There was a breathless piece in The Nation this week. claiming that a new executive order by Donald Trump would legalize discrimination and somehow grants religious freedom in too broad a fashion. It claims the EO would make one specific religion exempt from obeying a wide range of federal laws. The draft order, they say, seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and that it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.
In other words, under Trump's Religious Freedom Executive Order, if, say, my church's pastor politely refuses to perform a gay marriage, then my church wouldn't lose its non-profit status. I kind of think this is a good thing after the scandals with IRS witch-hunts for Obama opponents lately. Some left wing pundits have even suggested that churches should be punished if pastors expressed any opinions about political issues at all. This would be ironic in America, where the churches played a key role in driving the American Revolution during the dark days of our war with the British. Progressives who dream of the establishment of a proper progressive government love the idea of suppressing religion, free speech, assembly and anything else that might interfere with the great collective's work.
Trump's EO would likely save religious folks a lot of money on litigation defending themselves for not baking cakes and planning weddings. If, say, Hobby Lobby doesn't want to pay for abortions through its health insurance, then under the Trump EO, they would have a right to do so and not face crippling legal costs from constant lawfare. It sounds like the EO protects religious beliefs, rather, than threatens the right to hold religious beliefs as far too many of the Obama Era new regulations and EOs demanded. Under Trumps executive order all government departments would stop harrassing churches, forcing them to accept and believe in the current "cultural norms" as espoused by progressive liberals. Hillary Clinton, during her campaign, hinted that this would have been expanded under her administration, stating that Christians would have to modify their beliefs somewhat under the new era of hope and change.
How is an executive order reinforcing the idea that you may not be forced to violate your religious beliefs a threat to religious freedom as some of my liberal friends suggest? Seems to me it reinforces the First Amendment's establishment clause rather than threatens it. It seems that what's been coming down from our insect overlords for the past few years has been more of a threat to religious liberty to me.
Democrats have for the past 8 years been steadily eroding religious freedom. Democrat politicians have been doing things like demanding copies of sermon notes (Democrat Houston Mayor) to check them for anti-gay marriage rhetoric) and threatening to remove nonprofit status from any churches where it is preached that homosexual or virtually any other sexual perversion or misbehavior is a sin. The left is wailing loudly about Trump's thwarting of their agenda to normalize adultery, homosexuality, transgenderism, and whatever other sort of Biblically forbidden behavior anyway. It's just one more complaint that their ideological march to the sea has been stalled.
It reminds me of George Orwell's classic "1984" (which I have been told that liberals are rediscovering lately). In his book the fictional (very Soviet) totalitarian government had a whole agency that changed the definition of words so they meant the opposite of what they meant before. War meant peace, slavery was freedom, ignorance is stregth and stuff like that. Sounds like the left has been reading that book for some time now and borrowed a few ideas.Newsflash guys: That book was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.
Every time I hear this kind of inverted virtue signaling and longing after progressivism's ideological vision for the future, I am reminded of Revelation. In Revelation 13:3, John said that the whole world "wondered after the Beast." It's kind of strange when protecting the beliefs of religions is considered threatening religious freedom - very like Orwellian doublespeak.
The Declaration of Independence says we are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a God-given right. As long as a religion's beliefs don't threaten those things, the government has no claim to interfere. And it's funny how that same left doesn't mind overlooking a religious belief system that murders homosexuals, stones adulterers and rape victims and cuts the heads off nonbelievers and people who try to leave their religion, and believe that all others religions must submit to theirs, when it's time to decide who gets awarded tax-exempt status and who doesn't.
© 2017 by Tom King