We are already seeing persecution of businesses where the owners have strong religious beliefs. There have been a number of cases in the news lately where Christian businesses have been ordered to violate their religious beliefs by the government.
One of the most notable ones is a bakery in Oregon called Sweet Cakes. They made all kinds of pastries, including wedding cakes. A gay couple asked them to make a cake for their wedding and the owners politely declined citing their religious beliefs. Oregon is a very liberal state. The threats of law suits and other pressure forced the company out of business.
The question is, Can a business owner who has strongly held religious beliefs live those beliefs and run his business in accordance with those beliefs? Can they be forced to check their religious beliefs at the door and serve people that are engaged in activities that are contrary to that person’s religious beliefs?Of course we believe they should have the right to run their business according to their religious beliefs.
A case was won at the Supreme Court level concerning Hobby Lobby. This was a great victory for religious rights. Although there are some similarities between this and the Sweet Cakes case, there is not a direct overlap. Christian businesses are facing some of the same things as Christian ministries.
In another case concerning a florist in Washington State the owner was sued by the state, not the gay couple. The couple did not have to put forth their funds to sue, the state did it. The story behind this is interesting. This business served them knowing their sexual preferences. The owner was a friend of one of the men and had sold him flowers many times. She even recommended another florist when she declined to provide flowers for the wedding. The problem was not serving him as a customer, it was providing flowers for an event that was in violation of her religious beliefs.
This case shows that there was no discrimination against the people, they declined to participate in an event that violated their conscience. We need to start presenting these cases using this language.
What can churches do to protect themselves?
The first thing churches need to do is include language in their constitution and bylaws concerning hiring and other policies that relate to this issue. If you believe that homosexuals or others living in open violation of God’s precepts should not work in your church, that they should not be married by your church, that they should not be members of your church, etc. this language must be included.
Liberty Institutes’s lead counsel has said:
I have argued numbers of cases in where a church or a religious body has clearly stated that we have this hiring policy, we don’t hire homosexuals, we do not allow into membership those who openly practice that lifestyle, etc. etc. Where there is language in the bylaws and constitution, it is an easy case to defend.
The Third Option
There is a third option concerning the outcome of this case. God could intervene and turn the hearts of some of these Justices and we could have a 5/4 victory for our side, or even a 6/3 victory for our side, if they would merely rule in accordance with God’s law and the Constitution.
Don’t give up on this. The vote may have already been taken, but the Justices can change their decision right up to the day before they announce the decision. This is highly unusual, but it can happen. We need to pray that God will turn the hearts of some Justices toward righteousness and a correct interpretation of the Constitution. Grant us a victory where none of this has to become an ongoing issue.
We need Christians to stand behind their pastors if they will stand up for God’s righteous precepts. If they won’t, Christians need to find a new pastor. We need courage in the pulpits and the pews of America. This nation was formed in the pulpits of America. It can only be restored from the pulpits.
In Europe 16,000 people have joined ISIS from various nations. They have now been trained as jihadists. Most of these people are originally from North Africa, but about 2,000 of them are British born. Great Britain is third in population in Europe, France has only had 930 left to join ISIS. Sweden only had 300, Belgium had 300, and 450 went from Germany. The two countries in Europe, France and Germany, which have he largest Muslim populations, are way below the number of those who have joined ISIS from the UK. This tells us that in the UK they are more fundamental.
Approximately 250 of these ISIS fighters have returned to the UK. The government has taken their citizenship from them. This needs to happen here in America.
The Foreign Secretary has said that these fighters could face charges of treason. If they are so charged, it could be the first time anyone is tried for treason since WWII.
A French citizen spent a year in Syria, and when he tried return to France, he couldn’t fly because he was on a no-fly list. He came through Thailand and several other European countries and ended up in Belgium. He murdered four people in a Jewish museum.
Another jihadist faked his death and tried to get back into England. He was caught in South Hampton. He was not a vulnerable teenager who was coerced to travel to Syria and join ISIS. He was a man who chose the path of terrorism.
Tomorrow we will look at what is happening here in America, and what is happening on our souther border.