Alan Sears of the Alliance Defending Freedom tells the story of a case in Canada that foreshadows what is inevitable in the United States:
Perhaps a case now unfolding in Canada will open a few more eyes to what lies in store for our own country, if a hearing in the Elane Photography case is denied.
A Toronto pastor, Randy Harris – a devout Christian and ordained minister – was asked to officiate at the marriage ceremony of “Matthew Commandant and Rui Oliveira.” Knowing “Rui” as a not uncommon female name in the Orient, Reverend Harris assumed the couple was a man and a woman. As he prepared for the ceremony, he learned differently. He told the two men that, due to his religious convictions and the requirements of his denomination, he would not be able to perform their ceremony, and, apologizing for his mistake, refunded their fee.
The two men were not satisfied, and filed a discrimination lawsuit against the pastor with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, asking for reimbursement of their travel costs (which Pastor Harris had already offered), and $1,000 each for “injury to dignity.” But that’s not all. They are also demanding that Harris be required to undergo “sensitivity” training, as well as attend meetings of LGBT organizations. And they are pushing for a government order requiring all marriage officiates in the province to perform any kind of ceremony, for anyone who asks – regardless of the officiate’s religious beliefs.
This is the logical – indeed, inevitable – next step for legal proceedings in our own country, if the rulings like the one against the owners of Elane Photography are allowed to stand. All too often, those pressing the homosexual legal and political agenda are not interested in “tolerance” or a “live-and-let-live” society. Many are demanding that all people of faith bow to the new Caesar … embracing, affirming, applauding, funding, and encouraging homosexual behavior.
This case is still pending, so we don’t know whether the gay couple will win or not. This is also being heard not by a regular court, but by a “human rights tribunal,” of which there are few (though their number is growing) in the U.S. The point, however, is not necessarily to win, regardless of the forum. The left in North America–and especially the gay rights left–has been engaged in “lawfare” against its opponents for many years now. The aim is not to win every case, but rather to intimidate, to silence, and eventually make dissent so costly that no one will stand up to them.
Thank God for organizations such as the ADF and the Becket Fund for being willing to take on such bullies. They deserve both our prayer and financial support.