America Embraces Era of Religious Persecution

America Embraces Era of Religious Persecution June 1, 2015

The persecution of the Catholic Church and other morally conservative religious bodies has begun in the United States. As predicted, it isn’t—thank God—bloody persecution like the persecution of Christians in many countries. But it’s real persecution, and likely to get worse.

This new persecution currently has two prongs.

One consists of pressuring individual religious believers to cooperate with public policies inimical to faith. The other prong is pressure targeted at religious groups and institutions to adapt their programs to the promotion of values hostile to the sponsors’ moral convictions.

When and if the Supreme Court announces its discovery of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, it will be taking a giant step in both directions and paving the way for more. As we saw in Indiana earlier this year, efforts to protect the right of conscientious objection to the radical redefinition of marriage will come under even fiercer assault

Perhaps Indiana’s religious freedom law did need tweaking, but the opponents would have preferred no law at all. For them, simply legalizing gay marriage isn’t enough. Dissent must be stamped out.

Consider the case of the Oregon couple, Christian owners of a bakery (now closed), who recently were held liable for $135,000 in damages for declining to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. They did nothing to prevent the lesbians from marrying—their offense was not wanting to lend a hand to the celebration.

As for the second prong of persecution—pressure to adapt religious programs and institutions to the promotion of hostile values, coupled with vitriolic denunciations of whoever says no to doing that—it has been visibly in operation lately in San Francisco, where Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone came under attack for saying that teachers in Catholic schools shouldn’t teach things contrary to Catholic morality.

This is astonishing. Why on earth should the Catholic Church, in its own schools, be obliged to provide a platform for teaching that contradicts Catholic moral doctrine? Yet this is what Archbishop Cordileone’s critics, including San Francisco media, would require of the Church.

Sad to say, the hue and cry was taken up by some Catholics, who went so far as to publish a paid newspaper advertisement calling for Archbishop Cordileone’s removal from office. It is said that Lenin spoke of Western academics and journalists who heaped praise on the Bolshevik Revolution as “useful idiots.” The Catholic Church has its share of those.

In a talk several weeks ago to seminarians of his archdiocese, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia pointed to the driving force that lies behind the new persecution—a radical collapse of moral consensus, reflected in a disastrous breakdown of public moral discourse.

“The biggest problem we face as a culture,” Archbishop Chaput said, “isn’t gay marriage or global warming. It’s not abortion funding or the federal debt…The deeper problem, the one that’s crippling us, is that we use words like justice, rights, freedom and dignity without any commonly shared meaning… .Our most important debates boil out to who can deploy the best words in the best way to get power.”

Speaking in April to a pro-abortion group, Hillary Clinton said religious views opposed to abortion “have to be changed.” In fairness, it must be said that Mrs. Clinton wasn’t urging persecution but persuasion. But who doubts that accompanying the persuasion would be laws, regulations, and court orders? That is precisely the form soft that persecution by the nanny state takes these days.

Hang on to your hats. The worst of it has yet to come.

Saint Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, Ora Pro Nobis (Image, Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)
Saint Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, Ora Pro Nobis

(Image, Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Russell Shaw is a freelance writer based in CathPT_RussellShaw_100Washington, D.C., and the author of twenty books, including American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America is available on Kindle. You can email him at

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183 responses to “America Embraces Era of Religious Persecution”

  1. No longer being able to impose your religious views on everyone else is not “oppression.”

  2. But the fact is your side wants to impose their views while hypocritically saying they are tolerant of other’s views. And that they don’t interfere with other people’s lives even though they are for taxing churches or forcing them to do events against their religious conscious.

  3. You can believe whatever you want. You can do whatever you want in your
    church and no one, contrary to the paranoid hype out there is looking to
    force religious institutions to do anything contrary to their faith.
    The only thing I want to “impose” is freedom and fairness. What i don;t want is your side forcing my kids to pray in school or denying legal rights to my gay friends and relatives. You religious bullies have been in the driver’s seat for far too long. You need to learn to back off and let the rest of us live our lives.

  4. What about bullies from your side that have been so hypocritical in saying about how their feelings are hurt but are not above threatening businesses who decline marriages. And comparing all religious groups who are only traditional marriage to the KKK. You really underestimate how influential all those gay rights groups are and sometimes they are not as nice as they like to portray themselves as. Heck, a couple of students actually recently wrote some text messages aimed at two kids who were wearing Chick Fil A shirts. You say you want fairness and freedom but its only your own. Sometimes people in your movement fail to practice what they preach and ignore people when they question how you put it in action.

  5. As a patriot, I hope all your fears come true. Good riddance to worthless filth.

  6. Don’t over-generalize. there will always be people who go overboard and say things they shouldn’t. But if you want to get into that pissing match I can find you a hundred times more examples of gay people being verbally abused, threatened and assaulted by religious bigots.

    But what you won’t find is anyone organizing to lobbying to prevent religious believers from having the same legal rights as everyone else. That’s something your side does…

  7. Yeah, say it to those who want to tax churches and have the nerve to say that they don’t want to interfere in people’s lives. Same goes for people who are anti-male circumcision.

  8. The Catholic Church has been discriminating against the Divorced people forever. No one – Straight Men and Straight Women with Marriage Rights ! – has ever sued the Church for it.

    The Catholic Church has been discriminating against Women – in ordination – forever. Women have legal protected status in Employment but no one has sued the Church for it.

    BUT, keep repeating that Gay Marriage people are coming for the Churches.

  9. Opposing equal LGBT access to marriage, children, housing, funerals, education, employment, goods, and services: not oppression.

