Image- wickenden via Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

“The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.

In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”

– Justice Richard Bosson

Such was the concurring opinion in the New Mexico Supreme Court’s recent decision to deny wedding photographers the right to refuse to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies out of religious conscience. In a closely-watched case, the justices unanimously decided that Elane Photography had violated the recent New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMHRA) by not photographing same-sex commitment ceremonies.

Elaine Huguenin had a policy of photographing same-sex clients, but not same-sex ceremonies, as that would render her a celebrant and constitute an endorsement of the practice in violation of her conscience. The main decision rejected the distinction between action and identity in this case because marriage is so closely tied to sexual identity. According to the Justices, refusing to photograph a ceremony would go against the core point of the NMHRA. By refusing to photograph such ceremonies, in the court’s opinion, it “violated the NMHRA in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”

I won’t offer much comment on the legal coherence of majority decision. Others already have more ably than I could. Nor do I want to spend time talking about the nature of ‘equality‘, or whether ‘gay is the new black‘, or deal with the trope that this is the same thing as the Civil Rights battle.

But Justice Bosson’s concurring decision? Well, that’s something worth a few comments.

‘Tolerance’, Belief, and Monotheism– The first point worth briefly mentioning is the slippage in the notion of the word ‘tolerance.’ None of this is new, of course, but tolerance is no longer simply putting up with people or opinions with whom you disagree, or even respectfully putting up with them. It’s no longer even silencing any kind of criticism of it. Tolerance now means functional affirmation. For Elane photography to be tolerant, at this point, they have to essentially endorse through economic and artistic practice, a practice to which they are morally opposed. Their moral opposition simply isn’t tolerable anymore.

Even more to the point, this is classic example of a modernist’s approach to belief and conduct, or the untenable separation between the public and private spheres. Religious faith is a thing that is fine in your private life, but not the sort of thing that you attempt to practice out in the public square where it counts. Pray to God, obey whatever commandments you choose in your front-yard, but keep it where it belongs–safely out of our marketplace.  Don’t actually act on your beliefs, just, you know, safely think them to yourself. Realize, out in the real world of the market–well, that’s where we make the rules.

Now, you can probably see where this is going, but it’s worth asking explicitly “What if you believe your God has things to say about your life in the market-place?” Practically-speaking, the neat delineation between private belief and public practice doesn’t work with Western monotheisms like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They have those strong sort of ‘every inch of your life’ kind of ethics, such that if you tell them they’re fine to believe what they want as long as they act they way you want, in some particular area, you’ve effectively told them to deny their beliefs. If their God has commands relevant to that area of life, well, telling them to ‘compromise’ is asking them to disobey the eternal God because a few justices in New Mexico think it prudent. Bosson admits as much in the decision, but somehow finds it a reasonable demand to make. Just a hint, at least in Judaism and Christianity, they have texts that tell them what to do about situations like that (cf. Daniel, Acts 5:29).

Sacrifice, the Public Square, and the ‘Price’ of Citizenship – In ancient Rome, citizens were required to sacrifice to the gods and the Emperor as an act of citizenship. Sacrifice and piety kept the order of the state going, placating the gods, ensuring social stability and so forth. Now, interestingly enough, aside from state sacrifice, there was a decent amount of ‘religious’ freedom. You want to pray to some Egyptian import god? Fine. Join 5 or 6 more religious societies? Fine. Believe in your heart that you are loved by the gods? Fine. Just about any cult or religion was ‘licit’ as long as it wasn’t a threat to the social order and you sacrificed as a citizen.

This is what got Christians labeled dangerous ‘atheists’ by their pagan neighbors. They wouldn’t participate in state sacrificial-rituals that were involved with idolatry and emperor-worship. For this they were persecuted and deemed threats to the social order. They protested that they prayed for the emperor and the state to God, but simply would not offer incense to him as god. They were good citizens, but the ‘price’ of citizenship being asked in a sacralized state was too high for them. Their citizenship in the Roman empire was entirely subordinated to their citizenship in the kingdom of Heaven. To offer ultimate allegiance or worship to anyone but King Jesus was, by definition, to dethrone him. That, they would not do. Again, “we must obey God not men” (Acts 5:29).

