By Scott Tibbs, March 5, 2014
E.J. Dionne boasts of American voters' respect for religious freedom, in that while 55% to 59% of people say that private business should not be legally permitted to refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings, 61% said that a clergy member or church should have the right to refuse to officiate the ceremony.
First of all, the fact that only 6 in 10 voters would agree that the government should not be allowed to force a church or clergy member to officiate a homosexual wedding should indicate how our religious freedom hangs by a tiny and fraying thread. If we lived in a nation that truly respected religious freedom, that number would be at least 85%. A shift in public opinion of only 12 percentage points would leave that group as a plurality at best.
Dionne knows that public opinion can shift quickly and dramatically - look at how rapidly homosexual marriage is gaining support among the American people, when such a rapid and dramatic shift that would have been unthinkable just ten years ago. For Dionne to tout the truly pathetic and dangerously low margin of 61% as some sort of a grantee of religious freedom is either dishonest or incredibly na´ve - and it is almost certainly the former.
The entire point of the limitations on government in our Bill of Rights is that it does not matter what a majority of the voters think. Rights are not subject to majority rule, and government may not abridge our rights just because it is politically popular.
This is why we need to stand firm on freedom of association and not compromise on religious freedom and freedom of association. It is a very short leap from having government force a Christian business owner to participate in a homosexual wedding to having government force churches and/or clergy to officiate a same-sex wedding. It is obvious that the homosexual lobby - the goal of which has always been mandatory, state-enforced acceptance, not tolerance - is in the process of incrementally breaking down the barriers that our Constitution places between government and religious freedom.