A moving video from the Acton Institute honoring Religious Freedom Day today.
Heritage fellow Ryan Messmore writes:
Religious Freedom in America Today
Today there are troubling signs that the ability of people to express their religious beliefs without fear of penalty is eroding. This is especially apparent concerning the traditional belief that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
The following examples have arisen in the past few years:
- Acting on its religious beliefs about marriage, a Christian ministry in New Jersey chose not to rent a facility to a lesbian couple for a civil union ceremony. After the women accused the ministry of discriminating against them, the state of New Jersey revoked a tax exemption for the facility and found probable cause that the ministry had violated a state nondiscrimination law.
- A photographer in New Mexico declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony on the grounds that doing so would violate the photographer’s religious beliefs about marriage. After the lesbian couple filed a complaint, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of violating a nondiscrimination law and imposed thousands of dollars in costs.
- In Georgia, a lesbian woman sought advice from a professional counselor on how to improve her relationship with her lesbian partner. The counselor did not have a problem counseling gays and lesbians but felt it would have violated her religious beliefs to specifically help a lesbian woman improve her romantic relationship with another woman. The counselor was fired by her employer for referring the lesbian woman to a colleague instead of counseling the woman herself.
Legal scholars predict that cases like these are “merely a foretaste” of what religious institutions can expect for taking similar stands against homosexual conduct and same-sex marriage.