Everyone’s equal, everyone’s happy, love conquers all, and we are absolutely not heading to some dark, divisive place where the fabric of our society will be torn apart by people who, having invented “gay marriage” and imposed it on the entire country by a single Supreme Court justice, use it as a cudgel to wreak havoc on a host of other social and legal compacts which have … Oh. Hold on. Couple pieces coming in over the transom … Let’s check them out.

Here’s Fredrik DeBoer in Politico claiming that social justice demands we now legalize polygamy. Here are the mouthbreathers at Gawker doing the same, using Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility. Here’s the ACLU’s Louise Melling declaring that “religious freedom” is nothing more than illegal discrimination. (Note how the Washington Post headline actually puts scare quotes around the term “religious freedom” in the headline.) Here’s Mark Oppenheimer arguing in Time that we ought to strip all religious groups-not just adoption agencies and schools, but actual churches, too-of their tax exempt status. Because gay marriage. (He’s willing to let hospitals stay tax exempt, because Obamacare will keep them in line. So there’s that.) And here’s the delightful Felix Salmon, who thinks that Oppenheimer perhaps goes too far, because we need only target religious organizations–and again, he means not just para-church groups, but actual churches–who aren’t onboard with “gay marriage.”…

So maybe this love, pride, and unity stuff is a little more zero-sum than gay activists have been letting on for the past few years. And maybe the gay-marriage project doesn’t really intend to stop with “gay marriage.” Though in fairness, I should point out that the Politico call for legalized polygamy didn’t come until nearly two hours after the Supreme Court decision. So clearly there’s no link between those two beautiful expressions of #loveislove. And anyone who suggests that there is, is a homophobic bigot. And by next week, anyone objecting to polygamy will be a poly-phobic bigot.

***

We get it. There is only one acceptable moral code, it’s dictated by cultural elites, and we will all be forced not only to accept it, but to live our lives according to it, and to public proclaim it — at least never to publicly proclaim any moral code contrary to it…

If a baker refused to sell a donut or a birthday cake to someone because that person was gay, that would be unjust discrimination, and illegal in a lot of places. But if a baker says, no I won’t cater your wedding, that’s refusing to participate materially in a ceremony you find morally objectionable.

This distinction is obvious and clear, but somehow it evades the Javerts of the Pink Police State…

It’s not surprising this distinction is lost on a set of people who see only black and white. Once the state acknowledges gay marriage, then everyone must acknowledge and celebrate gay marriage, their thinking goes. All things are other prohibited or mandatory. One only holds such views if one lacks the mental acuity to make distinctions.

Alternatively, their explanations are dishonest, and these people are lying crusaders to quash Christianity and conservative moral views.

***

Mike Huckabee said on Wednesday that, if he were the sitting president, he would direct the attorney general to prosecute “those who would attempt to extort” or “who committed a crime against a person because they didn’t accept homosexual marriage” for hate crimes…

Speaking to radio host Steve Deace, Huckabee pushed these points, reiterating promises to issue an executive order proclaiming his goal to “fully protect religious liberty at all levels” and to “instruct the defense secretary to immediately allow chaplains and to let chaplains know that they would be allowed to practice their faith as it is, not as it is desired by people who support same-sex marriage.”…

“The second thing I would do is I would issue a directive to the attorney general and I would, uh, insist that everyone’s religious liberty be vigorously defended,” he said. “That there be no, uh, allowance for people to have their businesses shut down and that those who would attempt to extort from them or anyone who committed a crime against a person because they didn’t accept homosexual marriage could be prosecuted for a hate crime.”

***

[A]s the dust settles on the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, it’s becoming clearer that the debate over the issue is going to shift to one of religious freedom. And on that issue, there’s much more of an opening for libertarians and social conservatives to get along.

At the core of libertarianism is the believe that people should be able to do whatever they want short of using force or coercion on somebody else. It makes sense why libertarians wouldn’t oppose gay marriage, for the reason that two men or women getting married doesn’t injure anybody else.

