Legislating religion to death

During the gay marriage debate, I mentioned to a lawyer friend of mine that gay marriage would inevitably set up a church versus state conflict if a church refused to marry a gay couple — especially the Catholic Church, which counts marriage amongst its sacraments.  My lawyer friend came back with what he thought was a brilliant riposte:  “Well, abortion hasn’t created a church versus state conflict.”  I reminded him, gently, that the church doesn’t perform abortions, it just advocates against them, but that it does in fact perform marriages.  He looked perplexed.  I didn’t press the point, believing that it was more useful for his thought process to marinate in the idea.

Will you be surprised to learn that the Anchoress has taken my narrow, shallowly expressed thought and delved into it much more deeply?  No?  I wasn’t surprised either.  Please read what the Anchoress has to say on constant Progressive legislation that undermines religion’s reach in America and, if you feel so inclined, come back here and talk about it with me.

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Comments

  1. says

    I haven’t read The Anchoress’s post yet.
    I do so loathe to whip out the conspiracy card, but the Gay Marriage drive exhibits some characteristics of a movement designed to bring the Church and the State into conflict. It looks inevitable, and knowing American Christians, especially Catholics, the State will indeed win.

  2. JKB says

    I had similar thoughts when i read that DoD was going to “allow” chaplains to perform same-sex marriages.  Since chaplains of one religion often provide ministrations of other religions when a member’s clergy isn’t available I could see the eventual “order” coming down. 

    The assault on Judeo-Christianity is necessary as the teachings, especially those of Christ, are socialistic.  But they recognize the dangers and futility of imposing obligations by force and instead work to change men’s hearts.  The progressives have exploited these “care for others” beliefs to maneuver the welfare state into place.  They now feel the threat is greater than the benefit of population have a competing philosophy.  I personally feel that this is a tactical error.

    Without the appeal to religious charity, the “social contract” is a construct without basis.  Without the teachings of religion, why is their an obligation to your fellow man.  Many may argue this but I challenge them to develop the requirement that someone give to an unrelated person support and aid.  They hope to start with a “moral obligation” but without religion there is no moral obligation.

    No doubt the legalistic inroads will continue but if the religious stop going along with it.  Stop compromising and when forced, withdraw from secular society in offering these services, they will spark the realization of the failure of the socialist state rather than keep easing the symptoms until the disease has spread so pervasively that there can be no stopping it.

  3. Charles Martel says

    Muslims, Orthodox Jews, devout Baptists, the Mormons and orthodox Catholics will never submit. Atheists with integrity, like Nat Hentoff at the Village Voice, won’t either.

    Fasten your ammunition belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.

  4. Mike Devx says

    Well, the first point I’d like to make, is that when government grows to large, it becomes the only game in town.  If you don’t play by its rules, you don’t get to play AT ALL.  (When government is too big and is involved in every aspect of your daily lives, everything becomes political.)  That’s a big problem.  And it’s a good reason to fight like hell to keep government small.  Er, since we lost that battle long long ago, it’s a good reason now to fight to try to make government smaller.

    The second front in the fight against liberalism, here, is the argument that Convenience equals Right.

    We’ve seen this in effect when there is only one store or institution locally that offers a service.  One good example would be a pharmacy – and by policy or religious objection, refuses to offer the RU-486 morning after pill.  Those who want one have to travel to another town or city to get it.  The argument made (by liberals) is that pharmacy MUST supply the drug because, being the only game in town, the local citizenry rights are being violated.  And what if all the pharmacies in nearby towns likewise restrict the offering?  How far to travel is “too far”?

    To my perspective, that’s just too frickin’ bad.  Your rights end where mine begin, and I should not have to offer a service that is religiously objectionable to me.  I am not violating your rights.  It’s up to you to make the proper arrangements to meet your needs.

    This applies to this issue of military gay marriages as well.  It’s just too frickin bad if you want to get married, and the only local option – a Catholic chaplain, for example – do not offer them.  Go figure it out yourself how to accomplish your objective.  Your problem is not the chaplain’s problem.  Too bad.

    Heck, what if there were only two local grocery stores, and one of them were Muslim that didn’t sell pork?  And the other closed or burned down?  Do I have the right to force the Muslim store to sell pork?  Hell no.  And I don’t care if the next-nearest store is a hundred miles away.  Too frickin bad for me, no matter how much I love shake and bake pork chops.  (I might organize a citizen group to meet with them to see if they could find a way to satisfy community needs, however… but it’s still their call, not ours.)

