The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom and the same-sex ruling made by the United States Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. Since five Justices on the Court decided that same-sex marriage should be legal, clerks and other employees at courthouses across the nation have faced some hard choices about their freedom of religion and their freedom to have gainful employment.
Ken McIntyre at the Daily Signal wrote about some of the problems the Court ruling has caused. He quoted Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom who said, “I think the bottom line is, in most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person” and the attitude exhibited by some LGBT activists and their supporters in their ultimatum of “comply or lose your job” runs against “our rich history of religious freedom and religious accommodation.”
Public employees began their civil disobedience in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas, but Tedesco reported his office is “inundated” by calls and emails from employees and officials needing counsel in understanding their rights and making their decisions on how to act. Some of them have asked for accommodations for their faith but have not received them. Some public employees have resigned instead of being forced to issue same-sex marriage licenses. “LGBT rights groups and their supporters are demanding that employees with objections quit or be fired or impeached.”
Tedesco said that “Alliance Defending Freedom is providing basic counsel in requests `from California to North Carolina and all states in between’” but “not formally representing anyone.” Tedesco added, “It’s troubling [to suggest] you can’t be a Christian and have any of these jobs – or be of any faith that believes marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s just a very disturbing reaction to Obergefell, especially when the court went out of its way to say the First Amendment provides protections for people who continue to disagree with this.”
McIntyre included the following as Tedesco’s last quote in which he compared this “climate” with “the procedures and statutes in the 1950s and 1960s under which job applicants or employees were asked to sign a document saying they had no affiliation and agreement, current or past, with the Communist Party. The Supreme Court, after upholding such measures for several years, eventually struck them down. Similarly, `this is like an ideological litmus test on marriage.’ [He suggested that job applications will include the following statement.] `Do you believe – or have you ever been affiliated with a faith organization that believes – that marriage is between a man and a woman? If so, you can’t have this job, or you’re fired from this job. I think the analogy is spot on…. Should you be able to exclude people of faith from government jobs? There’s got to be a way that those two can be simultaneously pursued.’”
Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court hopes the ruling by the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage does cause a “war” within our nation. He predicted during an interview posted with “Voice of Resistance” host Randall Terry that the ruling would cause “a great backlash” from the people of America and compared our current times to the problems during the Revolutionary War. “I hope we don’t have a war…. I hope we don’t have conflicts, but we definitely need to recognize that same-sex marriage is something that has not existed on a government level.” Chief Justice Moore added that “people have not seen what the consequences of this court’s ruling are yet.”
At this time I cannot see Americans taking a back seat on this issue. Christians particularly are being forced to ignore their consciences and religious beliefs in order for other people to enjoy their sexual needs and desires. I expect that many Christians will be willing to endure much worse situations in order to maintain their religious commitments. It is definitely not good for our nation to have all Christians forced out of government jobs!