    Requiring businesses to treat customers as equals: religious persecution.


  10. Christian owners of a bakery (now closed), who recently were held liable for $135,000 in damages for declining to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. They did nothing to prevent the lesbians from marrying

    Wait, is baking a cake “participation” in a ceremony, or isn’t it? You can’t have it both ways. Either they were sabotaging the wedding, or the act of baking a cake is independent from the wedding (and the religious objection is moot).

  11. You’re speaking to a brick wall, one that enjoys pretending the genocide present in the bible is acceptable.

  12. Yeah, keep justifying yourself saying that your policies don’t interfere in people’s lives and don’t care that it actually can affect poorer people.

  13. Or you know the fact that they could find someone else that would be willing to do it the cake.

  14. Taxing churches would add tax dollars that could be spent all over, not just on new digs and constantly paying out to sex abuse survivors.

  15. Not as much as you guys claim it would be. In fact what could say this would actually be opening doors for abuse against religious groups that people don’t like.

  16. I wouldn’t want to have the good opinion of some stupid bigot like you. Hope you’re sucking off Jesus really soon!

  17. Yeah, again dismissing people and slapping labels on them because they do not conform to your views.

  18. Perhaps these same religious groups would obey the laws about not interfering with politics with some extra oversight and accountability.

  19. Um, no, this is not persecution of the religious. It is prevention of the ability for bigots to hide behind the umbrella of religion.

    I think religious organizations should take notice that no longer will they be given a free pass to discriminate; they should be subject to anti-discrimination laws just like everyone else.

  20. Atheist meeting places are still taxed, and churches under the law are just religious meeting places. Some of them can fund a charity and some on both sides already do. The only reason they were tax exempt in the first place was Christian privileged that they shouldn’t have had,

    Just because they are made to live like everyone else doesn’t mean they are suddenly oppressed.

  21. But I see a double standard in the fact that atheists don’t take their own advice when they interfere in politics.

  22. It might not be oppression but sometimes its not actually as fair as people try to paint it as.

  23. Here is a question this goes for all religions because its not only Christianity would have a problem with baking a cake for an event they don’t disagree with. Its not bigots hiding behind religion as people simplify it as but people who are so self righteous that they will ignore legitimate religious objections to put their own views into law and force it on the populace.

  24. Oh no, it is quite fair. Lots of people get help from all kinds of charities and non-profits which also have to pay taxes so Christians should have to as well. It can also prevent the mega-church pastor with a sports car problem that is way too prevalent.

  25. Gee, it’s like I’m exercising my freedoms or something. I know how that must upset an anti-American thug like you.

  26. You need to write more clearly in these comments if you want people to understand you.

  27. The anti-American label doesn’t work when its right wing or left wing.

  28. It might not dent the mega church pastor as you think and will just hurt the poorer churches. Have you thought about that or do you think that the majority of the country is full of mega churches?

  29. No, really the word “anti-American” is just a buzzword used to sling mud.

  30. You really shouldn’t force people to do everything you want all the time.

  31. I have, if the Church is not a business as they like to claim than they should be able to survive on the donations and help of other people. If they are truly a pillar of community than the community should be willing to help it, especially the wealthier members of a community.

    If not than they can put their effort into a full time charity and preach outside a church, in private or on the street if they want too.

  32. I think you think that by taxing the church you will solve all problems but what you are really doing is just busting a source of charity and outreach out of self righteous pettiness.

  33. Is it self-righteous pettiness that Atheist Charities have to pay taxes? Plus all the, (way too much) money the Church saves could be given too people who need it directly.

  34. Or you assume because most of that money often goes to many causes that do help and not to enrich themselves as many people falsely believe.

  35. Nope, its a buzzword that people have been using and its cliche and cheap.

  36. On no, many pastors take too much money. You should know, especially Televangelists. Frankly such “Godly” people should be giving back to the community with more than a tax write-off they cut put down come April 15th. But even if they actually did that stuff they should have to pay the same taxes everyone else does.

  37. Televangelists are not every pastor. If you think that every pastor is like those on tv then that would be wrong.

  38. I asked you a question, if you wish to continue the conversation please answer it.

  39. Okay, against it on a general terms as in you think it is wrong or do you think it should be illegal?

  40. I think its wrong and I am leaning on the idea that the government should give civil unions to everyone, both gay and straight. And just make marriage a church thing.

  41. And if a church wants to perform same sex marriages should they be able to? Or does everyone have to conform to your beliefs?

  42. Pull that card and its obvious to many you are pulling stuff out of your rear. Mostly because the biggest difference is the fact that these people did serve gay people but declined at a specific event.

  43. It also includes pro-gay marriage churches. Mostly because marriage as a sacrament should be seen as something deeper than what it has been turned into in its current state.

  44. I know you meant that too. But not everyone sees marriage as a sacred institution, why should we change the whole laws of marriages so they get no federal benefits and civil unions do? That seems to be inefficient, just expand marriage. Honestly marriage being a federal right it should not be voted on by other people whether or not gay people get to marry. They should have always had the right.

  45. When I said civil union everyone I mean change it so that civil unions means you get federal benefits. I am saying that civil unions should be a federal government thing that everyone both straight and gay should do.

  46. And should that marriage be legally recognized, with the same rights and priveleges and obligations as any other?

  47. Actually I learned you just want a black and white picture of legitimate religious objections. And no a cake and the counters are not the same. For all your so called educate talk, its all a farce to say I’m right and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is the KKK.

