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Now Christian Filmmakers are being Targeted for Their Faith by PC Censorship: Who Will be Next?
News Staff : Oct 24, 2017 Alliance Defending Freedom
Before they could begin telling wedding stories, the Larsens ran into a major obstacle—a speech-coercing state law. This law mandates that if the Larsens create films celebrating marriage between one man and one woman, they must also create films celebrating same-sex marriage. Those who refuse can be punished with damages of up to $25,000 and 90 days in jail.
(Minneapolis, MN)—[Alliance Defending Freedom] Carl and Angel Larsen are Bible-believing Christians who have a passion for marriage. They work hard to cultivate their own marriage and help other couples strengthen their own. Often, they provide couples pre-marital counseling, and Carl has even officiated two weddings. (Photo: Angel and Carl Larsen/via ADF)
The Larsens are also filmmakers with a dream.
As owners of a video and film production company, they have sought to use their creative talents to tell stories that honor God and His plan for marriage. They know that great storytelling through film has the power to change hearts and minds.
"As followers of Jesus, we believe marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman," Carl explains. "Ultimately, we believe marriage exists to put God's goodness on full display to the world."
"We want to tell the stories of couples who agree with this reality," he adds, "and join in their celebration by adding our creativity to their union."
Christians are being punished—and silenced
But before they could launch their idea, and begin telling wedding stories, the Larsens ran into a major obstacle—a speech-coercing state law. This law mandates that if the Larsens create films celebrating marriage between one man and one woman, they must also create films celebrating same-sex marriage.
Those who refuse can be punished with damages of up to $25,000 and 90 days in jail.
The Larsens were left with only three choices—none of them good. They could:
1. Tell marriage stories that violate their conscience.
2. Violate the law and suffer the consequences.
3. Censor themselves from making any films about marriage.
Rather than accept any of these options, the Larsens decided to take a stand and challenge the state law. But they needed help. So Alliance Defending Freedom has come alongside the Larsens to represent them free of charge.
A district court in Minnesota dismissed their first attempt to challenge the law. But we will be continuing the fight with an appeal in federal court.
Threatened with punishment just for disagreeing with the government
The Larsens knew they needed to go to court to halt state control over their films. Otherwise, they could have faced crippling financial penalties, and even jail time.
"We have decided to assert our constitutionally protected rights before—not after—they are taken away," Carl says. "We want to defend the freedom of all to live and work according to their consciences. And sometimes, the best defense is a good offense."
Government officials in Minnesota have repeatedly stated that businesses such as the Larsens' violate the law if they decline to create expression promoting same-sex marriage. If this law is not overturned, it will continue to silence those who disagree with the state.
"Filmmakers shouldn't be threatened with fines and jail simply for disagreeing with the government," said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. "Every American—including creative professionals—should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith without fear of punishment." (Photo: Carl Larsen/via ADF)
Censorship and coerced expression are inconsistent with a free society, and in America they are unconstitutional. We must make sure Christians are not silenced.
Who will be next?
Activists and misguided government officials across America are determined to force Christians to express messages that violate their faith. They seem to be watching carefully for anyone they can punish.
Shortly after they filed their lawsuit, the Larsens received a request to produce a film celebrating a same-sex marriage, even though they are not currently in the wedding industry. Once they begin to promote their wedding services, they will surely receive more requests like it, perhaps in a deliberate attempt to set them up.
If the state has the power to dictate the content of films, it also has the power to force countless newspapers, writers, photographers, painters, and speakers to promote messages they disagree with.
Christians face the prospect of being silenced. But we must take a stand to defend the Larsens and others like them.
The government could target you
Unless we join together and turn the tide, it's only a matter of time until some authority forces you to violate your faith ... until you and your church are censored and punished for preaching Biblical values ... until you are compelled by law to call what is good, evil, and what is evil, good ... until you are forbidden from living out or expressing your faith.
Some creative professionals have already faced government punishment. Right now we are defending two of them in high profile cases: Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips and Washington State floral artist Barronelle Stutzman. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Jack's case, and we've asked the court to take Barronelle's as well.
Since May 2016, ADF has filed five other lawsuits like the one we filed for the Larsens. We did this to protect our clients' freedom to run their churches and businesses consistent with their faith. These suits were filed to protect a variety of clients from unjust laws across America:
• Wisconsin: for a photography studio
• Iowa: for a church
• Massachusetts: to defend four churches
• Arizona: for a custom art studio
• Colorado: for a website and graphic design company
Click here to read this article in its entirety and find out what you can do to help end this madness.
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