Are Christians the powerful or the marginalized?

In the course of a post on why so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump, S. D. Kelly tosses off an observation that explains much about the current controversies between Christians and secularists.

Secularists tend to see Christians as “the powerful”; that is, in postmodern parlance, those who are in a position of power and privilege who oppress “the marginalized,” those who lack power and privilege.

But Christians tend to see themselves as “the marginalized,” oppressed by the cultural elite who exclude them and exercise their power against them.

Thus, when a Christian baker refuses to participate in a gay wedding, the secularists see the Christian heteronormative establishment discriminating against marginalized and oppressed gay people.

While Christians see secularists–who control the culture, the entertainment industry, the educational establishment, the government, and the law–imposing their sexual ideology on those with traditional Christian values and punishing them for their minority religious beliefs.

This explains much of the rhetoric, argumentation, and high feelings on both sides.  Are these just two irreconcilable perceptions?  Or can we make an objective case for one side or the other?  Does realizing these different perceptions suggest other ways of addressing these controversies? [Read more…]

What Clinton thinks religious liberty is

In a play to capitalize on Mormon’s dissatisfaction with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed piece in the LDS-owned Deseret News in which she emphasizes her commitment to religious liberty.  But notice what she thinks religious liberty is.

Read what she says and my analysis after the jump.

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California drops the proposed law targeting religious colleges

As we blogged about, the California legislature was all set to pass a law punishing Christian colleges if they “discriminate” against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.  Colleges would be unable to set behavior standards for students and would have to hire faculty members who didn’t believe in the religious position of the institution.  This would effectively shut down evangelical, Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, and other religious institutions–or force them to change their teachings.

Due to the concerted effort of California religious institutions, religious liberty protests, political pressure, and widespread criticism, the legislator who proposed the measure has dropped the discrimination measure from his bill.  Colleges would still have to report to the state any expulsions for homosexual behavior and any other invocations of the religious exemption.  But for now, California’s religious schools have won an important victory. [Read more…]

More on Russia’s anti-evangelism law

Michael Avramovich explains more about Russia’s new laws restricting religion.  We have blogged about the one requiring all Christian evangelism–except for that of the Russian Orthodox Church–to be conducted within a church service (not in a home, not online).  There are other strict restrictions on religious bodies, again, other than the Russian Orthodox Church. [Read more…]

The Libertarian candidate on religious liberty

Is Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson someone social conservatives could vote for as an alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?  Well, check out what he says about religious liberty, which he describes as a “black hole,” a liberty outside the bounds of his kind of libertarianism. [Read more…]

The rest of the religious liberty story

The Christian Science Monitor is running a seven-part series on religious liberty.  According to Julia Duin, it is remarkably fair and balanced, including fuller accounts of the florists and bakers who are losing everything they own because they will not participate in gay weddings.

For example, we learn that the florist in Washington state had done lots of business with the man who would later file a discrimination claim against her.  She sold him $4,500 worth of floral arrangements over nine years.  She didn’t discriminate against him in her business because he was gay.  She knew that he was and considered him a friend.  But when he asked her to create floral designs for his wedding to another man, as a Southern Baptist, she had to draw the line.  But even then the jilted customer didn’t want to ruin her until he was talked into it by the ACLU, who added onto the discrimination complaint a lawsuit that would also seize all of her personal assets. [Read more…]