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-Iowa: Christian Business Owners Sue Civil Rights Commission

by Dr. D ~ October 11th, 2013

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is being sued by Christian business owners over demands that the couple host same-sex marriages at their event center regardless of their religious convictions. Here’s the story from CitizenLink:

Richard and Betty Odgaard have decided to sue the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after that group tried to force the couple to host same-sex ceremonies at their event center.

The Gortz Haus in Grimes, Iowa was once a Lutheran church.  But after the Odgaards bought the property, they turned it into an art gallery, bistro and event center.  Both Richard and Betty help plan and host every wedding slated for the old church’s sanctuary area.

In August, two men asked to use the venue for a ceremony.  As Mennonites, the Odgaards turned them down because it violated their religious beliefs.  The men then filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission – and chaos ensued.

The Odgaards received threatening email messages and phone calls, and were the subject of hateful Internet postings.  Their business was boycotted.

<Read the whole article>

For more information on this case go to The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty website which is supporting the couple in their lawsuit.

Response: There are Christian business owners all over America that have found themselves in trouble over their convictions regarding homosexual marriage- printers, photographers, bakers, and any type of business involved in marriages. In all of these cases it is a battles between conflicting ‘rights.’ 

Since LGBT rights have been added to the civil rights laws in many states, Christian business owners are now finding themselves being accused of violating the civil rights of homosexuals when they decline to be involved in same-sex marriages or ceremonies because of their religious beliefs and convictions.

The state and local government entities in these cases are insisting that LGBT civil rights trump religious freedom and rights of conscience. In one case, the New Mexico Supreme Court plainly said that was the case and demanded that the Christian business owners comply and ignore their own religious convictions in the process.

It is good to see this Iowa couple challenge the state ruling with the help of the Becket Fund lawyers. This whole issue is a long ways from over and will probably not be until the US Supreme Court rules in one of these cases like the one with this couple in Iowa.            *Top

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2 Responses to -Iowa: Christian Business Owners Sue Civil Rights Commission

  1. Brian

    Mennonites are descended from the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation on continental Europe. Amish and Hutterites are two other branches of the Protestant radical wing from Europe (American Evangelicals descend from the radical wing of the Protestant Reformation in England and, thus, are cousins).

    The Mennonites have a very extensive history (as do the Amish and the Hutterites) of trying to conform every aspect of one’s life to the teachings of Christ. Thus, it is well in keeping with centuries of Mennonite religious tradition that they would decline to host a same-sex wedding.

    The Mennonites also have a very extensive history of discrimination and intolerance. However, it is not what you are thinking – they have been the victims of extreme discrimination and intolerance, which drove them from Europe to seek sanctuary and religious freedom in the US.

    One of the arguments, advanced by the secular left and the LGBT crowd, has been that “you can believe whatever you want, but when you open a business, you must comply with the mandates of civil rights laws, even if doing so would violate your religious beliefs.” This position utterly ignores the centuries of tradition from the radical wing that one must conform one’s life to the requirements of Jesus Christ, and not the other way around. Also, it ignores the fact that the Mennonites have an extensive tradition of staying steadfast in their faith, even in the face of imprisonment or even death.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian for the informed comments.

    It really does frame the battle ahead for Freedom of religion and conscience. Many would like to limit it if it conflicts with a so-called ‘progressive’ agenda. So much of the foundation of our country was formed on the foundation of religious freedom. Now many would like to re-interpret or limit the first amendment when it comes to religious freedom regardless of our history or how it would affect a Christian minority. In nearly every case minority rights are respected except when it comes to conservative Christians.

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