These considerations begin to prepare us to understand the ‘price’ Bosson believes the Huguenins must pay for citizenship: they are being asked to make the proper sacrifices to the state. The sacral order of the liberal state must be maintained, even at the cost of its citizens’ deepest convictions about life. That’s what makes Bosson’s opinion so remarkable–nobody’s been quite as blunt about it yet.

Instead, we talk about having some sort of neutral public square into which people are trying to bring their narrow, exclusive, religious beliefs. The court’s decision reveals the fact that this is not some neutral zone, but a square dominated by a different object of ultimate, conduct-determining loyalty, concern, and passion (ie. religion) that is equally as narrow, and will not brook competition. (Although, for a complicating and important discussion of what counts as ‘religious’ and ‘secular’, see William T. Cavanaugh.)

Around the world right now, Christians are suffering real, substantial violence that makes harsh words, public disapproval, and even a lawsuit or two, seem like light and momentary suffering by comparison. That said, without undue melodrama or alarmism, it’s important to consider the Christian call to martyrdom in this context.

Writing after the recent SCOTUS decision in Windsor, Peter Leithart reminds us that fundamentally, martyrdom is costly witness:

In Greek, martyria means “witness,” specifically witness in a court. At the very least, the decision challenges American Christians to continue to teach Christian sexual ethics without compromise or apology. But Windsor presents a call to martyrdom in a more specific sense. There will be a cost for speaking the truth, a cost in reputation, opportunity, and funds if not in freedoms.

If the call was a bit fuzzy after Windsor, the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision sharpens it. Christians will be increasingly called to bear witness, testimony, to the truth of the Gospel and God’s will for the creative order of the world in ways that will be uncomfortable and costly.

Leithart thinks that by and large an American church that continues to confuse State with Kingdom has not been well-trained for our day on the witness-stand. I’m inclined to agree. For those who’ve bought into the hybrid religion of Americanism, the idea that our citizenship, patriotism, and morality will be called into question in the process is a horrifying reality . Whether as conscientious objectors to questionable military interventions, or protesting the culture of infanticide protected by law, Christians must be prepared to bear reproach as they live as witnesses to the Gospel in the whole of their lives–not simply those areas the State will allow God to have a say in.

Taking up your cross and joyfully following the Martyr-King who sacrificed himself to bear witness God’s rule–in a sense, that’s the ‘price’ of citizenship in the Kingdom of God.


  1. No one is forcing this photographer to serve the public. That was a voluntary choice she made, well after the anti-discrimination law was created. If serving minority groups is such a problem, select a different line of work. Or simply pay the legal fees as they arise. Or move to a state that doesn’t have an anti-discrimination law.
    I believe I speak for many people when I observe the the fondness of Christians to portray themselves as victims if very off-putting. It certainly doesn’t do much to evangelize the Christian faith. Don’t Christians have some responsibility to evangelize the faith? How does turning people off by these silly complaints advance that?

    1. Right. So move, shut-up, or get out of the business if you’re religious? Is that it? I’m fine with paying the fines, I guess. Civil disobedience and whatnot, but still, religious liberty is better when you can have it.

      Also, evangelism sometimes involves saying things people don’t like. Christians have been disliked for all sorts of things over the years without that meaning they’re not evangelizing. Again, the early Christians probably could have remained acceptable and ‘evangelized’ if they just offered a bit of incense to Caesar, etc. But…they thought obedience was kind of important.

    2. No one says she has to shut up: as the court said, she is free to proclaim on her website and in her advertising that she doesn’t approve of gay people or hates commitment ceremonies or whatever nonsense she believes. She can inform potential clients that she hates gays/blacks/jews or any other group she hates or disapproves of. She is just not free to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion, though, in denying businesses services.

