Christian Living

Articles on the Religious Freedom Fiasco

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 04/08/2015

1. “The Post-Indiana Future for Christians” by Rod Dreher—an interview with a “practicing Christian law professor at one of the country’s elite law schools”:

To elites in his circles, Kingsfield continued, “at best religion is something consenting adult[s] should do behind closed doors. They don’t really understand that there’s a link between Sister Helen Prejean’s faith and the work she does on the death penalty. There’s a lot of looking down on flyover country, on middle America.

“The sad thing,” he said, “is that the old ways of aspiring to truth, seeing all knowledge as part of learning about the nature of reality, they don’t hold. It’s all about power. They’ve got cultural power, and think they should use it for good, but their idea of good is not anchored in anything. They’ve got a lot of power in courts and in politics and in education. Their job is to challenge people to think critically, but thinking critically means thinking like them. They really do think that they know so much more than anybody did before, and there is no point in listening to anybody else, because they have all the answers, and believe that they are good.”

2. In “Christians ‘Must Be Made’ to Bow,” Dreher responds to Frank Bruni’s “Bigotry, the Bible, and the Lessons of Indiana” article in the New York Times:

Bruni enlists liberal Evangelical professor David Gushee in his crusade: “Conservative Christian religion is the last bulwark against full acceptance of L.G.B.T. people.”

So, having defined the enemy, the one thing standing between them and cultural hegemony, what do they propose to do? This (emphasis mine):

Creech and Mitchell Gold, a prominent furniture maker and gay philanthropist, founded an advocacy group, Faith in America, which aims to mitigate the damage done to L.G.B.T. people by what it calls “religion-based bigotry.”

Gold told me that church leaders must be made “to take homosexuality off the sin list.”

His commandment is worthy—and warranted.

Not “must be persuaded,” but “must be made.” Compelled. Forced. And not forced to change our behavior, but forced to change what we believe. Because You Must Approve.

And just how do Bruni and his militant Social Justice Warriors plan to force us to repudiate our beliefs? We are going to find out. Indiana and Arkansas showed that most Americans don’t much care about religious liberty—and in fact, people like Bruni and the newspaper he works for have contempt for it, at least when it is practiced by “conservative Christians.”

3. Another response to the Bruni article by Owen Strachan:

Our worship is now compelled and instructed, just as in days past. But we are not dealing with a state church, or at least not an established one. We are dealing with a cultural intelligentsia that offers us a grand bargain: we can give up our sexual ethics and be just fine, or we can hold onto them and be smashed into conformity. It’s really this stark: the Bible should be “rightly bowing”-Bruni’s actual phrase!-to secular rationalism. In other words, we have an authority, and it is not Scripture. It is the culture.

4. Ross Douthat responds to RFRA objections in “Interview With a Christian”:

[S]egregationists felt justified by scripture too. They got over it; their churches got over it; so will yours.

It’s not that simple. The debate about race was very specific to America, modernity, the South. (Bans on interracial marriage were generally a white supremacist innovation, not an inheritance from Christendom or common law.) The slave owners and segregationists had scriptural arguments, certainly. But they were also up against one of the Bible’s major meta-narratives—from the Israelites in Egypt to Saint Paul’s “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.”

That’s not the case with sex and marriage. The only clear biblical meta-narrative is about male and female. Sex is an area of Jewish law that Jesus explicitly makes stricter. What we now call the “traditional” view of sexuality was a then-radical idea separating the early church from Roman culture, and it’s remained basic in every branch of Christianity until very recently. Jettisoning it requires repudiating scripture, history and tradition in a way the end of Jim Crow did not.

5. Scott Ott explains how a reporter set up a mom and pop pizza place in “Story About First Business to ’Publicly Vow to Reject Gay Weddings’ Was Fabricated Out of Nothing”:

Memories Pizza didn’t blast out a news release. They didn’t contact the media, nor make a stink on Twitter or Facebook. They didn’t even post a sign in the window rejecting gay-wedding catering jobs. They merely answered questions from a novice reporter who strolled into their restaurant one day—who was sent on a mission by an irresponsible news organization.

6. More details from Dreher on what the resulting internet mob did to Memories Pizza: “Into the Christian Closet.”

7. Andrew Walker has an idea for how Christian bakeries could respond to governmental coercion in “A Note from Creator Cakes”:

So, we will serve same-sex wedding services. We will do so unhappily and with a bothered conscience. But if we must do so with a bothered conscience, we reserve the right as a condition of the marketplace to bother others’ consciences as well. If we are coerced into baking for events we disagree with, we will return the favor and use the funds of those we disagree with to fund the organizations they disagree with. If you are unhappy with this new policy or it conflicts with your own convictions about marriage, we invite you to take your business elsewhere.