Baronelle Stutzman is a name that American Christian pastors
had better familiarize themselves with.
What has happened with Baronelle and her florist shop in the state of
Washington may very well be stampeding into every church in the very near
future. I hope you have heard about her.
Baronelle politely declined (based on her religious beliefs)
to provide floral services for a homosexual couple in her city. According to the National Catholic Registerthe
couple was fine with the decision until some of their friends began to post about
it on Facebook and drew media attention.
That is when the state of Washington Attorney General, Bob Ferguson,
sued Baronelle claiming that she was discriminating against the couple on the
basis of their sexual orientation.
What’s more, he went on to say that what a business did for opposite sex
couples it must do for same sex couples.
Can you see where this is going?
Baronelle’s attorney Justin Bristol asks a very clear and
precise question: “Can the state
require a painter to paint a portrait of a gay couple? Could the state require
a musician to write a song?” I will go
one further. Can any government entity require a pastor to marry a homosexual
couple if it is against that pastor’s religious beliefs? I believe this is a valid question in the light
of so many states legalizing gay marriage.
currently have the right to decline to marry anyone they choose not to. Some will not marry couples who are not
members of their local church. Some have
policies against marrying anyone without premarital counseling. Some pastors refuse to marry divorcees. Some don’t even give a reason; they just say
“no.” Those who choose not to conduct a
service of matrimony may catch some heat from their congregations or
denominational leaders but they certainly don’t have to worry about being
harassed or sued by their own government.
But maybe they should start worrying about that.
How much longer
until hostile Attorney Generals from states that have legalized gay marriage
start suing pastors who refuse to do so on the same grounds that Baronelle
refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding?
Religious beliefs. Remember, the
Washington Attorney General stated that what you do for opposite sex couples
you must do (by force if necessary) for same sex couples. Why is it not permissible to refrain from
providing a service to homosexuals that they can get from someone else but it’s
just fine to curtail Christians religious right to express themselves by saying
“no” to a homosexual couple?
I am not a lawyer
and there may be a very simple principal of law to take care of this
concern. However, I am a Christian and I
can see the handwriting on the wall.
Institutionalized hostility to conservatives in general and Christians
in particular is clearly on the rise in America. Removing Christian symbols from national
parks, suing cheerleaders for putting Bible verses on signs, and government
sanctioned targeting of conservative groups by the IRS are not inane
apocalyptic warnings from frenzied prophets but hard core realities in the
United States of America.
If the government
can force a florist to provide flowers for a gay wedding I don’t see how it is
but a stone’s throw away from forcing a pastor to perform the wedding ceremony
of that same homosexual couple…or else.
Regardless of religious beliefs.
Ray Rooney, Jr.