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The word “religion” doesn’t sit too well with me, because I associate it with man-made traditions, legalism and salvation based on works, rather than true salvation which is the free gift of God by Jesus’ willing sacrifice. The real definition of religion is given in James 1:27:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
That sounds simple enough, but keeping oneself unspotted from the world—there’s the kicker, much easier said than done, to be sure.
Putting that aside, however, we are watching a frenzied campaign of leftist media hysteria and disinformation surrounding the religious freedom protection bills in Arizona, Mississippi and a few other states. Those who are opposed to these bills are falsely claiming they would promote the ill treatment of homosexuals. This is nonsense, of course. This is not about homosexuals themselves, but specific demands made by homosexuals that would force those with moral objections to violate their conscience.
In response to the onslaught in recent years of homosexual activists steamrolling across our nation targeting Christian businesses for lawsuits, many people have had quite enough, thank you. So, they have sought to bolster our God-given, constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by reiterating them at the state level.
Selwyn Duke made some important points in his column, “Razing Arizona: Conservatives Succeed at Failing Again.” In response to some cowardly statements by a few Arizona State Senators lamenting the media’s false labeling of the bill as “a sword for religious intolerance,” Mr. Duke wrote:
How should conservatives handle such name calling?
Hurl names right back.
Call the leftists what they are: tyrants, socialists and haters of liberty. Explain that they want to destroy freedom of association. Seek to control the language of the debate and to frame the narrative – and use their own Alinsky tactics against them. And we do have one great advantage: we’re right and righteous.
As for strategy, realize that framing this as a matter of freedom of religion makes it seem a special-interest cause, as not everyone considers himself “religious.” What we really need is a Freedom of Association Restoration Act.
I fully concur. Freedom of association is more generally applicable. I would also include freedom of conscience. Freedom of conscience and association would encompass religion as well. There are situations that are not religious in nature that may still violate someone’s conscience. As Matt Barber asked in his column, “An Absolute Right to Refuse Service,”
Should a black printer be forced to develop and print thousands of “White Power!” flyers for a skinhead rally just because the potential customer is white?
… Should a “progressive,” environmentalist sign-maker be required to design and manufacture “Global Warming Is a Farce” signs for a tea party rally?
… Should a “gay married” lesbian hotel owner – a card-carrying member of GLAAD – be required, under threat of incarceration, to host and cater a fundraiser for the “National Organization for Marriage,” a group that opposes so-called “marriage equality”?
In each of these cases, we’re dealing with a violation of conscience, not necessarily religious in nature. In none of these cases, or any others like them, should the people in question be forced to go against their deeply held beliefs to serve what they regard as intolerable demands that are put upon them.
When speaking about the “lawfare” attacks on Christians by activist homosexuals, we have seen no cases of Christians simply refusing in general to do business with homosexuals, because it’s not happening. One letter to the editor writer in our local paper incorrectly imagined that these kinds of bills would open the door to people refusing to perform CPR on homosexuals or firemen declining to put out their house fires. This is complete nonsense! As Matt Barber noted in his column:
To clarify – liberals, I know you have a difficult time understanding the “Constitution” with its outdated “Bill of Rights” and all – I’m not talking about refusing business to someone just because he appears effeminate or she appears butch, or even when that someone is an “out and proud” homosexual.
I’ve never even heard of a case where a Christian baker randomly refused to provide baked goods – such as a birthday cake – to any homosexual, absent a scenario in which those goods endorsed a message the baker finds repugnant (rainbow “pride” cupcakes, “gay wedding” cakes and the like). I’ve never heard of a single instance in which a Christian business owner arbitrarily said to a homosexual: “We don’t serve your kind here.”
And neither can the left provide such an instance. Because it doesn’t happen. If it did happen, it would be front-page news for a month.
No, I’m specifically referring to scenarios that have occurred – and continue to occur – with alarming frequency. Situations in which Christian business owners are being sued, fined or even threatened with jail time for politely declining to apply their God-given time and talent to create goods or services that require they violate deeply held – and constitutionally protected – religious beliefs.
It really is that black and white. This was never about the person. It was always about the message. It was never about “discrimination.” It was always about liberty.
That’s the bottom line. It’s about liberty. And, further, it’s about real rights versus fake rights. Writing at Renew America, Dan Popp, in his excellent column, “About Your “Right” To My Service…,” states:
Today the conservative talkers are jawing about the supposed “balance” between a person’s right not to be discriminated against, and a business owner’s rights of conscience. But the problem, you see, is that the first thing is not a right. I don’t have a right to force people to like me. Or to hire me. Or to sell something to me.
Someone will say that I do indeed have those rights, as created by the Courts or the Congress or Eric Holder (Fleas Be Upon Him). But the government cannot create rights. Only God can grant rights. And a government that does not protect God-given rights (including and especially the right to property) is not a legitimate government.
… There is no “balance” between a “right to be served” and a right to do as I please with what is mine.
… Would you say that obnoxious patrons have a “right” to be served? Or does the owner have the right to kick them out? What about drunks – must they be served more alcohol? After all, they have a “disease;” and we surely may not discriminate against sick people?!?
Even today I see signs reading, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” Doesn’t this discriminate against the poor? And the overheated? Must my “right” to a reasonably sanitary dining environment be “balanced” against someone else’s “right” to be served naked if he so demands? What if the would-be customer cannot pay? May the owner discriminate against him because he is “underprivileged?”
This is all nonsense.
Of course I have the right – even if I don’t have permission from the lawless lawmakers – to discriminate against anyone for any reason, or no reason. Now that’s usually a bad idea. I’m against it. But if a business owner does not have the right to hire and to serve whom he wishes, his enterprise is not really his. He has lost his freedom of association as well as his right of conscience and his property rights. Why? How did he lose those rights? Did he commit a crime?
Yes, he opened a business.
The issue is not your rights against his. The issue is one of imaginary, man-made, feel-good rights versus real rights. People who insist that one person has a right to compel another to serve him are properly called slavers. And slavers have always felt morally superior. The Civil War and the 13th Amendment didn’t stop them; they’re going to force you to work for them. [Emphasis mine]
Cutting through the lies and distortions of the Left, we can see that this all boils down to liberty versus tyranny. You don’t have a right to force me to violate my conscience by affirming your sinful behavior with the work of my hands, period! Homosexual activists and others who oppose measures to protect freedom of conscience, religion and association are, wittingly or not, on the side of tyranny
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.