There is an unfortunate reality sweeping across America. Homosexuals' "civil rights" are considered to be legally greater than a Christian's claim to religious liberty. As a result of exercising their faith, Christians are being punished legally and financially. Christians are called "bigots" for maintaining their convictions and their faith is marginalized, minimized, and mocked because they believe in the biblical view of marriage.
At stake is whether or not Christians will risk losing their livelihood and/or pay hefty fines for holding fast to their religious beliefs.
Consider the plight of bakers, photographers, florists and property owners, who are being sued and ostracized because of their faith.
Pam Regentin, the owner of Fleur Cakes, in Hood River, Ore. chose not to bake a cake for a lesbian couple because doing so would go against her religious beliefs about marriage. The Oregon Labor Bureau is investigating this case of alleged discrimination against the lesbian couple.
Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore., also chose not to make a cake for a lesbian couple because doing so would violate their religious beliefs about marriage. People are protesting as a result, and a lawsuit could follow.
In Lakewood, Co., a gay couple was denied a cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop, because its owner Jack Phillips doesn't support same-sex marriage, also because of his Christian faith. The Attorney General's office recently filed a formal complaint against Phillips for allegedly violating Colorado's civil rights laws.
In Des Moines, Ia., another baker, Victoria Childress, who owns Victoria's Cake Cottage, also chose not to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because of her religious convictions about marriage. Childress is dealing with people boycotting her shop and possible litigation. She's receiving hate emails and a public campaign is portraying her as a bigot.
In Richland, Wa., a Christian florist, Baronelle Stuzman, is embroiled in a legal battle with both the ACLU and the state's Attorney General, because she refused to decorate a wedding for a homosexual client, because of her "relationship with Jesus Christ."
And for Elane Photography, in New Mexico, Elane and Jonathan Hugunin are embroiled in an extensive legal battle because they refused to photograph a "commitment ceremony" for a lesbian couple because of their belief in traditional, biblical marriage.
Then there is the unfortunate case of Jim and Mary O'Reilly, managers of the family-owned Wildflower Inn, in Vermont. In 2005, the Vermont Human Rights Commission approved Mr. O'Reilly's practice of disclosing to potential same-sex civil union clients that he is a Roman Catholic who believes in the Biblical definition of marriage, but would nonetheless host such an event. Even though he followed the commission's guidelines, the O'Reillys were still sued by a lesbian couple who wanted to have a same-sex wedding reception on the property. (A former employee misstated the family's policy and denied the request.)
The O'Reillys never denied the request and only found out about the employee's act after it was too late. The Human Rights Commission sided with the lesbians, despite the previously approved policy the Commission had agreed to with the O'Reillys. Sued by the state of Vermont and the ACLU, the O'Reillys settled to end the ordeal and paid $30,000 in fines, even though they'd done nothing wrong.
These examples reveal what is becoming an increasing trend of intolerance towards Christians who express their religious beliefs and attempt to live out their faith. Even thought the "free exercise of religion" is protected by the Constitution, Christians are facing an uphill battle in the courts. And it will only get worse.
As these examples, and many others show, the homosexual agenda extends beyond legalizing same-sex marriage. Homosexual activists will not rest until any and all opposition to their behavior and lifestyle is silenced. And the Christian church, both corporate and individual, represent the greatest threat to the normalization and celebration of the homosexual lifestyle.