New Supreme Court Case Challenges Religious Freedom for LGBT

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear another case regarding freedom of religion (or gay rights, depending on which side you’re on) that is akin to the Colorado baker case.

This time, it’s a Christian graphic designer (Lorie Smith) who wishes to be able to refuse designing wedding websites for same-sex couples.

From the Supreme Court docket for the case (Creative LLC v. Elenis):

“Artist Lorie Smith is a website designer who creates original, online content consistent with her faith. She plans to (1) design wedding websites promoting her understanding of marriage, and (2) post a statement explaining that she can only speak messages consistent with her faith. But the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) requires her to create custom websites celebrating same-sex marriage and prohibits her statement–even though Colorado stipulates that she ‘work[s] with all people regardless of … sexual orientation.’ App.53a, 184a.

The Tenth Circuit applied strict scrutiny and astonishingly concluded that the government may, based on content and viewpoint, force Lorie to convey messages that violate her religious beliefs and restrict her from explaining her faith. The court also upheld CADA under Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), even though
CADA creates a ‘gerrymander’ where secular artists can decline to speak but religious artists cannot, meaning the government can compel its approved messages. The questions presented are:

1. Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent, contrary to the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs, violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.

2. Whether a public-accommodation law that authorizes secular but not religious exemptions is generally applicable under Smith, and if so, whether this Court should overrule Smith.”

The left is already worried about the slippery slope argument: if she can refuse to design websites for gay couples, she could also potentially refuse to do so for black people, interracial couples, etc.

The right rebuts: if she is forced to go against her beliefs (the term “compelled speech” has come up in relation to this), then perhaps the Muslim will be forced to work on an ad campaign promoting alcohol, the Jewish teacher forced to teach Christmas carols, etc. (all examples outlined in the AP articles).

According to Smith’s lawyer:

 “…her objection is not to working with gay people. She says she’d work with a gay client who needed help with graphics for an animal rescue shelter, for example, or to promote an organization serving children with disabilities. But she objects to creating messages supporting same-sex marriage, just as she wouldn’t create a website for a couple who met while they both were married to other people and then divorced…”

If we take a step back from the arguments being made by both sides, we notice that something is missing: we know in Islam, there would be no concern of a slippery slope between religious belief and allowing discrimination based on skin tone and/or origins. I am speaking here of religious law and not the unfortunate cases of discrimination due to skin tone, origins, etc., that exist in some Muslim-majority countries. I think it’s important to recall that these countries do not actually fully impose the Shari’ah. Perhaps as it stands now, the US may be, when it comes to treating people of differing origins and skin tones fairly, better than continental Europe and some Muslim-majority countries (think Lebanon).

RELATED: US Supreme Court: Jewish Uni Must Accept LGBT Group… Muslims Are Next

The Bounds of Religious Freedom

“Your rights end where mine begin.”

This is the basic idea embedded in the running of secular society within the US. It’s ‘nice’ in theory, but all of us are by now aware of the fundamental flaw with this. When values clash and you’re trying to run an entire society, one set of values has to take precedence over the other, or you’re simply going to be stuck in an endless battle.

In much of continental Europe, the concern is with maintaining the secular state, which is most pronounced in France. Consider this point from Silvio Ferari, a retired professor of law and religion who focused much of his work on religious minorities, especially Muslims, in Europe:

“The presence of Muslims in Europe is challenging Europeans because it is challenging the idea that religion is fundamentally a matter of individual choice and a private affair. If this is correct, we have to go back to the question, ‘What should we do with our secular state?'” (2012, page 48, Here)

Since its founding, the USA, arguably has been much more tolerant of religion than Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Europe. This has typically worked to the advantage of the religious populace within the US, but perhaps this will now change. It will be interesting to see how the judiciary handles this case.

With society becoming less religious and with the rise of Wokeism (which is a religion unto itself and unlike say, Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, it demands that ALL adhere to it), who knows how long traditional religions will be respected and permitted to uphold their ‘bigoted’ beliefs.

As the lines between right and wrong continue to become increasingly blurred; as clear and precise definitions of words continue to somehow evaporate into thin air, the weaknesses of a secular, democratic system will become ever-more apparent. It seems that this system could almost dissolve religious freedom (at least in many cases) once the majority ceases to be religious and no longer has respect for religion.

Hold on to your hats everyone.

May Allah keep us steadfast. Amin.

RELATED: France Forces Muslims to Sign Loyalty Declaration and Denounce Islamic Values

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Wee Jim

An interesting test would be to see if Lorie Smith could legally refuse to design wedding websites for polygamists. The fact that a polygamous marriage is not legally valid under US law does not make a polygamous marriage illegal, only claiming the benefits and privileges granted to legally married people.

Wee Jim

Presumably if Lorie Smith is entitled to “post a statement explaining that she can only speak messages consistent with her faith” other people could refuse to consider employing her because her faith is not consistent with their opinions.

Haziq Farhan

So what is it then? Pluralism is better than secularism? what is the message here?

Ibrahim Ihsan

Simply that the way pluralists(secularists who are more in support of religion than many European secularists despite support for legal secularity) treat religious is less antagonistic compared to European secularists. Basically a lesser evil.