Christian florist gives first interview

On Friday, I gave an update on Barronelle Stutzman’s case. She is the Christian florist who is risking everything to stand for religious freedom. Yesterday, she gave her first interview since the court ruled against her. You can watch it above.

27 Responses to Christian florist gives first interview

  1. Linda jackson February 25, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    She shouldn’t have taken there money for all those flowers she sold them before they asked her to service their wedding. She was greedy. She should be worrying about her personal wellness instead others.

    • Ian Shaw February 25, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      That’s your takeaway from this situation?

  2. James Harold Thomas February 25, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    A similar situation could soon occur if doctors or pharmacists are ever ordered to participate in executions. The drugs used in lethal injections are becoming difficult for states to get so they are turning to compounding pharmacies to provide them.

    The American Pharmacist Association has an ethical policy that disagrees with laws mandating pharmacist participation.
    http://www.pharmacist.com/policy/pharmacist-involvement-execution-lethal-injection-15

    I wonder if those who reject the rights of florists, bakers, and photographers also reject the rights of doctors and pharmacists. Since states license and regulate the practice of medicine and pharmacy, they claim to have the right to define those as they see fit, regardless of whether they maintain centuries-old traditions like the Hippocratic Oath or not.

  3. Chrisitane Smith February 25, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    It looks like it was the state’s attorney general who proceeded to make this into something that neither Mrs. Stutzman nor her gay client wanted to happen. I have to hope that this is resolved without this good woman being injured financially or losing the good-will of her gay clients, of whom she obviously is fond.

    I think Mrs. Stutzman was right to do as she did in accordance with her conscience, but I am sorry to say that it may cost her dearly financially because of it . . . that is a kind of martyrdom in a way, yes. But there are so very many other considerations about how people of faith who also serve the public in professional capacities must ethically AND morally do their jobs with respect to the well-being of ALL those they serve.

    Mrs. Stutzman referred her gay client to some other good florists for wedding services, and she gave him a hug. He thanked her.

    But the attorney general sees something in the media and makes this into his cause-celebre and I can’t see HOW this can contribute to a communal discussion between all parties concerned that will resolve and improve understanding in the future. Can the Church step in and bring people together to work this out for everyone’s good ? Not the part of the Church that cannot bring itself to the table, no. But there are those in the Church who know that there is more to be done in the way of understanding and reaching out and listening, and it is those Christian people that I believe can bring our diverse citizens to the table in a spirit of good will which desires the best for all concerned. By its very nature, the Church has a responsive role in this healing, yes.

    • Ian Shaw February 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

      As much as the proprietor and the couple have made amends, I don’t think the state will let this go. The AG is going to use this woman as an example and make her out to be an enemy of the human race.

  4. Don Johnson February 25, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    My thoughts are I appreciate religious liberty, but I wonder where to allow the state to use its power.

    What if the couple was mixed racially and she did not believe such should marry? It is not too long ago that there were so-called miscegenation laws in some states that forbade such marriages until the Supremes struck them down.

    The Bible says a believer should not marry a non-believer. What if she knew that such was happening? Would she refuse to offer her services since it is not according to her understanding of Scripture?

    To answer my own questions, I think I would serve anyone in her shoes, I do not see this as a hill to die on and I do not see why providing my services would be seen as an endorsement of anything. I also think she is exegetically incorrect. But I also understand others think differently.

    • Ian Shaw February 25, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Don, I appreciate your sentiments, but much like you would not have issue serving any customers regardless of their proclivities, others may feel exactly the opposite and this all boils down to subjectivity, not objectivity from any and all business owners. Others may find this to be a decision that violates their conscience. Who are any of us to tell them that they are wrong in believing that? Others may also find you exegetically incorrect as well, but that’s subjective as well.

      The questions about yoking with an unbeliever isn’t relevant to this specific case as it did not occur. I understand you want to take things to their logical conclusions, but if I can be pragmatic, the conversation of how 1 of us is a believer and 1 of us is not probably isn’t going to come up in a back and forth with the baker over cakes.