      I’m just offering practical suggestions for someone opposed to commitment ceremonies/gay people. And so far as evangelizing, if your childish objections about photographing commitment ceremonies is so off-putting to normal people, isn’t that counterproductive for evangelizing the faith? It’s such bad PR and makes the religiously unaffiliated really turned off to Xtianity, if this is what xtians are like Just sayin’.

  2. Very well written, Derek. Some of us older Christians who grew up under the government’s basic adherence Biblical values have a harder time adjusting to this new philosophy of our government, but you’re absolutely right, it’s good spiritual exercise for us to “be prepared to bear reproach as [we] live as witnesses to the Gospel.”

  3. Right on the money, this is exactly what Christians have, and will be asked to do, in the expansion of the “neutral” public square. I appreciate that not only did you name the issue with pinpoint accuracy, but you also pointed out our appropriate response. Well written and succinct. Thank you.

  4. I think its clear the supreme court made the consistent decision. This is pretty much analogous in nature to racial discrimination and is precisely the type of thing that the law is supposed to prevent. She can put on her website, and say in her phone calls that she prefers to deal with only straight marriages and I think it’ll have the same effect as refusal.

    With that said, I think it would be better if people could refuse. I think the world would respond negatively to their decisions, and their business might suffer. I think that would be a better solution than making obstinate people pay NOT to take part in a mutually beneficial transaction. The laws against discrimination were important because of the severe racial segregation going on in the early 20th century and I think that we would probably be okay if we went back to allowing people to discriminate, if only so that we allow them to show their true colors.

    1. “This
      is pretty much analogous in nature to racial discrimination and is
      precisely the type of thing that the law is supposed to prevent.”

      I see this comparison all the time and it just does not fit.

      Race has no bearing on marriage. A black woman or man is the same as a white woman or man.

      But can we claim the same about gender? Does gender have no bearing on marriage and no impact on the children in that family? A man is not the same as a woman, and a woman is not the same as a man. This is true in ways that are much more significant than simply the physical differences.

      Maybe it seems like the comparison works on first glance. But when it’s broken down, it’s clear that it simply does not. Race and gender are two very different things. Comparing them in this way only serves to complicate an already difficult issue.

    2. Who are you to decide that a gay couple makes a worse/different family? You can say that gay couples are different and it would ruin the family, but do you have any evidence? All the stats point the opposite direction, so unless you have something better than simply restating your position, then you have nothing

    3. It’s so frustrating to have productive discussion with the other side because of “gotcha” questions like this. If I was less experienced in seeing it, I might be tempted to fall for it.

      Nowhere in my comment did I mention anything about homosexual couples (I no longer use the word “gay”) “ruin the family”

      The fact that such a family is different is clearly obvious, otherwise there would be no conflict in the matter to begin with!

      Even if I had made such an argument and presented evidence to support it, you would not look at the evidence and consider it, and instead you’d toss out some other objection or some other claim that I haven’t even made.

      How do I know that? Because I’ve been through this game over and over. No more.

    4. Dude no, you don’t make any sense. I assumed you were implying that homosexual couples make WORSE families otherwise what is the point of noting that they make different families, you see? they are different in what way? I mean there is the obvious way, but what are the implications of that. Different married couples are already different, some are black, some are white, some are mixed and they are all okay. For your argument to be AGAINST gay marriage, you have to be implying that this difference between families is a difference in quality.

      So if you weren’t implying that gay families are worse than ones with hetero parents, then what WERE you implying? I’m sorry you’ve been frustrated arguing with people before, but take a look at your own comments my friend

    5. And yet there are people who don’t believe that. There are racist people who have deeply held religious beliefs that mixed race marriages are sinful.

    6. What nonsense.

      How many times does this silly (and insulting!) comparison have to be shot down?

      Color has zero bearing on marriage. Gender surely does.

      These two situations have NOTHING whatsoever in common. And yet the pro-homosexual side brings it up every single time.

    7. And yet there are people who disagree with you. They have a strongly held religious belief that colour has a very strong bearing on marriage.

      Should the state respect their deeply held religious beliefs and allow them to refuse to serve mixed race couples?

