If I ‘end up in jail, so be it:’ Christian sued for refusing to print gay wedding invitations won’t back down
EDITOR'S NOTE: Cesar Mosquera spoke with LifeSiteNews' Chile correspondent Fabiola Torres.
May 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cesar Mosquera is not angry. The 38-year-old Chilean father of two is a soft-spoken family man who was raised as a Christian, but it wasn’t until he turned 18 that he started taking his faith in Jesus as a way of life. He is also the pastor of a small Evangelical church.
As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, Cesar was sued after refusing to print same-sex civil union invitations. He spoke with LifeSite about his ordeal and his resolve despite the threats he has faced:
LifeSiteNews: If this happens again, would you respond the same way? Because you were sued twice …
Actually, we were sued three times total. In one, we reached an agreement with Movilh (Movement for Homosexual Liberation and Integration), the second one was withdrawn, I lost the third one and appealed it, that’s the remaining lawsuit. [The second lawsuit was withdrawn because the homosexual couple split before the case’s official notification was given.)
I don’t think this would happen again. For a while, I was dedicating all of my time to Imprenta Publicamos [the website where he advertised his family printing business] since it was my only income, but because of the slander we received from the gay lobby, it started to decline and I had to get a job as an employee. I do very little by myself now: design and printing for friends and acquaintances, but, obviously, and answering your question, when faced with any issue against my values I will refuse to do it.
Even if things get a lot more complicated in Chile and defending my convictions mean I can end up in jail, so be it, my commitment to God is unto death. I try to live the way the Bible tells us to and the Lord tells us in the Bible “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me,“ and the cross includes death, scorn, rejection, I have anticipated that.
LSN: What’s the impact this situation has had on your family, financially and emotionally?
Humanly speaking, of course, we worry. This is unfair and, in truth, society is moving in the wrong direction. All values have been disrupted, not just this issue, I mean abortion, gender identity, there are many family values under attack from the authorities. Obviously, we worry. At first, we were harassed by the media, they wouldn’t stop calling us, we had TV channels in front of the house and wanted to interview us. This was harder on my wife. She was at home and felt the pressure, but we fully trust in God; we rested in Him. The Bible tells us to be at peace and take our troubles to Him, and only God can give you that peace in spite of trials and life’s hardships [the Bible] teaches us to trust in God, He gives you the strength to go on.
There was an impact in our finances, I imagine, because of the advertising as victims the gay couple did in the media, customers´ orders declined, but I looked for a job and the printing business is no longer our main source of income. This was a very small operation: just me providing advertising and design services, as an individual and my wife sometimes would help, it was a minimal family business, I didn’t have any employees.
But on the bright side, I’m not alone. God will support me one way or another because I’m defending Him too. This has materialized in that I have met people who fight for human rights, for right to life, for the marriage. Like my lawyer and her team. I look at this as something positive too. [Cesar is being represented by Advocates Chile, a group of Christian lawyers who provide this services pro bono, as a ministry to defend religious freedom].
Cesar Mosquera and his family
LSN: What do you think when they accuse you of homophobia?
From the beginning, I have been very clear this is not the case. I have tried to emphasize it in the last interview and it’s something I even talked about with two of the people who were supposedly harmed by all this [the plaintiffs]. We have always shown them that we, as Christians, respect every person’s human dignity. God commands us to love, love our neighbor. There is no phobia or grudge or anger or hate toward any of them or any other homosexual person. We are simply asserting our convictions, the same way they have the right to express their convictions and ideology. They live it, they spread it in the media. I also believe that, as a Christian, I have the right to communicate and express mine and obviously I don’t have to agree with what they propose. Our point of view is that within that right we can distinguish, discern and decide between doing or not something that goes against our convictions. I think that if you ask them to do something against their convictions, they wouldn’t do it either. This is simply a religious persecution.
LSN: Have you had any contact with the people who sued you?
Yes, I don’t remember if it was Pablo [from the first couple who sued] or his partner, when he sent the email asking for a quote, I answered succinctly but kindly telling him I couldn’t provide the service because of my values. Then I found out in the media that they were suing. I phoned him directly (his number was on his email), I explained my point of view, we had a calm and civilized 15 minutes call, at first he didn’t want to talk, but I insisted, we listen to each other and I told him about my values and belief in God. I told him my intention was not to convince him, just to put forth and defend my point of view, and he talked about his too. I told him that doing this would be like betraying myself. I also explained that I had been received much hateful mail, insults through Twitter and showed him the offense was coming from the LGBTI movement towards me.
