Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: Barronelle Stutzman's Year Of Tolerance

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Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington was dragged into court again last week as the saga of 'Tolerance" continues to be enforced by the ACLU and the Washington State Attorney General.

I've written about this a number of times over the past year and have regular contact with her as the legal action continues.

She is being sued by the ACLU on behalf of 2 homosexuals and by the Washington State A/G because she declined to provide service for a homosexual "wedding" in the Tri-Cities.

She has repeatedly told the courts she is not prejudiced or bigoted toward the homosexuals which have been her customers for the past 9 years.

Even their own testimonies confirm that to be true.

In declining the "wedding" business, Barronelle has explained repeatedly it is a matter of her religious biblical belief regarding marriage that precludes her participation. Not hate, bigotry or intolerance.

Her attorney says she has a right not to be coerced into an expression that violates her religious convictions.

In this latest court appearance, both sides brought motions for summary judgement. The State and the ACLU want her found guilty before the trial even begins.

During this past year, this case has become a national story.

This latest hearing was the second this month.

At this point, the actual trial is set for next year---probably in March.

Both the State and the ACLU base their legal action against Barronelle on state law that was supposedly enacted to advance tolerance and fairness.

History clearly shows and current events confirm that "tolerance" in isolation is a vice, not a virtue.

When "tolerance" is coupled with eternal values, it is a virtue.

When "tolerance" floats in progressivism and relativism, it becomes nothing more than an inverted tool.

When coupled with rebellion against nature and nature's Creator, pride and unbridled passions, it becomes a destructive bludgeon.

Instead of promoting true virtue, it advances the idea that "virtue" is merely the acting out on the unchecked passions of the individual. And "tolerance" is the justification for the actions.

Those who hold a different view, or refuse to affirm and celebrate the actions, for any reason, are discriminatory.

In this new moral order, truth is whatever an individual determines it to be.

If an individual is suicidal, legalized assisted suicide is virtuous.

If homosexual behavior is embraced, legalizing and celebrating it is virtuous.

If an unborn child is not wanted, legalizing the termination of that life is virtuous.

To do otherwise is to be intolerant.

The tolerant person, we are told, is broad-minded, open to other beliefs, truth claims, moral convictions and lifestyles.

Therein is the great deception.

The Roman Empire celebrated "tolerance." In fact they had a phrase that defined the virtue.

While Rome conquered lands militarily, they applauded themselves for allowing those whom they conquered to keep their customs and religious practices intact.

This policy was defined as "Pax Romana" ---"peace of Rome."

This policy was in place in Jerusalem.

Under this policy, authorities would take legal action against anything or anyone who disrupted the "peace of Rome."

Today we call any disruption of the new moral order "intolerant" and laws are being enacted to facilitate legal action against the intolerance, the "discrimination"---all this while being told we are free to "worship" as we please.

Napp Nazworth says 2014 is hallmarked as the year of "tolerance," being used for acts of intolerance. He gives 33 episodes of religious freedom being attack under the guise of "tolerance."

Some personal thoughts.

Many parallels have been drawn between the Roman culture and our own. This is another such comparison.

Jesus was the incarnation of truth, compassion and virtue.

He healed the needy, blessed children and forgave sins---even saving an adulterous woman from being stoned to death (John 8:1-11).

Yet he openly condemned hypocrisy. He threw business people and their wares out of the temple because of their sacrilege (John 2:12-16). He called some of the religious leaders of His day "sons of hell," "fools," "blind guides," "whitewashed tombs," and "vipers" (Matt. 23: 15-20).

Jesus was not the epitome of tolerance, yet He came during the era of Roman tolerance.

However,it was the policy of "Pax Romana" (peace of Rome) and complicit religious leadership that allowed Roman authorities to execute Him under the law.

Since the Pax Romana wouldn't allow Jesus to disrupt or upset the people under Roman rule, the "tolerant" Roman government tried, beat, and brutally executed an innocent man in the name of tolerance and fairness and maintaining the peace and the social order.

2015 is upon us.

As Barronette's trial and the trials of many other Christians and Christian institutions rumble through our courts this coming year, perhaps the question is whom will we emulate?

The tolerance of Rome? Or the Lord who is over all?

America needs Christians who will stand for what Christ stood for, not capitulate to the new 'virtue' of Roman style tolerance.

It is written that prophets may not be honored in their own country, but it is also written that no country will sustain itself unless it heeds the wisdom of God's eternal Truth.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Bold. Be Blessed. Be Free.