Many articles and opinion pieces have been written regarding the recent hysteria in Indiana over that state’s attempt to provide a balancing test in the law between religious liberty and sexual liberty. Throughout much of the commentary a common theme emerged regardless of which side of the argument the author takes. That theme is: homosexuals are winning, religion is losing.
Certainly, in the ongoing cultural battle between religious freedom, our nation’s “First Freedom,” and erotic liberty, the concept that there are sexual moral boundaries has gone from a common belief to something to be ridiculed as “old fashioned,” “archaic” or just plain silly to something that is downright dangerous to the republic’s future and therefore must be crushed. One need only look to Indiana and Arkansas (and Arizona and Georgia) to see that the arguments in favor of a legal balance between the two competing “rights” have been less than persuasive, or successful.
But, the real “winner” in this debate? It isn’t really any particular class of people. In the short term, perhaps, but the more serious consequence has far broader cultural and political implications.
The real winner in this battle is government.
Step back for a moment and take note. We today live in a nation where our government can compel 1) speech, 2) association, 3) business activity and 4) compromise of religious belief.
Now, admittedly, we have lived in this nation longer than most want to admit, and perhaps there’s something to be said for how long religion held out before it to was quashed by good intentions. But the reality is that if you own a business in America, the government in some form, whether it’s the Department of Justice or local “human rights” commission or state Attorney General, can compel you by threat of civil punishment to violate some of our most fundamental freedoms.
The obvious example in the current debate is the baker/printer/candle stick maker (or photographer, whichever). Secular liberals with the assistance of the American “civil liberties” Union have given our government the power to compel each of those individuals/businesses to speak a message they would otherwise not – a blatant violation of free speech. The government is ordering them to create (art) with a message with which they disagree. (And as the Supreme Court noted recently, there is no difference between prohibiting speech and compelling it.) The government now has the power to force each of them to associate with a political group/event with which they would otherwise choose to not associate. For example, the hypothetical African-American printer who can now be compelled to print flyers for a KKK rally (though you and I know the ACLU would fight much harder for the printer in that scenario). The government can now compel an individual/business to provide a good/service regardless of whether or not they would normally choose to provide that good/service in every case.
And now, government can compel an individual/business to take part in an event that violates their deeply held personal, religious beliefs.
In that nation, I’m trying very hard to figure out which people group wins? Seems to me, we all lose.