Religious Liberty & the Attempt to Redefine Marriage

Among other things, the continual drive to redefine marriage is about gaining approval for a lifestyle that has been considered immoral and perverse throughout most of history—and making it illegal for those who believe that it is immoral and perverse not only to voice their beliefs, but also to live according to their beliefs.

While this blog is not designed to venture into political waters, politics has ventured into the waters of Christian teaching and beliefs, and I am compelled to comment.

When the New York legislature voted last night to redefine marriage1 according to homosexual advocates, there was an inclusion of religious protection that was a sop. It is naive to think anything else. Next on the list is the conflict over religious liberty. Why do I say that?

That’s where this has been headed for years. In May of 2006 Maggie Gallagher wrote the column:

Banned in Boston
The coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty.

I highly recommend reading it.

“…last December [2005], the Becket Fund brought together ten religious liberty scholars of right and left to look at the question of the impact of gay marriage on the freedom of religion. Picarello summarizes: “All the scholars we got together see a problem; they all see a conflict coming. They differ on how it should be resolved and who should win, but they all see a conflict coming.

“…Reading through these and the other scholars’ papers, I noticed an odd feature. Generally speaking the scholars most opposed to gay marriage were somewhat less likely than others to foresee large conflicts ahead–perhaps because they tended to find it “inconceivable, as Doug Kmiec of Pepperdine law school put it, that a successful analogy will be drawn in the public mind between irrational, and morally repugnant, racial discrimination and the rational, and at least morally debatable, differentiation of traditional and same-sex marriage.

“…By contrast, the scholars who favor gay marriage found it relatively easy to foresee looming legal pressures on faith-based organizations opposed to gay marriage, perhaps because many of these scholars live in social and intellectual circles where the shift Kmiec regards as inconceivable has already happened. They have less trouble imagining that people and groups who oppose gay marriage will soon be treated by society and the law the way we treat racists because that’s pretty close to the world in which they live now.

Gallagher quoted Chai Feldblum saying (yes, that Chai Feldblum3 who was first an Obama recess appointment to the EEOC and has now been confirmed by the Senate. She is also pro-abortion, and even before her tenure the EEOC was limiting religious freedom of a Catholic college.4):

“And yet when push comes to shove, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, she admits, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”

Would you like more evidence?

From the Washington Times last Sunday, June 19th, USDA gay-sensitivity training seeks larger audience5:

“U.S. Department of Agriculture activists want to impose their intense brand of homosexual sensitivity training government wide, including a discussion that compares “heterosexism” – believing marriage can be between only one man and one woman – to racism.

Prior to the last few decades, marriage has been defined and recognized across time and across cultures as a relationship between a man and a woman. What we are looking at today is not an inclusion into this institution of those who have been “denied” marriage because of their homosexual activity, but a redefinition of a relationship that is the cornerstone of society, and which societies and countries have protected through legal means because of the understanding and recognition of the importance to society of the mutual and complementary love, enjoyment and support uniquely provided by each sex to the other, and because of the understanding and recognition of the importance of the future of a society through the protection and rearing of children in a family setting in which they learn love, trust, discipline and identity through the unique and different abilities and perspectives of the two sexes.

Tattered as many families and marriages are across this country, our goal as individuals and as a nation should be to support them and assist the strengthening and perpetuity of this institution rather than its destruction. Conservative Christians and Jews work as individuals and as groups to help marriages and children. The attempt by those antagonistic to marriage to redefine the institution must, by the very logic of their purpose, also include in the cross hairs, not only the destruction of the definition of the legally recognized marriage relationship, but the destruction of those who defend the marriage relationship.

Wedding Rings, Jeff Belmonte: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
1Hot Air, “Open thread: New York senate to legalize gay marriage tonight? Update: The 32nd vote? Update: Bill passes, 33-29.”
2Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, Vol. 11, No. 33, May 15, 2006.
3American Principles Project, “Chai Feldblum”.
4LifeNews, “Pro-Abortion Obama EEOC Nominee Chai Feldblum Approved,” December 29, 2010.
5“USDA gay-sensitivity training seeks larger audience,” The Washington Times, June 19, 2011.
A Jewish Wedding, Jozef Israëls: Public Domain.

Laura Curtin in her GreenRoom post, Chai Feldblum On Sexual Liberty vs. Religious Liberty, from October, 2009, linked to Chai Feldblum’s paper written for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. She does quote from the paper, but her link is dead; however, I was able to find the paper via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:
Chai R. Feldblum, Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion, (55 page pdf).

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

2 thoughts on “Religious Liberty & the Attempt to Redefine Marriage

  1. After I wrote this post, I found this information on how this bill was passed. From National Reviews’ The Corner, last Friday:

    One of the facts about tonight’s debate over same-sex marriage that will be neglected in the adulatory coverage is the really extraordinary process that brought this innovation to the Empire State. New York law, for instance, requires bills to be published 72 hours before a vote. The public, however, did not see the full language of the bill voted on tonight for more than a few hours (and only if they were exceedingly diligent in looking for it). Normal rules of debate were waived, the session was extended, etc. These kinds of exceptions are allowed for, but only in instances of emergency. Governor Cuomo had no qualms about claiming, and many legislators were complicit in accepting, the argument that redefining marriage in New York was so pressing a priority that the public’s ability to weigh the proposals (not to mention the senators’ ability to do so) should have been short-circuited.

    When Sen. Ruben Diaz tried to ask the Republican senator who had announced the new exemption language questions about that language, he refused even to yield for a question….

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