These are just a few of the tweets César got from the “tolerant” homosexual supporters:
Shame on you… I hope you get sued and go bankrupt.
Ps. God doesn’t exist.
Sons of a b*tch, I wish you the worst, curse you.
Relax, when these clowns from @publicamosimp start to see red numbers, they’ll change their discourse, there’s a god ($) which they revere more
How much ignorance, you speak of values only when it’s convenient, religious fanaticism is stupid
Well your christanazi values are disgusting
Christians hahaha you make me laugh so much. Your beliefs and convictions are as fake and weak as your idol
Nice, you think you’re Christians and go around discriminating, you’re still going to hell, f*cking discriminators
Movilh also sued us through another couple who tagged along. There was no interaction with them, no sale, no contract, nothing. This man felt offended, simply because I posted something on Twitter that had to do with the same thing, with values, because I never offended anyone. It’s not my style, but he felt discriminated against because of something I posted. Out of nothing I was sued again. Probably because of a conflict between Movilh and the Iguales Foundation [an NGO whose mission statement is "Work … to ensure the full inclusion of sexual diversity in Chilean society"] surely they compete for exposure in the media. So this young man tagged along, I never replied to him or anything.
LSN: Did he reply to you on Twitter?
LSN: So, you mean, he read something on Twitter, felt offended and sued you?
That’s correct. And I was taken to a local court, we reached an agreement, but before that, I had the opportunity to talk to him. We talked to him and his lawyer and we explained the same thing I explained to Pablo (Zapata) that we respect him as a person, his dignity. God created every person to His image, so there is something of God in everyone. Obviously, we disagree with conducts, thoughts and ideology some movements have, in this case the LGTBI movement, but we do respect him as a person and in no case our intention was to discriminate or offend him. Simply, we could not betray our values. He heard us and understood. He didn’t seem angry. We were kind to him and he agreed to settle right away. Rolando Jimenez [Movilh’s spokesman] was there as a witness and he had a bunch of papers with our logo. He was bewildered and didn’t want us to settle. He wanted to start a legal battle and started yelling. That’s when my lawyer talked to the young man and we finally settled with us stating we apologized if in any way he felt offended, but under no circumstance we admitted discriminating against him.
LSN: If your appeal is unsuccessful, what would that mean to you, financially?
The fine we got in the first verdict is almost $500,000 (about USD $740), more than what I earn in a month, so of course, it affects us. I’m not a rich man, I’m a normal worker who has a wife and two children to support. I have a normal job and try to earn an honest living. This would affect me. I have no savings or any extra money for this kind of situation. I hope in God that the appeal will be favorable; it would be very unfair if we get fined … but if it is the case, we will still put our trust in God and we’ll look at it as a learning experience. This is how the world is, it is unfortunate, but it won’t discourage us.
LSN: Have you heard of any similar cases in Chile?
No, my lawyer was telling me this case would be a precedent for the future.
LSN: If any of these men came to you to print let’s say ice cream brochures, would you have a problem with that?
Of course not, this is just an issue of values, not with them as persons, and it’s something I also told them. They asked me to do something clashing with God’s plan. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Anything going against that goes against my values and I wouldn’t do it, but if any homosexual person wanted to print craftwork brochures, sell ice cream, etc., that’s not a problem.
LSN: What do you think your children will learn from this?
That it is worth following God and that it is much more important to fight for our Christian convictions even if the world treats us as we if are mad, if they offend or attack us. We understand there’s spiritual blindness. I try to look at these young men through Christ’s eyes, with compassion and love. I pray for them and don’t hold any grudges. I understand they are wrong. We believe God created men and woman. Marriage is society’s foundation. According to the Word of God, they have made incorrect decisions, but I look at them with compassion. That would be my legacy to my children, that in spite of everything one has to defend his Christian convictions, because they are true.
LSN: What would you like to say to the people who are against you because of what has happened?
I see that homosexuals in general highlight that the church hates or discriminates them and I’d like them to know that the church, Christianity, doesn’t hate or has any phobia. That would be fear and rejection. On the contrary, I can perfectly talk to any homosexual person as I did (with these man), independently if we agree or not, but I can look into his eyes and have a conversation, a coffee, I can respect him and love him. But it is a different thing to agree, because there’s this ideology trying to force all of society to agree with them, as a tyranny, an ideological dictatorship. I think God loves each and everyone. Christianity cannot hate. That would be illogical. Christianity is an invitation to men and women to reconcile them with God.