Professor David Arnold of Columbia Basin College discussed facts on the Arlene’s Flowers case (TCH, Nov. 15) but missed key points. I would like to discuss other facts that were overlooked.
Fact 1: The 1st Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This right comes before freedom of speech.
Fact 2: The exercise of religion is not merely stating beliefs but also taking actions. James 2:17 points out, “faith without works is dead.”
Fact 3: Baronelle Stutzman sold flowers to the couple; she declined to participate in their wedding. Forcing her to do so violates her free exercise of religion.
Fact 4: The fine amount is irrelevant. In Roman times, martyrs refused to offer a pinch of incense to false gods. Paying any fine acknowledges that the state has the right to dictate her practice of religion.
Fact 5: She has stopped doing weddings, yet the suit continues. This indicates that the case is not about money, it is about the state’s right to define religious practice for its citizens.
My personal opinion is that all suits should be dropped to let the parties live according to their best judgment.
Dr. Jeffrey Hylden, PhD, Kennewick