On Sept. 7, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on reconciling nondiscrimination principles with civil liberties. The summary stated, “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination…are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence. Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as … sexual orientation and gender identity…significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”
As the commission’s chairman, Martin Castro, said in an accompanying statement, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
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As Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference Committee for Religious Liberty said in response to Chairman Castro’s statement, “These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work…. Men and women of faith were many in number during the most powerful marches of the civil rights era. Can we imagine the civil rights movement without Rev. Martin Luther King, Father Theodore Hesburgh, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel?”
Can you imagine a positive, transformative movement without people of faith? Hardly.
As for the ‘religious exemptions,’ they will be a part of law, no doubt. When a Muslim woman working for the town recreation program says she really can’t sell tickets to the pig pickin, there will be an exemption.
Christians for the most part have stepped away from the notion of preventing gay marriage. Those who hold out hope to end the practice are probably just working to prevent their denomination from adopting the practice.
Is it so unreasonable that Christians and other people of faith explain that while they can’t do the ceremony, or make a cake or take delivery of the actual pig at the pig roast…there are others who can do the job.
Have there been a lot of stories of gay couples unable to marry, or buy a cake, or get fitted for tuxedos for their weddings? I mean of course since the courts decided it is a new right? Have I been missing these stories?
As early as the 1840s, Abraham Lincoln had occasion to join his voice to the cause of religious freedom when the nativism of the Know-Nothings was exhibiting a certain anti-Catholic strain: “The guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant, and…all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, either directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition.”
Religious folks are not nearly as mean as the members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission imagine. It is Castro and his commission which has the ‘broad brush of bigotry’ firmly in hand.
I strongly believe this is part of a much broader attempt to chase faith from the public square. Yeah. Over my dead keyboard. — Dave