So Much for the Right of Conscience

The ACLU is busy chipping away at religious freedom in our country again. They have successfully brought suit in the Denver area to force a Christian cake-maker to violate his own beliefs or face a fine.

This story is becoming increasingly common, where a Christian baker, florist, photographer in good conscience cannot support the homosexual lifestyle. Yet the authorities are forcing them to violate their conscience or lose their livelihood.

The latest case involves Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop. Writing for the AP (12/6/13), Ivan Moreno notes: “A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said Friday….The order says the cake-maker must ‘cease and desist from discriminating’ against gay couples.”

Mark Silverstein of the ACLU said: “What the judge decided was that the baker’s religious beliefs don’t give him a right to discriminate and violate Colorado law.”

Phillips’ attorney, Nicolle Martin, said, “He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck….If Jack can’t make wedding cakes he can’t continue to support his family.”

So is this what the “tolerance” movement comes down to? Forced acceptance of that which one knows instinctively is wrong. People of good will now must obey the politically correct dictates of the state or be forced out of business? Is this what America is all about now?

Any student of the settlers and founding fathers of America knows that they believed strongly in the right of conscience. That’s the genius of America.

The freedom of conscience for the dissident has been part of the greatness of America. Rev. Roger Williams helped create the first haven for conscience in his Rhode Island colony. William Penn engaged in a “holy experiment” in creating Pennsylvania as a haven for conscience sake.

The founding fathers spoke often of the importance of conscience (as can be seen in a search through Bill Federer’s book, “America’s God and Country”).

Ben Franklin noted, Ben Franklin remarked, “a good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

George Washington sent an order (9/14/1775) regarding the Quebec campaign to make sure that the right of conscience was not violated: “…as far as lies in your power, you are to protect and support the free exercise of the religion of the country, and the undisturbed enjoyment of the rights of conscience in religious matters, with your utmost influence and authority.”

Washington also wrote to a Baptist group (5/10/1789), noting, “any man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

Thomas Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” (published in 1785) said, “Our rulers can have no other authority over such natural rights, only as we have submitted to them (in a social compact). The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God…”

The “sacred right of conscience” has been (and should be) one of the hallmarks of America.

But the ACLU—founded by Roger (“Communism is the goal”) Baldwin seems to be committed to remaking America in the image of the founders of the country…the country of the failed Soviet Union. With their godless base. And so, if they continue to be successful, another Christian entrepreneur will face this dilemma: violate his conscience or go out of business.

In a sense, the unspoken premise of these kinds of cases is that to discriminate against a homosexual is on the same level of discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin. By discriminating against a gay couple, the baker is like those racists during the Jim Crow days that treated blacks as second class citizens.

But there are many ex-gays (freed through the gospel). There are no ex-blacks. Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., once told me, “if racism is a sin and homosexuality is a sin, then, certainly, Dr. King would not have marched for anything that was against the Word of God.”

She adds, “And so, you cannot equate racism with sexual preference—they’re two different things entirely. We can, as adults decide how we express ourselves sexually, but we cannot reappoint ourselves racially.” Would that our elites today recognize that and honor the consciences of others—even if they disagree with their position.


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