June 15th, 2009 by Marc Thomas

Article: Everyday Heroes

Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, a twenty-something married couple, live in New Mexico and run a small photography business called ‘Elaine.’ So why is it that two young Christian photographers have been compared to people refusing services to African-Americans in the 1950s?

The trouble began when Elaine, rather cordially, refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. Shortly after, she received an e-mail from the New Mexico Human Rights commission telling her to find an attorney. One of the women involved in the civil ceremony, Vanessa Willock, had lodged a complaint against the young couple claiming they were discriminating against same-sex couples.

The Huguenins contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, an organisation set up to to aggressively defend religious liberty by empowering [their] allies, recognizing that together, we can accomplish far more than we can alone.” ADF argue that it is a violation of the First Amendment to force Elaine to use her creative ability for something that goes against her conscience and told the Huguenins it would be bad stewardship of their company to back down or settle.

“If I’m being asked to tell the story of something that goes against my belief system,” explains Elaine, “there’s no way I can do that in good conscience.”

In a further twist, the Human Rights commission of New Mexico unanimously ruled against Elaine and her husband and requested they pay all of Willock’s legal costs and submit to requests by same-sex couples in the future. This created a media storm. The judgement is being appealed against and the jury is still out.

The question is raised, “What is freedom?”

Contact Alliance Defense Fund by calling (800) TELL-ADF (835-5233), faxing (480) 444-0025, writing 15100 N. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85260, or logging on to www.alliancedefensefund.org

Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

January 11th, 2009 by Christy Scott

She stood in front of me with tears streaming down her face and asked the question that still resonates through every fiber of my heart: “How can you be so sure God is real and that He cares about me?”  How do we know?  There are so many voices in the world today…so many people who claim to have the truth.  There are numerous religions–you can find a church, or community, or sect that upholds everything from believing in nothing to worshiping everything that breathes.  How do we know what’s true?  How can we sort through the counterfeits to find the substance that’s real; how do we know that the world isn’t right when it tells us we can believe in anything we want as long as it’s truth for ourselves?

As I’ve asked myself that question, I’ve seen the answer play out over and over again here in the work taking place in Costa Rica.  In working with an inner healing ministry called Peniel (from Genesis 32:30: “I saw God face to face, and my soul was delivered”), I’m learning more and more about the truth.  Jesus said, “I am THE Way; I am THE Truth; I am THE Life” (John 14:6).  He also said, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  Was this arrogance or confusion on His part?  Many in the world around us would say, “Yes.”  Still, what is true?

The truth is that every one of us is born already believing things about the world around us.  Those beliefs can be correct, or they can be erroneous.  In the same way that a computer is programmed, and the information programmed into the computer will result in a polished product or one that breaks down with the computer’s use, our brains receive input from the moment we are first conscious of the world around us.  For example, if in our mother’s womb, we hear, “You aren’t wanted.  Why were you born?  This pregnancy is too hard,” we are born with the knowledge that our life is a burden.  But is this true?  God says that He created us (Psalm 139) and knows everything about us…He knows when we sit, and when we stand, and He has a purpose for our lives. He loves us.  He wants us.  He is glad that we are alive.  Still, if we have received erroneous information from the world around us, we will react based upon those lies.  Only the One who created us and meant us to come to life believing in the truth can restore those places deep inside of us that get lost along the way.  In other words, we were meant to know Him–for Him to be our Truth (the standard by which we guide our lives), and in knowing Him, our hearts are made free of the burdens, and lies, and misguided reactions that so often trouble our daily lives.

Returning to the original example, as I prayed with my friend and the Lord showed her how He saw her birth and the world around her, for the first time, her heart came to life with the knowledge that God IS real.  He created her heart, and He is able to heal it.  For the first time, the fear went away, and she was able to sleep through the night in peace.  She didn’t have to do anything to earn this, or try to work to put her heart back together.  The One who created her knew in that moment how to heal each part.

So many things take place in this life…so many bumps and bruises happen along the way that attempt to teach us things about ourselves.  There is one Voice that calls above all other voices, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and weighed down, and I will give you rest.”  Will we let Him?  Can we humble ourselves, and rest for a season from trying to save ourselves through good works or other religions; can we let Jesus be enough; will we dare to come face to face with Him and let His truth heal our souls?  He is waiting, and if we ask Him, “Lord, do you care about me?  Can you heal me?”  The answer will always be, “Yes.  I love you. I’m waiting for you.  Come.”

Posted in Life & Family Tagged with: , , , ,