The Clash Between Sexual Liberty and Religious Liberty
An April 9, 2009 article in the (certainly not conservative) Washington Post documented how “Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.”
Correspondent Jacqueline L. Salmon cited these representative examples:
• A psychologist in Georgia was fired after she declined for religious reasons to counsel a lesbian about her relationship.
• Christian fertility doctors in California who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian patient were barred by the state Supreme Court from invoking their religious beliefs in refusing treatment.
• A Christian student group was not recognized at a University of California law school because it denies membership to anyone practicing sex outside of traditional marriage.
So much for freedom of conscience!
The article ended with this telling quote from Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress: “When you have a change that is as dramatic as has happened in the last 10 to 15 years with regards to attitudes toward homosexuality, it’s inevitable it’s going to reverberate in dozens of places in the law that you’re never going to be able to foresee.” In confirmation of this, Georgetown Law Professor Chai Feldblum, appointed by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, famously remarked that when push comes to shove, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” In more technical terms, she wrote, “Protecting one group’s identity liberty may, at times, require that we burden others’ belief liberties.”
Writing in the Washington Post eighteen months later, political science professor Matthew J. Franck drew attention to other egregious cases, including:
On a left-wing Web site, a petition drive succeeds in pressuring Apple to drop an “app” from its iTunes store for the Manhattan Declaration, an ecumenical Christian statement whose nearly half-million signers are united in defense of the right to life, the tradition of conjugal marriage between man and woman, and the principles of religious liberty. The offense? The app is a “hate fest.” Fewer than 8,000 people petition for the app to go; more than five times as many petition Apple for its reinstatement, so far to no avail.
Not only did the incident with the Manhattan Declaration expose a glaring double standard within Apple (since numerous, sexually explicit gay apps have not been removed, including apps with information on gay bathhouses for anonymous sexual encounters, despite complaints regarding their offensive content), but it also exposed the mindset of gay activist groups (and their allies) that encouraged Apple to remove the Manhattan Declaration app: All opposing views must be silenced!
As expressed by the website that started the campaign to remove the app:
This was seconded by GLAAD (the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation):
So, if you support the institution of marriage as we have known it from the beginning of human history and if you dare take issue with the goals of gay activism, prepare to be censored – or worse.