    8. So what? People can believe pigs can fly. That does not mean there are any facts to support such an idea, just as there are no facts to support the idea that the color of people has any bearing on their marriage. The same can’t be said for gender. Men and women are NOT the same, and in more ways than just the physical aspects. You don’t need a degree or scientific studies to know that, but I’m sure there are plenty of studies and such to support it.

      Also, I don’t know what you mean by “strongly held religious belief”. There are a multitude of religions in the world and they all teach different things. Which religion would that be, and what religious texts teach it to them?

      But given these facts you are still going to insist on making the comparison?

      I’m done wasting my time.

  5. I am an independent photographer and as such, I choose what I want to shoot. I have no problem with shooting a same sex wedding… let’s get that out of the way. That said, I have turned down numerous jobs that conflict with my comfort zone. I have turned down straight boudoir photography, jobs for “breastraunts,” soft-core heterosexual assignments, because I am uncomfortable with it. I am not a corporation… I am choose the assignments I want to shoot, regardless of sexual orientation. Should I be forced to shoot a boudoir assignment when I am clearly not comfortable? Plus… would you REALLY want someone to shoot your wedding who didn’t feel comfortable doing so or disliked your sexuality choices? Would you not worry about getting less quality? There are PLENTY of photographers and plenty of photographers who are more than happy to shoot what YOU want!

    1. Exactly right! It’s not like there were no other photography companies who would take the assignment. And as you well pointed out, why would you WANT someone taking your photographs when you know they don’t want to be there and disagree with the whole thing? Why would you desire such a thing? But no, they HAD to want this company, and make a huge fuss when the photographer did not wish to do it.

      Why? Because this is about social acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage”. This photographer must be made an example of what will happen and what will continue to happen to those who disagree.

      If that’s not bullying of the worst kind, I don’t know what is.

    2. Yes, these folks reign supreme when it comes to passive-aggressive bullying. The farce that this is all about everyone leaving each other alone to do their own thing has been proven obviously false innumerable times.

    3. It’s frustrating, though, when they compare situations like this to anti-discrimination laws regarding race and such. For one thing, race and sexual behavior are two entirely different things! But let’s leave that aside.

      The truth is that businesses cater and don’t cater to whom they will, all the time. ‘No shirt/no shoes, no service’ comes to mind. Some restaurants will not allow you in unless you are dressed a certain way. Someone I know once went to a meeting at fancy/exclusive club. He didn’t know there was a dress code and showed up in jeans or something. Apparently this happened fairly often at this place, so they did offer the option to rent(?) some proper pants. Extreme? Discriminatory? Embarrassing? Probably. But did he make a scene and sue the place? Of course not. He made use of the option given to him and proceeded with his meeting.

      The fact that homosexuals don’t take this approach speaks volumes, and demonstrates once again that this is not about equality, rights or even marriage itself. (After all, heterosexual couples have the “right” to marry – if it’s even a right – and by and large these days they choose to live together without being married. Upon what basis do we think homosexuals will be any different?)

      The push for same-sex “marriage” is about mainstreaming homosexuality and silencing anyone who may disagree, regardless of their reasons for doing so.

    4. Or that homosexuals won’t continue sleeping with multiple partners despite having committed to a so-called “marriage” with the ostensible love of their life (not that it’s moral to be in a monogamous homosexual relationship either).

    5. An extremely important point that is never, ever, EVER discussed, along with the physical illnesses and psychological problems connected with this behavior.

      I have been in discussion where I have provided stats/other information on these things. You’d think I had not even said anything because they completely ignore it like it’s not right there in front of them!

      The bottom line is you cannot use your body in ways that it was never meant to function and not have there be physical/mental consequences to it. You don’t need religion to tell you that. It’s obvious. Bodies function properly some ways, and do not function properly in other ways.

      It’s basic biology. But again, the pro-homosexual side will never address this point. Never.

      Now, if consenting adults wish to do such things in private and they pay their own medical care costs, that’s their business. But this business of pushing the rest of society to celebrate it and to use legal force to rearrange society to fit their preferences is something else entirely.

