If there were a chance that your children and grandchildren would live in an America where they didn’t have the freedom to express and live out their faith, what would you do?
Carl and Angel Larsen face this question. As owners of Telescope Media Group, a video and film production company in Minnesota, they are passionate about telling stories through film that glorify God. But a state law currently takes away their freedom to decline certain projects that promote ideas or events that conflict with their beliefs.
You may be wondering how that’s possible. After all, we are living in a time where self-expression reigns supreme. Think of how just about everything, ranging from people’s self-perceived identities (gender, race, and even age!) to their sexual preferences, is expected to be publicly celebrated and affirmed, no questions asked.
Everything, that is, except tenets of the Christian faith apparently.
The law in Minnesota goes so far as to tell these two filmmakers what kind of films they can and cannot create. The law says that if they want to tell stories about marriage between a man and a woman—something that is very close to Carl and Angel’s hearts—they must also use their business and their creative talents to tell stories about same-sex weddings, or face criminal punishment.
But marriage means something very different to Carl and Angel than it does to the State of Minnesota. To the Larsens, marriage is ordained by God—it’s a covenant that represents Christ’s relationship with the church. Carl doesn’t want to tell just any old random story about marriage. “I want to tell stories about the glory of God in marriage,” he says.
The Larsens and the State of Minnesota are at a crossroads. A state has no place dictating to artists the works they can create or the messages they can promote—this is an extreme violation of free speech and violates legal precedent that has been set in legal cases about artistic expression. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on the Larsens’ behalf.
In fact, it’s not all that different from another ADF case involving Blaine Adamson, owner of promotional printing company Hands On Originals. Blaine was sued after he declined to print shirts promoting a local pride festival, but a Kentucky trial court decision found that:
“It is [Hands On Originals’] Constitutional right to hold dearly and not be compelled to be part of the advocacy of messages opposed to their sincerely held Christian beliefs.”
Like Adamson, the Larsens are happy to work with and serve people who identify as LGBT. What they won’t do is compromise their sincerely held beliefs in order to promote a message or event that goes against their faith.
So What Can You Do?
The Minnesota law needs to change—not just so the Larsens’ constitutional freedom is upheld, but so that this freedom is protected for the next generation as well.
In fact, one of the Larsens’ daughters is a talented baker who loves to create sugar-filled masterpieces. Should she be coerced by the government to design elaborate cakes to celebrate events that conflict with her beliefs?
It’s a future no parent wants for their child, but thankfully, it’s a question the United States Supreme Court will soon answer in Jack Phillips’ case. Jack is a cake artist from Colorado who was sued after he declined to design a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Obviously, there is a lot at stake in Jack’s case. But in the meantime, there are many other creative professionals like the Larsens who are still facing criminal punishment over the freedom to live and work according to their sincerely held beliefs. We must continue to fight for them, and your financial gift to Alliance Defending Freedom means these brave individuals have a dedicated legal team who are standing with them and defending them free of charge.
Thank you for giving generously.
Because of laws regarding sexual orientation and gender identity that have been passed by state and local governments, creative professionals have been asked to choose between their businesses and their conscience.
The Constitution protects artists like Emilee Carpenter from being silenced or punished for expressing their beliefs.