Friday, January 15, 2010

Don't underestimate

If you think, as I do, that the push to legalize gay marriage is going to result in the curtailing of religious freedom in America, you're not alone. Mark Shea shares this from the Baptist Press website, regarding the gay marriage trial in California:

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)--Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic belief statements on homosexuality and "gay marriage" were read Wednesday during the California Prop 8 trial as examples of prejudice and bias against homosexuals -- a courtroom moment conservative attorneys say underscores that religious liberty is at stake.

The exchange on day three of the federal trial occurred when San Francisco attorney Therese Stewart asked Yale University Professor George Chauncey -- both of whom support "gay marriage" -- to read the respective religious denomination documents. She then asked him if they derived from stereotypical and prejudice views of homosexuals, and he replied "yes." At Stewart's prodding, Chauncey then said views on racial segregation also were built upon deeply held religious views.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence, who was in the courtroom, called the exchange "chilling."

"This is further proof that this case, and the very definition of marriage, is about much more than the personal relationships and the inner feelings of people who choose same-sex relationships," he wrote on a blog. "It is about imposing a different and intolerant 'morality' on America and eradicating opposing ideas."

Lorence further wrote, "It's not hard to figure out what is so frightening about an attempt in federal court to attack and delegitimize the views of the two largest Christian denominations in America."
Some of my regular readers may wonder why I don't limit discussion on this blog to those of us of like minds about this or other moral issues. Here's why: I don't think anything reveals the agenda of those who support abortion or gay marriage quite like reading what the supporters of these issues have to say. We can bury our heads in the sand all we want to, but the truth is that a post gay marriage America would be an America that is even more hostile to people of faith than we already see. The new way of framing the religious liberty issue, among both abortion and gay marriage supporters, has been this: You are perfectly free to go to your (hateful bigoted) churches and worship. You are perfectly free to keep your (hateful bigoted) beliefs. But you are not free to expect to live like a believer in society. If you can't, in good conscience, kill babies on the job or throw a wedding shower for your lesbian co-worker, you should expect to be treated like the hateful bigot you are. It would be extremely unwise to ignore the danger we face, those of us who refuse to throw out 2,000 years of Christian moral teaching to satisfy the whims of the latest challengers to it.

It would also be a mistake to underestimate the danger.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

There is no question that the advocates of complete and perfect acceptance of homosexuality are reaching a fever pitch of hysteria which borders on fascism. However, I think those who fear the imminent collapse of the freedom of Christians to practice their faith underestimate the strength of the constitutional law which protects church autonomy in matters of faith and doctrine.

A good read is Lee Ann BRYCE et al. v. EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE DIOCESE OF COLORADO, 289 F.3d 648, and two good links are: /showarticle.aspx?Show=761

Its not just that this is a case in which sanity and constitutional law prevailed, it is also the depth of precedent neatly summarized in the case, going back well over 150 years. It is solid bedrock law, and the wave of narcissism will crash upon it, no matter what that activist Republican pro-business judge in San Francisco allows in his courtroom.

I should note that the constitutionally protected freedom of Christians to practice their faith ALSO includes the freedom of the Metropolitan Baptist Church to teach that Jesus is entirely OK with homosexuality. Southern Baptists might not like that, and some Roman Catholics might not like Dignity making clear that every generation raised in the Roman church includes some overt homosexuals, but that's ALSO protected.

I expect that when the dust settles, preaching that homosexuality is sinful will be about on a par with preaching that taking one drink of alcohol is sinful. If your church teaches that, then either don't drink, or find yourself another church. People who choose to drink are not bound by church discipline, but it is not "bigotry" to teach that what they are doing is a sin.

Todd said...

There is a third stance: agreeing with the Church teaching, yet disagreeing with how it conducts itself with non-believers.

I don't think the initiative for same-sex unions will affect in any negative way traditional marriage. I think bishops and dioceses err in spending resources to oppose the effort, not because I don't find homosexual activity sinful, but because I think the Church needs to strengthen its pro-life or pro-marriage witness among those relationships it can influence.

And sadly, the public statements of some Catholics are indeed bigotry. The institutional Church, in almost all of its pronouncements, has avoided this.

Rebecca said...

Todd, if you think same-sex unions will not negatively affect traditional marriage, what do *you* make of the courtroom exchange in Red's post?

If it's not the Bishop's business to protest the states' rejecting of the most basic foundations of natural law, whose business is it?

Anonymous said...

Marriage between a man and woman will remain a true, beautiful, and good thing regardless of how many abominal laws are passed in utter mockery of it. Individuals of course can be expected to be ground into dust like this woman, who went in for one of these phony marriages, had a child from a sperm donor, repented and now is in hiding from the authorities bound and determined to ram their legal fiction down her throat.

Todd said...

Rebecca, I make of the courtroom exchange as legal posturing.

Lay people, not bishops.

Rebecca said...

But lay people look (or should look) to the Bishops for guidance, shouldn't they?

Geoff G. said...

OK, let's explain this one more time.

Part of the legal argument in the Prop. 8 trial is an attempt to get homosexuals recognized as a "suspect class." One of the requirements for that is that the group in quesiton must share a history of discrimination.

The church statements in question are being used to establish that homosexuals are discriminated against.

No-one is saying they can't discriminate, it's simply a matter of established whether they do or do not. No-one's freedoms are being impinged.

The analogy here is that people are more than free to make whatever racist statements they please. No-one abridges the KKK's right to speak. But those statements can be used in court to establish suspect class status based on race.

Now, if reading these statements in court makes these churches feel socially marginalized, I'd say, first of all, good, and secondly that the law is under no obligation to hide your discrimination so you can make friends.

But you are not free to expect to live like a believer in society.

Sure you can. Why do you even need secular courts in order to validate your chosen lifestyle? Are you so insecure in your faith that the mere fact that some people disapprove of it is enough to make you whimper and whine?

You're acting like vegetarians who walk into McDonalds and then are all huffy and offended because hamburgers are on the menu.

c matt said...

Except when the state requires you to supply hamburgers to all your employees at your company cafeteria. Then you are not free to practice your veggie ways.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

c matt, your analogy raises a whole separate legal question: Does the fact that employers exercise a great deal of control over employees, and potential for intimidation by threatening to fire them when they really need the income, justify laws restraining employers from making decisions for their employees? The law in this country DOES provide employees some protection, and in my seldom humble opinion, not nearly enough. Tyranny by an employer, if not restrained, can and in the past has approached the tyranny of a feudal overlord. People are damn afraid to lose their jobs, even if the employer is meddling in the employee's private decisions. So, in the case of an employer, no, the employer may not mandate that their employees be vegetarian.

A church is another matter of course. Church membership in this nation is purely voluntary. Churches have constitutionally protected freedom to set their own standards, without government interference. On the other hand, they have NO authority to set up their own doctrines as the law of the land, enforced by the police power of the state.

Geoff G's analogy is similarly not exact. There are "gay rights" people who get huffy about the audacity of ANY person (or church) to DARE suggest there is anything wrong with homosexuality. Geoff G is not one of them, he's perfectly OK with the Catholic Church teaching whatever it wants, inside the church. He does want gay couples recognized as marriages, which you don't, but that's a battle we can all cheerfully fight OUTSIDE the church, in the public square. If we are very lucky, we can all go have lunch together afterwards, if we can agree on which restaurant to go to.