September 24, 2013
Religious Liberty Versus Gay Marriage And Abortion

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a thoughtful op-ed by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway on the conflicts between religious liberty and gay marriage.  (The op-ed is behind their pay wall, unfortunately.)

Hemingway describes three recent court cases in Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico, in which small businesses were penalized because their owners have religious objections to gay marriage.  They held, in other words, the same beliefs that President Obama said he held before last year.

In addition, many minor officials have been forced to resign their positions because they could not accept gay marriages, for religious reasons.

We should expect many more such cases, as she explains in her last two paragraphs:

Long before the lawsuits, fines and penalties starting piling up, many legal scholars recognized that gay rights and individual religious liberty were on a collision course.   In 2006, Chai Feldblum, a legal scholar and gay-rights activist later appointed by President Obama to the Equal Opportunity Commission, acknowledged the conflict:  "There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that's the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner."

It is only now becoming clear to many Americans what sort of compromise has been imposed on them.

In Washington state, we have had a similar fight, earlier, only over abortion.   Washington Governor Christine Gregoire attempted to force pharmacists to distribute emergency contraceptives that produce abortions.

With unemployment above 9 percent Washington governor Christine Gregoire is working hard to shutter small businesses and force workers from their profession.  The reason?  Some pharmacists and pharmacy owners have religious beliefs that conflict with Gregoire's agenda, and she would rather put them out of business than accommodate their consciences.

These attacks on religious freedom are extremely troubling — and I say that as someone who is not particularly opposed to gay marriage or opposed to all abortions.   Within very wide limits, I favor religious toleration, and I worry about these new limits on religious beliefs and practices.

What makes me worry even more is that so many of our "mainstream" journalists appear biased — I almost said bigoted — against those with traditional religious beliefs on gay marriage and abortion.  If our local monopoly newspaper, the Seattle Times is capable of treating, for example, traditional Catholics, Catholics who hold the same view on gay marriage that President Obama said he did until last year, fairly, it isn't apparent in their articles, columns, and op-eds.

Because that bias is so prevalent, I must add that I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Catholic.  But I do think the broad religious tolerance that the West has achieved over the centuries is something worth protecting, even when it conflicts with leftist pieties.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(Like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, another extreme supporter of abortion, Gregoire is formally Catholic.)

Posted by Jim Miller at September 24, 2013 09:25 AM | Email This