April 12, 2019
David and Tierney Abel are dedicated to hosting what they call "events with a purpose." The Abels are the owners, or as they prefer to be called, "stewards" of Stone Gables Estate, which includes the Ironstone Ranch and the Star Barn Village. For years, they have hosted events with the purpose of creating "a God-honoring legacy that will impact future generations with its charitable and benevolent acts of generosity." Because of their Christian faith, the Abels believe in the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
After a man who identifies as gay learned about the Abel's faith by reading their Core Values online, he lashed out in protest, expressing his opposition to the company on Facebook. What followed was the usual avalanche of hate and vitriol that could peel the paint off the Star Barn. When I asked David on Washington Watch about the hostile reaction, he explained that the Core Values have been posted online for seven years, and this is the first time they have had an issue. "[The] Constitution protects us [so] that we can live out [and] freely exercise our religious faith here in this country without any law being passed that goes against that freedom. They've chosen to try to bully us and force us to participate in an event that is in direct contradiction to our faith beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman, and we can't do that."
David related how he and Tierney seek to treat all people with hospitality. "We welcome all. We want to share what we've been entrusted with. It belongs to God with the world." He went on to note that his opposition is to "an event [a same-sex wedding], not people, not their choices, but about an event that is in direct contradiction to my longstanding core tenet of both my church and the Bible, [in] which [I place] my faith."
The Abels have responded to the backlash just as they should -- by praying for those who "spitefully use you and persecute you." The irony is this is exactly what religious freedom allows us to do, operate our businesses and order our lives according to the teachings of scripture. LGBT activists are attacking the very thing that instructs us to pray for them despite what they say about us or do to us. We are to love those who oppose us as the Abels are doing. It is essential to point out that love is not affirmation. While we can, and must love, we can never affirm that which is in contradiction to scripture. And love compels us to stand for and speak the truth that points the way to the only source of true affirmation.
By-the-way, those activists who want to put a spotlight on the Abels by trying to make them out as haters and bigots might want to reconsider. All the proceeds the Abels and their 17 children (12 of whom are adopted) receive from Stone Gables goes to a child welfare organization called Brittany's Hope, which they named for their daughter who passed away in a car accident. The funds aid children with special needs worldwide.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.