Sunday, May 10, 2015

Will A Nationwide Gay Marriage Ruling Trigger a New Culture War

A piece in The Economist ask the question of whether a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down same sex marriage bans will lead to a new round in the so-called culture wars.  Specifically, will such a ruling have wider repercussions that impact "Christian" organization run hospitals, schools, etc. - many of which compete for business with secular run businesses and institutions - that are far removed from religious worship that was what the Founding Fathers had in mind when the penned the Bill of Rights.  The author of the article advises that "liberals be magnanimous" in their victor.  I disagree completely.  If you are running a hospital or other business that competes with the private sector, you choices should be either (i) comply with non-discrimination laws and regulations or (ii) lose your tax-exempt status.  The rest of us should not be indirectly underwriting discriminatory institutions.  Here are article highlights:
Ahead of this summer’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage—which could legalise such weddings in all 50 states—a new “gotcha” question has emerged on the 2016 campaign trail. Republican candidates are asked: “Would you attend the same-sex nuptials of a loved one or friend?” It says a lot about fast-changing public opinion that so many say they would, even if some doubt that gay people have a constitutional right to wed.

Ambitious politicians sense a shift in the national mood that runs ahead of dry poll numbers. Many Americans still tell pollsters that they oppose same-sex marriage in principle. Republicans, old people, evangelical Christians and non-whites are particularly likely to have qualms (just 42% of blacks support such unions, for instance). Nonetheless, many of those same sceptics would think a politician weirdly judgmental and unkind to snub a friend or relative’s gay wedding—not least because a growing number of Americans realise that they have gay nephews and neighbours of their own. Put another way, many Americans are ready for a truce in the culture wars that surround gay rights.

Alas, at the very moment when the public seems ready to move on, there are signs that gay rights could spark a new round of cultural combat.

A warning call was delivered on May 4th by John Inazu of Washington University School of Law in St Louis, at the Faith Angle Forum, a twice-yearly gathering of academics, religious leaders and political journalists. A shadow hangs over traditional Christian colleges, non-profit institutions (including some large hospitals) and businesses run by those whose beliefs lead them to see gay marriage as a grave sin, notes Mr Inazu. That shadow could be termed the “Bob Jones Question”—referring to a private religious university in South Carolina whose leaders barred interracial dating or marriage until 2000, citing their interpretation of the Bible. That cost Bob Jones University its tax-exempt status, a decision upheld in 1983 by the Supreme Court.

[Albert Mohler] jumped on two other exchanges involving the government’s representative in court, Solicitor-General Donald Verrilli. One involved the question of whether religious schools offering married quarters would be forced to offer such housing to same-sex couples. That depends on future anti-discrimination laws, came the answer. Then a conservative justice, Samuel Alito, cited Bob Jones University and asked Mr Verrilli if a college that opposed same-sex marriage might lose its tax-exempt status. Depending on specifics in future cases, “It is going to be an issue,” the solicitor-general replied. That not only alarms folk like Mr Mohler. It makes some Republicans livid. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas talks of a “liberal fascism” attacking those who follow the Bible. 

Businesses that refuse service to gay weddings inspire comparisons with Jim Crow-era segregated lunch counters. By loudly supporting them, conservatives have lost potential allies. Most black Protestants disapprove of gay marriage, for instance, but six in ten of them told a 2014 Pew poll that, regardless of religious beliefs, businesses should be required to serve same-sex couples.

It would help if more Republicans were willing to pass basic laws protecting gay people from discrimination in states which lack them. At the same time, Democrats and their allies could treat faith with more respect. . . . . If the summer brings the nationwide legalisation of gay marriage, liberals should be magnanimous in victory.
As noted above, I strenuously disagree.  Conservative Christians have made life a living hell for gays and others for decades - if not centuries.  It's about time the undeserved deference and misguided respect cease once and for all.  It is far past time that these modern day Pharisees comply with all non-discrimination or lose their tax-exempt status.  If they want to operate as a discriminatory private club, then they need to cease receiving indirect taxpayer support.  It's really that simple.  

1 comment:

Stephen said...

It's distressing that "Lexington" is unable to distinguish between anti-discirmination laws and provision of same-sex marriage.