Matt K. Lewis explains that the current (losing for conservatives) attempt to defend individual business’s right to decline to bake Gay wedding cakes or photograph Gay weddings is the next to last stop before the conflict between egalitarianism and religious freedom arrives inside the churches’ doors.
this is a tough issue that pits things we value as a society against things we value as a society.
We have reached a point in the gay rights debate where all the low-hanging fruit has been picked. We are now entering into the zero-sum game phase of the debate, where gay rights and religious liberty must collide. (In other words, the cake is only so big. If you take a piece, you are guaranteeing the other guy has less cake.)
So whoâ€™s right? My guess is one could guarantee public opinion is on either side of the issue, depending on how you frame the question. If, for example, you were to ask someone whether or not â€œbusinesses should be allowed to deny services to same-sex couples,â€ the answer would, of course, be â€œno.â€
On the other hand, ask Americans if â€œgovernment should have the right to forcefully coerce Christians to violate their convictions,â€ and the answer would also be â€œno.â€ …
This is really a surrogate battle. A much bigger one is coming.
Opponents of these bills score points when they argue that florists and bakers arenâ€™t exactly granting their imprimatur when they make a cake or put together a flower arrangement for a gay wedding. Additionally, they are correct in assuming that most Christians, whether they agree with same-sex marriage, or not, would still bake the cake. In fact, this could be seen as an example of Christian love.
But this is another example of how this schism cannot be easily brushed aside like so many wedding cake crumbs. In recent years, libertarian-leaning conservatives have largely sided with the gay rights argument. Proud members of the â€œleave us aloneâ€ coalition were apt to side with a group of people who just wanted to be left alone to love the person they love (and what happens in the bedroom is nobodyâ€™s business).
At some point, however, â€œleave us aloneâ€ became â€œbake us a cake. Or else!â€
And thatâ€™s a very different thing, altogether.
The reason conservative Christians are fighting this fight today is because itâ€™s a firewall. The real danger, of course, is that Christian pastors and preachers will eventually be coerced into performing same-sex marriages. (Note: It is entirely possible for someone to believe gay marriage is fine, and to still oppose forcing people who hold strong religious convictions to participate â€” but I suspect that is where we are heading.)
Think of it this way. If you were a congregant in a church, wouldnâ€™t you expect the pastor to marry you? Why should you be treated different?
Any pastor â€” if he or she wants to maintain the churchâ€™s tax status, that is â€” had better grapple with this now.
Whether the analogy is fair, or not, refusing to officiate a gay wedding can just as easily be called â€œdenying service.â€ And it will predictably also be compared to the bad old days of Jim Crow â€” where racist Christians opposed interracial marriage (until the courts struck down state laws prohibiting biracial marriage).
Gay rights and religious liberty are on a collision course.
Read the whole thing.
In England, the first lawsuit against the church is already in the news.