New American | Alex Newman | Sept. 15, 2019
Under the guise of combating “discrimination,” a rogue government body in Virginia is brazenly persecuting and discriminating against a Christian real-estate agent. Her supposed crime: using the phrase “Jesus loves you” in her e-mail signature and featuring the John 3:16 Bible verse on her website. Seriously. But now, a prominent Christian legal organization is coming to her aid, warning that anti-Christian discrimination cannot be tolerated in America.
Until recently, Virginia Realtor Hadassah Carter has never been accused by anyone of “discrimination.” Her clients include Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Kenyans, and more. And no client has ever suggested anything wrong. But because she is Christian and publicly shares her faith, authorities at the Virginia Real Estate Board put a target on her back. If the government is successful, Carter will either forfeit her God-given rights to free speech and religious liberty, or lose her livelihood.
Even more terrifying than the individual persecution of Carter, perhaps, are the broader implications of the case for religious liberty and free speech in Virginia and beyond. If state authorities are successful in silencing or destroying Carter, it could mean that everyone who holds a government license to engage in commerce — from plumbers and barbers to hairstylists and attorneys — could lose their God-given rights to speak, too.
Ironically, Carter became a target while reporting a case of suspected racial discrimination to authorities. It seems the email alerted them to her signature pointing out that, as John 3:16 puts it, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” She was never accused of refusing to rent to or represent anyone. Instead, the argument is that a realtor using religious speech could hypothetically make somebody “feel” discriminated against.
And so, with officials claiming “Jesus loves you” was a violation of the state’s “fair housing” statute, Carter became a target. Among other actions, they forced her employer into an agreement that required them to either fire her or monitor her and report any religious comments she might make to the government. Of course, as a Christian, Carter could not remain silent about Christ, so she resigned rather than be silenced.