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Barn wedding reception (Photo: Joshua Rainey Photography, The Daily Signal)

Barn wedding reception (Photo: Joshua Rainey Photography, The Daily Signal)

Forgive me, but I can’t stop thinking about Robert and Cynthia Gifford, the New York couple hit with a $13,000 fine by the state’s division of human rights for politely declining, as a matter of religious conviction, to host a same-sex wedding celebration.

I know there are many injustices to write about. I know the world is on fire. But if we can’t get something this simple right, I don’t see how we’re going to deal with ISIS or the flood of illegal aliens streaming across the border or anything else for that matter.

The Giffords are small family farmers who allowed their beautiful property to be used for special events and occasions – weddings, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries. The Giffords enjoyed being a part of these celebrations, providing all the decorations and catering the parties.

One day, they were approached about hosting a same-sex marriage at their facility. They explained they wouldn’t be comfortable doing that for religious reasons. In other words, they were conscientious objectors looking for a way out. They didn’t violate anyone’s human rights. They didn’t commit any “hate crimes.” They didn’t call anyone names. They didn’t try to hurt anyone’s feelings. They just simply preferred to opt out of working on this event because their heart wouldn’t be in it.

As a result of this perfectly reasonable decision, a bureaucracy that supposedly guards people’s “human rights” zapped the Giffords with a $13,000 fine.

Have we lost our minds? Have we lost all common sense? Have we lost even the concept of “human rights”?

The Giffords are the victims of a human rights abuse, not the perpetrators. And they are hardly alone.

In an earlier column, I pointed out the same thing has happened to other small businesses, including photographers, cake bakers, florists and other caterers. It’s not just New York. At least four states have prosecuted individuals and businesses simply for choosing not to actively participate in “same-sex weddings” as a matter of personal conscience.

Here’s what I strongly suspect is going on here, because, in at least some of these cases, those approaching the businesses in question were customers who were very familiar with the values of those running them. So they actively decided to put people on the spot – asking observant, biblically centered Christians to take jobs that would violate their most personal beliefs. When they politely declined, these homosexual activists filed lawsuits or “civil rights” complaints with state agencies.

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You will notice that in all cases, they chose to put Christian businesses on the spot. Why? Because state agencies and judges don’t have any problem with punishing Christians for the free exercise of their faith.

But I can’t help but wonder what would happen if and when photographers, caterers, cake makers and florists of the Islamic faith were approached for similar opportunities.

I wonder why they haven’t been approached yet.

Actually, I don’t wonder at all. I think I know the reason.

These laws and regulations governments create to bestow special privileges and status on certain people are specifically designed to empower government and divide people into groups – some privileged and some unprivileged.

It would be a crisis for the multicultural utopianists to pit Muslims against homosexuals or vice versa. Muslims and homosexuals are at the vanguard of the multicultural revolution under way in America – a revolution at odds with the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which the nation was founded.

But the new rules and laws of this multicultural revolution, based, we are told, on principles of diversity and tolerance, are so shoddy, so shallow, so transparently flawed and so obviously corrupt that they actually foster intolerance, bigotry and coercion.

I made this point in previous writings – and, boy, did it hit a nerve.

Think about it. It’s really simple. If the folks who want to have a same-sex marriage are protected by laws honoring “sexual orientation,” why don’t those same laws protect the “sexual orientation” of the caterers, the florists, the bakers and photographers?

Don’t get my point?

OK, look at it this way: Suppose a devout Christian couple was planning a wedding at which the following biblical vow from Genesis 2:20-24 was to be read:

“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

The couple wanted a videographer to capture this moment. They look at many different portfolios and find their favorite videographer is Lance. So they visit Lance and tell him what they have in mind. But Lance is an atheist homosexual, and he’s put off by the Christian couple’s whole concept – and tells them so. He would rather not perform this job.

Should Lance be sued? Should he be punished by the state’s human rights division? Should he be coerced to take the assignment?

Good heavens! Where is our freedom going?

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