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Washington court upholds ruling against Christian florist

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 6/06/19, 01:16 pm

The Supreme Court of Washington state ruled against Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman on Thursday, finding that prosecutors did not act with religious animus in their prior decision against her. Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., faces unprecedented punishment from the state, including threats to her personal assets, because her Biblical beliefs about marriage precluded her making custom floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year vacated the earlier ruling against her and ordered the Washington high court to review Stutzman’s case in light of the ruling in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who declined to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding because of his religious beliefs about marriage. In Phillips’ case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that the baker did not receive fair adjudication and that the prosecutors showed animosity towards his religious beliefs. The Washington Supreme Court judges said they found no such animus toward Stutzman.

“After this review, we are confident that the two courts gave full and fair consideration to this dispute and avoided animus toward religion. We therefore find no reason to change our original decision in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop,” the judges wrote.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which defended Stutzman, tweeted that the ruling minimizes the Supreme Court’s protections of religious liberty.

“Barronelle serves all customers; she simply declines to celebrate or participate in sacred events that violate her deeply held beliefs,” ADF Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch said in a statement. “Despite that, the state of Washington has been openly hostile toward Barronelle’s religious beliefs about marriage, and now the Washington Supreme Court has given the state a pass. We look forward to taking Barronelle’s case back to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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  • MTJanet
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 01:44 pm

    Either animus was shown toward a Christian florist or the court ruling has been tilted by judges ignorant of what constitutes religious freedom - people of faith are in trouble both ways. Hope the SCOTUS comes to a different conclusion.

  •  austinbeartux's picture
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 01:50 pm

    Let it be known that the state of Washington does not value, respect, or defend a Christian's constitutional rights.  If the Supreme Courts takes the case, it will show that she didn't receive fair adjudication and that the prosecutors and judges showed animosity towards her religious beliefs (just like the Colorado case.)

  • DR
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 02:09 pm

    We live in Washington State. The ruling against Baronelle Stutzman is a sad chapter of clear animus toward religous freedom in our state. God help us. We all need to stand up and speak up! Debbie Reese

  • Trumpetly Speaking
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 02:26 pm

    This is not the least surprising coming from Washington state where politics rule every aspect of life, including and increasingly, religious life.  Talk about a separation of church and state, how can the state coerce and then punish citizens with whom it disagrees with impunity?  Our nation upholds freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  Praying for our Supreme Court to see beyond politics as it was designed to do, and protect our constitutional freedoms.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 04:20 pm

    Well that didn't take long. The Supreme Court ruled narrowly in Masterpiece and this is the predictable result. Now the Supremes will have another chance to protect religious liberties in this country. Will they?

  • zerubbable
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 04:58 pm

    Here’s the problem as I see it: 

    The term “deeply held religious beliefs” is impotent against ANY secular ideological argument. 

    As a TRUE CHRISTIAN, I demonstrate that my thought process, my language, MY LIFE have been so radically changed that family and friends are unable to explain how or why I am who I now am. 

    The world cannot explain this and, here’s the real sad fact, because the OVERWHELMING majority of people who profess being a Christian and DON’T live like it in thought word and deed, the world has plenty of evidence to say “who care about your “deeply held religious beliefs! You act just like everybody else so why should you be given any exemption at all?

    So, until we start confronting those who disparage the Holy Name of Jesus Christ by living according to the world and NOT according to the will of GOD, we will be fighting this issue until the LORD 

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
    Matthew 7:21-23 -

     Very VERY few take these words seriously, and until REAL TRUE CHRISTIANS start demonstrating their changed life......

  • Laura W
    Posted: Thu, 06/06/2019 09:07 pm

    I'm confused. Are you implying that Stutzman doesn't demonstrate a changed life? I don't know anything about her personally, but I know quite a few Christians who do.

  • zerubbable
    Posted: Fri, 06/07/2019 03:38 am

    Sorry Laura, I didn't mean to report your comment. I clicked on the REPORT COMMENT button by mistake, please forgive me.


    If you read my post carefully you'll see that I'm not addressing Ms. Stutzman at all!  I'm trying to make the point that the language of "deeply held religous beliefs" is too ambigous, too nebulous for a True Christian. 

