I’ve been watching the debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act — and now Arkansas has adopted similar legislation. Now, in full disclosure, I support civil unions believing that marriage is defined as a relationship between one man and one woman — the traditional view. I fully support anyone choosing within his or her “pursuit of happiness” to enjoin in a relationship with someone of the same sex — privilege to choose, not a mandated right.
What I find interesting is this liberal progressive leftist rant over “fairness.” I am still wondering who are those people in the far away rooms that determine what is fair or what is for the “social good.
Here in America, out First Amendment right is for freedom of religion, but it seems some are seeking a freedom FROM religion — and they can freely choose NOT to have a religious faith.
But what is most disconcerting about the argument I hear presented from the left is that they feel my right to freedom of religion is trumped by someone else’s choice of sexual partner.
I remember a quote that goes something like this, “the right of an individual to throw a punch stops at another individual’s nose.” So let me present a simple question: is it fair for someone to be forced to accept a lifestyle choice from another that is inconsistent with their freedom of religion and free exercise thereof ? That’s what it says in the Constitution, if that still matters.
Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Convention advanced the premise that America would not have a Head of State who is also the Head of Church. That was what he meant by separation of church and state. Jefferson also put forth that he did not want a nation where the state could subjugate religious beliefs to the state. Sounds pretty simple to me, but are we on a different path?
Consider a baker in Oregon who is a Christian, and when asked to bake a wedding cake for a same sex marriage humbly declined based upon free exercise of religion. It was not a rejection of the patrons because of their sexual behavioral choice — it was the event.
I am quite certain the same baker would have humbly declined to bake a cake for a polygamous event or something else inconsistent with their beliefs. Is it fair that that baker has lost their business and been viciously attacked? Or how about a photographer who humbly declines a request to shoot a same sex marriage due to their religious belief. Is it fair that the state, i.e. the government, should bring suit against them and destroy their business? Somehow I don’t think that was what Jefferson had in mind.
Therefore, have we come to a point in America where the right of an individual to hold religious beliefs is being made subject by way of coercion, intimidation, and government tyranny to the whims of a minority? Maybe, just maybe that’s why Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Act — to protect those with religious beliefs — which are not radical — from persecution. Then maybe we are no longer a nation with a Judeo-Christian faith heritage that respects and honors Christian principles. If that be the case, and this is the opening towards a secular humanist state, just say so.
I find it odd that we are now in the religious persecution mode, which is why Pilgrims came to America in the first place.
And get this impeccable irony — the White House releases a statement against Gov. Pence while sitting at the table trying to get a nuclear deal with a country, Iran, that hangs gays and lesbians. Yep, I know, such hypocrisy isn’t just laughable but disturbing.
This isn’t about denying gays and lesbians service. They are individuals and no one is putting up a sign — unlike what my mom and dad had to endure.
However, is it really fair to force a private sector business owner to do something against their First Amendment right to the freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof? And sadly, we have charlatans like Al Sharpton who will try to equate this to race — incomparable. When I walk into an establishment there are two identifying characteristics — male, black. There are no other behavioral aspects that are known, unless, I feel so compelled to broadcast such in an attention-grabbing stunt.
So, in conclusion, this ruckus is much ado about nothing — other than a certain group that seeks to impose its lifestyle and behavioral choice upon others. Now that ladies and gents isn’t fair — and it’s even more unfair when the state is complicit by way of coercive policies allowing one to throw the punch, forcing the other to take it on the nose.
I think we need to have a conversation in America about what is a right, and what is a privilege.