Enforced Orthodoxy

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In a recent column, Same-sex marriage is only the beginning, conservative columnist Cal Thomas expresses fears that just may come true. He is, of course, talking about the recent Supreme Court decision making gay marriage legal nation-wide.
He observes that it will still be legal for Christians and other religions to preach against homosexuality, but that gay activists and secularists will almost certainly challenge that right in court, since their “goal is to drive religious people out of the public square.” In the next paragraph he intones, “Minorities rule.”
The message about driving Christians out of the “public square” is an interesting look in Thomas’s mirror. “Christians” and other groups have a whole list of people and groups THEY want to drive out of the “Public Square”, but I don’t think you’re going to hear about them often from Thomas.
Minorities have often ruled in human history, sometimes by “Divine Right”. The idea of majority rule is fairly recent, it doesn’t seem to actually work that often, and we find that majorities can be as
tyrannical as minorities.
“Christians”, of course, justify their tyrannies by morality, saying they are the will of God. Homosexuality has been treated in this way, supposedly because of a few Biblical passages (though, you will notice, Jesus Christ had nothing to say about the practice, which suggests it’s not quite as sinful as current “Christians” insist), but I think clearly because the practice makes more than a few people uncomfortable.
It’s not entirely clear why this should be. Gays don’t insist everyone be homosexual, as some straight people insist about heterosexuality. The extravagant treatment reactions of many ministers and politicians indicates that homosexuality is something they take very personally. Sexuality is certainly a personal matter, but why should it matter to anyone what other people do, as long as they don’t harm anyone?
Of course that’s the argument frequently advanced, that gay marriage will undermine and destroy “normal marriage.” I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of why.
Thomas adds that the next thing will be for activists to go after tax-exempt status for churches, and after bakers who refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings. It seems to me that tax-exempt status ought not to be guaranteed for churches supporting hate-speech and terrorism. This principle seems to be well-understood when it’s Muslims supporting terror, but not with Christians, for some reason. The problem with bakers refusing service was seen in the Jim Crow era in the South. Many devoutly believed that dark-skinned people were inherently evil, which made for a conundrum: if dark-skinned people were citizens, and the Constitution had been amended to say they were, how could anyone justify not serving them? Another portion of the Constitution enjoining equal protection under the law said (or at least strongly implied) that those claiming to serve the public would have to serve the WHOLE public, much to the dismay of some.
That activists are willing to sue churches and businesses that disagree with them Thomas calls “enforced orthodoxy of a different kind”, thus tacitly admitting that segregation was also enforced orthodoxy, but not condemning it, leading me to believe that enforced orthodoxy is just fine, as long as it’s the right kind.
The rest of the column is a condemnation of the Supreme Court for indulging in “legislation”. The Court currently seems able to please neither liberal nor conservative. He ends by revealing Jeb Bush’s plan (assuming he gets elected to the presidency) to ensure that any nominee to the Court is a REAL conservative. I wonder what he’d say if a liberal president examined nominees to make sure they’re liberal enough. In any case, he thus further underlines the idea that enforced orthodoxy is just fine. I had thought this country was founded to prevent such enforcement, but apparently I have been mistaken. Mr. Thomas’s opinion makes it clear just how much conservatives value democracy.

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