This week witnessed an unprecedented and tumultuous chapter for the future of religious liberty in our country. Aside from the happy band of warriors that nobly fight for the truth of religious liberty, I can think of few positive outcomes from this week’s media storm. We witnessed deliberate torpedoing of legislation once unanimously supported by the party now fighting it. We witnessed hysteria and hype about legislation unmoored from any historical accuracy.
As we reflect on a fractious week, which coincidentally (or not?) landed during the Christian celebration of Holy Week, it’s important to consider how the societal redefinition of sexual norms and rejection of religious liberty will necessarily entail the reordering of our social order. Reordering begins by re-thinking & degrading the religious goods that contribute to the flourishing of human society. To deny the grounds of action that religiously-informed ethics have historically played means treating religion as a parasite. To deny sound religious motive that conflicts with the new sexual orthodoxy is to delegitimize man’s nature as a religious being. So, again, to vindicate any number of theologians: Choose ye this day—God or the coerciveness of relativism.
In response, I published four articles that discuss the issue of religious liberty and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the context of our constitutional order. Below are a few relevant quotes worth sharing in hopes that they might further your own understanding of religious liberty.
On Monday, I published an essay at First Things titled “Willing Incompatible Worlds.” Here’s a quote:
You can’t have it both ways. It is impossible to will a world where religious liberty is protected while endorsing a jurisprudence that describes opposition to gay marriage as animus. One side’s vision of public morality will win out. Conservatives and Republicans who think that religious liberty can exist in a world with same-sex marriage should be disabused of such utopic foolishness after this week’s shameful and dishonest attempts by the media to quash Indiana’s religious freedom bill. That’s the future of the debate about religious liberty in America.
On Monday, I also published an article at National Review titled “Indiana’s RFRA: Eight Theses.” Here’s a quote:
It’s rather sad that we’ve become so litigious over the issue of gay rights that we can’t recognize a viable alternative to the hysterics brought on by the stupefying aura of liberalism: If a wedding vendor doesn’t feel comfortable providing a good or service for your gay wedding, be an adult and let the glories of free enterprise allow you to take your money elsewhere.
On Tuesday, I published another article at National Review discussing Barack Obama’s 1998 vote for RFRA in the context of Illinois not having elevated sexual orientation to the level of a protected class. Quote:
I did some digging discovered something very interesting. When serving as a state legislator in Illinois in 1998, Barack Obama — now the liberal vanguard for all things LGBT — voted for Illinois’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. And get this: Obama voted for the state’s RFRA despite Illinois’s not having elevated sexual orientation or gender identity to the level of a protected class. In fact, sexual orientation didn’t become a part of the state’s Human Rights Act until 2006. So for a period of eight years, gay citizens in Illinois could have been hypothetically “discriminated” against on the basis of the protection that RFRA provides, and they never were. The parade of horribles never occurred, which is exactly what proponents of RFRA are saying today.
Finally, today at National Review, I published another article on what the Left’s rejection of RFRA reveals about progressivism’s hostility to constitutional values. Quote:
Policies come to us with principles attached to them, and when debating public policy we should consider the principles not only of legislation that has passed but also of legislation that has been rejected. No one to my knowledge is discussing where the principles implied in the Left’s rejection of the RFRA lead. Responsible statecraft entails an examination of a principle’s logical conclusion. In the case of liberalism, the conclusions to which its principles lead help us see just how deeply opposed those principles are to the constitutional order we’ve inherited.
Religious and public life are growing more hostile to one another, but as we end this week, we’re reminded of the most important truth written into the cosmos: He is risen! As historical theologian Jaroslav Pelikan said while rotting from cancer on his death bed:
If Christ be raised from the dead, then none of this matters. If Christ be not raised from the dead, then none of this matters.