“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge.” -Acts 4:19
Picture this….”an Idaho where religious freedom flourishes…”
In 2014, the pastors at The Hitching Post in Coeur d’Alene suddenly closed their business for fear that the city would prosecute them for refusing, in accordance with their Christian beliefs, to perform same-sex weddings.
Even though they are pastors, Hitching Post owners Don and Lynn Knapp had reason to fear the heavy hand of government. On at least three occasions the city attorney made it clear that since the Hitching Post was a for profit business, they would be considered a public accommodation and subject to the city’s “Add the Words” ordinance. The Knapps were in the crosshairs.
The attorney said, “If you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services to them, that you would provide for anyone else, then in theory you violated our code and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”
The Knapps faced up to six months in jail, fines of up to $1,000, or both, for declining to perform a same-sex ceremony in violation of the city’s nondiscrimination public accommodation ordinance. And under the city’s ordinance, each day a violation continues is a separate offense, so the potential jail time and fines were accruing rapidly since the Knapps had already declined to perform two same-sex wedding ceremonies.
It took a lawsuit filed by our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Knapps to encourage the city to back off and declare that the pastors of The Hitching Post will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
As they stared down the barrel of their livelihood being taken from them, the Knapps faced an uncertain future. Their business didn’t stay closed for long, but it took 2 years of court battles to close the book on the danger they faced.
Welcome to part two of our four-part series highlighting the vision of Family Policy Alliance of Idaho. Today, we look at the second part of our vision – an Idaho where religious freedom flourishes.
Cases like The Hitching Post and florist Barronelle Stutzman in WA (who has spent multiple years in court and stands to lose literally everything) are both blatant attacks against the right to religious freedom guaranteed to us by our U.S. and State Constitutions.
Yes, this IS happening, and, yes, WE MUST do something about it.
Our founders recognized the freedom of religion to be so fundamental that they preserved it as our first freedom in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment – protecting not only the freedom to believe, but also the freedom to freely exercise our beliefs.
At Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, we are dedicated to preserving our freedom to believe and live out our faith. We do this by promoting public policy that protects and enhances this freedom for individuals, families, churches, organizations, and companies. At the same time, we defend against policies that would erode constitutional protections for people of faith and the entities they operate.
Do you agree with the founders? Do you share our passion for protecting religious freedom?
If so, please continue to pray for Family Policy Alliance of Idaho and forward this message to your friends and family.
Picture this—an Idaho where God is honored and religious freedom flourishes! Together, let’s “unleash citizenship” and transform this vision into reality!
Standing for religious freedom,