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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear First Amendment Case

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 @ 02:02 PM Supreme Court Refuses to Hear First Amendment Case ATTENTION: Major social media outlets are finding ways to block the conservative/evangelical viewpoint. Click here for daily electronic delivery of The Stand's Daily Digest - the day's top blogs from AFA.

Mason Beasler Guest Writer, Law Student MORE

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” 

So goes the age-old saying, describing the fallacy of both desiring and rejecting a certain principle, depending entirely upon the circumstance. 

The Washington Attorney General’s office portrayed this fallacy perfectly, specifically regarding its treatment of two cases. 

The first case was that of Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. For years, Stutzman had done business with a homosexual friend of hers, named Rob. She sold him flowers for birthdays, anniversaries, and other such occasions. One day, Rob entered Stutzman’s shop and requested that she design floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding. 

Stutzman, a faithful Christian, could not accommodate Rob’s request. 

“I would gladly sell him pre-arranged flowers...” Stutzman said in a video describing this interaction, “but I knew that as much as I love Rob, I could not create something to celebrate an event that was totally against my faith.” 

When Stutzman told Rob she could not do his wedding, Rob replied with understanding and love. The two chatted for a bit, and Stutzman gave Rob recommendations for other florists. 

A few weeks after this conversation, Stutzman received a notice in the mail from Washington’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson. 

“The government was threatening to sue me,” Stutzman explained, “unless I [designed] floral arrangements for same-sex weddings.” 

Many might assume that Rob or his partner had become so outraged at Stutzman’s refusal that they’d gone to the government and complained. Or maybe Stutzman had been targeted like other Christian business owners, with hopes that she would refuse her service and provide grounds for a lawsuit. 

However, neither was the case. 

Ferguson saw a social media post made by Rob’s partner concerning Stutzman and her unwillingness to create wedding arrangements.  

The Attorney General then decided to sue Stutzman, filing suit against her personally and against her business. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also joined in with lawsuits against Stutzman. 

In 2017, the Washington Supreme Court ruled against the florist, but her case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the First Amendment and religious liberty in a different case (that of Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece cakeshop in Colorado), the U.S. Supreme Court sent Stutzman’s case back to the Washington Supreme Court and directed the court to reconsider their ruling, in light of the Masterpiece decision. 

However, in 2019 the Washington Supreme Court ruled the same way they had the first time, deciding that Stutzman had discriminated against Rob and his partner. 

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the legal group representing Stutzman, appealed the case again to the U.S. Supreme Court, in light of the recent ruling regarding Jack Phillips and his cake shop. 

On July 2, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Stutzman’s case, leaving in place the Washington Supreme Court ruling against Stutzman. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch were willing to hear the case, falling short of the required four justices for the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case. 

The second case, one which is far more graphic, involves a Christian pro-life group that was distributing pamphlets in Seattle in 2017 when they decided to order coffee from a local shop. 

Once the owner of the shop realized they were the Christians distributing pro-life materials in the city, he kicked them out, after explicitly telling them never to come back. 

Ferguson knows all about this case, but surprisingly, still no lawsuit has been filed against the coffee shop. 

The AG attempted to explain away this obvious contradiction by claiming that “the owner never said he was refusing to serve Christian customers.” 

However, the video (too graphic to link here) clearly portrays the shop owner ejecting the Christians from the shop for actions they performed according to their Christian faith (distributing pro-life material in the city). 

This is viewed as acceptable. 

Stutzman refused to create floral arrangements for Rob’s wedding because doing so would violate her personal religious faith. 

This is viewed as intolerant. 

Apparently, the law forbidding discrimination applies when a Christian refuses to create floral arrangements for a homosexual couple, but not when a coffee shop owner expels a group of Christians for their religious actions. 

The secular court systems and governments want to have their cake and eat it too. 

They want to force Christians, like Barronelle Stutzman or Jack Phillips, to use their gifts in a manner compromising to their personal religious beliefs, but no such enforcement is used against business owners who blatantly discriminate against Christians for their beliefs. 

“A government that can crush someone like Barronelle,” said ADF in a statement, “who kindly served her gay customer for nearly a decade but simply declined to create art celebrating one sacred ceremony, can use its power to crush any of us regardless of our political ideology or views on important issues like marriage.” 

Stutzman serves as yet another testament to a government that wields unchecked and overreaching power – power that has possibly ruined Stutzman’s flower shop. This leftist agenda will invariably not be satiated with just one victim, but only with complete dominance of thought and action.

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