    6. -Homosexuality is rampant in the animal kingdom, specifically herding mammals including humans. The human rectum has a gland in it that responds to physical stimulation to produce orgasm.

      -Homosexual activity is not inherently more dangerous than any other sexual activity in terms of stds which I see you are implying are a problem. Anal sex is very safe with the proper preparation and testing and also it is wrong to reduce homosexual activity to anal sex.

      -As far as “psychological problems” associated with homosexuality, the leading research very conclusively proves that it is the people who try and deny their homosexuality and be heterosexual against their desires that develop psychological problems. Also homosexuals are more likely to experience bullying and harassment, which can aid the development of psychological problems

      -And your argument about health care costs makes no sense because the only increase in health care cost that homosexuals accrue is the cost of not being able to have health insurance with their spouse

    7. Humans are not animals.

      Animals sometimes kill/eat their young too. Are you advocating for that also? Of course not. You pick and choose when you want to compare humans to animals, and then toss it aside when the comparison shows itself to be the ugly thing that it is.

      “-Homosexual activity is not inherently more dangerous than any other sexual activity in terms of stds ”

      That is simply false.

      I’ll leave you with info that you will not read and consider, but will deny and dismiss:

      The Health Risks of Gay Sex

      Biology Leaves Gay Men Highly Vulnerable to HIV

      And that’s as far as I read. Why people such as yourself think you can call people names and then expect them to keep conversing with you so you can insult them some more is beyond me.

    8. actually if you read my post I didn’t insult you in that one, im sorry for insulting you earlier.

      But humans ARE animals, my friend; deny it at your peril. It is actually you who are picking and choosing your biological appeals. You appeal to the reproductive role of sex as an argument against homosexuality, but you ignore the evidence that humans, like many other animals, naturally practice homosexuality. Remember, I’m not “advocating” homosexuality, I’m not homosexual, and I certainly don’t want anybody who considers themselves heterosexual to attempt to become homosexual in some way. Likewise, I’m not advocating that we watch animals and copy their behavior, I only note that the idea that homosexuality is unnatural for humans which are animals of the mammalian order and the primate family is false.

      As for the dangers, you misinterpreted my post, first I recognize that the anus is a source of increased risk of disease in sexual activity (though not as much as many anti-gay sources will attempt to say). My point when I said its not “inherently” more dangerous is because homosexual behaviors include oral sex and manual sex which is the same as heterosexuals, and lesbians don’t do anything with increased risk that heterosexuals don’t or can’t also do. Also the danger of anal sex is significantly reduced in the modern era. Also homosexuality is more accepted now so more people form monogamous homosexual relationships which makes a huge difference in safety.

    9. Skimming this, I see you dismissed the information I presented. I knew it would, but I figured I’d give a stranger the benefit of the doubt. But that’s what always happens when FACTS are presented regarding this issue.

      Do not speak to me anymore. I am no longer reading your comments and wasting my time.

      You are free to do and think as you wish. You are not free to bully me into agreeing that homosexuality is acceptable.

      Thank you.

    10. Dismissed the information you presented? No I didn’t, I have accepted that anal sex has increased risk of STD’s, it is you who are not reading my posts and trying to understand. I have addressed every point that you have brought up, you have not done the same for me, you have only thrown accusations at me.

    11. Uh, we are human beings – creatures with capacities far beyond what animals have, in things like being able to speak and reason, have self-awareness, have a conscience, distinguish right from wrong, etc.

      Or are you claiming homosexuals have none of these things? Pretty insulting, don’t you think?

      (And with that I’m done. I will not go on for days and days like I usually do.)

    12. No. I am just pointing out that you would fail high school biology. Human beings are a species of animal. You can tell because we have a cell membrane, organelles, but no cell wall.

    13. Mo, try unsubscribing from automatic updates in your inbox for this thread, if that will help you disengage. All you have to do is type “unsubscribe” in response to the latest reply. From one blog addict to another.