      I also understand that not every believer would chose to make this a hill to die on. But if you take any/all rights away from business owners, you turn them into slaves for the state, rather than entrepreneurs.

      I worked for a fast-food establishment back in high school. My boss once overheard a young man at the counter call his girlfriend a not-so-nice 5 letter word as I was taking their order. On the spot, he told the guy “you’re not being served today because of the disrespect you just showed here. Please leave”. Boss said that they have the right to refuse service to anyone.

      Why then, couldn’t that disrespectful male, come back with a lawsuit against the restaurant saying that his worldview on women was being discriminated against? Or that his “faith” was being discriminated against as it informs his worldview on women?

      If we follow this to a logical conclusion, would you have an issue if a holocaust survivor that owned a bakery, refused to make a Nazi cake for a local white supremacist group?

      • Don Johnson February 25, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

        Lincoln asked the question, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” A lady answered, “Five.” Lincoln said, “No, four, calling a tail a leg does not mean it is one.”

        If someone really believes that God defined marriage so that only one man and one woman qualifies as such, then she should not believe that the state can redefine it. I think this is part of the problem, that instead of the state offering civil union licenses to everyone and letting any group define marriage as they wish, the state got mixed up into something that some believe it has no authority to do. In other words, “marriage” is now a fighting word when what is actually going on is people are using the same word for different ideas. So let’s split them up, the state can offer a civil marriage license and a group can offer a religious marriage ceremony or call it whatever they wish to whomever they wish.

        The DA in this case went way overboard and tried to bully her, I am sure he expected her to cave as in his worldview it would not be worth it to fight. He wanted to use her as an example so that others would not do what she did. What I think he should have done is fine her a nominal amount so it would not look like he is bullying her and let her pay it. Some small pain and she gets to stand on her principle if she wishes to pay it. He did not need to try to wipe her out financially, that was his mistake, it was a disproportionate penalty so now he looks like a bully and it blows up in his face.

        Jesus said to love one’s enemies, baking them a cake or doing flowers for money seems like a lot less than that, but at the least it is a small example of that.

        • Lynn B. February 26, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

          Don: I have heard others suggest that Christians created this problem when they objected to civil unions. If that is true or not I am not sure but we cannot go back; this situation only goes forward.

          The real issue though in the case at hand is religious freedom. What is different from this and past racial issues is that services are readily available to the LGBT population; only a minority object to serving them whereas all blacks were consigned to the “back of the bus” so to speak during segregation. The question is does the U.S. Constitution protect the rights of those who object to serving the LGBT community based on religious belief.

          I have consistently said there is a difference between defending our American freedoms and defending the gospel and your last remark really speaks to the later. Are we in a situation where we are being forced to choose between defending our freedom of worship and loving our enemies as Jesus commanded and which is our ultimate priority?

    • Barbara March 2, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      You know, private businesses used to have signs that say, “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. Some still do. If your pants are hanging down around your knees, no shoes-no shirt- no service, if you refuse to hang up your cell phone, etc…. It was always the private business owner’s right. The customer was well- treated and somebody who had nothing to do with it decided to meddle and destroy a lady to make a political point. There is a final Justice coming. There is.

      • Barbara March 2, 2015 at 11:47 am #

        Sorry, last name didn’t prepopulate. Jackson.

  5. Sandra Stewart February 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    She broke the law and discrimination is never acceptable.
    Her arguments about religious freedom fell flat in court. Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom concluded in his decision that “to accept any [of] the Defendants’ arguments would be to disregard well-settled law.”
    In fact, the case was rather open-and-shut. On March 1, 2013, “Stutzman refused to provide to Ingersoll a service she provided to others,” Ekstrom wrote. What she believes about same-sex marriage is immaterial, because the law’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation “address conduct, not beliefs.” Agreeing with the plaintiffs and the attorney general, Ekstrom asserted that “no Court has ever held that religiously motivated conduct, expressive or otherwise, trumps state discrimination law in public accommodations.” He also pointed out that Stutzman is not a minister nor is Arlene’s Flowers a religious organization. Likewise, the law does not specifically target her because of her beliefs, but is “neutral and generally applicable” to all people of all beliefs.

