|Barronelle Stutzman, floral artist|
Barronelle Stutzman thought she knew the young man who had been her customer for several years. Whenever he came into her shop where she created her floral artistry, he always asked for her. They shared many cordial conversations. She knew he was gay; he knew she was a Christian.
Then one day he announced he was getting "married" to his partner, and he wanted her to create the floral arrangements for their union. Barronelle respectfully explained to him that she could not do that. As a follower of Christ, she accepted God's definition of marriage as being a sacred ceremony among one man, one woman, and Christ. She told her friend that it was a covenant with the church. To use her art to celebrate something that would violate her core beliefs was unthinkable. Her customer seemed to understand. She went on to recommend other florists in the area who could do the job. He seemed to accept her answer.
Some time later, she was notified that she was being sued. Since then, she has be harassed and maligned by members and supporters of the LGBTQ faction of our country.
Barronelle is not the only victim of our current uncivil disobedience. Most of America is aware of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and his legal battles to save his business after he refused to use his amazing artistic gift to create a cake for another gay "marriage." It took the Supreme Court to vindicate him.
Then there's Maxine Waters, California senator (D), who loathes all things Trump, including his cabinet. Who hasn't seen and heard her curbside harangue in which she gathers a crowd of rabble-rousers and incites them to violence and harassment against President Trump, Vice-President Pence, and all cabinet members and appointees. That is one angry, bitter woman. Unfortunately, many are listening to her and following her orders.
Our liberties are being trampled underfoot. Many of those who perform these egregious deeds have never read the First Amendment, let alone the U.S. Constitution, short document that it is. The Declaration of Independence also has much to say that relates to what we now experience.
What we are seeing in our country today is reminiscent of the early days of the French Revolution, and the vitriol is aimed at Christians, conservatives, and anyone who dares to stand against the ultra-liberal agenda. A few days ago, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were asked to leave the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, for the horrible crime of being a member of the President's staff. Threats have been made against her family, including her children.
Recently, at Kilroy's, an Indianapolis, Indiana, bar and grill, a man was refused service and escorted out the door by the bouncer. His friends left with him. What had he done to deserve this kind of treatment. Was he drunk and disorderly? Had he tried to start a barroom brawl? Was he not wearing a shirt and shoes? What? None of the above. He was wearing a cross necklace that the bouncer deemed "too big." It was perhaps 1-1/2-inches tall. Others in the restaurant were wearing larger pieces of jewelry and chains, according to customers who witnessed the incident.
Essentially, the Red Hen manager and the Kilroy's bouncer were saying, "We don't serve your kind." Jack Phillips, Barronelle Stutzman, and others who are faithful believers and live their lives according to the Bible have a good reason for declining business that would violate their faith. Why would LGBTQ customers even want someone to make a cake, create floral arrangements, take photographs, provide music, etc., who would not want to be there, who would not support and celebrate the event?
I, too, am a follower of Jesus Christ. I do not do that which would violate my faith. I'm a storyteller. I don't tell for Hallowe'en events. There are other events I would and have declined.
Please understand this truth. If a Christian declines to provide a service or product for a particular event, that event is the reason for the declination. It is not a personal attack against you. Barronelle says she misses her gay customer and hopes he'll come back to visit. I'm sure Jack feels the same way about the ones who sued him. Christ's followers are not haters. Quite the contrary is true.
The actions taken by the eateries I cited were personal. That was obvious. They declined service because they opposed the man wearing a cross and the woman who served on the President's staff. Kilroy's and Red Hen's way of acting out their dislike was with rudeness. Both Barronelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips were kind, courteous, and respectful.
Let the free market work.
You don't like "my kind"? Fine. I'll go elsewhere. I'm civilized. I treat people respectfully because I'm the Christ-following kind, and He tells me that all humanity is created in His image. He tells me to love my enemies and to return unkindness with kindness. He says I should pray for my enemies. He tells me that He loves those who would mock me as much as He loves me. Can you believe that? That's called grace. And He has given me so much grace that I'm compelled to serve it to others.
I do need to give you a word or two of caution, though. If you make it personal, and it's obvious that you don't like my kind and word of that gets out, my kind will do you a favor. We won't patronize your business, because we don't want to cause you undue stress by our presence. We'll stay away, but we won't spit at you. We won't take you to court just for refusing to accept our business. We won't trash your business or attack your family. We won't yell obscenities at you or incite a mob of rabble-rousers to surround you and your family. We won't try to shame you or threaten to kidnap your children. We'll just go elsewhere to do our business. And when your bottom line turns from black to red, you'll understand why.