Source: Fox News, 4:00-5:00 PST “The Story” with Martha MacCallum: June 1st 2017—Country Mill Farms vs. Lansing.
If I heard correctly, the man and woman who run the farm both served overseas in the military. America owes all of our service members a debt of gratitude, and so I say, “Thank you for your service.”
I feel reticent to add my two cents on this subject because it is not an easy one. While it might be easier for me to lend my advice when I don’t have a dog in the race, so to speak, I have to sympathize with these folks who have been made to suffer for standing up for their beliefs. At the same time I have to try to understand this situation better and find some neutral perspective that we can apply to our troubled times, which are going to get worse before they get better.
This story began when the proprietors of Country Mill Farms refused to allow a gay wedding to occur on their farm, which has been a location where traditional marriages had taken place. The story gets complicated where a code was written in nearby Lansing which somehow disallowed Country Mill Farms from taking part in their local Farmer’s Market. This has brought about the need for legal action, to challenge the Lansing Code, and possibly find some respite from its effects.
While CMF claims to be willing to serve all (selling produce to anybody), they did apparently draw the line when it comes to allowing a gay wedding to occur on their premises. In response to this alleged discrimination, some have found it worthwhile to bring adversity to CMF and its ability to do business.
When I saw this story, I had to revisit my stance brought about not many days ago when I wrote “Should Christian Owned Businesses Refuse to Serve Certain Customers?”. With what the folks at CMF are going through, I feel it expedient to clarify my stance a little more because I realize how difficult it might be to understand, especially for those who are doing the noble thing of standing by their beliefs and living by their faith.
As individuals or as business owners we can choose to defy things we do not believe in doing, such as providing services or goods to a gay wedding. At the end of the day though, if we defy or deny something that is regarded as ‘legal’ in our nation, state, or municipality, there are apt to be consequences if people wish to make trouble.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose not to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Statue. They chose to stand by their faith, but there were consequences, (which they miraculously escaped). Likewise, Daniel continued to pray to God, which had been speciously outlawed through the efforts of his antagonistic peers. For one reason or another Daniel did not close his windows or curtains when he prayed, and as a result he was caught in a ‘crime’ and thus thrown into the lion’s den, (from which punishment he miraculously escaped). When we defy the accepted laws or norms of the day because of our faith, maybe it is expecting a bit much to always find Divine intervention to save us from the wordily consequences, but it should be well with our souls. And on that note, I pray that all is well with those at CMF who have taken a stand.
With hindsight being 20/20 though, I have to wonder: would things be better, or worse, or the same for CMF if when their state allowed same sex marriages, that they stopped doing weddings altogether or they doubled their rates or something to avoid the trouble they now face?
“A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished.” [Proverbs 22:3]
Hey, I get it, there is a time to be prudent and a time to be simple. There is a time to avoid a fight and there is a time to take a stand. The boys in Babylonia must have come to the decision that a simple stand of faith was more expedient than hiding from the music that was the cue to bow to the idol. They decided it was a good day to die or find a miracle. Daniel chose not to hide; he simply prayed as normal and spent the night in the face of what would normally be certain death.
Some people say “Never quit fighting” but I say “Never quit counting the cost.” I do not say to count every penny of cost and be so stingy that you never take a leap of faith, but do come to a decision on what is your lion’s den and what is your furnace, and until you are ready to deal with the consequences of defying accepted norms of the day, it is okay to avoid the fight when possible.
I think it was in CBCP1, (“Christian Beware, Christian Prepare: The End of the War on Terror and the End of Christianity as We Know It” available in Amazon Kindle), that I wrote about three basic levels of resistance that people of faith can offer during the 42 month storm, when things are going to get unusually tense. Using CMF’s situation as an example, let us see how these could apply today.
Level 1 Resistance—bowling pins. If CMF’s stance were that of bowling pins, there might be something yet standing if the Lansing Code was not well thrown, and it did not have the proper follow-through. Let’s say the Lansing code-writers knocked down a pin or a few pins on their first throw. CMF has every right to go to court and challenge the Code, and I pray that Lansing’s second throw does not pick up a spare, but is instead a gutter-ball or it fails to hit more pins.
Level 2 Resistance—Sumo wrestlers. CMF is a relatively small contender, but the Lansing Code is likewise no proven champion, and so the match could go either way. I pray that the Code will fall off balance at some point and CMF will find some respite and be able to conduct business as they have in the past, selling their produce at the Farmer’s Market. (In the 42 month storm, this level of resistance is going to face proven champions and thus may be extremely difficult for the contender to win; our energies would be better spent at that time to resist the development of laws or codes before they are ratified.)
Level 3 Resistance—a field of trees: no matter what is done to remove limbs and branches, our roots in the world remain deep and difficult to remove, especially where those roots are in close proximity to the world’s sympathies. CMF has a highly visible canopy of beliefs, but their business in the world is facing the prospect of some level of drought. Unfortunately, they feel forced to seek help (irrigation) from the realms of men (the courts) as they cannot rely entirely on rain clouds from above to keep their farm in a truly prosperous state. On this level I do not envy CMF or the courts, and I think the whole affair is rather dismal.
I suppose this is where I would go against the grain of accepted religious beliefs and suggest (as I did in a previous post as mentioned above), that we learn to be more sympathetic to the people of the world whom we would strongly disagree with. If we cannot plug our noses and provide the services to those we feel are wrong, then we need to be sure we are ready to deal with the worldly consequences of our choices to refuse them service.
When it comes time to decide what level of resistance we want to offer against various situations that challenge our faith, we need to remember that it is in large measure up to us how we get from point A to point B, or where we stand at the beginning of the 42 month storm and in what manner we get to the place we shall be standing at the end of the storm, (see “The Eye of the Storm”).
Note* I have just created another blog that has been on my mind for a while, and I use a relatively ‘neutral’ and objective revision of this post as my first one over there. Please see other blog “PAIRD” which is my pipe-dream of founding a non-profit that would give aid to victims of illegal religious discrimination.