    So, the State is wrong in each of the Anchoress’ cases, too.  On adoption, each competing local service should be able to practice selection activities as they see fit.  You’re an unmarried couple seeking to adopt?  Select among the adoption services that accept unmarried couples!  Doh.  Duh. It really ought to be that simple.  If none in your state do, well, too bad for you.  It’s still their right, not yours.  Just the way I see it.

     

  5. Mike Devx says

    Hey, suek, I’mnot sure what a “3 Percenter” is!  Some definitions out there aren’t very nice!  What’s a 3-Percenter to you?

    I’m just tired of people being forced to offer services that legally they should not be obligated to offer.  I’m tired of all the damned coddling via government FORCE.

    This goes for anti-smoking laws, too.  A business should be able to set its own policies on a legal activity.  You don’t HAVE to frequent that business, nor do you HAVE to work there, if you don’t like it.  Apartment complexes should be free to allow or not allow their residents to smoke.  Don’t like it?  Think smoke travels from apartment to apartment?  Move.

    This goes for a lot of things.  I *am* comfortable with anti-discrimination laws based solely on sex and race, due to our past.  We really shouldn’t *need* them, but I’ve no big objection to those two.  Seat belt laws I’m not too keen on, but, small potatoes.  Bike helmet laws irritate the hell out of me.  

    And don’t get me started on nanny-state laws regulating – restricting – what I’m allowed to eat!  “It’s for your own good”, they say.  Heh.  I’ll define what’s for my own good, and the first item on that list is for bureaucrats to stay the hell out of my life!  It would help keep my blood pressure low, you know.  “And that’s a GOOD, GOOD thing.”  ;-)

     

  6. Mike Devx says

    Ah, The Sipsey St. definition of “three percenters”.  I should have known you’d go with an Originalist defiition, suek!
    I like that one!
     

  7. BrianE says

    From reading a post at Volokh Conspiracy, I think the assault on religion will come from a slightly easier target– anti-discrimination laws.

    It isn’t surprising that most of those over there have no problem requiring a religious organization hire without regard to the employees faith. Some would carve out an exception for the rabbai or minister, but everyone else in a religious organization would be covered by anti-discrimination laws if those liberals were to control legislation, especially for religious functions that are deemed to be ancillary to the organization’s main purpose. 

    Once a religious organization is forced to hire without regard to the compatibility regarding the religious beliefs of the employee (such as carving out an exception for the religion class instructor in a parochial school while applying laws towards the math teacher).

    Of course, this is a slippery slope argument and the final battle will be forcing religion to abandon the core teaching of the divinely inspired teachings that are the only reason religion exists.        

  8. DiscoDanDBQ says

    I thought the Catholic church did run into the abortion issue with the state.  I don’t remember the details, but the state wanted Catholic hospitals to provide the morning after pill (not  sure about abortions), and the Catholic church decided to get out of the hospital business instead.

  9. Mike Devx says

    BrianE says: everyone else in a religious organization would be covered by anti-discrimination laws if those liberals were to control legislation
     
    Actually, doesn’t that make sense?  If you’re going to have real anti-discrimination laws, shouldn’t they apply to all workers?  This is one very good reason to be VERY careful when you create anti-discrimination laws.

    Look at it this way:  I’m about to hire a math teacher.  I have interviewed several candidates.  One of them has teaching skills far superior to the others – but he or she is disabled.  And in my best judgment, that disability is*likely* to cause significant disruption every year.   So, I have a decision to make: to hire or not to hire?  And it’s a judgment call: Is the disruption going to be worth the hire?  If not, I’m going to leave the position completely unfilled, and perhaps hire a temp iinstead, with the justification that our budgetary and staffinf plans simply do not allow us to hire ANYONE for that position at this time.

    It’s not just a disability issue.  If the best candidate simply doesn’t fit my institution’s culture, I have a similar decision to make: Is their technical skill superiority such that it offsets the disruptions they will cause?  It goes for any of the softer skill sets that accompany specific technical skill sets.  As an employee, you’re a total package hire.   It’s not just your specific job set skills that are taken under consideration.

    Many of these are examples of the regulatory issues that are preventing businesses from hiring these days.  The Obama administration is rabidly happy with generating a tsunami of new regulations on businesses.  No one knows what’s coming next.  So companies are more and more reluctant to hire, because part of the judgment call is, what is this employee going to cost me overall?  Time, money, disruption, etc, etc… it’s not just the specific job skill set that is taken into consideration.  So in this over-frenzied regulatory environment – of which BrianE’s link in #14 is just one example – businesses have less and less reason to hire.  Add economic recession uncertainty and the EU collapse and financial turmoil to the mix, and you can see who companies are being very, very careful about hiring new employees.

