In what has been called the “Catholic moment” in America, in the late 1940s and 1950s, Catholics were admonished from pulpits to “live the faith” and “set an example” for others. Public lives were to reflect moral beliefs. Christians were to avoid those “living in sin.” Christians who operated motels and hotels did not rent rooms to unmarried couples.
Fast forward to 21st-century America.
Indiana just enacted a law, as have 19 other states, to protect the rights of religious people to practice their beliefs in how they live their lives and conduct their businesses. And the reaction? Nearly hysterical.
The head of the NCAA, the founder of Apple, chief executives of SalesForce and Yelp, Martina Navratilova, Larry King, Miley Cyrus and other celebrities are rushing to express their shock. Boycotts of Indiana are being demanded. Tweeted Hillary on her now-empty server: “Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldn’t discriminate against [people because] of who they love.”
The culture war has come to Indiana, and all these folks are eager to be seen as standing tall with the LGBT revolution. But what are they actually saying?
Are they saying that Christian bakers, photographers and florists may not refuse to provide their services at same-sex weddings? Are they saying that hotel owners who deny rooms to unmarried couples or for homosexual liaisons should be prosecuted for being faithful to their moral code?
How are we supposed to punish Christians for sinning against liberalism? Will jailing be necessary, or caning, or just depriving them of their livelihood? The Hillarys of our world have a right to call such folks bigots and homophobes. But should they have the power to punish people for acting on their religious beliefs?
Isn’t the First Amendment supposed to protect this right? Whatever became of the conservatives’ Free Society?
Initially, under Obamacare, Christian colleges and businesses were forced to provide employees with birth control and abortion-inducing, morning-after pills. The regime was ordering religious people to behave in ways that were abhorrent to them and contravened the teachings of their faith. Like shariah law, liberalism imposes its values upon nonbelievers and punishes noncompliance.
Says Mayor Edwin Lee, who has banned city-funded trips to Indiana, “We stand united as San Franciscans to condemn Indiana’s new discriminatory law, and will work together to protect the civil rights of all Americans.” But the “discriminatory law” that has the mayor upset does not discriminate against anyone. It merely guarantees the freedom of religious people who believe homosexuality is wrong to not have to be associated with individuals or events that celebrate it.
The mayor may not like how people exercise their freedom. Does his dislike justify depriving them of that freedom?
The gay rights community seems to have advanced from asking for tolerance of their lifestyles—to demanding punishment for those who refuse to accept its moral equality. Why do they care that a handful of Christians still reject their truth? Are they so insecure in their convictions about themselves that they must have conformity? Must all kneel before their Golden Calf?
Like all of us, the mayor has a right not to associate with people who use obscene or racist language, or whose behavior is boorish, or whose politics he detests. To the mayor, it appears commendable for him not to be associated with Indiana because of its values. Why is it then intolerable for Christians not to be associated with gay events because of their values? A little double standard there, Mr. Mayor?
What the Indiana issue is really all about is the replacement of Christian values with secular values as the operating premises of society. And the hallmark of our new society is intolerance of those who reject the revolution. It is ever so with revolutions.
In 1964, across the bay from San Francisco, the Free Speech Movement was born at Berkeley. Students demanded the freedom to say what they believed, no matter how objectionable to the majority.
Soon, dirty language became common on radio, cable, and in film. Pornography was declared constitutionally protected. Larry Flynt was the First Amendment hero. Rap singers used the crudest of terms for women and the N-word for each other. A new freedom was born. That is, up until two soused freshmen from Sigma Alpha Epsilon began a chant on a bus with high school seniors that used the N-word.
Then the air raid sirens went off. Mass protests were held on campus. Students told how sickened they were to TV cameras descending on campus. Oklahoma University President David Boren expelled the evildoers. The frat house was shut down and fumigated. An investigation of SAE nationally is being conducted. Editorials blazed, though the U.N. Security Council has yet to table a resolution of condemnation.
As the Jack Nicholson character George Hanson said in “Easy Rider,” “You know, this used to be a helluva good country.” It surely was.
Stand up for Indiana!
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. Copyright 2015 Creators.com.