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Religious liberty: And So the Fight Begins

Besides a $135,000 fine, a baker has been forbidden to speak about their principled decision to refuse to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians:

The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.

This is precisely what the dissenters in Obergefell v. Hodge expected and predicted.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

“Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority— actually spelled out in the Constitution. Amdt. 1.”

Judge Thomas expanded upon this concern:

“Numerous amici—even some not supporting the States—have cautioned the Court that its decision here will “have unavoidable and wide-ranging implications for religious liberty.” Brief for General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists et al. In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. 

It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples. The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability. It makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation’s tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice.”  Emphasis added.

Apply this thinking to government vouchers for K-12 private schools – which are tax dollars.  If a baker, who is getting no government funding whatsoever, can be forced to provide services to a homosexual couple, how is it that Christian schools will be able to say “No” – when Uncle Sam is footing the bill?  Can someone explain that to me?  

(c) 2014 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

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