Criminalizing Faith

The slippery slope of secular humanism continues to become even more so all around the world. We are quickly moving beyond a mere degradation of social virtues to outright hostility against religion and potential criminalization of adherents who practice their faith in their daily lives.

In recent years we have seen the Dutch government change its laws to allow euthanasia, gay marriage, infanticide of imperfect children, and most recently, the sanctioning of gay polygamous unions.

Gay marriage has become a reality in Canada and Massachusetts. For years our own governments have flirted with passage of so called “hate crimes” legislation that essentially criminalizes individual thoughts by way of adding extra penalties if biases, hatreds or intolerances are perceived in the commission of a crime.

And now the British government is proposing a sweeping new legal code that would forbid discrimination against homosexuals when in the market for “goods and services”.

As we know from our own experience in this country with the broad interpretation of our Constitution’s language regarding interstate commerce, it’s no leap of logic to deduce that “goods and services” will soon encompass just about any human interaction involving an exchange of money. Its effect will be that of forcing people of faith, be it Christian, Jew or Muslim – pretty much everyone except secular humanists – to act contrary to their religious beliefs in the conduct of their everyday lives, or else become a criminal.

For example, religious schools would commit a crime by not allowing gay students or teachers. Churches that occasionally rent out their facilities for community events would violate the law by not allowing gays the same access – perhaps even to hold same-sex marriage services.

Religious newspapers would violate the law if they refuse to run advertisements for gay lobbying groups. A Christian owned ad agency would be unable to refuse to do work for a campaign promoting gay marriage.

In short, the active practice of one’s faith in everyday life would no longer be legal.

Here in the United States, the move by Massachusetts’ Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage without so much as a vote by that state’s legislature, much less its citizens, has resulted in making the adoption agency practices of the Catholic Church illegal. That being the case, the Church was forced to end providing such services altogether, rather than compromise their faith.

The implications don’t stop there. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback recently pointed out that, “…in states with same-sex marriage, religiously affiliated schools, adoption agencies, psychological clinics, social workers, marital counselors, etc. will be forced to choose between violating their own deeply held beliefs and giving up government contracts, tax-exempt status, or even being denied the right to operate at all.”

Generally, such proposed legal changes stem from the fact that the secular humanist crowd doesn’t see religion as something that should instruct one’s daily life and relationships, but rather as simply representative of a place some people go on Sunday. And they have no patience for people who take it more seriously than that.

Someone once said that true tolerance also means having tolerance for the views of the majority. While history is filled with examples of religious intolerances, the greatest levels of intolerance today no longer come from the faithful, but rather from the anti-religious.

Much is made by the left in our country of the First Amendment’s establishment clause in our Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”. From bans on prayer in schools, or at publicly sponsored events, to public displays of the Ten Commandments and even the inclusion of the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance, we are told that such observances constitute an establishment of religion and are therefore unconstitutional.

They seem to forget that the very next phrase in the First Amendment states, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. In other words, it provides for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Here in this country and abroad, we desperately need fewer politicians and judges working to use the state as a weapon against religious practice, and more that will be vigilant to oppose government actions that prohibit the free exercise of religion in our everyday lives.

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