Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Religious Freedom, Gay Marriage, and Name Calling.

Freedom of belief and thought are beginning to come under attack by the forces of "tolerance." We conservatives have been ridiculed for warning that legalization of same-sex marriage, and the inclusion of sexual orientation in anti-discrimination statutes would erode religious freedom. There's no question anymore - those warnings were prescient.

The erosion started in 2006 when Catholic Charities of Massachusetts faced a stark choice: Violate their religious convictions or cease to facilitate adoptions in the state.

Catholic Charities ceased adoptions.

The assault continues today, especially against small businesses. A Bakery in Oregon has been forced to close in the face of threats, boycotts and an investigation by the state.

In addition to this bakery being investigated the article lists more lawsuits and investigations:

  • Just last month, New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that two Christian photographers who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state’s Human Rights Act. One justice said the photographers were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” 
  • Denver baker Jack Phillips is facing possible jail time for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a formal complaint against Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop. A hearing before the state’s civil rights commission is set for later this month.
  • In Indianapolis, a family-owned cookie shop faced a discrimination investigation after they refused to make rainbow cookies for National Coming Out Day.
  • A T-shirt company in Lexington, Ky. found itself at the center of a Human Rights Commission investigation after they refused to make T-shirts for a local gay rights organization."

The message being sent is: you can believe anything you want, but you can't act on it. Keep your thoughts to yourself. (And the message from New Mexico is that we have a human right to a wedding photographer ??)

One definition of a religion is: "a system of beliefs which lead to actions which improve the believer."

Freedom of religion is meaningless if it's all in our heads. Beliefs that don't influence the way we live don't mean much. If you aren't allowed to act in accordance with a belief, then the belief is rendered meaningless. 

If homosexuality wasn't involved, these lawsuits would be dismissed quickly: Would people sue a halal butcher shop if it refused to slaughter and sell pork? How about an LDS owned business that closed on Sunday? We even routinely send police to protect KKK marchers exercising their rights.

What makes homosexuality so different? Why is the belief that homosexual conduct is wrong vilified as homophobic, and worthy of state coercion and re-education?

One last point: the term "homophobic" is a slur designed to marginalize and belittle people. It's designed to cut off debate. We don't call atheists "Deiphobic" or pagans "Christophobic" Principled disagreement is not a phobia, and those who disagree should be persuaded and debated civilly, not dismissed and belittled by name calling.