CO Commission Now Targeting Christian Web Designer – With Jonathan Scruggs: Does the government have the right to determine the views we promote and celebrate? Should a graphic designer enjoy the same First Amendment rights as big companies like Google? Tune in to hear Jon Scruggs from ADF explain why the freedom to decide what message we promote is different than deciding who we will serve.
Air Date:Â 03/18/2020
Guest: Jonathan Scruggs
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- Coupons: Use promo code WBL17 to receive 10% off your entire order on ALL WallBuilders Store Products!!
- Helpful links:
- Send In Your Questions!Â
- The Founders Bible
- The Founders Bible App
- Constitution Alive
- First Liberty
- The Courageous Leaders Collection
- Heroes of History
- Quotations of the Founders Books
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Liberty Counsel
- Patriot Academy
- High Point Leadership Camp
- WallBuilders’ YouTube
- Wallbuilders Summer Leadership Training Program
Download: Click Here
Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith and the culture, always from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And, look, we’re going to keep these programs coming at you throughout these coming weeks and perhaps months, we’ll see how long this goes. But we hope that this is an opportunity for you to study and dive deep into foundational principles. Let’s make the most of the extra time that we’re all being given as the nation comes to somewhat of a halt, if not, at least a slowdown.
My name is Rick Green. I”m America’s Constitution coach and a former Texas State Representative. I am here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders and with Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. We look at everything from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. One of the most important things in our country is religious liberty and freedom, something that’s vitally important to a nation thriving and certainly important to true freedom of conscience. And so, we’ve done several programs on that over the years.
Jonathan Scruggs from ADF
And today unfortunately, we are returning to Colorado, where once again the commission there is trying to prevent religious liberty. So later in the program, Jon Scruggs will be with us. But very important topic for us to be covering today. If you’ve missed, maybe you just found us, either on radio or maybe on our website at wallbuilderslive.com, if WallBuilders Live is a new program to you or even if you’ve been listening for a few weeks, we have a massive archive on our website at wallbuilderslive.com that gives you a chance to dive into foundational principles, go into Good News Friday programs that will lift you up now, maybe a good time for that and a lot of great interviews with people that are out there on the frontlines of freedom. All of that’s available at wallbuilderslive.com. I encourage you to go there and check that out today.
As I said earlier, religious liberty is our topic for the day and President Trump has been incredible on that, just made some great strides for religious liberty in our country and beat back a lot of the attempts to infringe upon religious liberty. But again, once again in Colorado, you know, some people, they just aren’t fans of religious liberty. And so, we’re going to tackle this topic when we return with David and Tim Barton. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Moment from American History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. With the upcoming elections, is an opportunity to change the direction of our nation for the better or the worse, to change the very future that our children will face. In previous generations, it was this concern for our children, which often guided our vote.
In a sermon before the Connecticut legislature in 1803, the Reverend Mattias Burnett reminded us, “To you voters in whose power it is to save or destroy your country, consider well the important trust which God has put into your hands. To God and posterity, you’re accountable for them. Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you.” In this year’s elections, for the sake of our children and the type of country that we will leave them, vote and vote wisely.
For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.
Attacks on Religious Liberty
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Alright, David, Tim, you know, look Trump administration has been fantastic on religious liberty. We’ve seen gains that you know, frankly, when we started this program, you know, we were fighting all of the attacks on religious liberty and hoping for a president like this.
Yeah, one of the things I think is interesting even seeing the victories we know with some of the appointments to the US Supreme Court, it is made a shift. We’ve already seen, right, we had Kelly Shackleford on with a victory they had last year at the US Supreme Court with the cross tour in Virginia. Mike Farris and ADF, they have had some victories at US Supreme Court. We’ve already seen some victories happening. There are several religious liberty cases there at the US Supreme Court. Now, we expect there could be some very positive things going forward.
And you know, guys, we’ve mentioned this many times, we never thought we would say President Trump has been one of the most favorable presidents when it comes to religious liberty, when it comes to faith, when it comes to Christianity or even when it comes to the Constitution, because certainly this is protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. But this is something that as much as President Trump does, there’s still a lot of people that are very critical, that are very negative of religious liberty that believe in the false notion, the misrepresentation of Jefferson’s letter where they say separation of church and state, that means you cannot have religion in public, you can’t have religion in schools or city council or etc, etc, etc. And so there certainly is still a lot of pushback on this. Which is why there continues to be battles even at the state level.
