Which Should Be Illegal: Sodomy or Christianity? (A Thought Experiment)
Pick one. Seriously.
This is the choice the intolerant left is forcing on us. Liberals pretended right up to the day before Obergefell v. Hodges was decided that all they wanted was tolerance. Privacy. To keep government out of people’s intimate lives. And that sounds good to us. I’ve never met a single person — and I move in some pretty right-wing circles — who wanted to imprison or fine anyone for private sexual conduct. Most of the Christian opponents of the LGBT agenda just want themselves and their institutions left alone. We want freedom of contract and association, with certain justified Civil Rights exceptions. Those old-fashioned American ideals.
President Trump really believes that this is what he’s fighting for, when he commits the U.S. to decriminalizing sodomy in foreign countries. But he’s mistaken.
The Left Never Wanted Tolerance
Because the liberals were lying. They want to take the old American status quo circa 1965, which was often egregiously cruel to homosexual Americans, and impose the same upon faithful Christians. This isn’t reform, it’s payback. It’s revenge, served not quite cold.
It’s happening in increments, in dribs and drabs. A Christian baker here, a florist there. But sometimes the chef turns up the heat, and the frogs in the pot start to notice. The Equality Act now before Congress would place homosexuals and “transgender” people on the same legal footing as ethnic minorities under the Civil Rights Act. That would declare Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) teachings on sexual morality the legal equivalent of racial hate speech.
I want to speed up the film on the boiling frogs. In the hope that they’ll jump from the pot.
Make Your Choice
Constitutional amendments don’t work this way, but try this as a thought experiment anyway. Imagine one came before Congress. Like an old-fashioned Chinese menu, it offered a choice between column A and column B. We’d revise the Constitution in one of two ways:
- Affirming the constitutionality of the old anti-sodomy laws, which in theory punished even private conduct. In practice, they were rarely enforced. They mostly provided the legal basis for restricting gay bars, keeping gays out of the military and allowing private citizens to shun people and things that promoted gay sexual activity. These laws protected organizations like the Boy Scouts and Christian businessmen who didn’t want to rent hotel rooms or apartments to flamboyant same-sex couples.
- Declaring that sexual freedom is such a crucial public interest, First Amendment protections no longer extend to organizations which oppose it. The Supreme Court currently doesn’t let racist people groups claim religious sanction for violating the Civil Rights Act. This amendment would simply extend that logic to “homophobic” organizations. They would lose all tax exemptions and government contracts, of course. But further, they’d be subject to civil suits and criminal prosecution.
No, there’s no third choice. One of those amendments is going to pass. You’re on the phone with your congressman. Which one do you tell him to vote for?
But this is a horrible choice, you complain! One reaches the long hand of government into people’s bedrooms. The other seizes the pulpit in our churches, or simply turns out the lights and changes the locks. One represents laws we’ve let loose of, the other is exactly what leftist intolerance is forcing on us.
Scalia, Not Sharia
Justice Antonin Scalia saw this ugly dilemma coming when he dissented from the Supreme Court’s overturning Texas’ old, largely unenforced sodomy laws. He warned of the implications for natural marriage.
When Obergefell v. Hodge passed, almost half the court joined him in raising the threat level. Justices Roberts, Alito and Thomas raised the alarm. By pretending that sexual conduct or identity are fundamental liberties, we’re putting the full force of the government behind them. We’re saying that people or groups which oppose some sexual practices or identities do not “serve the public interest.” We’re making them, in a real way, enemies of the State.
Now I’m a fan of Scalia, not of sharia. I don’t want to make laws based on purely religious precepts. We shouldn’t impose values based purely on Divine Revelation on people who might not have gotten the grace to believe in them. That’s why as a Catholic, I wouldn’t legislate based on the Apparitions of Fatima. Or even infallible statements by the pope. As a Christian, I wouldn’t favor laws based exclusively on the Old or New Testament.
I Don’t Make the Natural Law, I Just Enforce It
But we can, should, and must make laws based on the natural law, which any rational person can assent to. Our Declaration of Independence justified our war with Britain based on “nature’s laws” of divine origin. And we can argue quite persuasively that homosexual conduct diverges from the biological and social purposes served by marriage. No need to cite chapter and verse. Even more, we can insist that the “transgender” delusion is today’s equivalent of the 1950s lobotomy craze: a crude piece of pseudo-science, which is damaging bodies and souls.
If we can’t argue for these things, if we’re to get banned from social media, or fired from jobs, for even saying such things?
Well, then, a ban on Christianity is already in place. We might as well make it legal.