    14. Homophobes talking about passive-aggressive bullying from gays!!! this is too funny, i can’t stand it, I can’t wait for the Christian world to get their reality check, its going to be glorious

    15. LOL! See what I mean? I knew you had no intent to have productive, thoughtful discussion on this subject.

      All you have to offer are insults and silly made up names like “homophobe”. (As though anyone who is against same-sex “marriage” and who disagrees with homosexuality in general has an irrational fear of homosexuals!)

      What reality check is that, Alex? Is this a threat? Please, put it up on the internet for all to see.

      Know that we will continue to legally and with our votes and voices fight against same-sex “marriage” and all that goes with it.

      Know that we will NOT submit to the bullying of people like you. Know that no amount of name calling, screaming, false accusations, profanity, threats, lawsuits or anything else will make us agree that homosexuality is morally acceptable.

      Know that.

    16. “Know that we will NOT submit to the bullying of people like you. Know that no amount of name calling, screaming, false accusations, profanity, threats, lawsuits or anything else will make us agree that homosexuality is morally acceptable.”

      I admire the way you have twisted the situation so far that you have come to imagine that a person, you, who is fighting to deny the privilege of legal union to people they don’t know, are somehow the one being oppressed! All we want, you say, is for everybody to recognize that 10% of the world is just out of luck when it comes to satisfying sex and romance, thats only for the straight people. Why can’t you see what is right in front of your eyes?

    17. I admire the way you have twisted the situation to make it sound like anything is being denied to homosexuals and how homosexuals are the oppressed ones. How insane. Aside from Muslims, homosexuals and the rest of the rainbow crowd are THE most protected class of people in America! You proved it yourself by your silly use of the made up term “homophobe” to attempt to marginalize ANYONE who will not bow and celebrate this behavior and lifestyle, or who simply disagree with same-sex “marriage” for any number of reasons, whether religious or secular.

      Homosexuals have been free from the start to have ceremonies, enter into legal agreements, and live how they choose. Who stops them? And now, increasingly, they have their unions legally recognized by the government.

      But still, that is not enough. The real question is, what MORE do you want?


      Again, no amount of yelling, name calling, vulgar language, insults, threats, lawsuits or anything else will force me to agree that this behavior is normal or acceptable.

      Know that I will not bow. Know that I will continue to speak out and vote accordingly.

      Know that.

    18. “anything is being denied to homosexuals”- well actually, employer health insurance is often not provided to partners when it is provided to spouses. they have higher tax preparation costs, they are not entitled to specific social security benefits for spouses, and finally just the principle. they are being denied the right at least to call their union marriage, at least if you get your way they are.

      “ANYONE who will not bow and celebrate this behavior and lifestyle”

      You are on a message board, expressing your desire for gays to not marry. There are lots of people out there “not bowing or celebrating” homosexual activity, they live their lives. If you look at what I’ve written on this page, it would be a very liberal interpretation of my words to say that I was advocating homosexuality as some great thing. I would consider myself not bowing and celebrating gay behavior, even though I am precisely the person you are talking about.

      “Homosexuals have been free from the start to have ceremonies, enter into legal agreements, and live how they choose. Who stops them? And now, increasingly, they have their unions legally recognized by the government”

      Wait so they were free from the start to have unions, they just weren’t legally recognized until “now, increasingly”? And this is a point against me? Look its really not that big of a deal, its really just the marriage benefits thing. If civil unions were truly equal to marriages in every way except name, then I think the homosexual rights movement would accept that. But really if it got to that point, you’d have to ask, what is the point of having a different word? It’s really just so you can feel self-righteous about your marriage, that its somehow more valid than gay love.

  6. I’ll be waiting for Christians’ “conscientious object(ion) to questionable military interventions” by Obama. Something tells me they won’t be forthcoming anytime soon.

    Other than that bit, this article is spot on.

    It never fails to amaze me, but Christians don’t even seem to know that they are in a war when it comes to activists for homosexuality like this judge. If this horrifying decision doesn’t shake them up, I don’t know what will.