Issues of Conscience
Well, it’s interesting that on religious liberty issues and religious liberty issues also include the issues of conscience, the right to act on your beliefs or not act on your beliefs. That my conscience won’t allow me to do certain things. My conscience is what God has placed me to know right from wrong. Paul tells us that in the Scriptures. And so that little, George Washington called a little celestial spark a fire on the inside that tells you what’s right and wrong. There’s a lot of things that my conscious before God will not allow me to do. You know, there’s certain things I won’t do. Doesn’t matter how many times you tell me to do it, I’m not going to cross that line.
And yet there is a coercive element, anti-religious liberty coercive element says, you are going to do what I want you to do. I don’t care what your faith says, I don’t care what your religious liberty says. Here’s what I want you to do. And most recently, this is probably the most evident with LGBTQ kind of issues, where people say, look, you’re homosexual, that’s your call. But I’m not going to participate in your activities, I’m not going to support your lifestyle and I’m not going to promote your lifestyle.
So, we had things like Jack Phillips who was the baker out of Colorado, was looking at jail time, because he would not bake a cake for a homosexual wedding. He’s happy for them to come by it, but he wasn’t going to personalize for them.
Colorado Brings Up Another Issue
Yeah. And he sold to them, right on several”¦ Okay, he knew the two guys. He sold other cakes to them. He actually when he wasn’t able to make their wedding cake, he recommended other people to him. He was very kind. He tried to help the whole situation. And this was a case that was won at the US Supreme Court. And then after they win, he goes back in Colorado brings up another issue with them.
Again, they come after him. But it’s been that way across the nation. I mean, we’ve talked to Kelly before a couple years ago and there’s a case still pending to Supreme Court. But Aaron and Melissa Klein had a bakery in Oregon, same thing. They didn’t want to bake for an event that promoted a lifestyle they disagreed with. And so while they would sell, they”re kind of like Jack Phillips, I don’t want to personalize and put my talents into molding what’s going on at this event. So, they get fined $135,000 by the state, they lose their businesses as a result. They get shut down because they won’t participate in what somebody else wants to force them to do.
We had Barronelle Stutzman who sold flowers openly to homosexual couples. But when they wanted her to cater and do their wedding and personalize it. She said, I’m not going to do my talents that way. And so, they go after her and shut her down. And you had Robert and Cynthia Gifford who had their own farm in New York and they would often allow people to do weddings on the farm. It’s their own farm. And they said, yeah, but we don’t do gay weddings. Well, here came the state of New York after them
A Unique Attack
Well, and right, dad, to your point with all of this. This is where there’s still some frustration, some hostility from people that say, this isn’t right, you should do what we want, even if it’s your own private business, serve us how we want to be served. And now we’re seeing even a more unique attack, where someone says, hey, just I want to make sure I’m clear on this, right? Nothing is even happened yet. I just want to get some clarity. What can I do? What can I do? And that’s one of the interesting things coming up in the interview.
Stay with us, folks. When we come back,Â Scruggs, our special guests here on WallBuilders Live.
This Precarious Moment
Hi, this is David Barton. I want to let you know about a brand new book we have out called, This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your Family and Our Country. Jim, Garlow and I have co-authored this book. And we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now, issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration and race relations and our relationship with Israel and the rising generation millennials and the absence of the church and the culture wars and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provides solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book, “This Precarious Moment” and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at wallbuilders.com.
The Civil Rights Commission
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live today. We’ve got Jonson Scruggs with us from Alliance Defending Freedom. Jon, good to have you back, man. Thanks for coming on the program.
Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.
Hey, so Colorado, once again, now these are the Civil Rights Commission, I guess the same folks that kept going after Jack Phillips, maybe even still going after Jack Phillips, I can’t remember how many times they’ve gone after him, even though the US Supreme Court slapped him down on it. They’re apparently doing the same thing to other Christians that are in other areas of creativity.
Yeah, so now we’ve gone from wedding cakes to wedding websites, which you know. Here, Lorie Smith, she’s at graphic art and web designer based in Colorado. She runs her own business called 303 Creative, where she creates websites for churches and nonprofits and other ministries. And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this. But in the wedding field, a lot of times couples create websites for their wedding to kind of celebrate their wedding, to get background about the wedding, things along those lines.
And so, Lorie wanted to get into this new space, right, to expand her business and to celebrate marriage and weddings as she saw that God defined it. But then she looked around and realized, wait a second, look at Jack Phillips. If I go into this space, I’m going to get sued into oblivion, either by the state or by a private party. So, what she did is she simply just went to court and said, hey, court, what are my freedoms? What can I do and what I can’t do?