  48. We are at the point where few, even among the supposedly dissenting religious groups really, in fact, dissent. Most use contraception. Most believe that exercising reproductive function is a woman’s choice and not a divine lottery. An overwhelming number of Catholics, below a certain age, accept and embrace the lifestyle choices of out Gays. We find that we must remind ourselves to be tolerant of those who still cling to their old hatreds and prejudices.

    It is not persecution of Christians. You’re kind of person is simply dissappearing and will no longer exist. Of course you feel threatened and afraid.

  49. But how do you decide what a “legitimate religious objection” is? The racists who fought for segregation had what they felt were “legitimate religious objections” to racial integration. Why do your religious biases get to dictate the rules for anyone else?

  50. Mostly because all racist beliefs actually have no basis in scripture.

  51. The racist say they do. And they can cite chapter and verse…

    And in America no one’s religion is supposed to be given legal preference. So why do you insist that discrimination based on your religious biases be permitted if others are not?

    You can’t have it both ways.

  52. Religious organizations have not, as a general rule, been given a free pass for unjust discrimination, nor should they be. The issue is that we now live in a culture where many people see disagreement as discrimination.

  53. It depends on what the secular law says, doesn’t it? Secular law can be just or unjust. Secular law once approved of slavery, and later of unjust discrimination against blacks. But those situations (slavery and discrimination) weren’t made right simply because they were allowed by secular law.

  54. The difference is that service was refused to black people because they were black. The baker mentioned in this post refused service because of the type of event that the cake was for, not because of the type of person involved in the event. This is similar to how a gay caterer might refuse to cater a conference for a group like NARTH, because they don’t want to support the message of that event.

  55. Again, there is a big difference between discriminating based on an intrinsic quality of a person (race), and discriminating based on the type of event that a person wants you to support with your work (a gay “wedding” ceremony).

  56. I’m quite sure that the blogger agrees that businesses should treat customers as equals. This is a straw-man argument.

  57. They could still marry, just get their cake from somewhere else. Indeed, that is what happened — without even a delay to the wedding. Therefore they did nothing to prevent the wedding — just indicated their refusal to be a part of it.

  58. Amazing how the truly intolerant — those on the Left — come out and spew their progressive McCarthite rhetoric. Instead of “Red”, “Commie” and “Fellow Traveler”, they label those who dare to assert a right to disagree and follow their beliefs as “hater”, “bigot”, and “homophobe”.

  59. Here’s what I don’t get. It’s a cake. Bakers bake cakes. It’s not the baker’s business what I do with that cake after it’s baked. I could eat it. I could take it to a Satanic ritual. I could go outside and throw it on the sidewalk. The transaction between myself and the baker is for them to “bake me a cake”. How I choose to label that cake and where and how and who I choose to eat it with and what I choose to celebrate with it are my own business. Not the baker’s. End of story.

  60. You’re still trying to have it both ways. You claim that the refusal to serve them as equals did not affect the wedding at all, yet you claim that selling the cake would be tantamount to being a part of the wedding itself (which is doubly bizarre given that the cake is eaten at the reception, not the ceremony).

  61. This is a straw-man argument.

    Are you kidding? That is the argument exactly. They weren’t asking for any good or service that these bakers don’t already provide to other customers.

  62. The baker mentioned in this post refused service because of the type of event that the cake was for

    By that you mean “a wedding”?

  63. Q: What’s the difference between a same-sex wedding and an opposite-sex wedding?

    A: The sexes of the people getting married. That’s it. That’s literally the only difference by definition.

  64. Okay. When you discriminate against people who are LGBT+ it’s religion.. it’s faith.

    When everyone else disagrees that you should be able to discriminate against anyone for any reason, it’s persecution.

    Yeah. You have fun with that, while history rolls right on over you.

  65. If you can ignore the Mosaic laws of the OT, claiming Jesus abrogated them, then you can accept homosexuals. And actually, it’s the gays being persecuted, not you.

  66. Religious organizations have not, as a general rule, been given a free pass for unjust discrimination, nor should they be.

    Religious organizations have fought for (and won) sweeping powers of ugly, nasty discrimination. It’s a sad commentary on the state of contemporary religion in this country. They fight for the right to be horrible to other human beings.

    Refuse to have black people as members? Religious organizations can do that.

    Fire a woman for getting pregnant? Religious organizations can do that.

    Refuse to hire a homosexual? Religious organizations can do that.

    How does that hymn go again? “And they’ll know we are Christians by our…?”

  67. Divorce and adultery, among other fairly common things, are against Catholic doctrine.
    Does the cake maker ask her customers if they are monogamous and never divorced before selling them a cake?

    The idea that Christians are somehow persecuted in this Christian dominated country is absurd, and is an insult to those in countries where actual persecution exists.

    Legalization of gay marriage requires no one to marry someone of the same gender, just as legal divorce requires no one to get divorced.

    I’m a heterosexual Christian. I also have several gay friends, many Christian, some married.

    I’m no better than they are.

  68. Yes, so don’t make a point about what you’re going to do with the cake. In your world, the female couple comes in and says we’d like a wedding cake. That’s it. In the real world, the lesbian couple comes in and TELLS the baker we are homosexual, we are getting married together and we want you to bake a cake for our homosexual marriage. A lot more there for the baker to think about in the real world. You see, when homosexuality was considered a deviant sexual disorder, which it still is, homosexual couples had to keep their intentions in the closet, so to speak. Thus, they would keep their deviant sexual behavior to themselves and everyone was happy? But today, the perverts insist that you must accept their abnormal sexual behavior as normal or they will destroy you. The homosexual activists are getting their way for now. But not for long.

