Last week, Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt joined their voices with the opponents of Christianity. In short, they argue that Christian business owners who refuse to participate in gay weddings are unjustly discriminating against gay people. Powers even went so far as to say that legal efforts to protect these Christians are tantamount to Jim Crow laws for gay people. Again today, Powers has another op-ed doubling down on her stance against these Christians.
This Jim Crow narrative has really taken hold in recent weeks, but I want to invite you readers to consider whether it really is a good analogy. In the Jim Crow South, white business owners regularly refused service to black people because of their skin color. Are these Christian business owners try to do the same?
Consider the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State who is being sued by the attorney general of the state for refusing to involve her business in a gay wedding. You can watch her in her own words in the video above, but here’s what happened. Stutzman had been serving a gay couple in her flower shop for over ten years. She considered the men to be her friends, and they considered her to be their friend. The two gay men said that throughout their decade long friendship, they did not know that Stutzman believed homosexuality to be a sin. She didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. She was a friend to them and served them while knowing full well that they were gay.
Does this sound like Jim Crow segregation to you? Does this sound like bigotry to you? Does this sound like discrimination to you? So what happened that got her in trouble?
The two men came into her shop one day and asked her to provide floral arrangements for their wedding celebration. Stutzman responded by taking her friend’s hand and saying this:
‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.’ We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.
What happened next? Did the gay couple feel bad about putting their friend in a tough situation? Did they tell her, “We disagree, but we understand” and then take their business elsewhere? No, that’s not what they did. They used Facebook to spread the word about her refusal. Her refusal was reported to authorities, and now this Christian florist is being sued by the Washington State Attorney General.
Stutzman was perfectly willing to serve these two gay men. She did so for over a decade and counted the two men as her friends. She didn’t discriminate against them personally, she just didn’t want to participate in their wedding celebration. How anyone can construe this as anything akin to Jim Crow discrimination is beyond me. Nevertheless, that is the false narrative that is being foisted on her and every other Christian business owner in her situation. They are happy to serve gay people. They just don’t want to participate in gay weddings.
Those who are accusing these Christians of being bigots who wish to return America to Jim Crow discrimination are bearing false witness against these brothers sisters. The sexual revolutionaries seem willing to do or say almost anything to advance their cause. They don’t wish to sympathize with conscientious objectors. Instead, they wish to demonize them with false accusations. Unfortunately, their accomplices in the media are all too willing to help them to spread the lie.
The revolutionaries are not demanding tolerance, but absolute approval of homosexuality. It doesn’t matter if you have been their friend for over a decade. If you get in the way, they are prepared to call the coercive power of the state down upon you—to tar and feather you with the label “Jim Crow” or “bigot.” But the accusation just isn’t true. It certainly wasn’t in the case of Baronelle Stutzman. And neither is it for many others who are now feeling the coercive power of the state bearing down on them.