And the state of Colorado is effectively taking the position that hey, if you want to publish websites that celebrate marriage between a man and a woman, you also have to design and publish websites celebrating same sex weddings. You know, which is pretty, pretty amazing, right that you’d have to take a double”¦
What Kind of Standard?
What a standard! If you’re going to do anything that says marriage is between man and woman, you have to also then turn around and say the opposite and spend your dollars to do so. Unreal.
Absolutely. Your dollars and also to publish it on effectively your website, right, to design and create texts and images, celebrating of your view of marriage you disagree with and then publish it to the entire world on the internet. So that is a pretty almost, you know, a pretty egregious position to take, but that’s what they’ve taken. And so far, we’ve recent filed”¦
I would ask you what these officials in Colorado were smoking, but that joke is getting old, so I won’t do it. I will pretend that didn’t even happen.
The Who, Not the What
Is that. I mean, now and again, it’s important to stress that much like Jack, Lorie is happy willing to serve all people regardless of who they are, you know. She’s willing to create websites for those in the LGBT community, to create websites for businesses run by those LGBT community. But she just can’t celebrate some messages, you know what, no matter who requests this message, whether it be messages demeaning others, attacking others, but also celebrating same sex weddings.
So kind of the same thing we’ve seen in some of these cases, whether florist or Baker or whatever, where they’ve said, hey, if I’m doing this for your corporate party or whatever and I’m not actually participating in a homosexual wedding. If you’re a homosexual, I’m gladly serve in these other ways where I’m not participating in a wedding. But if you’re asking me to specifically participate in something that I believe is antibiblical, that’s where I draw the line. She’s kind of saying the same thing with the website. I’d make a website for you, I don’t care what your you know, choices are with your sexuality, I care. But I mean, I’m not going to use that as the determining factor whether or not I do business with you. But if you’re asking me specifically to celebrate a ceremony that is antibiblical in my view, that’s again, where I would draw the line. Is that kind of what we’re seeing here?
It’s About the Message Not the Person
That’s exactly right. It’s not about the who, but the what. It’s not about who walks in the door, but what message they’re asking you to celebrate. That’s such an important distinction, right? That we can actually, you know, in our country, we actually disagree with each other on certain important issues and that’s okay. Like, we’ve got to learn to live together and not all agree. But that doesn’t give the government the right to come in and say, hey, you’ve got to celebrate this one particular message, this one particular view about marriage that we agree with. That’s quite the overreach and that’s something the First Amendment should protect. And I’ll give you an example.
The freedoms that Lorie is seeking, you know, should apply to people who disagree with her. You know, we shouldn’t be forcing a lesbian web designer to create a website criticizing same sex marriage for example. Right?
But you know, these freedoms got to apply both ways. And that’s the arguments that we’re making before the court.
I have a hard time even comprehending the Left’s thinking on this. Because I mean is there argument that in the world we live in now, that homosexual couple would not be able to find a web designer and Lori’s the only one that can, right, I mean, like what is their reasoning for saying you have to serve this particular ceremony, you had to participate in this area of the market?
No Different Than a Lawyer
I mean, it’s no different than as a lawyer if I choose to not want to do criminal law, right? Somebody could come in and say, no, okay, yeah, you’re a corporate transactional guy, but the government is going to make you represent this drug dealer over here in court, simply because we don’t want you to be able to say no. I just can’t even comprehend that thinking. That doesn’t happen in a nation like ours or shouldn’t.
Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. And to your point, the State is effectively conceded that there are many other options. Like, you know, Lorie is not the only web designer in Colorado and much less in the entire country, you know. Web designers can operate anywhere and create a website anyway. So that’s not the argument.
I think the effective argument is, look, the topic of marriage is some way special, right, that because if you decline to celebrate someone’s wedding, that creates such an emotional kind of injury when someone declines to do that. The government can compel you for someone to celebrate that message anyway, you know, that’s obviously a very dangerous line, right to cross that there are many topics that people have strong ideas about. But we shouldn’t be forcing like I said, that gay web designer to celebrate a message they disagree with or a Muslim printer to, you know, print t-shirts criticizing Mohmmed or something along those lines.
Free to Choose
These freedoms should cross all these different topics, and we shall allow the individual to choose what they say and celebrate not the government. And that’s the core principle that we’re seeking to fight in this case. And I’ll finally note that that’s how the world generally operates as you know. There are these enormous internet companies like Google and Amazon, right, that, you know, invoke the First Amendment to control what messages they promote. Well, why can’t Lorie, who is a single person operating her own web design company, why can’t she do to have the same freedom?
