Please forgive me for waxing apocalyptic, but lately I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the end times prophecy that speaks of how those who refuse to worship evil will be impeded in the free exercise of commerce simply because of their beliefs. Why, you may ask? In case you haven’t noticed, that persecution is taking shape right before our very eyes thanks to the American homosexualist movement.
Don’t take my word for it; just ask Jim and Mary O'Reilly, owners of The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont.
After being charged with violating the Vermont Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act for allegedly declining to host a same-sex “wedding” reception, the Catholic inn keepers agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and to place an additional $20,000 in a charitable trust to be disbursed at the lesbian couple’s discretion.
As part of the settlement, the O’Reilly’s also had to agree not to host any wedding receptions at the inn that they have owned for the last 28 years; putting an obvious dent in their bottom line.
"The Wildflower Inn has always served - and will continue to serve - everyone in our community," the O'Reilly’s said in a statement issued by the Alliance Defending Freedom, "but no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage."
The U.S. Bishops, for obvious reasons, have been focusing quite a bit on the HHS mandate as the primary religious liberty challenge facing both the Church and individual business owners here in the United States, but the homosexual legislative assault on people of faith is yet another clear and present danger that must be engaged with no less force.
The O’Reilly’s are just two of the more recent victims of the State’s homosexual apparatus. Consider as well:
• In New Jersey, a Methodist owned retreat center known as Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was forced to defend itself against allegations of discrimination for refusing to allow a lesbian couple to rent one of its pavilions for a “civil union” ceremony. A judge recently ruled that the facility must be made available for homosexual ceremonies, otherwise the organization stands to lose its tax exempt status.
• In both California and Pennsylvania, the Boy Scouts are having their access to public facilities limited in response to the organization’s refusal to embrace openly homosexual scout leaders.
• Albuquerque photographer Elaine Huguenin was sued for turning down a request to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. The New Mexico Human Rights Commission found Huguenin guilty of discrimination and ordered her to pay $6,600 in legal fees.
• Of course, no discussion about the homosexual shakedown of Christian business owners would be complete without mentioning Chick-fil-A, whose ownership has never even been accused of discriminating against gays and yet incurred the wrath of certain public officials (including Mayors Thomas Menino of Boston and Rahm Emanuel of Chicago) who vowed to block the company’s expansion. Their crime? Believing in the Biblical definition of marriage.
Ming Linsley, one of the lesbian co-brides who instigated the State’s extortion of Jim and Mary O’Reilly, offered the following reflection:
“We're glad that the Wildflower Inn has recognized that the way we were treated was wrong and that no other family will have to experience what we did," she said.
Ming’s overblown sense of accomplishment aside, let’s be clear about what actually took place:
The O’Reilly’s did not suddenly decide that they were mistaken in their conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. On the contrary; these good people are so committed to affirming the objective truth about marriage that comes to us from God that they’d rather part with $30,000 and shut down a valuable component of the business that they built than to give any impression whatsoever that they support making a mockery of holy matrimony by celebrating sexual deviance as its equal.
Long after Ming and her partner have finished disbursing the trust fund monies that the state managed to squeeze from the O’Reilly’s, these faithful Catholic inn keepers will continue to enjoy the peace that comes from the life-giving relationship that they enjoy with Almighty God and one another. The lesbian housemates, on the other hand, still will have neither a real marriage nor the approval of anyone who holds an authentic Judeo-Christian worldview, much less the peace that will ever elude those who oppose the Lord.
Needless to say, all of the legislative acts in the world can’t change God’s law, but as recent experience clearly indicates, they can turn a nation that once stood as a beacon for religious freedom throughout the world into the kind of hostile environment described in the Apocalypse of St. John.
Our Lady of Guadalupe – Patroness of the Americas and Patroness of Life – pray for us!
Author and speaker Louie Verrecchio has been a columnist for Catholic News Agency since April 2009. His work, which includes Year of Faith resources like the Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II Faith Formation Series, has been endorsed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia; Bishop Emeritus Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, England; Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA, USA and others. For more information please visit: www.harvestingthefruit.com