The Cost of Being a Christian
Elaine Huguenin discovered there was a price to pay for exercising her religious beliefs
Photography is Elaine Huguenin's vocation – her calling. Her artistic talent for capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments has generated many offers to photograph weddings not only in her home town of Albuquerque, but in greater New Mexico and other states, as well. But since Elaine's artistry is framed by her own experiences, intuitions, and beliefs, in good conscience she can only embrace opportunities where she and her potential clients see eye to eye.
That's the reason Elaine respectfully declined a request from a woman to photograph a same-sex "commitment" ceremony. Elaine knew that the message behind the ceremony that her photographs would communicate is neither biblical nor one she believes, and that taking the assignment would violate her sincerely held religious convictions.
"The message a same-sex commitment ceremony communicates is not one I believe."
Despite Elaine and her husband Jon's constitutionally protected right to live – and run their business – according to their Christian beliefs, the woman filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission and charged them with violating the state's "sexual orientation discrimination" law. Needing help, Elaine and Jon contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, which agreed to take on their case and cover all costs of litigation. Regardless of their solid legal case, the Commission ordered the Huguenins to pay $7,000 in fees to the couple. A New Mexico trial court upheld that ruling and ADF has appealed this compelled speech case, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
With this ruling, the state is essentially saying: You will be punished if you don't fully endorse or promote the homosexual agenda, whether you agree with it or not.
"If it becomes something where Christians are made to do these things by law in one state, or two, it's going to sweep across the whole United States…and religious freedom could become extinct."
Much is at stake in this precedent-setting case that could go all the way to the United States Supreme Court – and ultimately impact your constitutionally protected right to freely exercise your religious beliefs. By God's grace, and with the prayers and support of Ministry Friends like you, ADF will persevere to achieve victory in this and so many other religious freedom cases.
Free Exercise of Religion Under Attack
There is a nationwide movement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies to persecute and prosecute anyone who won't be coerced into endorsing the homosexual legal agenda. More and more Christians, like Elaine and Jon, are learning firsthand that – despite the guarantees of the First Amendment – exercising your religious beliefs is no longer free.
What if the government dictated how you are allowed to express your creativity, which clients you have to take, when you can pray, and where you can share the Gospel – and then forced you to pay thousands of dollars for standing firm and living out your faith? Would you be willing to join ADF and other Christians in the battle to protect your God-given freedoms? The fact is these serious assaults on Christians are already happening across America – but there is hope.
Reclaiming Religious Freedom
ADF and its more than 1,800 allied attorneys are successfully defending your constitutionally protected rights in courtrooms from coast to coast. ADF has won three out of four cases litigated to completion, and by strategically selecting precedent-setting cases like Elaine's, we can pave the way for victory in future lawsuits.
By the grace of God, ADF and our allied attorneys have reclaimed freedom for these and many other believers struggling to live out their faith in their homes, schools, workplaces, churches, and communities:
- A group of Christians in California was ordered by county code enforcement officers to stop their home Bible study meeting.
- Members of a Christian student group at Spokane Falls Community College in the state of Washington were threatened with disciplinary measures, including expulsion, if they chose to hold a pro-life event on campus without including a pro-abortion viewpoint.
- A federal employee was suspended and transferred by the Federal Aviation Administration for talking about his faith while on a break at work.
- An Arizona pastor was sentenced to jail for ringing his church's bells.
- Four Christians were arrested for sharing their faith during a so-called "Gay Pride" event at a public park in New York.
We must continue to persevere for the more than 500 legal matters currently open as well as for the countless future attacks on the free exercise of religion. Now is the time for the Body of Christ to stop the ACLU and its allies. Please prayerfully give your best gift today!