I had the honor of attending Minnesota Family Counsel’s Courage to Stand dinner last Friday evening. For those of you unfamiliar with Minnesota Family Council (MFC), they are a non-partisan, grassroots, Christian organization that works towards strengthening the family through various outreach programs. My experience of the night is hard to put into words because I could write endless pages in all different directions of the various topics covered throughout the event. To put it simply, I was in awe. I have never before been in a room full of people that shared similar beliefs, values, and convictions as I do. Not only share them, but openly fight for them. I was no longer the minority viewpoint, but one of many people freely discussing pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom ideals.
We had an hour before the dinner began to walk around and talk with the various sponsors and advocates of MFC. The grassroots and volunteer efforts of so many people to fight for a wide range of causes such as the right to life, promoting women’s healthcare, standing up against religious persecution, and advocating for youth education was nothing short of inspiring. I got to shake hands and talk to many brave individuals who take the hard stance against the radical secular “progressive” agenda that is taking over our culture.
When I entered the dining hall of the event there was a huge “Courage to Stand” backdrop on the screens behind the beautifully lit stage. The picture displayed on the backdrop was of Daniel facing a pack of angry lions. The lions’ eyes were angry, teeth menacing, and looking ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Daniel appeared to be standing calmly, staring at the beasts with his hands folded behind his back. If you are not familiar with the biblical story of Daniel in the lion’s den, it is about God’s use of Daniel to save a nation. Daniel refused to bow to a king, to which he was then thrown into a den of starving lions. Daniel, putting his faith in the Lord, was unharmed by the lions. The king, seeing the glory of God, accepted God and told the nation to do the same. As Christians, we look to the story of Daniel as a reminder to always put our trust in God, especially in times of crisis and when our convictions are under attack.
The message at the Courage to Stand dinner mirrored that of the story of Daniel. I heard from pastors, state legislators, and business owners who are all fighting for Christian values and religious freedom in a world dominated by an anti-Christian narrative. The main message of the night came courtesy of Carl and Angel Larsen. I’m not exaggerating when I say this couple is one of the sweetest, most loving, and strongest followers of Christ I have had the pleasure of listening to. Their love for other people and Jesus radiated as they spoke. Carl and Angel own Telescope Media Group, a Christ centered video and film production company. They pride themselves in story-telling through their art and all of these stories reflect their Christian beliefs. The couple is in the midst of a lawsuit because they cannot comply with Minnesota law that states they must accept any and all business that is requested of them. This includes making a video for a same-sex wedding, entirely contradicting their beliefs. Those who don’t comply with this law will be prosecuted.
Carl and Angel have worked with gay producers, gay employees, and continuously work with gay clients on various projects with absolutely no problem in doing so. They just won’t use their art to create a story that contradicts their biblical values. Alliance Defending Freedom, famous for their work in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, is also defending Telescope Media. They are eagerly awaiting a ruling on their suit from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. To see details of their case, go to Alliance Defending Freedom’s website at https://adflegal.org.
Carl and Angel are not the only one’s standing up to defend religious rights. The brave men and women I was surrounded by at this dinner dedicate their lives to putting their reputations and even safety on the line in the name of religious freedom. Carl and Angel, like many Christians in politics and in life, have received countless threats simply because they hold specific ideals. Our legislators who dare to fight for pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious freedom at our state capital are being constantly shut down by far-left progressive ideas only to get up the next morning and fight again.
I’m not going to lie, I used to stay silent. I used to be embarrassed and afraid of being falsely looked at as a “prude” or a “backwards bible thumper”. I used to be scared of the potential backlash I would receive if I voiced my beliefs. However, that’s not what God calls on us to do. God calls on us to be a voice for the voiceless. To stand up to the injustice and persecution. I was deeply humbled and honored to be in the presence of so many people taking on this incredible task of promoting Christian values in a world that is killing them off. I want to thank the Minnesota Family Council for their contributions in furthering religious freedom, for in a time like this, we are all Daniel in the lion’s den.