Wednesday, July 28, 2021

A Farmers Fight For Religious Freedom

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A Christian farmer and his wife who were banned from their local farmer's market back in 2016, decided to fight for their religious freedom.

The couple, both of whom served in the military, politely declined their farm as a venue for a same-sex "wedding."

The same-sex couple, of course, decided to make them pay the price for their biblical beliefs.

In the activist's mind, religious freedom only exists within the accepted perimeters of the LGBTQ agenda.

Steve and Bridget Tennes, the owners of the Country Mill Farms, decided to fight for their religious liberty---no matter how long the battle.

Let me tell you what's happened since 2016. 

Be informed. Be Encouraged.

The city of East Lansing, Michigan took action following the complaint of the same-sex couple.

The city banned the Tennes' from the East Lansing farmer's market because the city officials opposed the owner's decision to decline same-sex weddings on their personal property after city officials read on Facebook that the family supports biblical marriage and will not allow so-called "same-sex weddings" on their property.

Steve Tennes said at the time, "Our family farm is very personal to us. One of the things we really enjoy about our family farm here is [that] we are able to raise our five children here at the farm in accordance with our faith."

So the contest for freedom began.

First, the Tennes family contacted ADF, a conservative law firm, and asked them to represent the family in court.

In 2017, a federal judge issued a preliminary order forcing the city to allow the Tennes family to participate in the farmer's market and said the city most likely violated their religious and free speech rights.

So the farm family went back to the market.

According to NBC News, in reporting the story using an Associated Press story, said:

"East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows claimed that the 'temporary' ruling only covered the  2017 market season. Meadows said the 'city opposes the Tennes' corporate decision making, not their religious beliefs'."

Kate Anderson, with ADF, strongly disagreed

"All Americans should be able to live and speak according to their deeply held religious beliefs without the fear of government punishment. Yet East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Steve Tennes because they don't like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage."

The Tennes family goes to court this week.

The Tennes family went to trial yesterday. It will likely continue until Friday, July 30.

At issue is an unconstitutional policy that city officials adopted specifically to ban Tennes and Country Mill Farms, his family's fruit orchard, from participating in the city's farmer's market.

ADF will tell the federal court "Small business owners should be free to live, speak and operate their business consistent with their religious beliefs without fear of government punishment."

They will also note to the court that in addition to ousting Tennes from the farmer's market, they publicly ridiculed his faith. One official even called his Catholic beliefs bigoted, ridiculous, horrible, [and] hateful."

ADF says, "We're looking forward to bringing these issues to the court this week."

A time to stand.

Charlie Kirk is the founder of Turning Point USA. A ministry directed primarily at college-aged students and young adults.

Last year, during Easter week, he wrote an article asking biblical Christians to "take a stand."

This is part of what he said:

Our battle for religious freedom goes back to our very beginning. America was settled early by groups who were seeking freedom from religious persecution. Both the Pilgrims of the early 1600s (wanted to break from the Church of England) and the Puritans a decade later (wanted to reform the same church) risked their lives to make a perilous cross-ocean voyage so that they could freely practice their faith. There were other drivers, but faith was at the forefront.

Since our birth 400 years ago in religious liberty, our nation's history has been filled with incidents of religious protest and Christians standing together that it is a waste of word count to waste any of them. The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees us our religious liberty and we have been fighting to keep it ever since. We need some of that fight now.

Allow me to be blunt about what is taking place. There is a movement in this country almost exclusively within the Left's dominion to wipe out organized religion; especially Christianity. Liberalism is, from its very origins (Rousseau and Marx), hostile to the idea of God. They embrace the idea of a civil state being the divine authority that every citizen needs to worship and obey. This China Flu event has given the state and local secularists in positions of authority the opportunity they have been waiting for. They are using their powers under state emergency declarations to deprive us Christians of our chance to worship during the most holy week of the year; that of Easter.

They cannot stop us from silently worshipping but they want to stop us from doing it publicly, from drawing strength from one another. We are surrendering easily to them. Shame on us.

Yet we seem to have just surrendered. Worse still, our church leaders have surrendered. Across the country they seem more interested in appeasing Caesar than they do in serving God. Christ stood up to the Pharisees. He stood up to Herod. He stood up to Pilate. He sacrificed everything. Where is our willingness to embrace His strength?

I'm tired of seeing American Christians serving themselves up like paschal lambs. I much prefer that we channel our inner Daniel who, after being sentenced to death by King Darius for worshipping a god other than the king, was thrown into the lion's den. When the stone was rolled away, Daniel emerged, unscathed, because he had refused to renounce his belief in God; our God. Daniel stood against the ferocious teeth of savage beasts and allowed his faith to protect him.

Be Informed. Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.