It is a longstanding doctrine of the Christian faith that believers are supposed to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” We understand that we do not really own anything personally, but that we are entrusted by God to manage our assets on His behalf. Well, the government of East Lansing in Michigan has decided that they want to take over God’s place at one family farm in their town. Stephen and Bridget Tennes are both practicing Christians, and they also own and operate Country Mill Farms. Part of their business is to grow fresh produce to sell at the local farmers’ market and the other part is to host weddings on their property.
In 2016, the Tennes made it known that they would not host “wedding” ceremonies for homosexual couples because that did not line up with the Biblical definition of marriage. In a petty act of vindictiveness, the city of East Lansing banned Country Mill Farms from selling at the farmers’ market. Just in case there is any confusion about East Lansing’s motives for giving Country Mill the boot, here’s a statement by East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier recorded in court documents: “‘We don’t doubt that you’re allowed to be a bigot… You can say it on Facebook, you can say ridiculous, horrible, hateful things. What we said is if you actually do discriminate in your business by not allowing same-sex couples to marry on your farm, then we don’t want you in East Lansing.”
Can you believe the sheer gall of Mayor Beier? What gives her the right to say that if you don’t give up your religious convictions, “then we don’t want you in East Lansing”? The rights of Stephen and Bridget Tennes have clearly been violated by these truly bigoted bureaucrats. I applaud the Tennes for seeking their day in federal court. The rest of us could certainly stand to learn some lessons here. Don’t let the left intimidate you into silence, especially if they hold elected office. Your right to live out your religious faith as secured by the First Amendment is more important than some bureaucrat’s phony definition of a bigot.