    Thank you, Obama Administration.  Thank you SO VERY MUCH.  All the hurting in-misery Americans, struggling to find jobs, thank you.
     

  10. BrianE says

    Everyone discriminates all the time.

    As a society we’ve decided that some types of discrimination aren’t beneficial to society– in our drive to achieve the handicapper general like society.

    But religious organizations need to be free to discriminate, and that needs to include who the organization associates or indentifies itself with (including employees).

    Any religious organization is two pronged– how it deals with it’s members and associates and how it deals with those outside it’s group.

    As to the Christian school and it’s freedom to hire only those who are like minded in their faith– even for areas of instruction that seem free from religious content– if the school is going to be consistent with Biblical mandates, it needs to be free from discrimination laws– since divining a person’s heart is something outside the expertise of the legal system.

    While a religious school might accept a “non-believer” as a student, it very likely would object to a “non-believer” as a math teacher– even if the subject of religion were never broached (which is unlikely in a religious school anyway).

    Looking at the examples of Scripture– believers are commanded not to be unequally yoked– which would preclude non-believers in positions of leadership (and a teacher is certainly a leader). As to it’s general audience, a church or school would hopefully welcome a non-believer to it’s functions (assuming the object of the non-believer isn’t to disrupt the proceedings), but would certainly discriminate against members (even those not in leadership), based on the example Paul gave for the Corinthian church where a member was having sex with his step-mother.

    The church was commanded to throw the person out (at a later date, the man repented and the church once again accepted him into membership). The problem is that churches or evangelical religious organizations serve two purposes. One is to help the member in his personal growth (becoming more Christ-like) and the other is to share the message of the Bible and facilitate the conversion of non-believers. Both are central objectives of the religious organization, and without either the purpose of the religious organization is subverted.

    If I were a member of a chess club, I certainly wouldn’t want a person in the club that didn’t know anything about chess (unless he was looking to learn how to play chess), hated chess, or really wanted to convert everyone away from chess to, say, checkers. That chess club is going to be in disarray until that checker loving, chess hating malcontent is removed from the organization.

  11. Mike Devx says

    BrianE says: As to the Christian school and it’s freedom to hire only those who are like minded in their faith– even for areas of instruction that seem free from religious content– if the school is going to be consistent with Biblical mandates, it needs to be free from discrimination laws

    I don’t think so, Brian.   If I led a religious organization, I can’t simply say, “I’m not hiring blacks.  Blacks are inferior based on the color of their skin.  I know it, and you know it.  Therefore, if you’ve got even one drop of black blood in you, don’t even bother applying.” 

    To be “free from discrimination laws” means that I would be able to do, and to say, that.  There’s no way that’s going to happen.

    Similarly, the Americans With Disabilities Act contains anti-discriminatory language that has nothing to do with religious issues.  I don’t believe there is any way around that one, either.

    I am not saying that I am in favor of any particular anti-discrimination law.  I’ve stated elsewhere that I’m *comfortable* with anti-discrimination laws based on gender and race.  Though I believe any and all such laws ought to have a sunset expiration provision, requiring every single one to be renewed at intervals – for they are meant, in their purpose, to address some sort of “societal wrong”, and therefore once that wrong has been sufficiently addressed, they ought to disappear.  Which is never going to happen without a sunset provision.

    My *personal* view, as separate from policy and history, is I’d like to see NO discrimination laws of any sort.  Those who discriminate hurt themselves anyway.  Anti-discrimination laws have unintended side effects.

     

  12. BrianE says

    I will only hire teachers that believe similarly to my school’s doctrinal statement.

    Doesn’t matter if they’re black, white or purple– I can’t let someone who doesn’t whole-heartedly agree to the principles of the school be a leader in the school- which any teacher is, regardless of the classes they teach. By it’s very nature, that doctrinal statement is going to require a specific set of beliefs, which will probably mean that the person must adhere to certain standards of conduct as well.

    Even if the person is at best ambivalent to those doctrines, the path to being antagonistic is a short one.

    Where to draw the line? Probably whether the person is expected to conform to the standards set by the religious institution– whether it be a charitable organization running soup line, a school or a church.

    That includes the janitor, if they are on staff. If the job is contracted, ie the roofers repairing the roof, not so much.

    Now if I can do these things and not run afoul of anti-discrimination laws, fine. But once you’re requiring those positions to be filled by persons not sharing the beliefs of the organization, you’ve crossed the line to messing with the “free exercise” clause.

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