Frequent and thoughtful commenter Inquiring Mind is regularly roiled by efforts to punish members of society and the business community who carry their objection to same sex marriage outside of the home and the church into the workplace and the marketplace. Here is his Comment of the Day, posted a day late, on the post about the Mississippi law the allows certain forms of discrimination against LGBT citizens, Considering the Retrograde Mississippi Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, This Shouldn’t Be Surprising At All…
(I’ll be back for some comments at the end.)
The “free exercise of religion” is also a right. So are freedom of association and freedom of speech, ones expressly spelled out in the plain text of the Constitution. Those who seek to enact the “legal mandates” (or in other words, enacting their legislative agenda) are, in my opinion, trampling on those rights – rights that predate from the rulings where Anthony Kennedy invented a right to same-sex marriage.
The arguments against abortion since Roe v. Wade have included moral arguments (notably from the Catholic Church). A sense of morality is often used to determine what legal mandates should be. The only question here is WHOSE morality gets enacted into legal mandates – the Religious Right’s morality or the “progressive” left’s morality.
Three years ago, you posted a comment of mine as Comment of the Day. I will refer back to it:
Jack, since the aftermath of Prop 8, I have always wondered – is the thuggery/coercion and thought control a “bug” associated with the push for gay marriage, or is it a “feature” that comes with the enactment of gay marriage?
“I just want to review the conduct of gay-marriage supporters:
* The harrassment of proponents of Prop 8, including death threats received by my best friend’s wife, enters into my thinking on this front. Then there was the treatment Carrie Prejean received at the hands of Perez Hilton and Shanna Moakler, among others. Then there is the attempts to expel Julea Ward and Jennifer Keeton from counseling programs – because their worldview was informed by the same sort of Christianity.
* The legal assault on Elane Photography and other businesses run by Christians who aren’t saying they cannot have their wedding or commitment ceremony, but are asking they not be forced to take part in it – even if it is photographing or baking a cake.
* The theft (or leaking) of the National Organization for Marriage’s tax return earlier this year. Then there is what is going on with the Boy Scouts since the 2000 decision that upheld their right to decline to allow gays to join.
* The mayors vs. Chick-fil-A
* The bomb threat called in during yesterday’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.
* The unethical (by your own admission) conduct of Vaughn Walker and the blind eye turned towards it.
So, is it a bug, or a feature? The pattern of conduct I am seeing indicates that thuggery/coercion, and thought control are a feature of gay marriage, with religious freedom becoming a dead letter, by the admission of some proponents of gay marriage.
If this is how the advocates act when they have relatively little power over their opponents, then how will they act with even more power? As far as I can tell, they have no problem trampling over my core freedoms. As such, it comes down to a case of “my rights or theirs” – and in that sort of case, can anyone blame people for fighting to preserve what they feel is rightfully theirs?”
I will note now, that with the Windsor and Obergefell rulings, the advocates of gay marriage have gained the additional power I worried about based on the pattern of bullying, thuggery, and coercion that’s been directed at CEOs like Brendan Eich to small business owners like Aaron and Melissa Klein.
Today, the Religious Right isn’t fighting to repeal gay marriage – they are now asking not to be forced to participate in something they believe is wrong. To maintain their First Amendment rights – something that the increasingly totalitarian left is all too willing to squash.
I can provide post after post from this very blog where the thuggery and bullying have been discussed, Jack. At what point have they gone too far?
To answer the last question first, the thuggery and bullying have gone too far many times. Ganging up to get someone fired because they supported the anti-gay marriage position in a state referendum is too far. Targeting a business specifically to provoke it into a legal battle over its right to, for example, refuse to rent a property for a gay marriage is too far. Driving a pizza joint out of business because a politically naive owner was goaded by an interviewer into stating that it would not cater a same-sex wedding reception is too far.
This is one of IM’s core points, and it’s not persuasive. The validity of a cause is not made greater or lesser by its supporters’ excesses. John Brown’s murder and terrorism did not mean that the defenders of slavery had increased justification by selling and enslaving human beings. If Inquiring Mind’s point is that unfair and excessively coercive tactics provoke more resistance and resentment, I agree, but that only is an indictment of the LGBT activists’ strategy and tactics, not their cause. It’s a bug, in other words.
It isn’t gay marriage that the adamant objectors feel that shouldn’t have to participate in, it’s society itself. The spin that having to sell a cake or a dress to a couple in a same-sex marriage is itself participation is nonsense, an attempt to stretch the concept out of all form and meaning to justify discrimination, however sincerely held. A law-abiding teller who allows me to withdraw my own cash to purchase a gun has not participated in the robbery I perform with it. The anti-monarchist coach who teaches the king not to stutter has not participated in the king’s national address. The Muslim grocer who sells me my Christmas goose has not committed blasphemy.
The reason religion and government may not mix is precisely because religious morality—a set of rules of conduct dictated by an authority— must not compete with secular government morality, or law…which is based on ethics. So is religious morality: the problem is that that most religious morality was built on ethics arising out of ancient concepts and assumptions that are often no longer valid—like the belief that women are subordinate and lesser human beings, or beliefs that homosexuality is a scourge of civilization, a form of wilful perversion, and should be treated like a crime or a plague. American society has come to reject these and other ancient ideas, based on the wisdom accumulated between then and now, and constructs its laws accordingly. Those who find it repugnant to accept society’s values as they evolve and are codified in law need to see if they can set up some kind of religious reserve, like the Amish, or consider relocating to nations that still treat homosexuality as a crime. They have no right, outside of their places of worship or homes, to refuse to abide by society’s admittedly amended values to the disadvantage of other citizens, .
“[T]hey are now asking not to be forced to participate in something they believe is wrong,” IM writes. That “something” is American society, and they have no choice but to participate in it. No one–not gays, not the law—are requiring that they participate in same sex marriages. Respecting the right of citizens to exercise their own rights isn’t “participation” in that exercise. But it is participating in society.