And so really, what the state of Colorado is saying is that we’re going to treat this topic of marriage and not just the topic, but the specific viewpoint of marriage differently than we treat any other viewpoint. And that’s just wrong.
Jon, before for I’ll let you go, technical steps at this point. So, this is in State court or federal court?
It is in federal court and the appeal level. So, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the court right below the US Supreme Court.
And so, she’s on appeal right now you, guys are representing her before the 10th Circuit and have arguments been made yet or?
No, not yet. We’re currently in the briefing process, which he said exchanging their briefs, we would expect an oral argument to be set in the upcoming months and then to get an opinion within the next six months.
Alright, sounds good. Well, it’s good to know you guys are out there always. I shouldn’t be surprised with this Colorado Commission on, who’s on this thing. But it’s unbelievable the positions that they have taken over the last few years and thankfully, gotten defeated. And it’s because of people just like you being willing to take them on. So, thanks for what you guys are doing. Keep up the great work and we look forward to hearing a good report this summer from you.
Yeah, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
That’s Jon Scruggs. Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Front Sight Firearms Training
Hey, friends, Rick green here from WallBuilders Live. What do Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Rick Green, Tim Barton, David Barton, what all these folks have in common other than the fact that they’re conservative commentators that defend the constitution and educate America on the Constitution? They’re all raving about Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. In fact, if you go to my website right now today at rickgreen.com, you can watch the video of Dennis Prager training at Front Sight or Larry Elder training in Front Sight or Tim Barton and myself training out there Front Sight. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to defend yourself and your family, to make sure that you’re ready and able to do that. It is a fantastic place to train. They train literally 30,000-40,000 people a year and they’re just wonderful to work with.
And you can go with us. We’re headed back out, we’re going to have a great time out there as the WallBuilders family. And if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders, we have an amazing deal for you. It’s actually going to cost you one-tenth the normal price to attend this two-day handgun training because you’re going with us and you’ll also get the Constitution Crash Course. I’ll be teaching on the Constitution, you get the intellectual ammunition that you need to defend the Second Amendment and our Constitution, as well as getting the physical training on how to defend yourself and your family. And this is for everyone, guys, gals, everyone should take this class who no matter how much you’ve shot your whole life or if you’ve never touched a gun, learn how to defend your family.
We’re going to be going several times throughout the year and we would love to have you be a part of that. Check out rickgreen.com today to find out the dates and all the specifics and get all of your questions answered. Check out rickgreen.com today to join us on this Front Sight trip for both your constitutional and your handgun defense training.
Here We Go Again
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us and thanks to Jon Scruggs for joining us as well. Back with David and Tim and here we go in Colorado again, guys.
Rick, I don’t know what it is with Colorado. I mean, you get Jack Phillips, he wins the case of the Supreme Court comes back and the State comes after him again. After the State has been slapped down, they come after Jack Phillips again, he wins that one, then you have a third. And now you got this one. And it’s like, come on Colorado, do you not get this? Well, it doesn’t matter whether they get or not. They’re so hostile to the rights of Christians to have their own beliefs and practice it. And it’s interesting to me, all these guys are asking to do this, Christian, just leave us alone. We don’t want to be involved in this. Just leave us alone. And it’s like, no, we’re not going to leave you alone. You’re going to do exactly what we want you to do. The coercion is unbelievable.
And right, I mean with this, not to be accused of using silly examples, although this is probably what happens, right? But this is where it gets a little silly because nobody would go into a kosher deli and say, hey, I want you to serve me pork because that’s not kosher. Right. Nobody goes into an Islamic deli and says, hey, I want you to serve me pork, because that’s not what they do.
It Seems Ludicrous
The same way, right? It seems ludicrous if you know that is something that goes against someone’s lifestyle, against someone’s beliefs, to ask them to do something that you know goes against their beliefs and then to try to bring a lawsuit against them when they don’t comply when you know it’s against their beliefs, this is where it’s really silly. Because also you don’t see the same level of lawsuits against Muslim bakers, right, or maybe against, in this case”¦
Jewish bakers, kosher bakers.
But in this case, right, even a website design. So, this is something that we’ve talked about. There’s not just attacks on religious liberty in America, there”re specifically attacks on Christian liberty in America.
Yeah, that”s right.
