A Better Way

LGBTQ activists who say we need the Equality Act to end discrimination refuse to agree to a bill that would protect the conscience rights of religious traditionalists not to be forced to engage in messaging and creative activities that violate their faith. It’s not a big compromise; it’s a win-win. But somehow the activists and their progressive representatives don’t seem to be actually interested in winning (other than winning re-election for themselves and their party by keeping the issue unresolved, election after election).

Worth repeating:

More.

Mrs. Pence’s New Job

It actually does not bother me that Karen Pence, a traditionalist Christian, is teaching art at a conservative Christian school in Springfield, Virginia that does not accept homosexual behavior by students or teachers (or parents, it seems). The Pences aren’t saying that all schools should hold these views, whereas those who are protesting Mrs. Pence for her new teaching post seem to suggest that no schools should be allowed with these views.

Via Scopes: “The school does not explicitly bar gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from teaching there, but rather states that homosexual sexual acts (as opposed to same-sex preferences) are considered unacceptable “moral misconduct.” … It is a matter of subjective personal opinion, rather than objective fact, whether the ban on teachers’ engaging in homosexual sexual acts is tantamount to a de facto ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual teachers.”

I disagree with the views of the Immanuel Christian School, but I wouldn’t want to live in a country that did not allow conservative Christians, Orthodox Jews and others to have schools that comport with their faith traditions.

More. Apparently, some who have no problem requiring religiously pro-life taxpayers to help foot the bill for abortions, or with forcing nuns to pay for abortifacients for their employees, are upset that Karen Pence is teaching at a school that’s not accepting of LGBT behavior while receiving secret service protection.

More. Columnist William McGurn writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Now look at the Immanuel Christian School. Those who run it know they and those who think like them are the big losers in America’s culture war. All they ask is to be allowed, within the confines of their community, to uphold 2,000 years of Christian teaching on marriage, sexuality and the human person. …

[But] it isn’t enough for the victors to win; the new sense of justice requires that those who still don’t agree must be compelled to violate their deepest beliefs, whether this means forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraception or dragging a baker in Colorado through the courts until he agrees to make a cake celebrating “gender transition.”

Today’s militant secularists ironically resemble the worst caricatures of religious intolerance of early America.

Bake Me a Cake, Redux

The Colorado civil rights commissioners and LGBT activists share a set of core beliefs on what is acceptable as religious dissent—and the extent of state power in compelling artistic expression that violates the religious beliefs of a provider of creative services. Meanwhile, conservative Christian artisans have a different set of core beliefs at odds with the progressives. Consider, however, who is supporting cultural diversity here and who supports state-imposed uniformity.

Religious Animus Revisited

The Washington Blade reports that Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

…the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Senate, didn’t place her left hand on a bible as per tradition. Instead, she used a book obtained from the Library of Congress which includes both the U.S. and Arizona constitutions.

The Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life states that Sinema is the only member of Congress that identifies as “religiously unaffiliated.”



Progressives in general are increasingly showing their animus.

Florist Case Sent Back for Rehearing


More. Tyler O’Neil at PJ Media writes:

It appears Stutzman will have to show what Phillips showed — that anti-Christian bias was fundamental to the original ruling against her. This will prove more difficult than in Phillips’ case, and the odds are good that the Washington Supreme Court will reissue its old ruling, again prompting a Supreme Court appeal.

Perhaps in 2020 or 2021, the Supreme Court will finally defend free speech and religious freedom, explaining that a Christian florist’s decision to opt out of serving a same-sex wedding is fundamentally different from refusing to serve all LGBT people. Only at that point will justice truly have been served.

Compromise Can Be the Best Way

A compromise on LGBT nondiscriminination rights and religious liberty rights requires that both sides recognize that the other also has rights, and that sometimes these rights conflict and reasonable and workable compromises must be sought.

I’m more partial toward recognizing the right not to be forced to engage in activities that violate religious conscience in the private sector, and in particular the rights of small business owners not to be forced by the state to engage in expressive activities that violate their beliefs. But it seems like the outcome of this North Carolina case regarding a public official is fair to both sides—the individual magistrate does not have to officiate at the same-sex wedding ceremony as long as someone is on hand to provide these services.

This, by the way, differs from the situation in 2015 involving County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, where she would not allow anyone in her office to issue same-sex marriage certificates, including clerks who had no issues with doing so.

A different compromise was reached in that case: Gov. Matt Bevin issued an executive order that removed the names of all county clerks from marriage licenses issued in Kentucky. I wrote at the time:

Government officials are responsible for following the law of the land, even when doing so is at odds with their own religious beliefs. They are public servants, not private, self-employed service providers.

But it’s for the good if a small, symbolic action can defuse a contentious “culture war” face off and serve civility without diminishing individual rights, and I tend to see that happening here.

Allowing individual magistrates to opt out as long as no couple is denied a prompt marriage takes things a bit further, but if no couple is harmed I don’t see a problem. It’s akin to not making religiously observant employees work on the sabbath.