  69. 1) Since the reception is still a part of the celebration of the marriage, you make a distinction without distinction.

    2) A particular baker’s refusal to participate in the wedding celebration does not stop the wedding at all — just as a that same baker being committed to another wedding or on vacation would not stop the wedding because of the large number of other bakers available to provide the service for which that baker could not.

  70. the religious are whiners who forget that the catholic church killed countless ‘witches’, millions of jews, muslims, native peoples, and tortured countless others because they didn’t follow the faith of catholicism so your poor poor hurt feelings now about having to deal with baking cakes, not getting to be out bigots, and go by the law really are a joke in comparison of real evil and persecution that has happened in the last 2000 years at the hands of your church

  71. So you long for the good old days when the “perverts” had to stay in the closet or face persecution.

  72. Wow — your lack of theological sophistication is shocking. After all, not all of the OT law is repudiated in the New Testament. And when one considers Romans — and nearly two thousand years of consistent teaching as to the nature of marriage and the status of homosexuality from a Christian perspective — you cannot really argue that opposition to gay marriage is not proper Christian teaching.

    Nor is it the place of government to make that determination, either.

  73. So when Hans and Heidi walk into a bakery run by a Jewish family and ask for them to make a cake with swastikas and the words “Heil Hitler” so they can celebrate der Fuherer’s birthday, you would argue that they should take the order because “It’s a cake. Bakers bake cakes. It’s not the baker’s business what I do with that cake after it’s baked.”

    And if your argue that the custom work involved makes it different, remember that baking and decorating a wedding cake is a custom order — and that it often involves going to the reception hall in order to set up the cake. It is not a case of “buying off the rack”.

  74. Oh, here is a little tidbit about atheism which is its hands not clean at all. And it was in the last century we have seen that for all its claims atheism can just be as bloodthirsty as some religious regimes.

  75. It must feel like persecution when you are no longer aloud to persecute gay people with impunity. Your like a bully that is being deposed and who is crying about the injustice of being brought down to right size. Such drama!

  76. “For them, simply legalizing gay marriage isn’t enough. Dissent must be stamped out.”

    This isn’t about “dissent”, it’s about treating others as less-than.

  77. 1) Fred’s an asshole for wishing harm on the Christians pretending that Christian persecution is a real thing, especially in the US.

    2) Atheists have done some nasty things, but these actions were not driven by their atheism. Many of the travesties done by Christians have been driven by their religion. This isn’t the case all of the time, there are people who kill others, who happen to be Christian, Muslim, or whatever, but their belief in a god has nothing to do with it. But when they go around murdering gay people, because the Bible says gay people deserve death, then that is their religious belief driving their actions.

  78. Even though I disagree with you on the Christian aspect, I do really like the fact that there are more and more of people who happen to be Christian that are not looking down upon the LGBT community, and many supporting them.

    Thanks for being a good person.

  79. It’s really up to you — do onto others as you would have them do to you, or give in to your own bigotry.

  80. Keep denying that atheism was never a motive. The thing is atheism can be a motive despite that you don’t want to believe it. Many political philosophies like Marxism are driven by a disbelief in religion. You deny that because you seem to think that atheism is the key to humanity’s freedom. Yet, I have seen that is the opposite.

  81. However, the demand for equality seems to actually not be fair at all to anyone who objects.

  82. Nope, I wouldn’t call it persecution. But when gay right activists have been shown to be not so different then people call them out on their crud. Heck, you even ignore in any reports when gay activists give people death threats for not supporting gay marriage. Or tell people to man up when they object to driving in a gay pride parade even after they were sexually harassed.

  83. I might not call it persecution but the fact is that is that you don’t want to admit that some areas of the gay rights movement is not a let live situation. In fact they grill people who don’t agree 100% with them. And they have done it towards anyone who is associated with any organization who are not for gay marriage.

  84. Please show me how the lack of belief of a god or gods alone is a driving factor for these things.

    Marxism isn’t driven by disbelief in religion. The lack of religion is a factor that Marxism uses, but it is not a driving force behind it.

  85. Not liking someone because their belief is harmful towards a certain group, is not persecution.

  86. When you try to keep people from having equal rights, that is persecution.

    When people get death threats, many, if not most of us oppose those death threats.

    With the job, the sexual harassment was wrong. I don’t know anyone who says otherwise. But at the same time, it was his job to drive the truck in parades. That is part of his job description, not persecution.

  87. I didn’t call it persecution at all. I don’t agree with him calling it persecution. However, I do find the fact that people really do think that their policies they are endorsing will not disadvantage people who don’t share their views. Not to mention some people would be happy to treat all people who are not for gay marriage as the KKK.

  88. And what about those bakeries that don’t want to do interracial wedding cakes?

  89. I wasn’t calling it persecution. I am not calling any of this persecution. What I am saying is that the other side is really apathetic towards religious objections and leads to situations where people are treated poorly. However, forcing people into stuff really crosses a gray area.

  90. 1) How did his atheism drive him to do those murders?
    2) We still don’t know why those murders happened.
    3) And while this was a horrible tragic incident, this was also a very small incident where many (hell I don’t know any atheists that supported the killing) outright called him out on that, assuming atheism was the primary driving factor behind the killing.

  91. Race is a whole people while this is an event that has ties to religious objections. And no its not only a Christian thing because if you went into a Muslim owned bakery they would object. And forcing them to do that would be wrong. Just like it would be wrong to force an atheist to bake a cake for a baptism.

