For Christians, the national legalization of same-sex marriage has not only been indicative of a new moral low for our society, it has also brought on a barrage of attacks on our First Amendment right to practice our religion.
Minnesota has been a battleground for “human rights” vs. religious freedom. Most recently, the Minnesota Human Rights Act will force many Christian small business owners to serve same-sex weddings despite their personal convictions.
Carl and Angel Larsen are a Christian couple and the owners of Telescope Media Group, a Christian film company, and this week, a federal judge ruled that they do not have the right to decline their services to same-sex couples.
The couple had filed a preemptive lawsuit to protect their rights to practice their religion and preserve their freedom of speech, but the judge did not agree that their filmmaking constituted as the kind of creative expression that would be protected under the First Amendment, and upheld the MHRA to be constitutional.
“[S]peech-for-hire is commonly understood to reflect the views of the customer,” U.S. Cheif Judge John Tunheim wrote in his decision. “Weddings are expressive events showcasing the messages and preferences of the people getting married and attendees, who do things like speak, dress, and decorate in certain ways.”
“A video of a wedding depicts this expressive event, and while videographers may exercise creative license to fashion such a video, the videographer is a ‘conduit’ for communication of the speech and expression taking place at the wedding,” he continued. “Thus, when a person views a wedding video, there is little danger that they would naturally attribute the video’s messages to the videographer.”
While Tunheim did confirm that the couple still has the right to express their views on same-sex marriage on their website, and would not be forced to publicize that they have filmed same-sex weddings, the Alliance Defending Freedom was not impressed with the ruling, and plans on filing an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Tolerance is a two-way street,” ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said of the ruling. “Creative professionals who engage in the expression of ideas shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for having a particular point of view about marriage that the government may not favor. Public officials can’t censor filmmakers or demand that they tell stories in film that violate their deepest convictions.”
The left-wing push for gay “rights” is so much more than that; it is the systematic repression of religious freedom. There is no good reason why businesses should be forced to perform services that contradict their values and their faith when there is always going to be a secular company who will perform the same service.
Christians have been singled out as the enemies of the normalization of sexual immorality, and those who are perpetrating that agenda are determined to take away our rights.
The good news is, as long as brave Christians like these filmmakers and the Alliance Defending Freedom continue to persevere and defend our right to stay true to our Biblical values, we can all be inspired to do the same in our own jobs and communities!
Jesus told us the world would hate us for His name’s sake. This will always be the case, and it is unlikely we will ever live in a world that is not hostile to us. But we can always remain steadfast in the promises our hunger and thirst for righteousness will one day be fulfilled!