"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gay marriage: the new threat to religious liberty

I know, it sounds alarmist. But as at Lexington and Concord, somebody has to raise the alarm while most everybody sleeps.

Late in March, I took note of the Massachusetts gay-adoption ruckus. My concern then was that the Archdiocese had apparently been asleep at the switch when, despite its 2003 ruling forbidding Catholic Charities of Boston to place children for adoption with gay couples, just that had been going on under CCB auspices. Peeved, Cardinal O'Malley reiterated the ruling, thus causing several board members to resign. But it appears that the real problem is only beginning.

It looks like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, rather than permit a "religious exemption" that would allow traditionally Christian adoption agencies to avoid such placements, is prepared to drive them out of the business altogether. Maggie Gallagher puts the issue well:

The question in Boston is not whether gays are going to be allowed legally to adopt. It is whether religious people who morally object to gay adoption will be allowed to help children find homes. This is not about gay adoption—it is about our fundamental commitment to religious liberty in this country.

It is a crime to run an adoption agency in Massachusetts without a license from the state. To get a license you have to agree to place children with same-sex couples. For the first time in America, Christians are being told by their government that they are not good citizens, not worthy enough to be permitted to help abandoned babies find good homes.

...And it is not just adoption licenses. What we are witnessing is the unfolding of the logic that gay “marriage” is a civil right. People who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife must (if courts rule this way) be treated like racists by their own government. The potential punishment the state could impose on faith groups is enormous: yanking radio broadcasting licenses, professional licenses (marriage counselors, social workers, psychologists), and the state accreditation of Christian (or other religious) schools and universities. And yes, the tax-exempt status of organizations of faithful Christians and other people of good will are at risk.
Before the logic has had time to unfold that much, and all across this country, we had better wake up.
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