Marching boldly into the New Post-homophobic Christianity

It wasn’t like we didn’t see this coming but it’s certainly arriving faster and harder than even some of the more conservative estimates would have predicted. Now that gay marriage (or just any old marriage if you prefer) is a “constitutionally assured right” in the United States, Left side proponents are taking their victory laps. But at the same time they’re going to stick to the established talking points of telling everyone not to worry… nothing bad is going to happen to anyone else. You’re just not adjusted to the New and Improved Post-Homophobic Christianity. (From the Daily Beast)

The world has changed. Christians and Christianity has changed, too. And again, I say, “Hallelujah!”

Will anti-gay Christians be politically and socially ostracized? I sure hope so. Just as those orthodox Christians who still believe in strict, traditional gender roles have been increasingly mocked as absurd. Once upon a time, marriage constituted property—the wife was the literal property of the husband, and could not legally let alone culturally own anything of her own. The governing cultural norm was that women should be barefoot, pregnant and subservient.

And you “old timey Christians” need to adjust to the new reality. But it’s not like we’re going to infringe on your religious freedom, haters.

There are, of course, still congregations that haven’t caught up with the times. But churches have always been able to use their discretion to decide whom to marry or turn away, and the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell specifically noted such First Amendment protections for religious institutions.

As for everyone else, including florists and county clerks, yes, you will now have to provide the same services to straight couples that you provide to gay couples. Don’t like it? Find a new job. The law also requires that clerks issue birth certificates to the children of single mothers and that florists provide flowers for interracial weddings, regardless of the religious beliefs that have definitely been cited now and throughout history to condemn these families as well. Still, that doesn’t mean the law is trouncing on religion. It means the law is prioritizing equal treatment for all, as it should.

Pretty much everything in those two paragraphs is already being proven wrong. I specify “pretty much” because, as with most political memes, there’s a pea of truth buried at the bottom of the stack of mendacity filled mattresses. First to the truth portion: when it comes to clerks issuing licenses, the government has a monopoly on that “business” and the law has to be followed. Whether or not there can be a religious objection exemption offered to individual workers without stopping the flow of legal documents is something that will be sorted out going forward, but licenses must be available.

Except for that, however, the rest seems to be pie in the sky. Florists (and bakers) are not in the same position as government workers and issuing a government document is not the same thing as being forced to participate in a ceremony which violates your religious convictions. Trying to tie the issues of single mothers and mixed race couples into this is disingenuous, as I don’t see anyone citing such things as being contrary to established religious convictions. And as to the protection for religious institutions, Adam Freedman is already noticing the disturbing trends.

Already, a movement is afoot to silence religious opponents of same-sex marriage. Just two days after the Court’s ruling, journalist Mark Oppenheimer took to the pages of Time to argue for the total abolition of tax-exempt status for religious institutions. The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, announced that it would no longer support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal statute designed to protect Americans against laws that “substantially burden” the free exercise of religion, for fear that RFRA will be “used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people.” Liberal outlets such as the Think Progress website, calling the law an expression of “anti-gay backlash,” denounced Indiana’s recent attempt to enact its own version of RFRA.

Judges and bureaucrats will soon order states to remove any support, direct or indirect, for institutions that oppose gay marriage. This trend, of course, is already underway—witness the Catholic Church’s withdrawal from the adoption business in states where adoption agencies must place children with same-sex couples. But it’s one thing to be forced out of Massachusetts; now the Church must reconsider its adoption services throughout the U.S.

I don’t regret my long held position that the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage, but I admit yet again that I didn’t foresee how wide the litigants would push the door in the other direction if they prevailed in proving that it was. Had there been a finding that none of this was the government’s business, none of the rest of this would have much room to take root. But since we went the route of saying that marriage was a constitutional right, that is now being used as a cudgel to say that anything related to the subject is the government’s business as well. And when that premise is accepted, then religious liberty can be damned I suppose.

When two “rights” conflict in the eyes of the court, one of those sets of rights will have to give way. And the courts have shown repeatedly that they are generally willing to be a reflection of political winds of change rather than adherence to founding principles. The way the breeze is blowing today, if it comes down to a choice between that crusty old freedom of religion and the newly discovered right to marriage, the new broom sweeps clean. It’s a very ugly thing to watch unfolding before our eyes.