Beverly Finnell: Judeo-Christian principles are under assault
The First Amendment of our Constitution states that Congress cannot make a law that protects one religion over another or to limit the practice of any religion.
The last few decades have seen an all-out assault on both the Judeo-Christian principles that are the foundation of our Constitution, and on individuals as well.
I am aware of business owners experiencing persecution because of their religious convictions. While they did business with homosexuals, they refused certain services that violated their consciences. The customers required actions that the shop owners could not in good faith perform.
In the State of Washington, a florist was sued for refusing to give special services for a gay couple planning their “wedding.“ In the past the florist had created floral arrangements for the homosexual who wanted the “wedding” flowers, but the florist could not comply with this specific request since it would have violated her faith by giving the appearance of endorsing same-sex “marriage” (by creating special services for such an event).
Not incidentally, the florist counter-sued and won since the State of Washington had a law that protected people’s religious convictions.
In America the government is supposed to protect individuals' rights to practice their faith, so long as the practice does not harm someone else. Refusing to provide floral services to a homosexual couple does not harm the couple.
The government should not use its intolerance for certain viewpoints to intimidate citizens into acting contrary to their faith convictions. Family business owners are constitutionally guaranteed the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs. It is this very freedom that gives America its cherished diversity and protects citizens from State-mandated conformity.
“Freedom of belief is the canary in the mine of freedom in general,” writes a reviewer of Rupert Shortt’s "Christianophobia — Faith Under Attack." A canary was sent into an underground mine to test whether the air quality would support the miners.
Currently a movement is eroding the morality of our nation, and that path of decreased moral responsibility leads to a moral destruction of a people and a nation. In a letter to James Madison dated Nov. 5, 1786, George Washington wrote, “No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present! Wisdom and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.“
Through the writings of our founding fathers, it is evident they relied on what they called Divine Providence when they set out to establish this nation. Benjamin Franklin said to his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787, “All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we not forgotten that Powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
Daniel Webster has also said, “I regard it (the Constitution) as the work of the purest patriots and wisest statesmen that ever existed, aided by the smiles of a benignant (gracious) Providence … it almost appears a Divine interposition in our behalf…”
If God is for us, who can be against us? President Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
The state of Tennessee, like Washington State, should specifically ensure citizens’ rights to conduct business as their Christian principles dictate.
— Beverly Finnell is a resident of Sevierville. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.