With the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling widely expected to put Christian bookstores in the cross-hairs of gay activists, retailers were given some practical advice on how to prepare, at one of Sunday’s breakout sessions to the ICRS general session on religious liberty.
In the “Setting a Defense Against Activism” session, attorneys Doug Napier (Alliance Defending Freedom) and Daniel Blomberg (The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) presented steps to help stores be on the alert for challenges, and to provide some defense against potential lawsuits.
Among the suggestions they made were for owners to include descriptions of the religious nature of their business in all their corporate documents, together with a statement of faith, as having them in writing would help in the event of a challenge. They should also ensure staff know how to handle potentially difficult customers.
“We want to respond to the hurting world with the love of Christ, but most of us want to do that in a way that will not dishonor the truth of Christ,” Napier said. If retailers suspected a phone or email inquiry about their stores’ services was a “set up,” from people looking to find a reason to complain, they should invite those concerned in to speak personally, he said. They should also seek legal advice from an organization in how to respond and what to say.
Attendees also received a copy of Protecting Your Business From Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Lawsuits: a legal guide for the Christian business owner, a 44-page guide produced by ADF.