Friday, February 17, 2017

WA State Supreme Court Unanimously Rules Against Barronell Stutzman's Religious Freedom

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NO. 91615-2
Filed FEB 1 6 2017 -------
GORDON McCLOUD, J.-The State of Washington bars discrimination

I spoke with Barronell yesterday following the announcement of the State's Supreme Court ruling.

Yesterday, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Barronell Stutzman does not have the right to decline selling flowers to homosexuals for a "wedding."

It's informative to see who signed amicus (supportive) briefs in favor of the state, and who filed in favor of Barronell.

This is a link to the 59-page court opinion explaining why she does not have that right, including the signatures of each of the justices who are denying her that right.

Stutzman's lawyers will now ask the US Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

KOMO News and other news outlets are carrying the story by Associated Press that was published by Seattle AP journalist Rachel LaCorte.

LaCorte notes that "a florist that refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding broke the state's anti-discrimination law, even though she claimed doing so would violate her religious beliefs."

Kristen Waggoner, Stutzman's local attorney affiliated with Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote in a statement that "Freedom of speech and religion aren't subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees."

She said, "It's wrong for a state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will."

I agree. That's "Freedom"---"Liberty"---our Founders declared them to be a "God-given, not government-given right."

But A/G Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee disagree. They say "people have a right to marry whom they love" and if someone believes differently because of religious beliefs---and lives in a way that is not consistent with that idea--- we now have laws with which we can punish them.

Inslee said yesterday, "The ruling was in favor of equality for all Washingtonians."

No, it wasn't. It does not favor "all Washingtonians"---it doesn't favor Barronell's personal religious beliefs and the biblical beliefs of thousands of other Washingtonians.

What about Muslims who do not believe in same-sex marriage? Will they be pursued with the same vigor?

If the State finds it necessary to "redefine" marriage to accommodate homosexuals with "equality" and the "right to marry whom they love," why does the State not also provide "marriage equality" and the "right to marry whom they love" for polygamists?

Most men in a polygamist living arrangement will tell you they equally love all their wives.

I don't believe in polygamist marriage for the same reason I don't believe in same-sex marriage. Because it isn't marriage. Marriage is a Judeo-Christian institution, formed by God between one man and one woman that predates organized civilization---an institution that every successful civilization and every major religion has affirmed.

The state---all states, have traditionally supported and passed laws to support natural marriage and the family.

If the state is honestly seeking "equality," why do they administer even their own concept of equality selectively?

It is only in recent years, as a result of becoming lost in the quagmire of political correctness and so-called "progressivism and progress," that some have begun to celebrate the attack on the institution of marriage.

Inslee says, "By ruling that intolerance based on sexual orientation is unlawful, the Court affirmed that Washington state will remain a place where no one can be discriminated against because of who they love."

Inslee's message is that the state will redefine the most basic and oldest human institution---marriage between a man and a woman---so that no one can be discriminated against because of whom they love, but an individual who loves God and His word and attempts to live out that belief will be crushed by the law and those who administer it.

And the crushing will be celebrated as a victory for "equality", "fairness" and "justice."

The Seattle Times quotes A/G Ferguson: "Ms. Stutzman is free to believe what she wishes, but because she runs a public business she is required under the law to serve everyone."

"Free to believe what she wishes..." is a key phrase in the attempted dismantling of marriage and the revision of what "religious freedom" means in America.

John J. Miller, director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College, has written an article for the Wall Street Journal on the use of these phrases which is informative.

In his article, he notes a letter from Senator James Langford, an Oklahoma Republican who is inquiring into the matter after noticing that the immigration forms for those seeking US citizenship were now using the term "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion."

He wrote a letter to then Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson asking about the revision and telling him that was a "pet peeve" of his.

He followed up with this: "The freedom of religion is much more than just the freedom of worship. Worship confines you to a location. Freedom of religion is the right to exercise your religious beliefs---it is the ability for Americans to live out their faith or to choose to have no faith at all."

And that's the point. A/G Ferguson says, "Ms. Stutzman is free to believe what she wishes..." but that was not the intent of our Founders, nor is it acceptable to millions of Americans whose families came to America to "exercise their religious beliefs."

We have seen the devastating effects this revision has in laws and policies forbidding Americans to share their Christian faith with co-workers, etc. The military has been particularly hard on Christians in this regard.

The word "proselytizing" has taken on a new meaning, and in some cases can cost you your job.

To the point. "Ms. Stutzman is free to believe what she wishes..." but she better not practice those religious beliefs outside the walls of First Baptist Church, because if she does...

I spoke with Barronell yesterday after the Court released their ruling. She told me she wasn't really surprised by the State Supreme Court ruling.

I asked her how she is doing personally. She said, "I'm doing great. God is in control."

Remember her in prayer as this case heads to the Supreme Court---if they will accept it.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Blessed.