriage for human beings on earth. God designed no ‘human marriage’ in the resurrection from the dead. So, is that the end of marriage? It’s only purpose is for human males and human females on earth? After death there’s nothing more to the meaning of ‘real’ marriage?

There is much, much more to the meaning of marriage and it is in that ‘reality’ we find the eternal meaning and value of marriage.

Mystical Marriage

‘Mystical marriage’ is that aspect of marriage that is both spiritual and mysterious.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33

The reduction of marriage to just a ‘legal’ ceremony misses the point of the ‘reality’ of human male and human female marriage. It’s about Jesus Christ and His Church. As Paul wrote, ‘This is a great mystery.’ The reason for ‘purity’ in marriage (human male and human female) is because of the purity of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. True ‘marriage’ can never be about human male to human male or human female to human female because it does not display the ‘great mystery’ concerning ‘Christ and the church.’ If you are a Christian and disagree with that statement, please read Ephesians 5:22-33 again. It is a ‘mystery,’ but God has chosen to reveal many of His mysteries to His children.

[You can learn more about how and why God reveals ‘mysteries’ to His children by reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, especially Chapter 3]

The ‘Marriage’ Debate

Understanding this ‘great mystery’ does not make the ‘marriage debate’ easier for Christians. In fact, it makes it more difficult because we are dealing with a great many people who do not believe in God or at least not the God of the Bible. That tension is to be expected with non-theists.

However, what is not to be expected is the debate about marriage among Christians. Even though physical and mystical marriage are explained clearly in Scripture, there are many Christians who disagree with God’s purpose and design. Why is that? Why would any Christian disagree with God’s purpose and design for something as important as marriage? Especially a truth that has eternal implications?

It is my hope that all Christians will ‘think’ seriously about God’s purpose and design for marriage and agree with Him. It is vital that Christ’s Church be unified on the ‘reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.’ Amen.

Update on 6/18/15:

Western Journalism: Legalized Gay Marriage Will Have This Huge Impact That No One Thought About

Shouldn’t Christians Just Obey the Law?

April 22, 2015

 

I receive emails from CitizenLink.  The goal of this organization is to help transform the culture through biblical citizenship.  Today, CitizenLink provided a link to an essay posted at the Family Policy Institute.  After reading this excellent article, I thought it would be advantageous to share it with readers here.  I pray that it would go viral!  But I doubt that it will  because the “politically correct” crowd will NOT like it…not one bit!

It is just too good to only excerpt here, so I have copied and pasted the entire essay below.  Please share your thoughts after reading it!

~ Christine

*******

Shouldn’t Christians Just Obey the Law?

April 14, 2015/11 Comments/by Joseph Backholm

If there’s one thing today’s secular progressive enjoys, it’s telling Christians how to be Christians.

It feels funny when it happens. A bit like getting combat training from Jane Fonda or Cindy Sheehan.

But they mean well.

And they know a verse. Their favorite verse is Matthew 7:1, which says “judge not lest ye also be judged.” They quote it every time a Christian expresses an opinion because their years of deep theological study have shown them that Matthew 7:1 means it’s wrong to have an opinion. About anything. After all, an opinion is a judgment and you can’t do that.

Says so right there.

Red letters even.

The urge to lecture Christians on how to be Christian is almost irresistible in the dispute over whether businesses can be forced to participate in same-sex weddings.

“I thought you were a Christian. Aren’t Christians supposed to follow the law?”

For the moment, let’s put aside the far-from-resolved debate over whether the law really does mandate involuntary servitude for same-sex weddings.

For the purpose of this conversation, we will assume that it does.

Shouldn’t Christians just obey the law?

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote one of the greatest commentaries ever written about what Christian citizenship requires.

It is also instructive to remember the context in which the letter was written. It was a letter written to his fellow clergymen who were concerned about his activities.

At the time, not everyone appreciated his demonstrations the way we do today.

Specifically, they expressed “anxiety over [his] willingness to break laws”. He acknowledged the apparent contradiction in urging people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools and demonstrating in ways that the law forbid.

“How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” he asked rhetorically.

His response is instructive both for the Christian and for those who seek to understand what motivates Christians,

“The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Well how do we know whether a law is just or unjust?

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

And this is where everyone starts to get uncomfortable. Is that MLK or Jerry Falwell?

Then he gives some examples:

An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. 

I wonder if that would include laws that let one person decline to bake a cake with a message they disagree with but not another person. Doesn’t he understand that these people offend me?

The left isn’t going to condemn MLK anytime soon because they like what he did. But their failure to appreciate or even acknowledge why he did it causes them to miss a much larger point.

Fundamental to Christianity is the idea that there is a law higher than man’s law.

The compulsion to obey God regardless of what the law says is the reason the Civil Rights movement was a movement of Christians. It is the reason Quakers violated the law to be an integral part of the Underground Railroad. It is why Christians rallied against the ancient practice of exposure in which infants were set out to die immediately after birth. It is why Christians worked in India to eliminate the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands.

This isn’t an attempt to provide an exhaustive history of Christianity. I’m confident I don’t need to remind you of the challenges the Christian church has had. That’s what President Obama is for.

But context is important.

The reason Christians violated the law to free slaves, save babies from exposure, and rescue widows from funeral pyres is the same reason Christians today feel they cannot be part of a same-sex wedding ceremony. We are bound to a higher law.

And before you start lecturing your Christian friends about why their position is actually not the Christian position, stop and ask yourself this question. “Do I actually know what I’m talking about?” If you haven’t read a Bible in a year, the answer is likely no.

Besides, the fact that you may not understand why someone feels something is wrong should not prohibit you from respecting their conscience anyway.

Nevertheless, the idea that there is a law that is above government is not simply just a Christian idea, it is an American idea as well.

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that our rights are endowed by our creator not our government and that governments are created to secure rights, not to create them.

We are a constitutional republic (rather than a democracy) with a Bill of Rights specifically because our Founders understood that the majority can be wrong; a position that assumes a moral law exists above legislated law.

Therefore, even if everyone knows I’m a terrible, horrible, very bad guy, even ninety-nine percent of the public can’t vote to take away my right to free speech, the free exercise of religion, or a fair trial.

Your rights transcend your political popularity and the government exists to protect those rights, not appease the mob.

This structure protects us all because, as the gay lobby has so clearly demonstrated, neither political popularity nor political powerlessness are necessarily permanent conditions.

While the right not to participate has historically been protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee to the Free Exercise of religion, some now claim the obligation to participate is required by the “duly enacted” non-discrimination statute.

The majority said you can’t use religion as an excuse to “discriminate”, so you can’t.

But the majority isn’t supposed to be able to “duly enact” away the First Amendment. That’s why it’s the First Amendment.

But again, we’re assuming none of that matters.

In a world in which the law is in conflict with the Christian conscience, the response from many on the left is a cold, “Just obey the law.”

To which the florist responds, “I will obey the law, I just won’t obey your law.”

And from his perch in heaven, Martin Luther King Jr. says, “You go girl!”

Hat tip: Family Policy Institute

*******

P.S.  Apparently, there are some leftist Democrat nut-jobs who would not only want to do away with our Second Amendment rights too, but also advocate killing the five million Americans who own guns given by that right! And…this guy wanted to be a Congressman??!! Where does the insanity end?


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Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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