But with gay marriage legal, the cultural debate has been moving to issues such as: Should a religiously observant baker or photographer be forced to participate in gay weddings? Or, should a Catholic Church be forced to perform gay marriages?

Whatever their differences on the underlying issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, it will be hard for many libertarians to justify any sort of government coercion forcing individuals to violate their deeply held beliefs. As a result, they’ll find themselves increasingly — and begrudgingly — on the same side as social conservatives on many of the looming debates.

***

I appreciate that Brooks cares enough about social conservatives to give us advice. But perhaps our call in the present moment is not mainly to persuade, but simply to bear witness, to testify to the truth in the face of hardened opposition. It wouldn’t be the first time God has called his servants to do so. Jeremiah was told he would speak God’s word to a stiff-necked people and they would not listen. God sent Ezekiel to a rebellious house, a people with “a hard forehead and a stubborn heart” (Ezekiel 3:8) and he equipped his prophet with a face as hard as the people’s…

The civil-rights movement was animated by a courageous faith and stood boldly against the hostility and evil of their own day. What’s more, when the early Christians were told to stop pointing out the sins of cultural leaders, their response was to pray for boldness and to keep speaking. “We must obey God rather than men.” And when the heat was turned up and the slanders came hot and heavy, God multiplied boldness and used opposition to his plan to accomplish his plan.

So we may be losing the “old” culture war. We may soon be treated as “social pariahs,” our schools losing accreditation, our churches losing tax-exempt status, and the sphere of religious liberty shrinking until we’re only allowed to think religious thoughts behind our eyes and between our ears (and then only one day per week). But we’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again. I’ve been reading my Bible, and from what I can tell, God loves cliffhangers, last-minute saves, and eucatastrophes. After all, when they had the Lord surrounded on one particular Friday, he had them right where he wanted them.

***

Critics of Evangelical patriotism in recent years denounce what they see as idolatry, nationalism, and an un-Christian my-country-right-or-wrong mentality that confuses God with nation. Usually these critiques of Evangelical patriotism have come from the left, but after the national same-sex-marriage decree, we may see an increasing number of conservative Christian voices urging Evangelicals to put some distance between themselves and America.

That would be a tragedy, for Evangelicals and America both. Christians of every nation in all times are called to serve and love their country, its rulers and people, to work for reform of national sins, and to boost national virtues. American Christians live in a nation of unparalleled power, whose culture and politics have been profoundly shaped by Christianity and whose global influence is, at worst, largely benevolent…

The geniuses and patriots of July 4, nearly all of them professing some form of Christian faith, created a great and blessed nation. There have been terrible atrocities, but there have also been countless episodes of tremendous grace. America has always shown tremendous capacity for self-correction

Conservative Christians especially should robustly celebrate July 4, showing their country and the world their confidence that God is lord of all the nations, including America the sinful, confused, blessed, and beautiful.

***

Christian conservatives feel that the culture is slipping away. The Supreme Court protects abortion on demand while it redefines the family so dramatically that even core First Amendment freedoms are on the “wrong side of history.” The church faces the most culturally and legally uncertain decade in living memory.

In other words, if you love this country, this is a great time to be an American — right at a cultural, economic, and strategic hinge. We should want to be here in its time of need…

I remember speaking years ago with a friend — this was shortly after the Cold War, when America was the “hyperpower” and enjoying an extended economic boom — who said, “I wish I lived in meaningful times.” I knew what he meant. America was far from perfect, of course, but this was the “end of history,” and the good guys had just won. It was time to enjoy the fruits of victory. I was grateful for peace, but sometimes it felt like peace without significance.

It turns out that history didn’t end. America had more crossroads to face. I’m just thankful to be here, now, to do what little I can to nudge us down the right path. Happy Fourth. May you renew your commitment to the nation you love.