This is from religious liberty rock star David French, writing in National Review. He writes about a new Tennessee bill that protects Christian social workers from having to violate their consciences when doing their jobs.
The Tennessee legislature has passed a bill protecting from liability “counselors and therapists who refuse to counsel a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist.”
[…]Two legal cases I worked on immediately come to mind. The first involved a young woman named Emily Brooker, a social-work student at Missouri State University. Emily’s academic “crime” was refusing a professor’s demand that she sign her name to a letter to the state legislature advocating gay adoption.
Rather than recognizing that teachers can’t compel students to engage in political advocacy, the professor accused her of a “Level 3” grievance (the university’s most serious academic offense). The department then subjected Emily to a Star Chamber–style political inquiry, where a panel of professors demanded to know whether she was a “sinner” and kept her from having a lawyer, an advocate, or even her own mother in the room. The panel convicted her of the offense and required her to change her beliefs as a condition of graduation.
In the second case, I represented Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University. Julea was in the final stages of her graduate counseling program when she was asked to counsel a gay man about his same-sex relationship. She declined and referred the file to another counselor who had no moral objections. The client was counseled without incident. Indeed, he didn’t even know his file had been referred.
The university, however, found her referral intolerable and subjected Julea to a “formal review,” accusing her of “imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals” and of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Once again, a student was summoned to the Star Chamber, and once again public officials probed a private citizen’s religious beliefs. One university official actually held it against her that she “communicated an attempt to maintain [her] belief system.” She was expelled from the program just weeks before graduation.
David French used to work at the Alliance Defending Freedom, but now he works for the American Center for Law and Justice.
I noticed that Casey Mattox at the Alliance Defending Freedom has a warning for Christians who think that the advance of the sexual revolutionaries won’t affect them.
While the anti-conscience activists pretend that conscientious objectors are declining goods or services because of sexual orientation, every case disproves that characterization. These creative professionals serve all persons. They object only to facilitating and celebrating a particular event that would require them to advance a message contrary to their religious convictions.
The left had historically mocked suggestions that any pastor would ever be forced to perform a same sex wedding in violation of their faith. But the mask is slipping. See the hysterical response to a Georgia law that would have done little more than protect pastors, churches and other nonprofit religious organizations from hosting and solemnizing a same-sex marriage. Indeed, the left has already attempted to force a pastor to perform a same-sex wedding that would violate his faith. And within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, activists were urging termination of tax exemptions for churches that decline to perform same-sex weddings.
Not every same-sex wedding is a church wedding, but some are. If Christian videographers, wedding coordinators, musicians, and othercreative professionals – let alone pastors themselves – are required to provide their services for same-sex weddings, some will even have to be physically present, even participating in religious worship where they believe the prayers prayed, hymns sung, and scriptures read in support are actually blaspheming their own God.
The opponents of RFRA and like religious freedom protections are still quick to deploy their “separation of church and state” cliché, but one side is demanding that the state fine people for declining to participate in a religious service. It isn’t mine. It’s the ACLU and its allies who are ready to use the power of the state to compel unwilling people to participate in religious services.
[…]Of the same-sex marriage agenda, Erick Erickson has coined the phrase, “You will be made to care.” But in some cases this is insufficient. You must participate. Even if the left must use the power of the government to fine you if you refuse, you will be made to worship their god.
I think a lot of Christians sort of don’t think it’s a problem if they keep their faith in a box and only let it out to see the light of day for purposes of feeling good, or having community. But Christianity isn’t like that. It’s not something for the benefit of the Christian, it’s a worldview. And part of that worldview is not only doing the things that God wants us to do as individual, but also declaring and defending God’s values and character to others, when the subject comes up for discussion. We are not free to promote things that God does not agree with.