NY Times Columnist Wants to Confine Religious Liberty to Church Closet
Openly homosexual New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni has announced his generous support for the right of people of faith “to believe what they do and say what they wish—in their pews, homes and hearts.” (emphasis added).
Wow, thanks, Mr. Bruni.
The hubris of “progressives,” particularly “progressives” of a particular rainbow-hued stripe, seems to know no bounds. According to Bruni, conservative Christians must relinquish their constitutionally protected right to the free exercise of religion on his altar to the god of homoeroticism.
A peevish Bruni starts his screed by moaning that he feels “chafed” by claims that homosexuals like himself are a threat to religious liberty and then proceeds to argue for a breathtaking limitation of religious liberty to only pews, homes, and hearts—which is actually no liberty at all. In so doing, Bruni reveals his lack of understanding of both the history of religious liberty and of what faith entails for followers of Christ.
The First Amendment was intended to protect the right of people of faith to practice their religion unencumbered by government, which has the unruly tendency to intrude into areas of human life into which it ought not intrude. The Free Exercise Clause was intended to provide broad protections for the exercise of religion—which is not limited to pews, homes, and hearts, and not abrogated by homoeroticism.
Homosexuals and their “progressive” ideological allies who condemn orthodox Christian beliefs are trying to arrogate to themselves the right to determine what the free exercise of religion for orthodox Christians entails. For true followers of Christ, the practice of religion is a holistic endeavor—at least as holistic as homosexuals claim their romantic and erotic desires are. Imagine someone saying that he supports the right of homoerotically-oriented men and women to believe what they do and say what they wish only in their churches, homes, hearts, and maybe the Center on Halsted.
Or imagine if those homosexuals who attend churches that embrace late 20th Century, heterodox theology and as a result support legalized same-sex faux-“marriage” were told that they could believe what they wish and say what they wish only in their pews, homes, and hearts. In other words, they should lose the right to affect public policy or allow their business practices to reflect their religious beliefs.
In a hyperbolic rhetorical flourish, Bruni asks, “why should a merchant whose version of Christianity condemns homosexuality get to exile gays and lesbians?” Exiling gays and lesbians? Wow again.
The inconvenient truth for Bruni is that Christian florists and bakers are seeking neither to exile homosexuals nor to refuse to serve customers who affirm a homoerotic identity. Rather, they’re refusing to use their time, gifts, and labor to make a particular product that celebrates an event that the God they serve abhors. In reality, these same florists and bakers have actually served on multiple occasions the very homosexuals who are suing them for not making products for their “weddings.”
Bruni then digs in with his floppy shovel, suggesting that not making a cake or floral arrangement for a same-sex “wedding” is analogous to a Muslim store-owner refusing to serve a woman whose head is not covered or a Mormon hairdresser turning away clients “who saunter in with frappuccinos.”
In other words, Bruni suggests that when a baker chooses not to make a particular product for a particular type of event—and a type of event for which this baker has never made a product—it is analogous to a business-owner demanding that a customer adopt the owner’s religious practices in order to be able to purchase a product or service.
But of course, no Christian florist or baker has demanded that customers adopt his or her religious practices or beliefs in order to purchase a product or receive a service. Conservative Christian bakers sell their cookies and cupcakes to homosexuals. Christian photographers take photos of homosexuals. Christian florists sell flowers to homosexuals. No Christian has turned away customers who saunter in wearing a PRIDE t-shirt. And Christian business-owners do not demand that customers wear crucifixes or take Communion in order to be served.
It’s important to note this critical distinction: A ceremony that celebrates the union of two people of the same-sex is not identical to a ceremony that celebrates the union of two people of opposite sexes. Such a ceremony is the antithesis of a marriage, which is why many orthodox Christians will not use the terms “wedding” or “marriage” to describe the union of two people of the same sex.
Calling a homoerotic union a “marriage” does not make it a marriage in reality. Just as legally construing a human as 3/5 person would not make him in reality only 3/5 a person, the foolish decision of foolish people to recognize legally a homoerotic union as a “marriage” does not make it in reality a marriage.
So, the request of homosexuals for a cake for their “wedding” is not the same as a request from a heterosexual couple for a cake for their wedding. Homosexuals are seeking to compel bakers to make a product for an entirely different type of event, and one which the bakers believe mocks real marriage and offends God.
Bruni trots out and beats the dying but still useful homosexuality = race horse: “As these lamentations about religious liberty get tossed around, it’s worth remembering that racists have used the same argument to try to perpetuate segregation.” It’s also worth remembering that the fact that one group of people with a gross misunderstanding of Scripture appealed to religious liberty to defend evil practices does not mean all groups who appeal to religious liberty are guilty of engaging in evil practices or of grossly misinterpreting Scripture.
Moreover, it makes no rational sense to compare a condition like race that has no inherent connection to either feelings or volitional acts to homoeroticism which is constituted solely by feelings and volitional acts.
Since Bruni is busy declaring the boundaries in which people of faith may exercise their religion, maybe Bruni can help us out by answering these questions:
- Should a male Muslim massage therapist whose faith prohibits him from touching unrelated women be required to give massages to unrelated women?
- Should a Mormon hairdresser whose faith teaches that polygamy is profoundly sinful be required to use her skills to style the hair of brides in a polygamist’s commitment ceremony?
- Should a Christian whose faith teaches that racism is sinful be required to bake a cake decorated with a white supremacy message for a Neo-Nazi event?
- Should a baker who identifies as a “gay Christian” and attends a theologically heterodox church—perhaps a Metropolitan Community Church or a Dignity USA chapter—be compelled to make a cake for a National Organization for Marriage event?
Bruni makes clear the error in his thinking when he says that Christian bakers, photographers, and florists “are routinely interacting with customers who behave in ways they deem sinful. They don’t get to single out one group of supposed sinners. If they’re allowed to, who’s to say they’ll stop at that group?”
Bruni’s rendering of the plight of Christian owners of wedding-related businesses is backwards. Christian owners of wedding-related businesses are not singling out and refusing to serve a particular group of sinners. Rather, some members of a particular group of sinners are trying to force Christian owners of wedding-related businesses to participate in their sin.
Bruni presumptuously proclaims that “Baking a cake, arranging roses, running an inn: These aren’t religious acts…”
Well, God may beg to differ with Bruni:
- “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
- And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).
- “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Col. 3:23)
- “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness…” (Jer. 22:13).
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
- “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Eph. 5: 5-12).
Due to the astonishing influence of homosexual and “trans” activism and the unbiblical cowardice of Christians—including especially Christian leaders—we’re going to see the government increasingly making demands on Christians with which Christians ought not comply. It is during those times that Christians should remember that we are commanded to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
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