  92. How is race different? The evidence shows that neither are able to be chosen.

    And I don’t care if it is a Christian, Buddhist, atheist, or Muslim bakery, they don’t get to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation in states where sexual orientation is a protected class.

  93. No, I treat people who oppose equal rights to racists.

    I do treat the people who actively go out and physically try to harm them, to the KKK.

  94. A few years ago there was a minor hubbub in Minneapolis over Somali taxi drivers who had come to be predominant in the business (because it’s a crappy job of the kind that immigrants end up doing). Some of these cabbies, being devout Muslims, refused to transport people carrying alcohol, on the grounds that it was involving them in sin.

    If you believe that a Muslim cab driver has the right to refuse service to a Catholic priest carrying a bottle of communion wine, I’ll believe you are sincere in your defense of religious rights.

  95. Yeah, then you would be comparing those who oppose polygamy to racists as well.

  96. 1) Sexual orientation isn’t a choice.
    2) Currently, there are legal reasons to not allow it to be legally recognized, but if those hurdles are ever overcome, then there is no reason to oppose it so as long as those marriages are on equal footing with a 2 person marriage, and all people in the marriage are equals.

  97. -facepalm-

    Jazz. a scientific theory is built on evidence. So if there are scientific theories, then by definition, there is evidence supporting it.

  98. Wrong. Firstly, fuck you for comparing gay people getting married to a genocidal (catholic) dictator.

    Secondly, your example is wildly different from what it is being compared to.

    One is an instance where a person is refusing to provide a service to a specific group. Another is an instance where someone won’t perform a specific service period. You don’t have to sell wedding cakes to gay people. But you can’t only sell cakes to straight people.

    A more apt comparison would be if an interracial couple was refused service (and I should add interracial marriage, unlike race, religion or sexual orientation, is absolutely a choice) simply because they were an interracial couple.

    But of course you knew that already, that’s why you used your nazi analogy to try and frame gay peopel in the worst possible light and draw attention away from how hideous your position is. BTW, the nazis? Not fond of the gays either. Interesting ideological company you keep.

  99. Jazz, nothing in science is 100% proven.

    But there is a mass of peer reviewed papers published showing that sexual orientation is not a choice.

    So the evidence points to orientation not being a choice. I’m straight, I can’t decide to be sexually attracted to men tomorrow.

  100. You never know about that because some say that they were at first straight then became gay.

  101. Despite popular belief, Hitler wasn’t as religious as his false image say he was.

  102. Orientation can be fluid, this we know. But the evidence does not show that it is a choice.

    I can cite a ton of peer review papers if you want me to.

  103. And your common quotes are also ignoring the fact that Hitler in private was a different person. For example he said he was great in history but his own report card showed he flunked that subject.

  104. The degree to which the nature of marriage has been _consistently_ understood over the last 2000 years in
    Christianity is not nearly as great as you pretend, nor can you say that the teaching relevant to homosexuality is either, since for most of that time the idea of a stable sexual identity simply did not exist. Nor is the Old Testament teaching on this issue clear (are we going to consider tattoos and having intercourse with a menstruating woman as abominations as well– since a man having sex with a man is described as an abomination right between them in the Levitical code).

    The second point demonstrates a fundamental confusion. ‘Marriage” is used to refer both to the religious sacrament and the legal status. The legal status is the business of government, and not the church, just as the sacramental status is the business of the Church, and not the government. For too long in this country, the two have been elided as the minister has acted as the agent for both. The current issue is the legal status. That’s it. The legal contract has no bearing on the sacrament, and thus has no impact on the church. As Thomas Jefferson put it about belief in God, whether my neighbors are married straight folks or married gay folks neither breaks my leg, nor picks my pocket. And since it doesn’t it is no business of the governments.

  105. His writings all showed him being religious. His speeches showed him being religions.

    The evidence shows him being religious.

    He could have lied about his report card, does that mean he is not religious?

  106. There are other historians who note that actually in his early life he wasn’t as devoted. Not to mention there is a difference in writing religious language and actually believing them. He was a politician he needed religious language to help him.

  107. Of course he shouldn’t have to IF there’s another taxi available. The issue is balancing least restrictive means with compelling government interest as it is wth RFRA.

    The RFRA approach is really quite reasonable. Housing, food, transportation; there’s an obvious compelling interest. Forcing someone to create art with whom she politically or religiously disagrees with… Much harder case. Here (I think) legislators and the public were a bit more reasonable and accommodating than the courts.

  108. The reason why anyone advocating sodomy ought to be persecuted is that there’s no room in the same society for those who say that gay is good, and for those who condemn sodomy as a wicked and depraved activity.

    A nation which embraces homosexualism as its state religion is not worth expending blood and treasure to defend.

  109. How early is his early life?

    And whether or not someone being religious in the early life doesn’t mean anything about him being in power. What we can go off of is what we know about him, and his writings.

    He very well could have been lying and he could have been whatever. But the evidence we have points to him believing in Yahweh.

  110. Please watch this video by Dr. Lisa Diamond.

    Science is on the side of sexual fluidity. Period.
    Behavior is chosen, attraction is more complicated.
    I can choose to avoid meat, alcohol, sex, whatever… I’m free.

    How many vegans are attracted to meat?
    Alcoholics to alcohol? Orthodox Jews to non-Kosher foods?

    Vegans shouldn’t be forced to make a cake with meat. Even the cooking shows on the food network accommodate this. Why should a Jew have to cook non-kosher food? An recovering alcohol to attend a wedding where alcohol is served.?

