Meet the People Whose Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened by the Government

The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel discussion moderated by Ryan Anderson, including people like Barronelle Stutzman and Jack Phillips (the Supreme Court will be hearing his case later this year)—people who have been willing to give up everything rather than agree to violate their conscience.

If you care about liberty, you should watch this video. If you generally care about liberty, but you’re against the liberty of these particular people, you owe it to yourself to watch this. Get the whole story. See the people involved in these cases for yourself. See who they are. Hear what has happened to them. You might be surprised to learn that their stories and motivations aren’t what you expected.

For example, prior to being sued, t-shirt designer and printer Blaine Adamson wouldn’t create a shirt with an image of a bucket of chicken with Jesus on it for a youth group, and he declined to print the stark message “homosexuality is sin” on a t-shirt for a pastor, but referring a “Lexington Pride Festival” shirt to another printer got him sued. (Listen at 18:50 to hear his story—ultimately, he won this case.) As Ryan Anderson notes, clearly Adamson wasn’t turning down customers because of who they were; he was turning down messages his conscience didn’t permit him to print. (See more on this crucial distinction here.)

Listen at 31:05 to hear what Barronelle Stutzman said she would do if the longtime customer who is currently suing her (for declining to be the florist for his same-sex wedding) were to walk into her shop.

At 31:40, Jack Phillips describes what happened to him after declining to create a cake for a same-sex wedding.

Please watch this video and pass it on. I promise you it’s worth your time. Kellie Fiedorek of Alliance Defending Freedom explains at the beginning why everyone should care about protecting other people’s First Amendment liberties:

Civil liberties travel together. You may not care about free speech or free exercise right now, but if you look at other countries that have seen religious freedom minimized, check out how their economies are doing. How are minorities treated? How are women treated? Because these liberties travel together. And religious freedom promotes diversity. It promotes dialogue for all of us to come together and have that freedom to disagree. Civil liberties do travel together, so what happens to First Amendment freedoms matters for all of us, regardless of what our viewpoints might be.

Our Supreme Court has explained that the freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ on the things that touch on the heart of the existing order. 

Amy K. Hall