For the government to force someone to do work that violates his conscience is nothing less than tyranny. And for a man to be compelled under threat of punishment to perform work against his will is slavery.
Blaine Adamson is the owner of a T-shirt shop in Frankfort, Kentucky, Hands On Originals. He is also a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ. So naturally when he was approached in 2012 by a local homosexual activist group to print a shirt promoting The Lexington “Pride” Festival, he politely declined, and courteously referred them to a nearby shop who would be happy to provide the service.
In fact, a quick look at the Frankfort area Yellow Pages lists no less than 21 different businesses which cater to the T-shirt printing crowd, so there was simply no need for Adamson to be forced under the threat of fines and worse to do a job which would have caused him to violate his conscience. Plus, the gay activists wound up getting their shirts for free from another vendor.
But for politely exercising his First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, Adamson was promptly sued. His case finally made it to the Court of Appeals in Kentucky. (The Court of Appeals is one step below the state supreme court). In a surprising move, given the almost total obeisance of judges to the bullies and bigots of the homosexual lobby, the court actually ruled in favor of religious liberty and freedom of speech.
The opinion, written by Chief Judge Joy Kramer, pointed out that Adamson had not been guilty of discrimination at all. There is no evidence, she wrote, that Hands On Originals had “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity” (emphasis in original). In fact, Adamson has routinely done business with members of the LGBT community and even employs them.
The issue, in other words, was not about sexual orientation at all but about speech. It was about whether an American can be compelled by government force to communicate a message which violates his conscience and deeply held religious belief.
Section 5 of the Kentucky constitution is quite clear, unambiguous, and emphatic on the issue (emphasis mine): “[T]he civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
As further proof that the issue for Adamson is one of conscience and religious scruple, and not an expression of some kind of hate-filled homophobia, he has also declined to print T-Shirts that use the word “b**ches” or that featured Jesus dressed as a pirate.
What should not be missed here is that there are two larger issues involved, as lesbian writer Tammy Bruce pointed out some time ago. For the government to force someone to do work that violates his conscience is nothing less than tyranny. And for a man to be compelled under threat of punishment to perform work against his will is slavery.
The reality is that the LGBT lobby is the reincarnation of some of the worst elements of the mindless prejudice of the Old South in its irrational venom toward people (Christians) who are not like them. The rainbow flag is the new Confederate flag. It is as much a symbol of bigotry as that flag ever was in the minds of the left.
Bottom line: in Frankfort, Kentucky, homosexual activists tried to reintroduce slavery to the Deep South. They failed in the attempt. And the Constitution’s protections for religious liberty and freedom of speech were upheld.
Let’s pray that this court will be just the first of many to protect our first freedom against the tyranny of the left.
Bryan Fischer hosts "Focal Point with Bryan Fischer" every weekday on AFR Talk (American Family Radio) from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. (Central).
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