by Dr. D ~ August 23rd, 2013
(New Mexico Supreme Court: Wikipedia)
In a rather sobering case in New Mexico, the State Supreme Court ruled in essence that gay rights now trump religious freedom in that state.
It all started when two Christian photographers declined to photograph a same-sex union. A complaint was filed against the photographers with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission accusing them of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Now the State Supreme Court has ruled against them and in the process has ordered them to accept assignments regardless of their personal religious beliefs or conscience.
According to the court’s unanimous decision written by Justice Richard Bosson:
“The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation – photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony – than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims,” …
Bosson said the Christian photographers are now “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” …
“At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others,” …
“But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life,” the justice wrote. “The Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people.”
Alliance Defending Freedom represented the Christian photographers in this case. Here’s the reaction from ADF Attorney Jordan Lorence who contended that the ruling in effect means that gay rights now trump religious rights in the State of New Mexico:
“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country. This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free.”
“This is very coercive, very authoritarian to crush those who do not agree and make public examples of them – and in a free society, that simply should not be.”
The next step may be federal court and eventually the US Supreme Court.
For more complete information on this case read the entire article by Todd Starnes of Fox news: “NM Court Says Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs”
Response: We have been warning American Christians for more than two years that gay and LGBT rights could eventually trump religious freedom in America. When states began adding ‘sexual orientation’ to their already in place civil rights and anti-discrimination laws it was only a matter of time. But it has happened far more quickly than I would have ever predicted. Also leading to this result is an on-going downgrading of the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is in the process of being re-interpreted as merely ‘freedom to worship’ within the four walls of an official church or worship center.
We are now to the point in this country where religion is no longer an important part of the lives of many of our governmental leaders especially those in the judiciary. This has contributed to the now popular idea that religious conscience and personally held beliefs should no longer necessarily be protected by the Constitution. That they can and should be over-ridden by what the secular ruling class and the judicial majority hold to be best for society as a whole. That very idea is reflected in this highly patronizing ruling by Justice Bosson.
According to Bosson and the Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court, Christians may now be “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” If so, than we now have an autocratic form of government that can over-ride the First Amendment and religious liberty and conscience at will?
What I find as ironic is the statement by Bosson that ‘tolerance’ must guide the actions of the photographers in question rather than their own religious convictions. Yet in this ruling there is absolutely no tolerance given for historical Christian views that may be held by 100 million or so Americans.
This will not be the last case that deals with this issue and eventually the US Supreme Court will need to make a decisive ruling on how the First Amendment now applies and whether we still have freedom of religion in America. *Top