Too Close To Home

 For years, he rang the bells of his church as an expression of praise to God – until the city of Phoenix wrongly determined that the bells violated a local noise ordinance. As a result, a judge sentenced Bishop Painter to jail!

In Michigan, the radical group “Bash Back” invaded Mount Hope Church and disrupted a church service while showering the congregation with propaganda on homosexual behavior.

A straight-A student at Tomah High School in Wisconsin drew a picture in art class containing a cross and Scripture reference. His teacher removed the drawing from the classroom display and gave him a zero for the assignment, a formal reprimand, and two days of detention. Why? Because his art work depicted religious beliefs, which violated the school’s unconstitutional policy.

It’s tempting and hopeful to think that religious freedom is only shrinking in small aspects of life in America. Maybe it’s just in public universities. Maybe it’s only happening in extremely liberal cities. Maybe it’s not that bad. After all, our lives as Christians aren’t threatened in the United States. Praise the Lord that’s still true. But, the above stories are true. They are real cases that the Alliance Defense Fund has litigated.

During the last week of April, we discussed some terrible stories of religious persecution worldwide. What are we going to do to protect our religious freedom in America – arguably, in history, the defining characteristic of our nation?

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
– President Ronald Reagan

Watch Your Mouth in KY

Whose speech is free?

Apparently not that of a Christian business.

In March 2012, Blain Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals in Lexington, KY, declined to print t-shirts ordered by the Gay and Lesbian Service Organization for use in the upcoming Lexington Pride Festival. Adamson rightly believes that to print the t-shirts would indicate his company’s advocacy of the GLSO’s political message. So, he secured an equal quote for printing services at another local printing company and suggested the GLSO use them.

Then Hell broke loose. The GLSO immediately filed a complaint with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission, against Hands On Originals, stating that the company was discriminating against them. Suddenly, not only is Adamson willingly passing up income in order to be true to his Christian values, he is facing legal action and public vilification that may negatively affect his business for years to come.

So, let’s look at the facts:

In the freest nation in the world, a Christian business man is not allowed to decline service to an organization whose message he does not support. But, a restaurant has the right to decline service to a patron who refuses to wear shoes or a shirt. In July 2011, a restaurant in Pennsylvania decided to ban children under 6-years-old because of the potential for disruptive behavior. Isn’t that age discrimination?

Adamson’s company, Hands On Originals, currently employs homosexuals and has no policy against providing printing services to them.

“Notably, HOO has filled past orders for customers who it knew identified as homosexual and will continue to do so in the future,” the response adds. “In addition, HOO has hired, currently employs, and will continue to employ individuals who identify as homosexual.”

Adamson is by no means prohibiting the GLSO’s freedom of expression, as he willingly provided them with an affordable alternative.

Fortunately, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal alliance defending religious liberty, sanctity of life, marriage, and the family, has filed a response in defense of Hands On Originals. Now, the ball is in play, and it’s anybody’s guess what happens from here. Recently, the cultural trend is to minimize Christian influence in the public arena.

Praise the Lord, in the US, it isn’t likely that someone will torch Adamson’s property, and Christians aren’t forced to post security around their churches. See two of last month’s posts: April 23,  and April 27. But the definitions of freedom are getting blurry and the exercise of personal rights is often criticized.

In Adamson’s shoes, what would you do?