    When GOD alone, changes our heart, we're Born Again.  We should demonstrate this radical change in all we think, say and do.  The change should be so noticable that the term "deeply held religous beliefs" doesn't work, it isn't a strong enough description of what has happend to the Believer, all the old things should diminish, the new way we think, act and speak should be so drastic that all the people we know should notice it.

    What I'm about to post should not be understood as me bragging about myself, it should be a statement about how radically a person can change due to the "new birth" and this can only be accomplished by a Merciful and Loving Creator.

    I was an atheist for 40 years, smoking drinking gambling and cussing my way throgh life. Bitter and angry at "the cards I'd been dealt"; and then while I was working, I heard the BAD NEWS: I was coverd with sin and I needed a SAVIOR, the GOOD NEWS, and my life changed RADICALLY!  And all my family, friends and colleagues could see it, some called it a "Damascus Road" experience. PRAISE GOD! 

    All the worldliness went away, most of it overnight, some over time, but today I'm completely different from what I was prior to HIM SAVING ME!   

    Then, my other point was that the vast majority of those who profess Christ, do NOT demonstrate this change. And the scripture I added speaks about those who are self-deceived, they think they've got their "get outta hell free card" and they think they don't need to share their faith, they don't want to give up their worldly lifestyle.  They've made our Savior's sacrifice just something they think about on Sunday and that's it.  But sadly, they'll end know where......

    I hope this explains my post a little better.

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Fri, 06/07/2019 12:58 pm

    Well said, especially your reply.  There is an evident difference between those who are truely saved and those who aren't.  " their fruit you shall know them."

  • not silent
    Posted: Fri, 06/07/2019 02:47 pm

    Thank you so much for your encouraging and heartfelt comments, zerubbable!  Praise God for your new birth. 

    I have been a believer for a number of years, but a non-believer asked me years ago why she should believe my God was real when my life was so messed up!   She was absolutely right (it was a very difficult time and, although I had not turned away from the Lord, I was struggling).  I realized that it was good that she called me out, however, and I even told her so.  I gave her a rather inadequate response about how my struggles did not mean that God didn't exist, and her comments have deeply affected me ever since.  The world is watching us, and our actions speak louder than our words.  

    Later, God led me into debating atheists online; and it's probably no secret that there is very little love in that setting.  Not all atheists are like this, but the atheists I encounter there are usually trying to provoke Christians into attacking back or into useless discussions.  (I suspect it is to keep affirming their worldview that Christians are unintelligent, hypocrites, abusive, etc.)  I always need God to help me respond with wisdom and in a way that shows his love-so that, if nothing else, people see that there IS a difference that comes from following the Lord. 

    There are great examples of people who live for the Lord, and I praise God for them.  I have also seen in my own experiences that if we don't demonstrate the love of Christ, there is no reason for non-believers to believe what we say-or care. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 06/07/2019 12:29 am

    In John 15:20 Jesus says, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

  • Bix
    Posted: Fri, 06/07/2019 09:59 pm

         I am pessimistic that "we" can win this battle. I think the battle was lost when we did not clearly state that homosexual practice was wrong. We seemed to say, beginning a few decades ago, no, we don't want to prosecute you, or jail you, but we just want you to stay out of our faces, and don't seduce our children. We were saying, in essence, we just don't like you. So then "they," the homosexual activists, framed the situation as one of personal essence or being, like race (which it is not), and gradually changed the paradigm. Now "we" are just bigots, just like a racist of 30 years ago, and we just have to get over it, they say, and if not, then prosecution.

         Some might respond, "What, you want to re-criminalize sodomy?! That ain't gonna happen!" I agree. Very unlikely. But I just don't think "deeply held religious beliefs" will survive charges of bigotry without our insistence that homosexuality is wrong. Period.

         There is very little in sexual boundaries that will not change and fall without some moral absolutes. A thirty year old man seducing your 11 yo daughter is out of bounds, 99% of Americans agree. (A made-up statistic). 25 and 12? Not good. 22 and 13? Still not good. 18 yo male and 15 yo girl? No problem. Just advise condoms. But what is the real difference there?