    • Ian Shaw February 25, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

      Sandra,

      Imagine this scenario if you will. As a human being and someone that has a conscience, I’m sure there are things that you find morally acceptable and morally deplorable.

      Say for instance that there was something you find morally offensive (whatever it may be) and it was in stark contrast to your worldview that was formed from your religious faith. Now that state comes in and says that you have to do something that violates your conscience and your set of beliefs. That state says it doesn’t matter, you have to be complicit in something and if you don’t, you’ll be facing hefty legal fines, loss of business/livelihood or potentially jail time.

      What is your move?

      On a side note, you mentioned that the superior court judge pointed out that Stutzman is not a minister. What does that have to do with her objection? Was the judge making a claim that because she’s not employed at a minister/pastor/priest, she can’t claim a religious exemption? If so, that’s a dangerous precedent, as the state is implying that no one can claim to be of a faith/belief system unless they are a minister/pastor/priest.

    • Gus Nelson February 27, 2015 at 12:29 am #

      Sandra: Do you recognize where your arguments are going to logically take you? Can I not, as a business owner discriminate against hooligans who come in to my establishment and buy something but then intentionally frighten my customers? How about discrimination against Nazis who come into my shop and buy something and then constantly demand I stop serving blacks and Jews? Can I discriminate against them? Saying discrimination is wrong as a blanket statement might lead to all kinds of absurd results. We don’t always think through the unintended consequences of having certain laws that can be applied in ways never otherwise considered.

  6. Daryl Little February 26, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    Here in Canada we’re looking at the possibility of doctors who will not murder unborn children being forced to refer “patients” to those who will, or, if no such doctor is available in the area, being forced to do the killing themselves.

    Should the law actually end up landing there (and I’m sure it will, on both sides of the border) what is the material difference between that, and Mrs. Stutzman’s situation. In both cases there are those who claim to be Christians who would happily provide the “service”. In both cases the objection is based on religious belief and in both cases it can be argued that there is discrimination involved.

    Up here, discrimination on religious grounds is being upheld in some circles and not in others (meaning it will soon encompass all areas). For instance, while the courts in the province of Nova Scotia has ruled that it is illegal for the bar association to keep graduated from the Trinity Western law program from practicing law in that province, we also have the Bank of Montreal refusing to hire any company to do work for them, that doesn’t have a non-discrimination policy that specifically applies to homosexuals and same-sex marriage.

    There is not slippery slope. It’s a clear agenda that will take what it can get at every point until there is nothing more to give.

    One last point. Did you notice in the video the claim that the 1st amendment applies only to beliefs and not to actions? Since when were beliefs ever an issue in any western country, let along the U.S.?

    Crazy.

    • ian Shaw February 26, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      Daryl, your last statement echoes to what President Obama hinted at a while ago regarding worshipping wherever you want but what’s said and done stays inside the churches doors/walls-ergo freedom of belief and not practice/action.

  7. Nathan Cesal February 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    My father worked for a paper company that manufactured high-gloss specialty paper that ended up in the hands of publishers that printed content that Christians find objectionable. Should he have been allowed to tell his employer that he would only work in making the rolls of paper used for Ranger Rick magazine and not the rolls that would be used in printing [magazines of objectionable content]?

    • Ian Shaw February 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

      If he owned the company my response would be different, but if he objected to it that much, he could always look for another job, just as this couple could have just looked for another florist that would have loved to take the hundreds of dollars to create a wedding arrangement.

    • Brian Sanders February 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

      Nathan: Certainly, your father had the right to decline to work on any project objectionable to him and his employer had the right to fire him for doing so. If he were the owner he would have the right to decline any contract in which he did not want to participate. But are you really comparing apples to apples?

  8. James Harold Thomas February 27, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    Roy, do you agree or disagree with pharmacists’ right to refuse to provide lethal injection drugs?

    • James Harold Thomas February 27, 2015 at 9:09 am #

      This should be under Roy’s 4:49pm comment.

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