It’s been crazy. Now things are getting downright surreal.
A case is unfolding in Phoenix, Arizona that seems ripped from the pages of some terrifying dystopian sci-fi novel from the last century. A pair of artists who live and work in Phoenix are fighting a legal battle against a city ordinance that would see them both serve time in prison.
Phoenix has a so-called “non-discrimination” ordinance, which the city seems to believe can be used to force artists to create art that they find objectionable. Further, the ordinance “also prohibits businesses, including artists, from communicating any message publicly that would make someone feel “unwelcome” based upon the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or any one of a number of other characteristics, thus preventing many artists from explaining their position on marriage publicly without risking up to $2,500 fines and six months in jail for each day the artist violates the ordinance.”
While the city has not yet moved against these two artists or their studio, Brush & Nib, for their Christian beliefs, the threat they face is very real. Which is why they have filed a preliminary injunction in an effort to prove that the city ordinance is unconstitutional. Their legal team from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released a copy of the injunction to the media, here is some of what the brief contends:
“Phoenix has already investigated another business for declining to promote a same-sex wedding ceremony for religious reasons and issued a formal report saying [the ordinance] requires businesses like Brush & Nib—those that create expression—to promote same-sex wedding ceremonies if they promote opposite-sex wedding ceremonies.
Thus, whether public accommodations serve sandwiches or create custom art, Phoenix treats them exactly the same… By forcing Brush & Nib to create art for same-sex wedding ceremonies, [the ordinance] violates a cardinal free speech principle: speakers have the right to choose the content of their own message.
We simply value art too much to let Phoenix invade the artistic process as if Phoenix were regulating widgets… And make no mistake. Phoenix is playing favorites. It allows artists to speak and create in favor of same-sex marriage yet threatens to incarcerate artists if they speak or create only for opposite-sex marriage. We should all be concerned when the government tries to eradicate a particular idea by silencing adherents and forcing dissenters to profess orthodoxy. When the government manipulates the artistic marketplace and commandeers artists’ minds to squelch an idea, no idea is safe. Everyone eventually loses.”
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While Brush & Nib has not yet had the crushing weight of government trample on their religious beliefs, many of their fellow believers have.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court tells Christian Photographer she “CANNOT” refuse to photograph gay marriage ceremonies.
The state of Washington is suing a Christian florist for refusing to provide wedding flowers for the wedding ceremony of a gay couple.
A family of farmers in New York who also hosted events on their property were forced to stop hosting events after the state sued them and threatened to force them to host gay weddings.
A Catholic Charities organization in Boston, Massachusetts was forced to end their adoption services program after being threatened by the state because of their stance on homosexual adoption.
In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho a couple sued after the city threatened to shut down their wedding chapel for their belief in traditional marriage.
The point is that this is not some random case in one of the nation’s more liberal corners. It’s wide spread and its impact is being felt by Christians all over the nation. The government’s boot is poised firmly across the neck of any conservative Christian who happens to hold certain, politically incorrect positions on sexuality, gender, and faith. In Phoenix, the artists at Brush & Nib along with the lawyers at ADF are hoping to stem the tide of liberal fascism in America, but it may already be too little too late.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.