A question of concern to Americans who believe in God is whether someone specializing in artistic creativity can be forced to create artwork that they find offensive. Recent cases involve artistic freedom and personal beliefs. The question becomes, can the government force custom art creators to create and display artwork that violates their personal religious beliefs?
Recent examples involve:
1- Cake artists forced to create a cake that celebrates a relationship that goes against the artist’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
2- Flourists required to create floral arrangements celebrating an event they find religiously offensive.
3- Website designers forced to create a website promoting something religiously offensive to the designer.
4- Wedding photographers required to photograph weddings that violate their religious beliefs.
5- Printers of custom T-shirts required to produce religiously offensive shirts.
(We have mentioned these in previous posts.)
In the past, the government has not punished artists who refused to produce art that the artist found offensive. However, recently that has changed. When the government forces an artist to create something that violates the artist’s personal beliefs, we have a real test of freedom of speech and religious freedom. Using our talents to express our beliefs is a fundamental right. Being forced by the government to use our gifts to express something that violates our beliefs and religious convictions violates freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In Acts 4:16-20, we see political leaders threatening harm to Peter and John if they spoke anything in support of Christ. They responded, “Whether it be right to listen to you or to God, you decide, for we can not give up speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” Historically, authorities have tried to force Christians to deny their faith. America is at a crossroads in the area of artistic freedom and personal beliefs. We should not be forced to deny our faith or express something contrary to our religious beliefs.
— John N. Clayton © 2023