Christian website designer who fought for freedom receives death threats, as others are physically attacked for expressing their faith.
By Eileen Griffin
Colorado website designer Lorie Smith received death threats after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld her free speech rights.
Smith has faced harassment, including death threats, after the Supreme Court ruling on June 30, The Epoch Times reports.
Smith asserted her right to freedom of speech allowed her to choose not to create websites with language objectionable to her. She particularly objected to the promotion of same-sex marriage because of her faith.
In 303 Creative v. Elenis, the Supreme Court agreed with Smith. The majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, addressed the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment.
“In this case, Colorado seeks to force an individual to speak in ways that align with its views but defy her conscience about a matter of major significance. The First Amendment envisions the United States as a rich and complex place where all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands,” Gorsuch wrote.
Death Threats After Decision
After the ruling in her favor, Smith has faced numerous threats and personal verbal attacks.
Smith told The Epoch Times she received over 10 million attack messages in just one week. People threatened to burn her house down. Some threatened to kill Smith and her family.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Smith in front of the Supreme Court. ADF Senior Counsel and Government Affairs Director Kellie Fiedorek told The Epoch Times the organization would monitor threats and protect their client.
“We cannot share any more about the internal conversations we are having, but it is deeply disheartening to see Lorie experience vicious harassment and death threats over her stand for all Americans’ free speech and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that just affirmed both those who agree and those who vehemently disagree with Lorie have the right to say what they believe without fear of government punishment,” Fiedorek said.
Arrested for Expressing Religious Opinions?
Christians and other people of faith have experienced an increase in threats and attacks in recent years just for expressing their opinion about their religion. In some cases, the government does not defend the constitutionally protected position.
A Christian in Reading, Pennsylvania, Damon Akins, was arrested for quoting the Bible publicly at a gay pride parade, The Blaze reported. Akins accused the city of violating his constitutional rights and has filed a lawsuit.
The Mayor of Reading, as well as members of the police department, were listed in the suit. Akins claimed that his right to free speech was violated. The mayor claimed freedom of speech did not apply in this case.
Adam Steinbaugh, an attorney for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, disagreed with the mayor. Steinbaugh told The Center Square the police officers violated Akins’ first amendment rights.
“Speaking loud enough to be heard by a noisy crowd isn’t unreasonable,” Steinbaugh said. “Police weren’t focused on avoiding noise they were focused on preventing speech the Pride participants might find offensive.”
“After the arrest of a preacher protesting across the street from a Pride Month rally in Pennsylvania went viral, area lawmakers had little to say,” wrote Christen Smith for The Center Square.
Pro-lifers Physically Attacked
On July 21, Christian activists were assaulted outside of a planned parenthood building, Christian Post reports. Pro-life activists Terrisa Bukovinac and Michael Gribbin were offering sidewalk counseling to people approaching the site in Washington, D.C.
Bukovinac said the assault began when a woman threw coffee in her face and her hair. A second assailant attacked Gribbin. Videotape of the event indicates Gribbin was punched multiple times and a woman slapped Bukovinac in the face. Bukovinac said she reported the crime, but the police would not make an arrest.
In April of this year, Fox News Digital reported that hostility against Christians had reached “unprecedented” levels. Religious non-profit leaders warned of the increasing hostility coming from the Biden administration against Christians.
“Their warnings come amid skyrocketing rates of church vandalism, legislation targeting church sacraments and the alleged weaponization of federal law enforcement against people of faith,” writes Jon Brown for Fox.
Secularization of America
The country is becoming more secularized largely due to cultural issues, Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council (FRC), told Fox News Digital.
Same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ+ issues conflict with Christianity, Del Turco says.
“All of these are increasingly in conflict with core Christian teachings and core Christian beliefs,” Del Turco said. “So, the left is getting increasingly intolerant of Christianity for this reason, and I think we’re seeing that even being represented physically with these physical attacks on churches.”
Del Turco says the Biden administration has not made religious freedom a priority and they have created an environment supportive of anti-Christian activists.
The state is the aggressor in the conflict with Christian institutions, says Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League.
“The church is not encroaching on the government, it’s the government encroaching on the churches and it’s coming most viciously from the Biden administration, “ Said Donohue. “I’ve never seen a more anti-Catholic administration in my life.”
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