Liberty vs. licentiousness


When I and other defenders of traditional marriage say that religious liberty is at stake in the debate over the definition of marriage—it is not hyperbole on our part.

A recent UCLA study estimated that as many as 70,000 homosexual couples could travel to California in the next few years to get "married." Of course, those findings were spun as a boon to the California economy for tourism. 

But what is good for California's economy could be devastating for our traditional values, as many of these "newly weds" will return to their home states and demand recognition of their "marriages" and much more.

In previous writings, I have documented the assault on free speech and religious freedom in Europe and Canada based on so-called "hate crimes laws." Pastors are being told by government bureaucrats that they cannot speak out about biblical views on marriage and family. Now we are seeing similar situations in this country, where Christian business owners and even religious institutions are being told they must violate their beliefs or risk prosecution.

Even the liberal media is recognizing the threat to religious liberty. Last week, National Public Radio, not exactly a bastion of conservative thought, ran a story entitled, "When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash." After analyzing the expansion of so-called "gay rights" in several states, here's what NPR observed:  "Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group's view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, 'parachurch' organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued—and so far, the religious groups are losing."

NPR also noted last month that our inability to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is leading to the growing acceptance of polygamy in America, which "is not limited to remote enclaves in the West or breakaway sects once affiliated with the Mormon Church. Several scholars say it's growing among black Muslims in the inner city…" It is only a matter of time before the very same judges who can find no "rational state interest" in preserving marriage as the union of one man and one women decide that there is no "rational state interest" in defining marriage as solely the union of two individuals.  On what legal or moral basis could they possibly deny "marriage equality" to polygamists?

Writing in the June 17 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Marc Stern, the general council of the American Jewish Congress, warns that in the wake of the same-sex "marriages" now taking place in California, homosexual rights will trample religious freedom. He notes, "Conflicts about the rights of gays and those of religious believers demonstrate that these are not hypothetical fears." After citing several cases, Stern concludes, "If past rulings are any guide, it is religious rights that are likely to be 'obliterated' … and it seems unlikely that the California courts will intervene. That's a shame."  

It will be a terrible shame if America's "silent majority" allows licentiousness to threaten our liberty, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. As I noted recently, the people are not powerless. There are actions that can be taken, but it will require more than just shrugging our shoulders. We must start by registering new voters, friends and family members who share our values, because the radical Left and its allies are determined to win.

How determined?  

On June 17 Washington Post carried a story about a major push in Virginia to change the law so that 300,000 convicted felons will be able to vote in November. The effort is being lead, of course, by the ACLU.

If you know like-minded individuals who are not registered to vote, please direct them to our Web site, where they can register online. Commit to finding at least 10 new voters, and challenge others to do the same. Our values and our liberty are under assault. Fight back!

Former presidential candidate Gary L. Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

Published, July 2008