Perhaps you haven't heard. If you take a position that has been the default for 2000 years, a position most of the world subscribes to today, you're intolerant, a hater, and a bigot. That would be the position in favor of marriage.
Britain's "equality minister," Lynne Featherstone, said that the Church of England's and Catholic Church's language in opposition to faux (same-sex) marriage "belongs in the Dark Ages." Britain's "justice and policing" minister, Nick Herbert, opined that opposition to legalized faux marriage is "not acceptable." Meanwhile, Denmark decided two years ago that it was acceptable to force churches to perform faux marriages. You see, Denmark is further down the road of secularism than is the UK. And why should this matter to us?
For one thing, point out many observers, America is on that road, too.
As for the Danish "evolution," to use Barack Obama's terminology, Lifesite News’ Ben Johnson wrote in 2012:
The nation of Denmark has voted to force churches in the established Evangelical Lutheran Church to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies inside their sanctuaries, although one-third of all the denomination’s priests say they will not participate in such rituals.
Danish parliament voted by an overwhelming 85-24 margin to compel churches to carry out unions for same-sex couples that are identical to heterosexual marriage celebrations.
...Since 1997, homosexuals have been able to get “married” in a blessing ceremony after the normal church service.
Under the new law, priests may opt out of performing the “wedding” service for theological reasons. However, a bishop must arrange for a replacement.
And with bakers now being forced to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples and the Obama administration applying its contraception mandate to even religious businessmen, many worry that it won’t be too long before the United States follows the Danes’ lead. For instance, a prospective military chaplain writing last year under the pseudonym “Sergeant Thomas O’Neal” (for fear of persecution) at American Thinker warned:
We have already seen test cases where individuals have been found guilty of "discrimination" because they wanted to practice their First Amendment rights. Take the case of the Aloha Bed and Breakfast in Hawaii. A judge ruled that the owners discriminated against two lesbians by not renting them a room based on their religious beliefs. There are cases from Washington to North Carolina with similar entanglements. Private businesses, especially those that are wedding-based like florists, cake makers, etc., are being sued for discrimination against homosexuals while their First Amendment Rights are being ignored.
More striking still is that certain measures and proposals affect churches directly. Municipalities such as Hutchinson, Kansas, and Jacksonville, Florida, have considered ordinances that would force churches that rent property to the public to allow same-sex marriages on that property. And a judge ruled in 2012 that a Christian retreat house in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, must permit same-sex couples to perform ceremonies on its premises.
So it seems that a movement whose rallying cry once was “stay out of my bedroom” now wants its bed in your room. This has prompted Sgt. O’Neal to ask, “Taking the next logical step, what happens when a homosexual couple demands access to using a Catholic, Baptist, or Mormon church for their wedding and are rejected? The groundwork for that lawsuit has been laid in the private business cases.”
For sure, say some analysts, Denmark could be a dire portent. After all, the only cultural difference between that nation and the United States is, once again, that it is further down the road of secularism. Danes’ church attendance is far lower than Americans’, and just as telling is that their “church minister,” Manu Sareen, is an agnostic.
Of course, there is the governmental difference, too. Some will point out that the Evangelical Lutheran Church is Denmark's official government church, and that our separation of church and state will prevent such meddling. But will it really prevent it — or only delay it?
In addition to the examples of state-church trespass already provided, consider that it isn’t just through the contraception mandate that some American politicians have served notice that religious freedom should be subordinated to sexual “rights.” Last year, New Jersey Assembly majority leader Lou Greenwald and his fellow Democrats refused to work to pass a faux marriage bill for the very reason that it contained a religious-exemption provision.
And reading between the lines reveals something truly ominous. As Sgt. O’Neal also pointed out, “There should be no need for ‘religious protection’ written into any law. The religious protection should come from the First Amendment!” If the legislators in question truly believed that the First Amendment were respected enough to be a guarantor of the given religious rights, there would be no thought of protecting them via statutory law. They clearly don’t believe the Constitution still carries this weight, and, sadly, they’re correct. Conclusion?
Unless some civilizational turning point radically alters our cultural trajectory, there’s no reason to think that politicians in the not-too-distant future would view the First Amendment as an impediment to the imposition of faux marriage upon churches.
The tussle over inclusion of religious exemptions is tacit admission that many politicians consider such decisions the domain of legislatures, which may trump religious rights “to balance other important societal goals,” as the judge in the Ocean Grove case wrote. It should also be noted that this is simply the next step in the process of constitutional trespass. After all, there is such thing as federal anti-discrimination law as well, and there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the central government the power to trump the freedom of association of any business owner — be he religious or secular.
Of course, say many critics, these politicians simply reflect their constituencies, citizens who increasingly seem to view our nation as a “democracy” and not a constitutional republic. As George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams wrote in 2012, “Today's Americans think Congress has the constitutional authority to do anything upon which they can get a majority vote. We think whether a measure is a good idea or a bad idea should determine its passage as opposed to whether that measure lies within the enumerated powers granted Congress by the Constitution.”
And that way lies not only faux marriage, but the divorce between America and liberty.
This article initially indicated that the Denmark aspect of this story was recent. We regret the error.