Archive for the ‘Religious Liberty’ Category

Human rights are foundational to a free society.  In America our government derives authority from the consent of the governed.  Such consent presupposes that the governed themselves have rights upon which they can act as autonomous people.

The way this plays out in many modern day political issues is really interesting.  To say humans have “rights” is to affirm we are a certain type of thing.  As a theist, this is not problematic at all.  I believe all people are God’s image bearers, and that as a consequence they have certain inherent worth.  But for a secularist, who tries to live without reference to God, humans are not any type of person in particular.  That is, we’re just physical beings.  The conjunction of random mutation and natural selection is not a good foundation for “rights.”

But the “rights” many people talk about today are not “rights” at all, but preferences and wants.  Some women WANT to be able to get abortion on demand.  But the abortion debate gets framed as a women’s “right” to choose.  Of course, this want comes from the sexual revolution and the view that we should be able to have as much sex as we want without any consequence.  Unfortunately the sexual revolution is a war against biology, and one we can’t win.

In any case, it should be clear this isn’t about “rights.”  In a secular society, there are no rights.  Just wants and desires.  Women WANT to have unfettered sex, and that requires a biological war to deal with the consequences of sex.  Personal whim is the only basis for “rights” in a secular world, so what can our society do other than capitulate?

What we can, and must, do is start addressing the demonstrably false presuppositions in play.  Regardless of personal whim, there are moral duties we have to follow.  And quite frankly, those moral duties don’t change when you throw off personal responsibility for your sexual decisions.  The neglect of moral duty does not a right create.

As we said before, to have a right is to affirm humans are a certain type of thing.  But when we obfuscate rights with personal whims, we say the type of things humans are is exactly the type of thing that does NOT have rights.  We’re affirming contradictory positions and conflicting premises.

Of course, this doesn’t merely apply to abortion, we could talk about “gay rights” as well.  This is a whole new class of personal whims now being labeled as “rights.”  A person chooses to enter a relationship that can’t possibly produce children naturally (again, we’re quite fond of our war with biology), but demands to have the “right” to raise a child.

Actually, homosexuals do have the right to raise children.  But they have to enter a heterosexual relationship to do so, just like everybody else (even with artificial insemination the sperm has to come from SOMEWHERE, or with adoption the child did not come from a same-sex union).  What is going on is a demand for society to accommodate what biology has flatly refused to accommodate, and these insane demands are labeled as “rights.”

But we’re here calling the secularist’s bluff.  And they don’t like it (see the Doug Wilson video below).  So we end up with temper-tantrums, emotionally-driven appeals, and an idiotic cultural conversation that can’t move past sound bites and talking points from our ridiculous media.

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Joey

Dr. Frank Turek recently visited Ohio University to present one of his popular “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” seminars.  Turek, who is opposed to gay marriage, incited opposition.

The problem stems from the fact that OU offers funding to recognized student organizations (such as Ratio Christi) to hold events.  These funds, which come from general tuition dollars, were used for this event.  Gay rights activists on the campus were furious.

As a side note, I want to point out that there are no “gay rights.”  There are human rights, that apply to gay people just as they apply to all other people.  But a “right” that applies only to a specific group of people is no “right” at all, it may at best be a privilege.  We should do away with the term “gay rights.”  There are human rights, and gays who demand certain privileges in light of their gayness.  But we shouldn’t confuse these with rights.

That stated, the Turek event at OU is interesting.  Turek was not speaking on gay marriage, yet gay students at OU felt the need to protest his visit and the funding Ratio Christi received for the event.  And this is all being done in the name of “diversity.”

That’s right, OU has stated they want to promote diversity and this might cause them to DENY funds to Ratio Christi events in the future.  This is beyond ironic.  Diversity requires allowing multiple legitimately different viewpoints.  For true diversity, OU’s gay activists must allow opposing viewpoints to be expressed.

But this shows this is not really about diversity.  This is an Orwellian situation in which “diversity” has come to mean “unanimity.”  The gay community at OU only wants diversity when the diverse viewpoints all express the same pro-gay privileges agenda.  To support diversity is no longer to permit the expression of multiple opposing viewpoints, but to permit the expression only of those views that support a certain minority position.

The only “diversity” allowed must be approved by the gay community.  Of course, observant people will notice this is not diversity at all.  This is actually the opposite of diversity.  On a diverse campus, all positions would be allowed to express themselves in accordance with their constitutional rights.  But here the opposing view must be silenced.  This is a demand for uniformity, not diversity.

Gay activists who cry out for diversity, but simultaneously seek to silence those who disagree with them, are in conflict with themselves.  They tolerance they demand be expressed toward them is denied to other groups.  The “diversity” they are clamoring for is unworthy of the name.  In a diverse society multiple opposing views are encouraged, not censored.

Atheists in this country have made satire their friend.  Whether it’s Bill Maher’s roasts of religion, or the late Christopher Hitchens’ witty one-liners, atheism has enrolled humor in its debate with religion.

One atheist, Ernest Pearce, decided to dress up like a zombie Muhammad while his friend dressed up like a zombie pope for a Halloween parade.  Of course, this is disrespectful to Muslims who believe depicting Muhammad is strictly forbidden.  It is also disrespectful to Catholics who highly regard the pope.  But that’s all it is, disrespectful.

See, America is a country that permits you to show a less-than perfect respect toward positions with which you disagree.  Atheists are allowed to satirize my beliefs, and I am allowed to satirize theirs.  This is all part of the debate.  And it’s not a terrible thing when both sides lighten up enough to appreciate some humor.

Unfortunately for Pearce, he ran into a Muslim who was not entirely sympathetic to the view I’ve just expressed.  He reportedly choked Pearce, and followed him for several blocks during the parade.  Pearce filed a complaint with a local police officer, and the case headed to court.

What happened next is confounding and downright scary.  The judge dismissed the charges against the Muslim and chastised Pearce in his ruling.  Pearce, according to Judge Mark Martin, was well beyond his Constitutional rights.  Surely, these rights don’t extend to being offensive, do they?  Martin even referenced countries where Sharia law is enforced, rightly noting that Pearce would have faced severe punishment in a Sharia-observing nation.

The problem with all of this is that America is NOT a Sharia-observing nation. And, quite frankly, people are allowed to do things even if religious people find it offensive.  If Westboro Baptist Church is allowed to protest at funerals, atheists are allowed to dress up like zombie Muhammads, popes, Zarasthustras, etc…  Will religious people take offense?  Sure.  Does that mean the atheist loses their rights?  Of course not!

As a Christian, I’m deeply fearful that an individual’s rights were so ignored in this case.  You see, the Christian message is offensive to many.  But I don’t want my rights to be surrendered just because some people disagree and take offense.  Because I expect to have this right myself, I want it extended to other people, even atheists.

The freedom of religion is also the freedom of non-religion.  The freedom of speech is especially necessary when speech of offensive.  And without the freedom of speech there cannot be any true freedom of religion.  As a Christian  I believe in a revealed religion, a religion revealed through the written Word and the incarnate Word.  When speech is restricted, the ability of Christianity to express itself is hampered.

We, as religious people, must uphold the freedom of speech because there is no true freedom of religion without it.

At the same time, we would appreciate it if society recognized this and applied it to us.  If our atheist friends want to be able to express offensive views, they need to stop trying to criminalize Christianity for calling certain behaviors sinful.  True freedom cuts both ways, it extends even to those with whom we disagree.  Without this realization, freedom is just a guise for hypocrisy.