In a small town in Wyoming, after serving as a judge for over 20 years, Judge Ruth Neely is reportedly facing the possibility of being “banned for life from the judiciary and pay[ing] up to $40,000 in fines merely for stating that her faith prevents her from personally performing same-sex weddings.” Apparently, she is not even required or paid by the state to perform weddings. However, because of her comment, a state agency is saying that she has “‘manifested a bias’ and is therefore permanently unfit to serve as a judge.”
This agency threat is clearly an attack on religious freedom! This judge is facing the loss of her job not because of anything she did or neglected to do while performing her job but because of comments she made about her personal religious beliefs. According to the report, this is the first time in America that a judge has been removed because of personal beliefs about marriage. But I believe it certainly won’t be the last time. Those who do not agree with the new anti-biblical standard on marriage and gender—based usually on biblical reasons—are increasingly facing a hostile culture that has no place for them. Apparently even a local LGBT couple who knows Judge Neely sees this as punishment for her religious beliefs and describes the threatened actions as “obscene and offensive.”
People are often talking today about the balance of the US Supreme Court since Justice Scalia passed away. Of course, if a liberal judge gets appointed by the president, it will swing the balance more toward the left. In other words, everyone recognizes and acknowledges that each person, including judges, has a bias that determines their worldview. In this instance, people who didn’t share the Wyoming judge’s worldview are coming against her because of their intolerance of her beliefs. It’s a reminder that there are no neutral people in this world, and there is no such thing as a neutral position. As the Scripture states,
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (Matthew 12:30)
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
We shouldn’t be surprised to see religious freedom declining in our increasingly secular culture. We live in a day when tolerance is all the rage—but by “tolerance,” our society usually means the embracing of sinful behavior as defined by the Bible and tolerating only those who agree with them. Anyone who doesn’t agree quickly finds out how intolerant many supposedly tolerant people are! But being tolerant only of those who agree with you is not tolerance. Really, it’s a false idea and definition of tolerance that has captivated our society.
Throughout church history, Christians have faced, to varying degrees, persecution for their beliefs. Many Christians around the world today daily face the very real threat of physical violence, property seizure, prison, or even martyrdom for their faith. Every week at AiG, our staff receives a prayer request about a nation where Christians are suffering religious persecution. We need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters suffering for the Lord (Hebrews 13:3). And we need to thank God that here in America we still have relative freedom to proclaim the gospel and openly practice what we believe. But who knows how long this will last?
We need to be bold in lovingly pointing out that we are all sinners in need of the grace of Jesus Christ and in spreading the message of the good news of the gospel. The gospel of Christ is the only hope for mankind and for this nation.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.