Easter Sunday, and this past week’s events, prompt me to worry specifically about the future of freedom of conscience in the United States and, generally, about erosion of 1st Amendment rights. Contrast the MSM treatment of Iran’s Mullahs of Mass Destruction with that of obscure private citizens in the United States.
Our Secretary of State is engaged in granting the right to produce atomic bombs to a farrow of fanatics in Iran. Iran’s leaders claim their State religion requires destruction of Jews and Christians – in fact, any they identify as apostates. Our leaders tell us Iran’s screams of “Death to Jews!” are merely internal politics, while we observe Iranian inspired mass murders proving the opposite.
Here in the land of the free, the Media have mostly been approving of letting Iran have nuclear weapons. “Nothing to see here,” they say, “the real outrage is Indiana’s anti-gay law.” This law, similar in all essentials to laws in 19 other states, and to one at the federal level signed by President Clinton, is intended to protect the free exercise of religion. This is intolerable to a vocal cadre of Social Justice Warriors intent on enforcing thought control. That is, establishing their relativist, secular religion.
The furor eventually ensnared a Mom and Pop business (Memories Pizza) in Indiana when a TV reporter perpetrated a bit of “gotcha” journalism. Threats of violence forced the pizza parlor to shut down after the owner indicated (when specifically asked) she would decline to cater a gay wedding. “Glad to serve gays,” she said, “but we wouldn’t do a wedding.”
She’s in hiding at the moment.
The good news is a GoFundMe campaign supporting Memories Pizza is approaching a million dollars. The bad news is that it was necessary.
It is noteworthy that the “Liberal” outrage on this has been applied exclusively to Christians. I would really like to see some intrepid reporter asking Muslim photographers, bakers and pizza makers in Dearborn the same question. Muslim businesses in Dearborn, though, would be considered “hard targets” compared to Christian businesses in rural Indiana.
If gays need to worry about religious persecution, Christianity is not first on the list of dangers. I have not heard that any Christian sect is debating whether the proper way to kill gays is to throw them off tall buildings vs. collapsing a wall on them. This is a consequential theological debate for some Imams. Baking a cake doesn’t enter into it.
The intent of this broad assault on religious conscience goes far beyond whether bakers can be forced to provide cakes with 2 grooms, or photographers frog-marched into the local Satanist temple to take pictures of 2 brides in front of the Sigil of Baphomet. As usual, the real object is aggrandizing the State. How else can “Liberals” make you act as if you agree with them?
That is, calling it Fascist is fair and accurate, however much that seems like hyperbole. Classical liberals did not flinch from naming it, nor should we.
Leo Strauss (1899-1973, the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago) offered this note on the difficulty classical liberal democracies face in his book Spinoza’s Critique of Religion:
Liberalism stands or falls by the distinction between state and society, or by the recognition of a private sphere, protected by the law but impervious to the law, with the understanding that, above all, religion as particular religion belongs to the private sphere. Just as certainly as the liberal state will not “discriminate” against its Jewish citizens, so it is constitutionally unable or even unwilling to prevent “discrimination” against Jews by individuals or groups. To recognize a private sphere in the sense indicated means to permit private “discrimination,” to protect it and thus in fact to foster it. The liberal state cannot provide a solution to the Jewish problem, for such a solution would require a legal prohibition against every kind of “discrimination,” i.e., the abolition of the private sphere, the denial of the difference between state and society, and the destruction of the liberal state.
Consider the destruction nearly complete.
Update 3:55PM – added ‘classical’ to describe the Strauss quote. Trying to prevent any confusion, he wasn’t talking about “Liberals,” aka “Progressives.” He meant Locke, not Alinski.
Hat tip Powerline for the Strauss quote.