Two European Cases Hold Critical Implications for American Christians and Churches
I ran across an article that, unless you looked at the date, would seem as though it aired yesterday; even though it dates back to 2012. The article, posted online at The Telegraph, carries the headline: “Gay Danish Couples Win Right to Marry in Church.” As the title suggests, the story is about a legal battle that ended when the Danish government voted to force churches to perform gay weddings.
The article explains:
“The country’s parliament voted through the new law on same-sex marriage by a large majority, making it mandatory for all churches to conduct gay marriages.”
The vote, called “historic” by at least one person, effectively ended the religious freedom of entire churches and denominations in favor of forcing marriage redefinition and affirmation of that redefinition on all.
Let me ask a question: how many times have homosexual advocates promised to respect religious liberty and religious freedom as they simultaneously demand “equality” and “rights”?
Activists and lawmakers alike have said religious freedom would be respected as homosexuals continue to push for LGBT rights. Pundits sneer at the idea that churches would be forced to perform gay weddings against their religious convictions. And yet such events are taking place.
Let me ask another question: if the government can force people, organizations and businesses to violate their religious convictions why can’t it force churches to do the same?
Oh, but we have the First Amendment, so the government won’t make any law concerning religion, or the “free exercise” thereof. Our Constitution guarantees that the government will never force people to violate their religious convictions. Really?
The government is currently forcing tax payers to fund abortion against their religious convictions.
The government is currently demanding that photographers, bakers, and florists affirm same-sex “marriage” by lending their artistic talents to gay weddings.
The government, via another Obama executive order, is forcing any organization that wants to contract with the federal government to hire LGBT people even though doing so violates religious convictions.
Our government has been forcing people to violate their religious convictions for quite some time, how long before it begins to demand that churches “get with the program” and perform same-sex weddings?
No doubt people will be concerned that America will look “across the pond” and seek to emulate this religious freedom crushing legislation. Considering the current political climate against religious liberty it would not surprise me if some wanna-be politico tried to introduce such legislation in order to make a name for him or herself.
But if we are going to look across the pond, then let’s do it with clear vision rather than merely myopically.
In another more recent article it seems the judge that demanded the Christians owners of a bed and breakfast violate their religious convictions and serve homosexuals is having a change of heart.
In the case of Peter and Hazelmary Bull, a Christian couple operating a bed and breakfast in the UK, a court ordered them to pay damages to a homosexual couple when the Bull’s refused to rent them rooms based on their religious convictions. The Bull’s were convicted of violating discrimination laws and ordered to pay for their “crime.”
This was a high profile case that highlighted the dangers of elevating the status of one group above the inherent rights of another. In this case it was the homosexuals being elevated and the religious convictions of Christians being trampled.
But now the judge that issued the ruling is saying she might have been wrong and that greater caution is needed in these cases. She is even saying that a conscience protection law is needed in order to protect the religious convictions of Christians and people of faith.
An article at WND shares:
“Baroness Hale, the deputy president of the Supreme Court, said in a speech that her decision may have been wrong. She is warning that the law, according to the report, ‘has done too little to protect the beliefs of Christians.’”
Hale went on to say:
“I am not sure our law has found a reasonable accommodation of all these different strands. An example of treatment which Christians may feel to be unfair is the recent case of Bull v Hall. Should we be developing an explicit requirement upon providers of employment, goods and services to make reasonable accommodation for the manifestation of religious beliefs?”
She’s right, the religious convictions of Christians and people of faith have not been adequately protected from the tide of LGBT attacks. But is a conscience law enough?
Consider that America has the First Amendment which clearly makes it known that no law shall be established against a person exercising his or her faith. And yet our government and courts have found ways to “interpret” that law that violates the very convictions it was intended to protect.
The fact is, true tolerance, the ability to respect the right of other people to hold a divergent opinion, is all but lost. The prevailing sentiment is acceptance, affirmation, and celebration. Activists are not content to merely coexist, or practice tolerance, they want everyone to celebrate their lifestyle; whatever lifestyle that may be.
This fact, coupled with the fact that Christians believe homosexual behavior is sinful, means that the two groups will never be able to live in harmony; someone’s rights will always be in jeopardy. The question is, as a society, whose rights are we content to jeopardize?
If we grant true religious freedom homosexuals will believe their rights have been violated through discrimination as Christian owned and operated businesses refuse to hire based on some sexual orientations. Or, as in the case of the bed and breakfast owner, at times Christians will refuse to render services. Other cases would include the photographer in New Mexico, the baker in Colorado, and the florist in Washington.
But if Christians are forced to serve, render services, or hire people that violate their religious convictions, then their religious freedom has been violated. You see, the two groups are incompatible with one another.
What does this mean? It means the idea that there will be no infringement on religious liberty and freedom in the wake of legal gains for LGBT rights is nonsense. It means people of faith are being deceived by ambitious activists and lawmakers alike in order to change the law; a move that will eventually considerably limit religious freedom. It means taking the “this doesn’t affect me” approach will only lead to false security and end up in a tragic loss of freedom.
There is no reason for the United States to make the same mistakes made in the UK. Instead of following in their wayward footsteps only to look back and wish we had not make those same mistakes. What if we learn from their mistakes and do better? Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. There is still hope for America if we refuse to sit down and shut up.