Wednesday, September 9, 2015

free exercise will cost you

ME: The law should protect both parties' rights; rights of equal protection and of religion.
THEM: Your group is infringing on my group's rights and discriminating against them.
ME: My group has religious rights, too. The law should accommodate both parties' rights.
THEM: Your group has every right to their religious beliefs, right up to the point where they infringe on my group's religious beliefs.
ME: You never address how to keep your group from infringing on my group's rights.
THEM: No one is telling your group what to believe. Or infringing on their practice of religion. They can pick either their religion or their employment, but not both.
ME: Your solution is they lose their jobs? How is that not an infringement of my group's religious rights?
THEM: Suck it up and do it, or find another job. Your group is free to practice their beliefs, as long as the practice does not infringe on my group's beliefs.
ME: You continue to deny accommodation for my group, while requiring accommodation of yours. How is that equal?
THEM: I made no request for accommodation for my group. I only threatened your group with their source of income. Your group is free to act against their religion. Or they can lose their job.

Why am I spending so much time fighting this battle?

Because, even though Kim Davis (county clerk in Kentucky) may have been in the wrong for HOW she acted, this is a larger demonstration of what has been going on in this country.

In a country where one of the very first enumerated rights is the "free exercise" of religion, it is hard to believe how often that right is being taken away. Perhaps even more concerning is how unequally those rights are being observed, even allowed. Cake bakers, photographers, military personnel, private property owners, flower shops, printing companies, and private individuals are being taken to court, as well as slandered in public, over their deeply held religious beliefs.

And with each instance, the clamoring gets louder that religion is something to be ashamed of; to hide away in your homes. Which is even more startling given the history of those who shout the loudest; those who for so very long had to hide their own beliefs for fear of ridicule and retaliation. Somehow, in this upside-down world, it is "Justice" to attack, degrade, and demean those who disagree. But it is that type of behavior which is called "bigotry" when practiced by those who call themselves "conservative". Yet it's hailed as "Social Justice" by those who, without irony, call themselves "progressives".

This largely takes place against openly Christian groups and individuals.

Yet with each instance, should the groups switch places, or should a different favored group be inserted for the "offensive" christian group, the reaction is entirely different. If a christian denies a homosexual access to their services, they are reviled, slandered, and often litigated.

Not so, if it were a homosexual denying a christian.

Not so, if it were a muslim group denying a homosexual. Or sometimes, even killing them.

Dick and Betty Odgaard believed in 2013 that they were standing for their Mennonite beliefs when they refused to let a gay couple get married at their Gortz Haus Gallery, a Grimes church they had turned into a flower shop and bistro.
The Odgaards in December agreed to a settlement with the two men stating that their business would not discriminate in offering its services to the public. Instead of being forced to open the venue to same-sex weddings, the Odgaards ended their wedding business entirely.

Stutzman is the Washington florist who has been sued for living out her Christian beliefs. In 2013, a long-time friend and customer came to her flower shop and asked her to provide flowers for his gay wedding. Stutzman had known this man and had done business with him for about nine years. Nevertheless, she told him that she could not participate in his wedding "because of my relationship with Jesus."
Keep in mind that Stutzman does not refuse service to gay people. Indeed she had been selling flowers to this gay couple for nine years. She has also employed gay people in her flower shop.
The court also ruled recently that both the state and the same-sex couple, who each filed lawsuits against her, may collect damages and attorneys fees not only from her business, but from Stutzman personally. That means the 70-year-old grandmother may not only lose her business, but also her home and savings because she lives her life and operates her business according to her beliefs.

In Oregon, the state labor commissioner in July ordered the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa to pay $135,000 damages to a lesbian couple for refusing to bake them a wedding cake. Aaron and Melissa Klein have appealed the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Hands On Originals contended that it declined the T-shirt order because it is a Christian company and disagreed with the message of the shirt. The shirt was a stylized numeral 5 on the front. On the back was "Lexington Pride Festival" and a list of sponsors of the gay pride event.
Sexton said in a statement that the ruling is a landmark for Lexington's Fairness Ordinance. "If you're going to do business in Lexington, you must make your goods and services accessible to everyone regardless of the protected classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. ... If this was a case involving race, religion or national origin, there would be no debate on right or wrong."

Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, assigned to the 37th Training Wing, said Friday he was relieved July 26 of his duties as first sergeant of a training squadron and forced to take leave because he disagreed with his commanding officer’s position on gay marriage. He says his commander is openly lesbian.
Monk said he was subsequently relieved of his duties at the unit, and had to request permission to return in order to collect personal items. “I was relieved of my position because I do not agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” he said.

Atlanta city officials say they were within their rights to fire former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran because he wrote — and offered for sale — a Christian book without permission and gave copies of it to nearly two dozen people at work.
The councilman, who is openly gay, has told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that “when you’re a city employee and [your] thoughts, beliefs and opinions are different from the city’s, you have to check them at the door,” according to ADF attorneys.


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