You can help ground America's leaders in God's word!
<< BreakPoint Daily Commentary

Your Conscience or Your Livelihood?

You may remember a little over a week ago on BreakPoint, John Stonestreet gave you his reaction to an outrageous ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court; a ruling that John said “eviscerates” religious freedom.

Now “eviscerates” is a strong word. Unfortunately, John was 100 percent right to use it.

Really quickly, here’s a summary of the case: Elaine Huguenin, a photographer from Albuquerque, was asked to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony. On religious grounds, she refused.

So the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission ruled that Huguenin had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law — and the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the ruling.

But what really had John jumping up and down was what one justice wrote in his concurring opinion. The Huguenins, he claimed, were “compelled ... to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” Even worse, the justice wrote that such a compromise is “the price of citizenship.”

According to the justice, the Huguenins can believe whatever they want, but outside of their home they have to “channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” (As if our conduct has nothing to do with what we believe!)

Can I ask a question? Why is it that Christians — or other religious people — are the only ones asked to “compromise the beliefs that inspire their lives”?

A friend of mine, theologian Ben Stevens, wrote a great piece in the Huffington Post, putting the shoe on the other foot.

Stevens proposed the following scenario. Pretend you’re a freelance photographer, and you get a phone call from Westboro Baptist Church — that’s the famous “God hates gays!” people — and they want you to shoot photos as they picket a funeral with their infamous signs.

Stevens goes on: “To clarify, the clients aren't simply asking for photos of themselves. They're asking for help commemorating an event, a significant and symbolic moment which they feel states something important to the world. You have told them that you'd be happy to have any one of them come into the studio for portraits, but that you would prefer not to be a part of the event itself because of its stated purpose. And as a sign of good will, you’ve even offered to connect them to other photographers who you think would be willing to accept a contract to document this group's protest of a funeral.

“But that's not good enough, they say, and your petty concerns of conscience amount to discrimination against religious people.”

What would you do? Stevens asks. Well, according to the New Mexico Supreme Court, you’d have to acquiesce to take pictures of an event you find extremely objectionable, even offensive.

Or, of course, you could give up your livelihood.

Friends, as Stevens went on to point out in his article, “you will search in vain for examples of healthy societies in which revocation of one's conscience was the ‘price of citizenship.’”

As John Stonestreet mentioned in his earlier commentary, the Alliance Defending Freedom will appeal this bizarre, disastrous ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. I urge you to please support their efforts. Come to, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to ADF.

And I’m sure Chuck Colson would want us to ask this question — have you put your name to the Manhattan Declaration in defense of marriage, human life and religious liberty? Now would be a good time. We’ll link you to the Manhattan Declaration as well.

Read the signs of the times, folks. Religious freedom in this country is being pressed on all sides. Please, take a stand.

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Publication date: September 20, 2013

More BreakPoint Daily Commentary Articles