Monday, October 13, 2014

Death of Freedom of Religion: Compelled to Violate Conscience

What happens when the State compels you to allow your customers to have sex with your wife? What would you do? Of course, you would oppose such a move, even if you lived in a society where the “proper” thing to do was to allow this. I know this sounds absurd, but there have been States that have required this, perhaps not for everyone, but at least for those in power.

You would protest that you have an unalienable right to guard your own family and to live by your beliefs. However, reasonable this might sound, what is reasonable no longer applies. Take this example:

  • A Kentucky Human Rights Commission examiner has ordered a Christian screen printing company to print t-shirts that bear pro-homosexual messages and undergo diversity training for declining to make shirts for a “gay pride” celebration two years ago.
  • The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission issued the recommendations of its hearing examiner on Tuesday, declaring that Hands On Originals–a company that identifies as “Christian outfitters” on the home page of its website–violated the Lexington Fairness Ordinance by passing on the requested order because of its religious convictions.
  • The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO) had wanted the company to print t-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Gay Pride Festival. When manager Blaine Adamson declined the order due to the company’s biblical convictions not to be partaker of another man’s sins (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7), GLSO filed a complaint with the HRC.
  • HRC examiner Greg Munson ruled this week that Hands On Originals violated the law by not printing the shirts for the event.

It is one thing to refuse to serve gays because they are gay, but this isn’t the issue here. The owner, Blaine Adamson, explained that he couldn’t partake in sin:

  • “I want the truth to come out—it’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, ‘No Gays Allowed… We’ll work with anybody. But if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.”

Should a gay shirt-maker be compelled to print shirts for a pro-family conference reading, “God will only sanction heterosexual marriage!”? Of course not! Or should a Jewish owner be compelled to print, “Hitler understood the Jews”? Or a Muslim forced to print, “The Koran is Wrong!”?

No one should be forced to print or utter an oath in contradiction to what they believe. Such a requirement is dehumanizing and can only breed conflict! What is the State’s compelling need to coerce such behavior? Of course, there is none, other than the State’s own ideological militancy to force their ideology on the rest of us:

  • In his decision, Munson ruled that Hands On Originals must accept orders to print t-shirts or other products that bear messages advocating for homosexuality, and mandated the company to undergo diversity training.

It is not enough for the State to deprive Hands On Originals of their freedom to practice their faith. They must now adopt the State religion and be sent for indoctrination, “diversity training” – nothing short of a Maoist tactic! How could Munson possibly justify such a decision? By misrepresenting the “offense”:

  • “The evidence of record shows that the respondent discriminated against GLSO because of its members’ actual or imputed sexual orientation by refusing to print and sell to them the official shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival.”
  • “The respondent is permanently enjoined from discriminating against individuals because of their actual or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity,” he wrote. “The respondent is ordered to participate in diversity training to be conducted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission within 12 months of the issuance of this order.”
What! Hands On didn’t discriminate against gays but against the gays’ demand that they violate their faith!

How can such rulings not breed cynicism and contempt for the authorities who bring about such deceptive and prejudicial decisions! How can this nation survive, if it reneges on the basic values and freedoms that have built this civilization!

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