Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Committed Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life are being squeezed out of commerce and public office

On Thursday, August 22, 2013, five Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court told Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin they could no longer be wedding photographers because they are Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life. They do not view homosexual or lesbian partnerships as a marriage and act accordingly.  In San Antonio, Texas, Christians are about to be excluded from holding office ar contracting with the City.

The trend is ominous. We need to expose and oppose it by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce. However, we also need to be aware that morally coherent Christians, who live a unity of life and believe that their faith informs every aspect of their life, are at the beginning of a period of growing persecution. We must pray, band together and act appropriately

The trend is ominous. We need to expose and oppose it by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce. However, we also need to be aware that morally coherent Christians, who live a unity of life and believe that their faith informs every aspect of their life, are at the beginning of a period of growing persecution. We must pray, band together and act appropriately

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/3/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: San Antonio, Texas, Ordinance, Albuguerque, New Mexico, anti-Christian, persecution, religious cleansing, Deacon Keith Fournier


ALBUQUERQUE, NM (Catholic Online) - On Thursday, August 22, 2013, five Justices of the New Mexico Supreme Court told Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin they could no longer be wedding photographers because they are Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life. They do not view homosexual or lesbian partnerships as a marriage and act accordingly. 

The controversy began in 2006. The Christian married couple own a photography business called Elane Photography which offers wedding photography services to the public. They were approached by a lesbian couple and asked to photograph a lesbian commitment service. They politely refused the offer of business, explaining that their Christian faith would not allow them to do so. New Mexico law, at that time, did not recognize in the law either marriage or civil unions between people of the same sex.

The lesbian couple found another photographer for the ceremony. They lost no money or time in the effort. However, they filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission charging that the refusal violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) and that the refusal constituted sexual orientation discrimination.

The case progressed through the administrative procedure and into the Courts, ending up at the New Mexico Supreme Court. A review of the State Supreme Court opinion reveals that after the photography business declined to offer its services, the events which followed were orchestrated by the lesbian couple in order to set the case up. In 2003 the NMHRA was amended to include those with homosexual, lesbian or any other form of "sexual orientation" beside heterosexual, among its list of protected classes.

The State Supreme Court held that "When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races. Even if the services it offers are creative or expressive, Elane Photography must offer its services to customers without regard for the customers' race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected classification."

In a concurring opinion, Judge Beeson added even more disturbing language, addressing the Huguenins religious beliefs:  "As devout, practicing Christians, they believe, as a matter of faith, that certain commands of the Bible are not left open to secular interpretation; they are meant to be obeyed. Among those commands, according to the Huguenins, is an injunction against same-sex marriage.

"On the record before us, no one has questioned the Huguenin's devoutness or their sincerity; their religious convictions deserve our respect. In the words of their legal counsel, the Huguenins "believed that creating photographs telling the story of that event [a same-sex wedding] would express a message contrary to their sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would disobey God."

He used his judicial office to chastise the Christian couple for acting in fidelity to their deeply held religious convictions:  "There is a lesson here. In a constitutional form of government, personal, religious, and moral beliefs, when acted upon to the detriment of someone else's rights, have constitutional limits. One is free to believe, think and speak as one's conscience, or God, dictates.

"But when actions, even religiously inspired, conflict with other constitutionally protected rights. Their refusal to do business with the same-sex couple in this case, no matter how religiously inspired, was an affront to the legal rights of that couple, the right granted them under New Mexico law to engage in the commercial marketplace free from discrimination."

He finally opined:  "The New Mexico Legislature has made it clear that to discriminate in business on the basis of sexual orientation is just as intolerable as discrimination directed toward race, color, national origin or religion. The Huguenins today can no more turn away customers on the basis of sexual orientation-photographing a same-sex marriage ceremony-than they could refuse to photograph African-Americans or Muslims. All of which, I assume, is little comfort to the Huguenins, who now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views."

"On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. 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. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation's strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life."

"In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, 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. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship. I therefore concur."

In other words, committed Christian people who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life, live in New Mexico and want to be wedding photographers - will have to choose another line of work.They are now excluded from participating in that area of commerce if they want to follow their informed conscience and live in accordance with their sincere faith.  

What is next?

What is happening in San Antonio, Texas is next. Christians are about to be excluded from holding office ar contracting with the City. There is an effort underway to amend the sections of the City Code related to public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, city contracts and appointments to city boards and commissions.

