Friday, November 02, 2012

Live & Let Live? Ten Reasons Why Redefining Marriage Threatens Religious Liberty

Like most of us, I have received many e-mails over the last week or so with regard to various political issues. One that particularly caught my eye today was from Minnesota for Marriage, the heart of which I have decided to post to my blog today. I don't have the time or the resources to fact check these ten stories, so I invite you to weigh their merits for yourselves, and more importantly the moral and civil issue at hand. 

As for me, I suspect that some of the particulars of these stories are shaped for effect, and yet I think they do paint a fairly accurate picture of what life will be like in Minnesota if the definition of marriage is expanded to include same-sex couples. I am aware that the amendment before us was written to protect traditional marriage rather than to legalize a broader definition of marriage, but if this amendment does not pass I have no doubt that such a broader definition will be a reality in Minnesota in no time. I am deeply concerned about this for a number of reasons, one of which is the broad threat to religious liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience. 

With this in mind, here is the heart of the piece I received (all of the text below is quoted verbatim from a publication issued by Minnesota for Marriage): 

Live & Let Live? Ten Reasons Why Redefining Marriage Threatens Religious Liberty
Reason #1:
Rob and Robin Wirthlin – A Christian couple asked their child's school superintendent to notify them when the school was going to teach on "same-sex Marriage". The school superintendent said that was "unreasonable". Rob was ultimately detained by the authorities. Rob sued for his right to be notified when homosexuality would be taught to his children. The Judge said, "The school has a duty to normalize same-sex marriage, and is not obligated to notify parents in any way.", and then he promptly dismissed the case. 

Reason #2:
Elaine & Jon Huguenin – Elaine is a Christian who owns a photography business. She refused to photograph the wedding of a same-sex couple. The same-sex couple complained to the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. After only a day long trial, Elaine & her husband were ordered to pay $6,637.00 as a penalty. Later, a NM Court of Appeals upheld the decision. They were fined for standing on their Christian beliefs. 

Reason #3: 
Emmanuel Temple and Lighthouse Outreach Center - These two Christian churches in Hawaii are fighting a State law that will force churches to open their facilities to any one who wants to get married, including Same-Sex couples. This law completely disregards the churches teachings, and beliefs. Yes, that means churches in the state of Hawaii could be forced to accommodate Same-Sex weddings. Based on this law, churches, and Pastors, could be forced to accommodate, and perform, same-sex weddings, even though it violates their personal convictions.

Reason #4: 
Chick Fil A – This restaurant chain is owned by a Christian man who came out in support of traditional marriage. As a result, three Mayors of major U.S. cities came out and stated that they would block Chick Fil A from attempting to open a restaurant in their city. So now, your philosophy and beliefs have to be approved by the Government in order for you to open business? Now, Christians are being blocked from opening businesses because of their biblically based beliefs. 

Reason #5: 
Jennifer Keeton – She is a Christian graduate student at Augusta State University, in Georgia, studying counseling. She was asked how she would respond to homosexuals seeking counseling. She stated she would try to help that person see that homosexuality was wrong. In response, her school made her take “diversity and sensitivity” workshops as part of a remediation plan. Keeton refused to participate. As a result, the school kicked her out of the program. Is this tolerance, and diversity, for all, unless you have a Christian view point? 

Reason #6:  
Jim and Mary O'reilly – They are Christians who own Wildflower Inn in Vermont. They refused to host the wedding of a same-sex couple, because it was against their Christian beliefs. The same-sex couple complained to the Vermont Human Rights Commission, and a lawsuit was filed. A Judge penalized Jim and Mary, by making them pay $10,000 in damages. They subsequently are now forced to accommodate all "couples". Because of this, they have stopped providing wedding services as part of their business. Where is the Human Rights Commission for Christians? 

Reason #7:
Daniel Glowacki –Daniel, a Christian high school student at Howell High, was specifically asked, in front of his class, by his teacher, about his feelings on homosexuality. Daniel responded, that as a Christian, he felt the gay and lesbian lifestyle was wrong. Because of his answer, Daniel was ordered to leave the classroom under threat of suspension. As news of the incident spread, Daniel and his family were vilified as “bigots”. Many in the media referred to Daniel’s religious objections to the homosexual agenda as “hate” speech. The Michigan Education Association, the State Teachers’ Union, supported the teachers actions. National lesbian TV host, Ellen DeGeneres got in on the anti-Glowacki campaign. Daniel even became the subject of a school assembly. 

Reason #8:
Rosemary Centi and Laura Fotusky –These two Christian Town Clerks were forced to resign from their positions in the State of New York. They refused to comply with the New York Marriage Equality Act, which would force them to perform, and participate, in same-sex marriages. Rosemary Centi said, “I have a number of friends whom I adore who are gay, and I respect an individual’s right to live their life however they chose to.”...“So, I would expect the same courtesy.” Rosemary may be expecting too much from this crowd. 

Reason #9: 
Julea Ward - Julea is a Christian graduate student in the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University. She was nearing the end of the program, and had accumulated a 3.91 GPA. Then, she was expelled, because EMU asked her to counsel a client in a manner that would have violated her biblically based faith, and values. Following standard profession practice, she asked her supervising professor whether it would be okay to reassign the client to a different counselor. EMU expelled her from the program for making this simple referral request, and because of her Christian beliefs that motivated it. 

Reason #10: 
Dr Neil Clark Warren – After being a Christian counselor for over 30 years, Dr. Warren formed eHarmony. In 2008, eHarmony was sued by a homosexual man, for not providing services to the homosexual community. In order to settle this lawsuit, eHarmony was forced to open a separate service for homosexuals. In 2010, another lawsuit was filed, forcing them to combine the two services and to pay $500,000.00 to "discriminated" Californians on top of the $1.5 million it has spent defending itself. Christians are losing their ability to manage their own companies

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