I generally avoid blogging about political issues, but felt that I couldn’t ignore this one…
Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, declined to photograph a same-sex union ceremony when requested to do so in 2006, on the basis of their Christian beliefs and conscience. The conclusion of the ensuring court case was just released: the Huguenin’s violated the State’s (New Mexico) Human Rights Act.
Most concerning, is not just the ruling, but court’s explanation of it. Justice Richard Bosson, representing the court, directly stated that the Huguenin’s are “now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.”
That’s right. The law, in this case the law based on “tolerance” and “anti-discrimination”, trumps religious freedom. Period, no question about it. The court also separated religious practice from religious “belief”, thus effectively redefining religious freedom from something that protects one’s conscience and actions to something that just allows for private thought. Christians may pray to God and believe what they want, but have to “channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” In other words, you are free to believe what you want but not to act on it; your conduct must conform to the expectations of others.
A little alarming, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as a surprise to many of us, who have been saying for years that all the lobbying in favor of anti-Christian beliefs and moralities will lead to intolerance of Christians and their beliefs. For years, those in favor of such lobbying, policy making and lawmaking have insisted that such actions would not marginalize religious freedom, but would simply allow for coexistence of different sets of values. This case is just one clear incident indicating a fear come true: there is no coexistence or tolerance of different sets of values; there is a new set of values, defined by minorities and federal government that are now being dictated on the majority through laws and policies.
This issue also demonstrates a further change in America – the country has gone from being a democracy, where the will of the people governs, to an oligarchy, where the will of a few determines what the majority may or may not believe in and want, based on the arbitrary interpretation and reinterpretation of the constitution. Seriously, was the United States really violating its own constitution from the moment it was activated and didn’t even realize it until over 200 years later? Personally, I think there is far more credibility in the way the constitution was interpreted from the beginning, not the way it is bent to please various political agendas.
OK – my rant is over. This is one of the moments when I’m very happy that I’m out of the country right now… But I’m sincerely praying for my country and everyone in it, regardless of their viewpoints… hoping that, in the long run, true freedom, which includes the right to practice one’s religion and follow one’s conscience is respected and protected once again.
For more information on the conclusion of the Elane Photography case, click here. Needless to say, the institution is considering an appeal on the basis of their freedom of expression and conscience rights.