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Sexual freedom vs religious freedom

Published: 
Friday, August 10, 2018

Within the last few years, the international LGBTQIA community has been aggressively fighting for sexual freedom in some jurisdictions abroad to the point of using jurisprudence to force persons or businesses to submit to their will, even if it means having to compromise their religious beliefs. The LGBTQIA’s standard strategy is to accuse religious people of intolerance, but the LGBTQIA’s agenda seems to be of itself very intolerant of anyone who dares to disagree with its world views.

A stark example of this is the just-concluded infamous ‘Wedding-Gay-Cake’ case in the United States. The baker/owner of Masterpiece Cake Shoppe in Colorado, who is a Christian, had no personal prejudice against the same-sex couple who requested that a wedding cake be made for them. The baker had to turn down the request due to the fact that it was against his religious beliefs. The baker explained that he usually serves members of the gay community in his shop. The problem arose when he was asked to use his artistic skills to support a gay wedding ceremony which went against his deeply held religious convictions. The Christian baker never hoisted anti-LGBTQIA flags outside his business nor did he ever hand out anti-LGBTQIA literature. He did not force his opinion on the gay couple, he simply did not agree with gay marriage, yet the gay couple, with LGBTQIA support, attempted to force this baker to do something that was against his morals and religious convictions, by dragging him and his family through the court system of the United States.

On June 4, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Christian baker. The Christian baker was not looking for a fight, he kept his opinions to himself, he just wanted to be left alone. The LGBTQIA came looking for a fight and lost. The gay couple could have easily gone to another cake shop and respected the baker’s religious views.

This case in the United States is not an isolated case. How many of your readers are aware that Christian photographers and florists are being sued by members of the LGBTQIA in the United States because they refuse to use their skills in same-sex wedding ceremonies? In fact, it has reached the point where a legislative bill has had to be passed in 21 states called the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ to protect religious persons and businesses from frivolous lawsuits that would be initiated by anti-religious groups and individuals.

What does all of this have to do with Trinidad and Tobago? I see the LGBTQIA in this country is getting bolder and celebrating its ‘pride’. However, I certainly hope that the LGBTQIA, with its quest for more sexual freedom, does not follow the path of its international counterparts in the United States and Europe and attempt to disrespect the religious freedom of those in this country who will not agree with its world view. I will certainly hate to wake up one morning and read in the local newspaper that a certain religious person has been hauled before the court (like that cake shop owner in the United States) and sued by members of the LGBTQIA because they did not agree with their world view. The average citizen, regardless of their religious or non-religious status, will likely not put up with such actions by the LGBTQIA, thus resulting in a loss of traction that they may have achieved.

Perhaps Trinidad and Tobago needs its own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to protect and ensure religious conscience. I do know that there are some members of the LGBTQIA and its supporters who would love to see the demise of religion. Well, while we wait for that to happen, we must never, as a country, ever have to endure the sight of:

1. Pastors being forced to officiate over gay weddings.

2. Pastors’ sermons being subpoenaed to be searched for ‘hate speech.’ (This was actually attempted in Houston, Texas, in 2014).

3. Having religious people forced to go against their religious conscience out of fear of being sued, as in the case of that cake shop owner.

Whether one be religious, LGBTQIA, atheist, agnostic or indifferent, we all have to live together in this small country of ours.

MATHEW SAMUEL,
Tobago

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