Gay Rights, Sure, But What About Religious Freedom?
So far as I’m aware, there’s nothing in the Bill of Rights guaranteeing gay people the right to marry a same-sex partner. It’s been a while since I read my copy of the Constitution, admittedly, but I think I would have remembered. There is, however, something in there about religious freedom. In fact, look at that, they made it the first priority.
Now, I understand that the Supreme Court has made rulings that limit this freedom, and I do not disagree with those rulings. You can’t have human sacrifice protected by the First Amendment. You can’t refuse to take your kids to the doctor because your wacky preacher told you that god will heal them. It doesn’t work like that. The rule of law comes first.
But what about when the law deliberately infringes on the very religion upon which this country was founded? What about the state of affairs today, where people are being fined exorbitant sums for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings? For refusing to hold gay weddings on their private property?
The Strict Scrutiny Standard
For these situations, there are also court rulings to which we can look. In 1962, a woman named Adele Sherbert sued South Carolina for refusing her unemployment benefits on account of the fact that she refused to work on Saturdays. This was forbidden by her religion, which happened to be Seventh-Day Adventist. The court ruled in her favor, claiming that states needed to meet a standard of “strict scrutiny” when choosing law over religion.
It’s time to apply that standard of strict scrutiny to these cases where gay marriage runs up against the right to religious practice. The left has screamed for years that gay Americans should be able to live the life of their choice, yet they have no qualms whatsoever about infringing those choices in favor of their own agenda.
Now it’s gone beyond bakers and farm owners. City officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho have warned area ministers that they must officiate gay weddings or risk jail time and fines. How this is even happening in the United States of America, I don’t understand, but it’s a clear indication that we’ve fallen far from the ideals of our past.
In some cases, maybe that’s a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with social progress, and gay people have been reviled and bullied for too long. But if we are just taking their discrimination and moving it over to another group – Christians – then what have we really accomplished? How is that social progress? How is it constitutional?
But this is the way of the left, and it always has been. How they’ve avoided being called out on their hypocrisies in the mainstream for so long is a matter of much mystery. What’s next? Shall we make it mandatory for doctors to perform abortions on demand? Should we force Christian pastors to preach from the Qur’an as often as they preach from the Bible? Shall we make businesses adhere to quotas that demand this many gay people on the payroll, this many transgenders, this many Muslims, this many illegal immigrants…?
We’ve already redefined marriage in this country. I guess now we’re going to redefine discrimination.