But please – tell me more about how it’s Christians forcing their beliefs and will on others.
We’ve talked about Barronelle Stutzman in the past. She’s the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington state and she’s been mired in a legal battle brought against her by a gay man (who she’s happily served as a customer in the past) because she didn’t want to cater flowers to the man’s same-sex wedding. It’s against her Christian beliefs to participate in such and that’s why she said no.
Today, according to this, the Washington state Supreme Court basically told her “Tough turtles” and they’re forcing her to do it anyway even though legally, she did nothing wrong –
The pretext for overriding the florist’s rights to free speech and religious liberty was Washington’s so-called “public accommodations law,” which required the owner, Barronelle Stutzman, to provide goods and services to customers “regardless” of their sexual orientation.
Let’s be clear, according to the plain language of the law and the undisputed facts of the case, Stutzman did nothing illegal. She had always consistently and joyfully served gay clients, including the man who ultimately decided to bring potentially ruinous legal claims against her. On each of those prior occasions, however, she was not using her artistic talents to help her clients celebrate an occasion she considered immoral.
In other words, she was not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. She was making a decision not to help celebrate an action, a form of expression. She would no more celebrate a gay wedding than she would any form of immorality, gay or straight. To dispense with her argument, the court did what numerous progressive courts have done: It rewrote the law. It rejected what it called the “status/conduct” distinction, and essentially interpreted the word “orientation” to also mean “action.”
So if you’re a Christian who finds the homosexual lifestyle morally repugnant, but otherwise can peacefully co-exist with your homosexual neighbors and associates – you’re still a terrible, rotten, awful person. You don’t condone or accept homosexuality in your life and the Cult of Social Justice says you have to.
The court order actually tried to conflate the issue of a gay couple looking for flowers for their wedding with the issue of civil rights in the 1960s, which looking at it in context makes absolutely no sense –
But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”
What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.
But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”
So, Stutzman recommended places for the couple to find flowers for their wedding and they still brought legal action against her. There were no civil rights being threatened here (other than Stutzman’s, ironically enough). This was the government using a false argument as a beating stick against a Christian woman in order to make an example of her to other Christians. “Toe the politically correct social justice line, or you’re next!”
What’s next? Stutzman’s attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom have vowed to take this all the way to the Supreme Court, and that’s where things are most likely going to get interesting –
Once again, eyes will be fixed on Justice Kennedy. Will he continue to impose his own version of the state religion, the one he so enthusiastically articulated in Obergefell? Or will he remember that words have meaning, orientation doesn’t mean action, and the state can’t compel citizens to condone what they consider immoral.
It’s time for the Supreme Court to take a deep breath, abandon its revolutionary crusade, and remember the great wisdom of its predecessors: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”
What say you, Justice Kennedy? Do those who oppose the sexual revolution forfeit that fundamental protection? I suppose we’ll soon find out.
I guess we will find out. Keep an eye on this – it’s only going to get wilder from here.