Rod Dreher might be accused of being a “Debbie Downer” for his dire predictions about religious liberty, but I think his analysis is spot-on. In an essay posted this morning, he argues that the take-away from the Indiana RFRA is not the law itself, but the media “freak out” that happened in response. It reveals just how deep our nation’s indifference is to religious liberty and just how willing some of our elites are to stamp it out. And it won’t stop with RFRA’s. He says that churches that support traditional marriage will soon face attacks on their tax-exempt status. If you think this isn’t coming, you aren’t paying attention.
You need to read Dreher’s entire piece, but here are the political implications he draws in the conclusion:
The overreaction, especially the blatant lies and completely invented controversy, in which the media and big business have engaged in the past few days about Indiana and religious liberty, has been a shock to my system — this, even though I am by now used to just about anything from that side. Because religious liberty is the most important political issue to me, it is hard to imagine sitting out the 2016 presidential election, as I have done the past two times because I couldn’t stomach the Republican nominee. It is impossible to imagine voting Democratic in 2016, because the Democrats are actively committed to legislating contempt for traditional Christians like me. If even mild attempts to give minimal protection to religious dissenters is condemned as Jim Crow redux by the Democrats, it genuinely frightens me to think about what a Supreme Court dominated by Obama-Clinton justices would do.
Voting Republican is no guarantee that religious liberty would be strengthened in SCOTUS rulings in the future, but there is some hope that a GOP president would nominate justices sympathetic to religious liberty concerns. With President Hillary Clinton, or any conceivable Democrat, there is no hope at all.
Je suis le First Amendment. Indiana shows why for social and religious conservatives, 2016 is all about the Supreme Court and religious liberty. The past few days have made someone like me, a conservative independent who has little use for either party, realize that I cannot afford to be on the sidelines in 2016. Religious conservative voters must be focused like a laser on religious liberty, right now. It’s that important.
Read the rest here.
Dreher is certainly right about where we find ourselves. Support for religious liberty used to be an uncontroversial bipartisan commitment. But in recent years, the issue has been collapsed into the debate over same-sex marriage. Supporting gay marriage is now sacrosanct among Democrats and a growing number of Republicans. The result is that religious liberty claims have to take a backseat to gay marriage claims. And anyone who says that they shouldn’t take a backseat is quickly branded a bigot and homophobic. That is what the current “media freak out” demonstrates.
The atmosphere is becoming increasingly toxic to those of us who hold to traditional marriage. I hope and pray that statesmen on both sides of the aisle can see that and draw back from the religious liberty cliff we are currently racing towards.