Religious Conservatives Face New American Reality

At churches across the country, Christian pastors are deeply concerned about the future of religious freedom in America. After the devastating ruling from the Supreme Court, many religious conservatives see dark times ahead. “Welcome to the new world,” said Roy Moore, Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice on Sunday. “It’s just changed for you Christians. You are going to be persecuted.”

While it’s tempting to wave off this kind of talk as hyperbole, the facts are unmistakable. In the blink of an eye, things have changed. Despite the fact that the majority of religious conservatives oppose gay marriage, their position has become one of bigotry and hate in the eyes of the media. And it could be only a matter of time before the law sees it the same way. Clergymen themselves are safe for the time being, protected by the First Amendment. But when it comes to faith-based schools and charities, there is a decided chill in the air.

In writing his dissent to the ruling, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said, “I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

That’s not some old kook preaching fire and brimstone in a church basement in Florida; that’s a Supreme Court justice telling us that this decision on gay marriage is about to change the country in a big way. This isn’t just about whether or not states can enact bans against same-sex marriage. This is about whether or not it will be permitted for anyone to oppose the institution without being treated like a social pariah.

Think about how far we’ve come and how fast. To liberals, of course, the speed at which this has happened is a good thing. They see it as the culmination of a generation’s worth of work. They see it as a grand step forward for civil rights. To them, Friday’s decision was as monumental as anything that happened in the late 1960s.

To conservatives who believe in the traditional definition of marriage, however, Friday’s decision was the biggest slap in the face since Roe v. Wade. Rather than use the Constitution as their guide, the Supreme Court decided to put their stamp of approval on the trend of the day. Sure, the assent came up with all kinds of legal gobbledygook to justify the decision, but this was a decision made for political purposes alone. It was a finger in the face of traditionalists, Christians, and Webster’s Dictionary.

In a country where five men and women can change the definition of marriage with a snap of their fingers, what can’t happen? What can the Constitution protect us from? How bad will it get?

These are the questions that America’s Christians and conservatives are asking themselves this week, and there are no easy answers. We’ve been cast as the villains in the grand LGBT morality play. The “heroes” smell blood, and they are ready to finish us off. Let’s show them that we will not go quietly into this rainbow night.

 


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