|Todd Starnes (Tennessean photo)|
The Tennessean reports Starnes, the host of "Fox News and Commentary," led by example Thursday by moderating a panel of business owners who landed in legal trouble after refusing service to customers based on their beliefs.
The impassioned discussion took place at the National Religious Broadcasters' annual convention, which drew thousands of Christian media and ministry professionals this week to Nashville.
"Engage the culture and stay informed and educate your listeners and viewers, the people that are also reading your work on digital platforms. It is just incredibly important," Starnes said. "One day it might be somebody in your church. It might be somebody in your neighborhood. It might be somebody whose kid plays on your little league team. It might be you."
The crowd that gathered in a ballroom at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center listened to a T-shirt maker, a florist and a pharmacy owner recount their experiences. All three are clients of the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal organization that specializes in these types of cases. The organization sponsored the session at the convention.
A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of white evangelical Protestants supported allowing small-business owners to deny services to gay and lesbian customers for religious reasons. The majority of Mormons also favored that stance, while most of the religious traditions surveyed did not.