  111. RFRA laws are clearly unconstitutional, so your argument is without merit.

  112. Except in federal employment and in a few municipalities and states, persons who engage in same-sex behavior are not a protected class..,yet.

    The question is should this group be a protected class? Why or why not?

    I really hope you have a chance to watch the last 10 minutes of the video I attached before you respond. It was a factor in changing my thinking on this. The Professor, Lisa Diamond, is a lesbian who supports same-sex marriage.

  113. That is why I said this earlier

    How is race different? The evidence shows that neither are able to be chosen.

    And I don’t care if it is a Christian, Buddhist, atheist, or Muslim bakery, they don’t get to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation in states where sexual orientation is a protected class.

    I think they should be a protected class, because there is no reason to be able to discriminate against them. There is no real harm caused by homosexuality.

  114. “Except in federal employment and in a few municipalities and states,
    persons who engage in same-sex behavior are not a protected class..,yet.”

    The places were these publ;ic businesses were sued were in areas where sexual orientation were covered. So your point is moot.

    “The question is should this group be a protected class? Why or why not?”

    A group becomes protected when clear animus towards them is presented by the public. Considering the decades long smear conservatives have done trying to vilify homosexuals, this is clear cut.

  115. The federal RFRA has never been constitutionally challenged by the supreme court. If it were it would be easy to show how it violates the first amendment by granting government establishment of ‘sincerely held’ belief over regular belief or nonbelief.

    The 1st amendment is explicit that the state cannot define religion. Something RFRA forces them to do.

  116. I agree that the constitutional issues are complex. But, can’t we avoid this if both those advocating traditional morality and homosexual rights can learn to be civil with one another and not force one to make statements or participate in events with which they disagree?

    If the fundamentalist Christian or a Muslim doesn’t want to host a first communion in a public place they own or photograph it because they disagree with Catholicism, isn’t a civil thing to do to for the Catholic, to have the event at another venue if one is available or find another photographer?

    I think the RFRA approach may help the public to try to navigate tough semi-public choices. It’s not easy to balance between civility, what is a compelling government interest, and providing the least restrictive means for people to practice their politics, religion and sexual behavior. I don’t think anyone has absolute “right “answers here, but in the meantime I think all of us can work on listening to each other and trying to make space for others public and private decisions that differ with our own.

  117. Believe me Gehennah, I do not want people who are involved in homosexual behavior to have trouble finding jobs houses or food: hopefully no one reasonable in our country would advocate such a position That would be bigotry.

    But freedom of religion is not only guaranteed by the Constitution, it’s also a good thing. It helps me to have people with whom I disagree challenge me on what I think -including vegans! Their refusal to serve meat products makes me reflect on my values and I respect them for that even when they make Thanksgiving difficult ; ) The refusal of my Mennonite and Quaker friends to go to war challenges me and that’s good.
    It is not bigotry to be a vegan, a Jew, nor a conservative Catholic or Protestant, or Muslim.

    It just seems unreasonable to me to make the vegans participate in meat bearing events, or to make those who favor traditional morality to participate in homosexual events. Feeding employing and housing homosexuals is not a homosexual event; contributing to a gay wedding is. Unlike race, homosexual behavior and attraction are not discrete or immutable. The science is in on this. Please watch the video I linked above. I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

  118. They have the freedom of religion. But a business is not a person.

    A business has no religious beliefs. A business shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against customers or employees.

  119. You can’t have a “live and let live” situation, because these groups are not equal. They are not treated equally. One goes away to full protection under the law, and the other goes away to find discriimnation and abuse. We can’t simply agree to disagree because so much is at stake.

  120. There is a difference between beliefs and actions.

    A person is free to believe that blacks are subhuman and that races should not mix. But if he owns a business, he still has to serve blacks.

    A person is free to believe that religion is the cause of suffering in the world and teaching small children to fear hell is child abuse, but if he bakes cakes he cannot refuse to make a cake celebrating a first communion.

    No one is saying that a person can’t believe whatever sensible, silly or vile thing that person wants to believe. But if he owns a business, he cannot discriminate.

    No one is telling anyone what to believe. It is just that in a civilized society there are some standards of behavior. We tried separate but equal. We tried keeping certain people away from lunch counters. We found that those behaviors dehumanize people and are wrong.

  121. But refusing to rent space to a first communion party would be wrong.

    First, the venue is relying on public roads and infrastructure to operate this business. They have a responsibility to comply with the law.

    Second, imagine the 7 year old is there. Imagine her hurt when a business owner treats her as second class, as so viile that she would contaminate his business by celebrating there. I don’t care all that much for catholicism, but I don’t want to live in a society where that conduct is okay.

    Third, imagine that 80% of the business owners and townspeople are catholic hating fundigelicals. If one business discriminates, all the rest would be pressured to as well. Catholics might open a venue, but there might not be enough catholic customers to keep it going. This is what happened in Jim Crow. The Supreme Court ruling only said discrimination based on race wasn’t illegal. It was peer pressure that prevented business that would have liked to treat all people well from serving blacks.

    I for one do not want to live in a society where discrimination is permitted. It is ugly and vile. This means business owners select their product but treat all money as green.

  122. Someone wants to buy this cake. Please explain WHO they should be allowed to refuse to sell it to?

  123. Would the Jewish person make cake with “Heil Hitler” on for someone else? No. So there is no issue there. They are choosing not to provide a particular item for sale, not discriminating against a particular person. Again, here is a wedding cake. Who should the baker be allowed to refuse to sell this cake to?

