Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Freedom in a cage is a sham, a transparent attempt to soothe us while our rights are being stripped away

ABC News’s George Stephanopolous seemed to have Indiana Governor Mike Pence up against the ropes 
 writes Benny Huang
as he pounded him with the kind of “tough questions” that journalists never seem to pose to their liberal guests. Actually, it was the same tough question repeated over and over again—doesn’t the Indiana religious freedom bill grant business owners a license to discriminate against the “LGBT” community?

Pence denied it, though he shouldn’t have. He should have said that it does and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

 … The party line these days seems to be that government can’t interfere with churches the same way it can with businesses. Churches have special protections under the Constitution that florists and photographers don’t have.

A quick glance at our founding document reveals that that it doesn’t say a thing about churches. What the Constitution does say is that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, a concept applied to all levels of government via the incorporation doctrine of the fourteenth amendment. It’s entirely irrelevant if that exercise is taking place between the four walls of a church.

Yet lawmakers and law-interpreters continue to imagine an invisible caveat attached to our first amendment. Yes, your free exercise is sacrosanct…when you’re in church. The founders apparently never intended freedom to permeate society as a whole.

Bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein found out the hard way that they don’t have constitutional rights while operating their own business. The Christian couple was hauled into court after refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, supposedly in violation of Oregon’s nondiscrimination statute. They believed that the first amendment would protect them but, unfortunately, Oregon allows exceptions to nondiscrimination laws only for churches and religious schools.

The Left’s latest disingenuous position is that they love freedom of religion and all that jazz but it must never be allowed to seep beyond the confines of a church. It’s disingenuous because there is mounting evidence that the statist Left respects no limits on governmental authority, not even the threshold of your church. Priests have been exposed to legal pressure to make them violate the sanctity to the confessional, the mayor of a major American city has tried to subpoena church sermons, Catholic adoption services have been forced out of existence by demands that they give children to same-sex couples. So the idea that they respect churches is just another despicable lie. Churches are where the “bigots” are and the Left allows “bigots” no sanctuary.

This whole concept of churches as a haven of free exercise is simultaneously extra-constitutional, unconstitutional, and perhaps even anti-constitutional. But it isn’t without precedent. It’s actually part of a terrifying trend I call “freedom in a cage,” meaning the official toleration of basic constitutional rights only in small and ever-contracting niches.

Who on earth would want to cage our freedoms? People who hate those freedoms but won’t admit it, that’s who. The tolerance bullies claim that they fully support your right to be a moral monster worse than Hitler as long as you stay in your church. If freedom were ever allowed out of its cage they might have to see it, hear it, and even be inconvenienced by it, which they won’t stand for.
Free exercise of religion isn’t the only freedom they want to cage.

 … don’t accuse the campus censors of opposing free speech. How wrong can you be? They cherish free speech, with prescribed restrictions on content, and only in its proper setting—out of sight and out of mind. Try the janitor’s closet at two in the morning.
 … Freedom in a cage is a sham, a transparent attempt to soothe us while our rights are being stripped away. Look what the authorities are still “allowing” us to do! We’re still allowed, for the time being, to be unforgivable hate-mongers on Sunday morning at church, and to speak our minds on one percent of the campus. As long as we don’t use “offensive language,” of course. So quit your whining! Everything’s fine.

Everything is not fine. Our freedoms are being slowly asphyxiated in their cages. Who knows what will remain of them in a generation?