The proposed language in the revision to the City code adds sexual orientation, and gender identity as a suspect classification:  "No person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability."

The revision also adds this clause: "No appointed official or member of a board or commission shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability, while serving in such public position."

If passed, committed Christians who take their faith as a guide for every area of their life will no longer be able to serve in public office for the City of San Antonio, Texas, or enter into contractual relationships with the City. They will be excluded from public service if they want to follow their informed conscience and live in accordance with their sincere faith.  
 
What is next?

The trend is ominous. We need to expose and oppose it by defending all of the Rights protected by the US Constitution, including the free exercise of religion, the right to free speech, free association and the right to participate in commerce. However, we also need to be aware that morally coherent Christians, who live a unity of life and believe that their faith informs every aspect of their life, are at the beginning of a period of growing persecution. We must pray, band together and act appropriately.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More U.S.

'I was thinking as long as I have my hands up ... they're not going to shoot me.' Police fire shots at unarmed black therapist as he lies on the ground asking not to be shot Watch

Image of Officer shoots unarmed black man then cuffed him (WSVN).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was attempting to calm his autistic patient, who had run away from a group home, when officers arrived on the scene and shot him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to WSVN, officers in North Miami responded to a report of ... continue reading


DEADLY heatwave settles over U.S., here's what you need to know to stay safe Watch

Image of Most of the U.S. under alert.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The worst heatwave in years is here and it will scorch the entire country from Central California to the Great Lakes, to New England. The heat will be dangerous and persistent. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ask people what the most deadly weather phenomenon is ... continue reading


Texas female teacher slammed to ground - White officer claims blacks have 'violent tendencies' Watch

Image of Breaion King was slammed to the ground for not moving her legs.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A disturbing video was recently released over a year after a white Texas officer slams a black second-grade teacher to the pavement. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video was recorded on the officer Brian Richtor's dash cam. He pulled second-grade teacher ... continue reading


'Here the church is their family and they know they are loved': The Church reaches out to Hispanics Watch

Image of Over half of Catholic millennials in the United States are Hispanic.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Louisiana's Diocese of Shreveport has hired its first diocesan for Hispanic youths. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hispanics compose over half the United States' Catholics yet several states offer little to no Spanish-language or Latino-centered church groups.The ... continue reading


Deacon Fournier on the Parable of the Sower, the Seed and the Soil Watch

Image of The meaning of the agrarian parables that Jesus used has become increasingly clear as I watch those fields become green every Spring. Of course, preceding all of this, there were barren looking fields, seemingly lifeless, that is before the seed was sown. Preparing the ground for the seed involves hard work, cooperative weather and the goodness of the God who created this beautiful and fruitful world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Living Word has been sown within us. We must assist in cultivating the ground of our hearts in order to be more fully transformed by grace and reflect the Image and Likeness of God. We are called to grow in holiness and allow the Risen Life of Jesus Christ to ... continue reading


305k believers gather in Washington DC to pray Jesus 'resets the generation' Watch

Image of Tim Tebow makes appearance and speech (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hundreds of thousands of Christians met at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this weekend to join together in an event aimed at resetting the generation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to its website, Together Reset believes there is power in ... continue reading


Who Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus? We Are! Watch

Image of Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. We are the mother and brother and sister of Jesus

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. When we choose to be obedient to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of the "family" of God; ... continue reading


God's Not Dead 2 Billboard deemed too 'provocative' while atheism ads go unnoticed Watch

Image of Atheist group spreads hate unchallenged.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Notorious atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has purchased billboard space near Cleveland airport to greet the Republican National Committee (RNC). Meanwhile, a pro-religion message has been disqualified. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Religious ... continue reading


Baton Rouge Shooting: New information revealed about war veteran gunman Watch

Image of Shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Six people were shot Sunday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three of the victims were police officers, each of whom were killed, and three were civilians, all of whom survived the shooting. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sunday morning, 29-year-old Marine Corps ... continue reading


Christians Excluded from Commerce, Professions and Public Service. Stand Together or Fall Apart Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The trend is obvious and ominous. How will the Christian community respond? Will we withdraw from the public square? Will we build new ghettos and adopt a victim mentality? Will we continue to splinter and turn against one another? Or, will we come together ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 18:20-32
20 Then Yahweh said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 6-7, 7-8
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:1-13
1 Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 2:12-14
12 You have been buried with him by your baptism; by which, too, you have ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 24th, 2016 Image

St. John Boste
July 24: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He ... Read More