  124. There of course exist homosexual jerks just like there are heterosexual jerks.

  125. You are confusing the product with the customer.

    A vegan baker can sell only vegan cakes. That is the product. But he cannot refuse to sell one because it will be taken to a church BBQ.

    A jewish baker can bake only kosher cakes and close for the sabbath. He can refuse to make a non kosher cake or serve a Saturday wedding. But he cannot refuse to make a cake for a christian wedding on a sunday if he would make a cake for a jewish wedding on that day.

    If a baker is willing to bake a cake for Chris (m) and Bobby (f) to serve at their protestant wedding, he can’t refuse to make that cake if Bobby turned out to be a different gender, religion or race.

  126. The baker can refuse hate speech as long as all customers are treated equally – meaning that all hate speech regardless of target is refused.

    But if the baker wants to refuse to make a pretty cake for a celebration, he must refuse regardless of who the customer is.

    The business picks the product not the customer.

  127. Wow! An actual thoughtful comment and reasonable disagreement. I totally understand your sentiment about not wanting to be in a society where there is ugly vile discrimination that makes sense.

    I guess what I’d say in response is that I had something like this happened to my son. We went to get a cake in the bakery in San Antonio and the Baker said he didn’t make first communion cakes. We just went somewhere else. Also my understanding is that the 80-year-old woman in Oregon agreed to make a cake and put on the shelf that they could purchase. She just couldn’t decorate it and put her artistic talent in the topping and thereby directly and obviously participate in the event that went against her conscience.

    I really do see a difference in “discrimination” about advocating a point of view or participating in an ideological/religious event versus discrimination based on race or sex. I’m saying this as somebody who has been mostly same sex attracted most of my life. Im still somewhat same sex attracted although I’ve been married for 23 years and have an honest, faithful relationship with my wife, to whom grown in attraction and crazy love over the years.

    My decision to be faithfully involved with a woman, even though sometimes desiring sex with a man, is rooted in an amazing relationship I developed with Jesus after going through a lot of pain when I was younger. Christ means everything to me. More than money, more than sex. The Incredible joy I have being able to forgive and love and hope through him is what matters most to me.

    I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to do what Christ says even when it’s tough partly because in my own life it’s working beautifully, although of course not perfectly
    ; )

    I so value being challenged by my friends who are in long-term same-sex relationships and have made different choices. I am not afraid of it. I love them, and I hope they care for me. Their different vision and choices is a challenge to mine because it’s different. But precisely because it’s different, it helps me to grow.

    I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where there’s vile name-calling discrimination and exclusion. But if they choose, and it’s their choice, to have the relationship with Jesus that I have I want them to be able to live it out, even if that includes supporting the vision of sexuality that’s rooted in their relationship with him and his vision and view of human life. It’s an amazingly beautiful view that involves life and being entirely focused on willing the true good of another: including their body mind and spirit that in their deepest selves they are called to be.

    It’s a way of being in which my body’s not just made up of parts that I used to pursue personal pleasure, but my body is me. And in my deepest self what my male body calls me to be is father, husband and brother.

    I want my children to be able to follow in my footsteps in living out this vision (if they choose to) without having an added fear of the government forcing them to participate actively in an event contrary to whatever vision they develop of life, love, meaning of sex.

  128. I actually agree with you on this. If the cake has no message on it that supports behavior the person who disagrees with there’s no reason for them not to sell the cake. You’re right about that. i’m not sure that applies in the case of a photographer or illustrator who’s creatively involved in the messaging though they seem to be actively supporting a message they disagree with. It seems to me not just a violation of freedom of religion there but perhaps also free speech which would apply to atheists and Democrats and Republicans as well?

  129. You are correct as to the legal/sacramental difference — but I am under no obligation to celebrate, or facilitate the celebration of — that which offends my religious beliefs.

  130. By the way — since refusing to bake the cake neither breaks the legs or picks the pockets of that gay couple, Jefferson would side with the baker.

  131. I didn’t frame gay people at all — I pointed out that you don’t really believe that it isn’t the business of bakers who is buying their product and that it shouldn’t matter what custom work they are asked to do. You proved my point quite nicely.

  132. And I would not seek to force others to violate their religious beliefs — why won’t they “do unto me” accordingly? Your “tolerance” is a one way street.

  133. I totally agree with you on the difference between beliefs and actions. Good point. I’m wondering if you would agree that there’s a difference between providing a service and expressing an opinion. For example any written message would be expressing an opinion, A product without words or images is just a product. Are you okay with saying that people have to provide food and lodging and employment for anyone regardless of race or sexual orientation, but they don’t have to write any messages or produce any images whatsoever that clearly advocate a political or religious view they disagree with. I think you’re clear writing on this is help me evolve a bit in that direction.

  134. Thanks.

    I think a baker could refuse cuss words and hate speech. For example, he could refuse “I hate christians” but would also have to refuse “I hate gays”.

    His product does not have hate speech regardless of who the customer is.

    There is actually a case that made me think. A famous sandwich shop put up a sign telling people to order in English. But testers found that he served immigrants and non english speakers. The discrimination case was dismissed because the owner, despite his words, treated all customers equally. His words were protected. After I thought about it, I found i agreed with the outcome even tho I disagree with his sign.

  135. Since the reception is still a part of the celebration of the marriage, you make a distinction without distinction.

    The reception is a party where people dance, schmooze, and eat cake. There is no religious objection to be made here. It’s a post-hoc excuse for ugly, hateful behavior on the part of some bakers.