Christians, the ones who seem to be targeted the most. And right, I mean, somebody could say, well, that’s just a coincidence. Well, it might have been the first time, maybe the 2nd or 3rd or 14th time”¦
But not 80 times later…
This Isn’t a Coincidence
Right. But now there were hundreds of times later, thousands of times later, this isn’t a coincidence. And this is just part of the problem and culture. And so, to see Lorie who just wants to have this this web design business, who wants to, right, help promote things and do cool things, but she has personal convictions that there’s only certain things that I want to promote, and I’m going to design and the things that I want to make really cool and I want to believe in it. And if it’s something I’m against, I don’t want to do it. And now, right, before anything is even happened, she’s being told no, no, you’re definitely going to have to do that or right lawsuit, you’re closed down, etc, etc, etc. This is one of the reasons that we’re so grateful to have someone like President Trump for the stand he’s taken on so many levels, for the people he surrounded himself with. It’s one of the reasons that we have to continue to fight.
We’ve seen so many victories at the State level, right, guys with our profamily legislative network with all we’ve done and we’re seeing victories and yet we still continue to have to fight these attacks.
A Supreme Court Decision
Well, there is a case that the US Supreme Court right now this year waiting for a decision come down that deals with Christian and conscience, is LGBTQ issue, transgender issue, Christians, they wouldn’t cross a particular line and as a result, the case is at the US Supreme Court. Now, as part of that, we were able to participate in national polling, helped arrange national polling to see what Americans thought about it. What happens when Christian beliefs and transgender LGBTQ beliefs come in conflict?
And what was found was really interesting. We found that nationally, across the nation, people really want both sides to get along. They really think they can. But we kept pushing them and said, well, what if both sides can’t get along? What if one side keeps forcing the other to do something? And at that point, overwhelmingly, I mean, it was up in the 84-86%. They said, well, if it comes to either religious liberty or LGBTQ, religious liberty has to win. And that was just an astounding poll. We did not expect those numbers. And they’re saying really strongly, that we think that LGBTQ should not be able to force Christians to do certain things. And that is really healthier than I thought it was.
Christian Religious Freedom
Yeah, dad, I think one of the things that certainly as we look at the nation that most people, I mean, as you mentioned, most people just want to see everybody get along, they don’t want problems. But they Recognize that you should not force people to do something that goes against their belief. Right? This is why when you look at Jews, Muslims, Christians, I mean, go down the list, if it goes against someone’s core belief, their faith, their ideology and you know it does, then if you have an expectation to do something that you know that they believe it’s wrong, then that’s really bad on you, for you to force someone to do what you know they think is wrong and especially to take them to court over, etc. But this is where we talk about, right it’s not just about religious freedom in America that’s under attack. It’s oftentimes Christian religious freedom and Christians that are under attack, but thankful there’s so many good people out there, helping defend these cases, so many of our friends that we know they’re doing things and we’ve seen so many wins. So grateful for President Trump, as we’ve been able to help really promote and restore a lot of religious liberty.
What a Time
Yeah, I mean, we’re very blessed in this country to have stopped the slide towards socialism and control of thought, if you will, preventing people from having those rights of conscience, a lot of great things have happened to turn that tide and bring back religious liberty. And so, we’re very, very thankful for that. And what a time to live out that freedom and that religious liberty right now in this current, you know, situation in the country. What a time to come together with others to pray for our nation, to pray for those on the frontlines of all of this and also, you know, frankly, to make the most of the time that we have.
You know, I know for me, you know, initially cancelling events and having events canceled and not being able to do a lot of the things I thought I was going to be doing the next eight weeks, I thought, what am I going to do? Well, hey, what an opportunity to get caught up on things I haven’t been able to do and I would encourage you to do the exact same thing. Make the most of this time. If you haven’t read through the Founders Bible, get one and read through it. I strongly encourage you to read through the Founders Bible.
CO Commission Now Targeting Christian Web Designer – With Jonathan Scruggs
If you haven’t done our Constitution class, what a great time to dive into those materials. There’s so many great materials you can dive into and use the online resources that are available to you. Go to constitutioncoach.com today, get signed up, host a class. We”ll teach you how to do a Zoom class, so it’s all online. I know we’re always encouraging you to host a class at church or community center, whatever, I realized that’s not going to happen the next few months. But what a great time to get people online, so you still have some human interaction, but also be learning how to save our country. That’s a great thing to be doing right now.
So, check out constitutioncoach.com today to do that. And then also go to wallbuilderslive.com and you can catch up on those WallBuilders Live programs that you might have missed over the last few weeks and months, all available there in the archives.
Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.