    1. Actually, I object to Obama’s military interventions because I think they’ve been unfailingly illogical, impractical and not in the national interest. We’ve been taking sides in wars where there’s no good side to take. In this latest venture, we will be joining forces with Al Qaeda(!!!) There’s nothing to be gained and no tangible good to be done by our getting involved. They make the Iraq War (the wisdom of which I would question anyway) look reasonable by comparison. Furthermore, I heard Todd Friel voicing the same sentiments on his very conservative talk show yesterday. So yes, I think quite a few conservative Christians are not happy.

      Now, whether they would be just as opposed if a Republican president were making the order, I couldn’t say. Republicans do have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to weighing the prudential considerations of military action. I say that in love, not as someone who wants to paint Republicans as chest-thumping warmongers, because I’m most certainly not a pacifist. I believe in just war. It’s just that I sense a certain naivete about the good that our military will actually be able to do by becoming embroiled in messy conflicts hither and yon. We can’t be the world’s policemen. We may have good intentions, but harsh practicalities have time and again proven the bane of good intentions. When you help to create a state of chaos, you’re providing the perfect breeding ground for terrorists to strike. And nation-building is like those block towers we used to make when we were kids. If you walk away from it, it falls apart.

    2. Oh, I agree on Syria! No argument there. I’m waiting for the liberals to protest. Methinks it will be a long, long wait.

      As to the rest, I agree to some extent as well. But we need to be careful not to compare the current situation in Syria with the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. Different wars, different methods of going about them, different goals. And with the Syria situation, we will be now fighting on the wrong side, as you said. Horrifying.

      Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful and polite comment. It’s becoming more and more rare on the internet today. Some days I want to shut off my computer forever!

    3. Right, that’s why I said it makes the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns look relatively reasonable. At least I could understand the reasoning there, even if I still disagree with the plan. With Syria, not only are we on the wrong side, but there is no “right” side to take even if we wanted to! Sometimes you hear folks say “But the Sunnis are better than the Shi’ites” (or is it the other way around?) but the truth is that one group throws its enemies off 10-story buildings while the other throws them off 20-story buildings. That’s all there is to separate them really. Essentially what we’ve been wading into is a very sophisticated gang war. The Princess Bride quip about getting involved in a land war in Asia could well be extended to the Middle East.

      Amen on polite comments—I am often guilty of spending my time trying to answer Internet fools according to their folly, so it’s nice to have an interaction that’s not exhausting/obsessive/adversarial for once.

    4. What nonsense. Show me what I said that is bigoted. Show it to me.

      You can’t, because there’s NOTHING. And you know that.


      I literally laughed out when I read this. How I love it when liberals show off their “tolerance” for the world to see!

  7. One piece of good news here is that, while the world is against us, inertia is for us. Court systems across the country are breaking down, to the point that they are in danger of becoming irrelevant. (By the way, I am an attorney, and I take no pleasure in saying this, but it is the truth, and as many bad people take advantage of it, Christians might as well start doing the same.) They are back-logged for miles, and civil cases (as this appears to have been) go to the back of the line. In addition, county jails are struggling to find room for all the offenders they need to hold, and prisons are being forced to let hardened, violent criminals out due to overcrowding.

    Ultimately, a court judgement is nothing but a piece of paper, without someone enforcing it. I think the Huguenins should refuse to pay any judgement in the above case, and tell the courts, in effect or in fact, “if you want to do something about this, you’re just going to have to put us in jail.” In future cases, it might be better for Christians to simply ignore law suits or criminal citations (criminals do this all the time). If you do the courts the favor of coming to them, asking for justice, it gives them the chance to put on a show, as here, and show how “enlightened” and “tolerant” they are. If you ignore them, it puts the onus on them to come find you and make you comply with their orders. In my experience, a lot of judges simply don’t have the stones to do this, and if nothing else, they’ll soon be forced to question whether they want to use jail space for people who’ve done nothing wrong, instead of murderers and pedophiles.

    I’m not saying this would be fun at all, or that I can promise nothing bad would happen, but it’s the best way to get their attention and knock some sense into the system. We have not been given a spirit of fear, and whenever two or more pray for a brother in prison, Christ is with him. And after all, some of history’s best ministry has been done in jails.

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