    As for part 2, you’re still not addressing the hypocrisy of simultaneously acting like the baker’s refusal of service is irrelevant, yet the sale of a cake still constitutes “participation” so strongly that it would be an unconstitutional burden upon their religion.

    I’m guessing this baker has made cakes and things for many non-Christian weddings before – weddings that are surely heresy according to their religion. This further underscores that this isn’t about religion at all, it’s just about spiting gay folks. It’s sick and depraved. It’s sad that conservative Christians are standing up for such bigoted scum.

  136. But when gay right activists have been shown to be not so different then people call them out on their crud.


    Are they raising ballot initiatives to ban Christians from marrying? How about banning Christians from adopting children, firing Christians from their jobs, or trying to strong-arm you into therapy sessions on the grounds that Christians are mentally ill?

  137. (Continued from below)

    There is another case where the company made t shirts with religious messages. The court said it was okay that they refused to make a t shirt for a gay pride event, and I agree, provided they also refused to make shirts for corporate picnics and religion free family reunions. Now if they had been asked to make a t shirt with the words “the fruit of the spirit is love” with the image of two men? Who knows. For me, it would depend on whether they make a variety of religious t shirts – for jews, mormons, catholics – or only protestant evangelical.

    Discrimination is a cancer. It grows and destroys. A girl in Rhode Island named Jessica Ahlquist objected to a prayer banner in her public school. It turned into a fiasco, with her receiving rape and death threats and public scorn. After the case was decided, a group in Wisconsin wanted to send her flowers. No big deal, right? Well the first florest saw the name and refused. So when the request came to the second florist, it wasn’t about flowers. The second florist would be seen as making a statement in favor of this girl. 4 florists refused to deliver a bouquet of flowers. In the end, a Connecticut florist drove 60 miles to deliver the flowers. If the first florist had just made this about business not religion, no one would have noticed or cared.

    To answer your question, I think if the business has a policy that can truly be applied equally it is okay. I don’t see how this would apply to wedding cakes. If they are willing to write Congratulations Chris And Bobby on a cake, they should write that regardless of the genders if Chris and Bobby.

  138. The modern persecution of the Catholic Church is only in its infancy. During our lives we will see it grow quickly to epic proportions.
    The world will no longer tolerate us or our beliefs.

  139. They can refuse to sell a particular item. They cannot refuse to sell to a particular person. I notice you didn’t answer my question regarding the cake I posted. What group(s) of people should a baker be allowed to refuse to sell THAT cake to?

  140. Thanks.

    Your son’s case is a good example. What the baker did was illegal. And unkind. In San Antonio you probably had lots of other bakers to choose from, but I bet it stung. And I imagine you would not have wanted your son to have to experience discrimination.

    But what if you lived in a smaller town with strong anti catholic sentiment? What if every baker feared loss of business if they stuck out as the ONE and only one that served catholics? What then?

    Discrimination is a cancer. It grows and destroys. Our society really does work better if business owners treat customers equally, and the law is only there so when someone asks “why do you serve THEM!?” the business can shrug and say it’s the law.

  141. Nope. What you do with the cake is not the bakers business. What the baker puts on the cake is their business.

  142. If you read the judge’s opinion in the Colorado case he actually addresses that very issue at length. He makes a distinction between coerced speech and the provision of a product or service. In effect he says “cake is not speech.” It’s clear in that case that the couple was refused service before any discussion of how the cake might be decorated had taken place.

  143. I was raised Catholic and I have a strong hatred of the church, which I left more than thirty years ago. I don’t care if someone wants to be Catholic–that’s fine if that’s what works for them. However, I don’t take religion seriously–and it seems that a lot of others are following suit. How is it persecution that fewer and fewer people take your religion seriously and call your beliefs silly? I hate persecution more than I hate religion, so I’d hate to see you prosecuted for your beliefs. However, nothing going on in America can even be remotely seen as persecution. Not being made to treat your religion respectfully is not persecution. Requiring the religious to follow the same non-discrimination laws as everyone else is also not persecution.

    Laws need to have a secular purpose since they have to deal with everybody. If you’re in business with the public, then follow the non-discrimination laws–don’t carve out special exemptions for yourself. It’s a transparent trick and only make the religious look even more antiquated and ridiculous. If selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple would make you feel like participating in a wedding you don’t like, then don’t sell wedding cakes to anyone and there would be no problem. The burden of your religion should fall on you and you should bear the brunt of any inconvenience–not those of us who don’t follow your religion. It’s not my responsibility to have to find a baker who approves of my wedding. It’s the responsibility of the religious baker to decide whether or not he or she can follow the laws and serve equally. If their conscience doesn’t allow them to do that, they find another business to run.

    I am married, by the way, and my husband and I had no problem at all finding a baker who made us a fabulous rainbow cookie cake with a Broadway theme. While the baker contributed to making the occasion a great success, she wasn’t actually a participant in the event. She was a vendor we hired for her skills–I have absolutely no idea if she approved of us or our wedding; if she’s religious like my husband is, or atheist like I am–none of those things were ever discussed. She may or may not have approved of two men marrying each other, but she certainly approved of the contract and the money she got. She also seems to have approved of the artistic challenge since the cake she designed for our wedding is now in their portfolio of cakes that can be ordered.

  144. I would encourage you and everyone else in this conversation to actually read the judge’s decision in the Colorado case. He actually adresse sthis argument on pages 7-9

    Finally, Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to
    make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church.

    However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.

    Cake is not speech. Seems like a rather obvious distinction…

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