Christians Fight for Freedom of Conscience in Indiana

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Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher.

A very significant court challenge here in Indiana is starting to get more national attention, and that will likely only increase once the hearing officially takes place.

For years Christian business owners have faced withering assaults on their rights of conscience by the LGBT political lobby and their pawns in both state legislatures and city councils around the country. Rather than being skeptically researched and reported on, sadly these assaults have met with effusive praise from both national and state media outlets.

Passing Orwellian named "non-discrimination" or "human rights" statutes, these activists have empowered the government to put a gun to the head of business owners, forcing them to participate in otherwise voluntary ceremonies, even when it constitutes a violation of their religious conscience.

While Christian ministers have largely had their rights of conscience respected and protected (to this point), Christian florists, bakers, musicians, and photographers have not been so fortunate.

But here in Indiana, a group of pro-family Christians have decided to push back, appealing to Article 1, Section 3 of the Indiana State Constitution that says:

"No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience"

The Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana have filed suit against the cities of Carmel, Indianapolis, and the state legislature, for their so-called "human rights" laws that blatantly offend this constitutional provision by actually equipping government to punish people for not believing the way the LGBT movement says they should believe.

After steamrolling believers for a decade, this retaliatory legal strategy is likely not what the leftwing activist city councils anticipated; and to this point, they have been roundly defeated in their pathetic efforts to get courts to dismiss the Christians' case. That's bad news for the neo-fascism of the LGBT agenda because unlike the lopsided coverage they receive from sympathetic media, their legal defeat is almost guaranteed if the hearing doesn't take place in front of activist judges. When that happens, a domino effect will ensue toppling these unconstitutional statutes throughout Indiana and elsewhere.

The rights of conscience were among the most cherished, the most fiercely protected, and the most articulately defended by the Founding Fathers. Harnessing the power of government to compel people into an activity that offends their conscience is fascist and completely at odds with any rational understanding of American civil liberties.

This is a shrewd and clever way forward for Christians here and around the country. Most every other state constitution has some form of a conscience rights provision like Indiana's, and even those that don't still operate under the authority of the First Amendment.

Activist city councils and state lawmakers who are preoccupied with committing ill-advised, unconstitutional infringements on peaceful, law-abiding religious businesspeople, have to know there will be consequences for their zealotry.

It should be made very clear to lawmakers that attacking the conscience rights of citizens will be met with litigation, high costs to the city or state, and a public relations nightmare for those arrogant enough to pretend it is their duty to punish the thoughts and beliefs of people who don't think and believe like them.

Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher. Follow him @peterheck, email peter@peterheck.com or visit www.peterheck.com.