Republicans Rush to Protect Religious Freedom

By the end of the month, the Supreme Court will render a decision in the controversial case of Obergefell v. Hodges, likely making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. This alone will be a dark day for religious conservatives, to say nothing of those who feel it is not the place of the federal government to redefine marriage. Be that as it may, two Republicans want to make sure our religious liberties remain intact following an unfavorable ruling. House Rep. Raul Labrador and Senator Mike Lee have introduced the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that would prevent the government from denying benefits and/or tax breaks to individuals and organizations that promote traditional marriage.

“There’s a reason the right to religious liberty appears first in our nation’s Bill of Rights,” said Lee. “The freedom to live and to act in accordance with the dictates of one’s conscience and religious convictions is integral to human flourishing, serving as the foundation upon which America has produced the most diverse, tolerant, and stable society the world has ever known.”

Even those conservatives who think the time has come to give up on the gay marriage issue are concerned about the wider ramifications of the Supreme Court decision. Anyone who witnessed the ridiculous way the LGBT lobby responded to reasonable religious bills in Indiana and Arkansas knows that this is a fight that extends well beyond the pulpit. Tolerance is a one-way street, as far as the left is concerned. Christianity’s day in the sun is over. All hail the new God: regulated, enforced political correctness.

Under the PC God, will Christian pastors be punished for teaching the Bible? Will Catholic schools lose federal funding for their views on gay marriage? Will faith-based charities no longer be eligible for federal grant money if they do not renounce their stance on homosexuality? These are not wild, irresponsible conspiracy theories; even the Supreme Court justices themselves are taking these issues under consideration as they ponder a ruling.

These two bold Republicans aren’t waiting to find out. By pushing this legislation, they hope to nip religious persecution in the bud. According to a press release from Senator Lee, the bill would “prevent any federal agency from denying a tax exemption, grant, contract, license, or certification to an individual, association, or business based on their belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.” It would also prevent the IRS from stealing tax-exempt status from churches that refuse to officiate gay weddings.

As pleased as conservatives may be to see such a bill proposed, it is quite sad that it needs to exist at all. We shouldn’t need legislation that reaffirms religious liberty. The First Amendment should stand on its own. That it doesn’t is all the proof any thinking American should need to know that we have left solid ground behind. We’re floating in the liberal aether now, and there’s no telling where the winds of change will take us.

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