Arizona Supreme Court to Consider: Can Christian Artists be Jailed for Views?

Arizona Supreme Court to Consider: Can Christian Artists be Jailed for Views?

The Arizona Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear a case involving two Christian artists who could face fines and jail time if they don’t create artwork celebrating same-sex weddings.

Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski own Brush & Nib Studio and create custom artwork using painting, calligraphy and handlettering for weddings and other events. But because of their Christian faith, they won’t make custom artwork celebrating same-sex weddings.

Under a Phoenix ordinance, Duka and Koski could be jailed for up to six months and/or fined $2,500 each day they are in violation if they refuse to design artwork for a same-sex couple who requests wedding announcements or invitations.

They sued in state court seeking to overturn the ordinance, but lost at the court of appeals. They then appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the couple.

“Joanna and Breanna gladly serve everyone,” said ADF’s petition to the Arizona Supreme Court. “They ‘will happily sell their pre-made works to anyone …. for any event.”

But for same-sex weddings, the two women will not design custom-made art celebrating the ceremony.

“Their Christian beliefs forbid them from creating ‘custom artwork that conveys messages condoning, supporting, or participating in activities or ideas that violate their religious beliefs,’” the petition said. “For example, they cannot create artwork expressing messages that ‘contradict biblical truth, demean others, endorse racism, [or] incite violence.’”

ADF asserts that the ordinance violates the Arizona Constitution and Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act.

“The government must allow artists to make their own decisions about which messages they will promote,” said ADF senior counsel Jonathan Scruggs. “Joanna and Breanna are happy to design custom art for anyone; they simply object to being forced to pour their heart, soul, imagination, and talent into creating messages that violate their conscience.”

UPCI CHURCHES DAMAGED BY THE HURRICANE IN FLORIDA

By Editor George Duke

Hurricane Michael has done extensive damage to a number of our churches, pastors homes, and members homes.  The churches that we know have severe damage at this point are the following:

Blountstown (Pastor Ron Baker)

Panama City (Pastor Allen Crabtree)

Highland Park (Pastor Rodney Capps)

Port St. Joe (Pastor Chris Richardson)

Chattahoochee (Pastor George Black)

Hosford (Pastor Aaron Elkins)

Marianna (Pastor Allen Biggs)

If you would like to send an offering to help with this disaster, please send it to the Florida District UPCI and put Hurricane Relief in the memo.  All funds will be used to help with the restoration of these churches.

Our Disaster Relief Director, Pastor Larry W. Sims is coordinating all efforts to help these churches and pastors.  If you wish to send supplies or men to help with labor, we ask that you coordinate all this through Brother Sims.  The entire area is severely damaged and we need to make sure our efforts are profitable and a blessing for all those in need.

Please consider sending an offering to help restore our churches.