Monday, December 16, 2013

LA Times Comes Out For Religious Freedom?

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
The Los Angeles Times hasn't started campaigning for the religious rights of biblical Christians who oppose same-sex "marriage," but their editorial board has addressed the question of whether Christians who oppose same-sex "marriage" and own businesses should be forced by law to participate or offer their services to a same-sex "wedding" or similar celebration.

The Times editorial board asks the question, "Should they be able to act on their beliefs by refusing to do business with gay couples?"

They are specifically thinking of cases such as the cake maker in Colorado, whom I wrote about last week, the cake maker in Gresham, Oregon who was put out of business because of his beliefs, the photographer in New Mexico who refused to do a gay "wedding celebration" because of biblical beliefs, and some one like Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington.

I was a bit surprised by their conclusion.

The Times editorial board specifically mentioned the cake maker in Colorado we mentioned last week.

To be sure, the Los Angeles Times has not "seen the light" on biblical teaching in regard to marriage. Or had a significant change of heart on the whole matter.

However, they are urging the United States Supreme Court to acknowledge discrimination in certain cases.

And they are looking at the issue through the lens of the Constitution---something our President seems loathe to do on a number of issues.

The Times editorial board introduces the issue:

“Elaine Huguenin, a wedding photographer, has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by New Mexico's highest court that she was required by a state public-accommodations law to take pictures of a female couple's "commitment ceremony." Last week, a judge in Colorado ruled against a baker who had refused to supply a gay couple with a cake for their wedding reception.

Although religious scruples were at issue in both cases, the issue is primarily one of free speech. The 1st Amendment protects not only the right to express one's own views but also a right not to be compelled to convey someone else's.

Then the Times board writes this:

In her petition to the Supreme Court, Huguenin warns that the decision against her threatens other "expressive professions" including "marketers, advertisers, publicists and website designers."

Much as we support same-sex marriage and oppose discrimination, we do see a distinction between businesses that provide the same product or service to all comers and those that collaborate in the creation of a personalized message. We acknowledge that drawing that line will sometimes be difficult.

This is hardly a pivotal moment in American journalism, but at least they are admitting that reverse discrimination is happening, while the American press, in most cases and activists in all cases, have denied there is any such thing as discrimination against Christians because of their religious beliefs.

"No one," the Times says, "would dream of requiring a Democratic speech writer to work for a Republican politician."

I don't think that illustrates the point so well, but it's an attempt at some recognition of the discrimination being directed toward biblical Christians and their deeply held convictions regarding redefining marriage to accommodate a behavior group. And changing laws to enforce that accommodation.

Sarah Jean Seman, writing for the conservative Townhall says, "This form of understanding is coming from a paper in a city with a huge gay community."

She says, "Despite openly supporting gay unions, this column showed that respecting the rights of one community does not validate trampling the constitutional freedom of an opposing party."

The Times board says, "Compelled speech is a bad idea."

But that's exactly what current laws are being used to accomplish in regard to gay "marriage." Students, business people and the public at large are being forced to "affirm" same sex relations or be characterized as a bigot. And in the case of businesses, face legal action.

The Times is agreeing with Huguenin's argument to the Supreme Court regarding "expressive expressions."

Therefore, they make a distinction between a cake maker making a generic cake and a photographer being asked to create a "creative expression" about the event through pictures.

The Times concludes, "Not all wedding photographers imbue their work with a distinctive point of view, but many do. The Supreme Court should find a way to protect them and members of other 'expressive professions'."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.