Thursday, October 09, 2014
The New Freedom: "Leave Your Religion At Home"
A state Human Rights Commission examiner has sent a chilling message to all Christians, particularly those who own businesses.
"Leave your religion at home"....."Or else."
The HRC Executive Director, Raymond Sexton, charged with carrying out the punishment says he himself is a Christian.
He says "it would be safe to say" that you should leave your religion at home "Or in this case, you can find yourself two years down the road and you're still involved in a legal battle because you did not do so."
And under the force of the law, you will among other punishments, as in this and other cases, be forced to undergo "diversity training" designed to "reorient" your beliefs.
Can Christians "leave their religion at home" and live biblically?
In 2012, WTVQ TV reported that a "hearing officer ruled in favor of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission in its complaint against Hands On Originals," a Christian owned business.
The complaint was filed after the business owner declined to print t-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival.
The ruling was reported to the public yesterday.
Sexton told Todd Starnes that this was a "landmark decision"---"It is a very important ruling for us."
A celebration of forcing people to leave their religion at home, or else, is important to them.
It's interesting that owner Blaine Adamson has done business with homosexuals in the past when he did not feel the message contradicted his religious biblical beliefs and his conscience.
That's not enough in this hyper-ventilated, so-called "equality" movement. The call is not for equality of freedom, but for the freedom to silence those who disagree on religious grounds. And to do so with the full force of the law.
A similar case is in process in here in Washington State.
Arlene's Flowers and Gifts in Richland is in court with similar charges filed against the owner Barronell Stutzman.
Barronell, a great grandmother and small business owner, has been charged with declining to provide flowers for a homosexual couple's "wedding." She, as with Adamson, has done business with homosexuals in the past, including the pair that filed charges against her. She simply cannot participate in a homosexual "marriage" because of her biblical beliefs.
Neither she nor Adamson harbor hate for the people, it's a matter of deeply held biblical beliefs and their right to live by their beliefs.
I spoke with Barronell yesterday. She asked me to tell my readers and radio listeners "thank you" for your prayers, and the extra business. People have been phoning in orders from outside the Tri-Cities in support of her.
She has been told the legal ruling against her, because of her religious beliefs, will take about "5 years and $500,000."
The Stormans family in Olympia have been in court for years, at great expense, because of their religious belief in the sanctity of life and their refusal to carry certain abortion pills in their pharmacy.
These actions are motivated by faith, not hate.
Adamson says he "declined to print the shirts not because of any characteristic of the people, but because of the message that the shirts carried."
Last year a similar case was filed against a baker in Oregon. He too was required to undergo "diversity training" and never decline to bake a "wedding" cake for a homosexual again.
The Oregon official enforcing this new "freedom" told the press this is "an excellent teaching moment" and "an opportunity to re-educate."
Let this sink in:
A human Rights Commission examiner is ordering a Christian business owner to attend diversity training---because of his religious beliefs and convictions.
The Executive Director who is enforcing the punishments says he is a Christian, and "it would be better to leave one's religion at home."
The One after whom Christianity is actually named disagrees. So does his half-brother.
Jesus says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation" (Mark 16:15). And records the same commandment in more detail..."make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
We're not only called to "proselytize," but to baptize as well.
He also said His followers will be "salt and light" (Matt. 5:13-16) in their culture, and the salt and light will be administered by actions of preaching, teaching and humanitarian expression---living out our faith.
Can this be a silent activity conducted only in the privacy of a building and still be faithful to the commission of Jesus himself?
His half-brother James also says no.
He says if you truly have faith, it will manifest itself in works and actions---saying (2:26), "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
While there may be doctrinal differences within the Christian community, several things are crystal clear.
Christianity is not something someone can live out in silence and obscurity because there are some who disagree with the teaching of the Bible.
As salt and light, biblical Christianity preserves and illuminates. To do so it must show up in our culture.
And finally, Jesus was not offering an eclectic philosophy with His final words being something to the affect that He was hopeful you would incorporate some of His thoughts into your life.
He spoke of Christianity as a well defined narrow gate open to all who would believe. It is a path defined by the clear teaching of God's Word, including a very clear plan for human sexual behavior. And marriage. And family.
He also spoke of the wide inclusive gate, which is often the path most traveled.
On that, Jesus gave us all a heads up. That gate does not lead to a good destination (Matt. 7:13-14).
Christianity is thriving around the world, both in countries where there is religious freedom and those where there is not.
However, religious freedom in America---not so much.
This country was founded and thrived on the very biblical principles and values that some are now trying to push into the closet.
A message to all who travel the path of the narrow gate: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Ps. 16:11).
Stand firm. Keep walking.
Be Strong. Be Courageous. Be Confident. Be Blessed.