Pornog­ra­phy OK, re­li­gion not

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - NOLAN NEL­SON Eu­gene, Ore­gon

Bill of Rights Day, which we marked Dec. 15, re­minded me just how far this coun­try has de­parted from its first prin­ci­ples. The 2015 gay mar­riage rul­ing com­pletes a re­write of the First Amend­ment, which reads (and used to mean), “Congress shall make no law re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion or pro­hibit­ing the free ex­er­cise thereof; or abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press …”

We are fa­mil­iar with the term “speech or ex­pres­sion,” which seems an in­nocu­ous ex­pan­sion. How­ever, “ex­pres­sion” en­ables a nearly un­bounded multi-bil­lion-dol­lar pornog­ra­phy in­dus­try.

U.S. Supreme Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy’s ma­jor­ity opin­ion on gay mar­riage reads, “The First Amend­ment en­sures that re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions and per­sons are given proper pro­tec­tion as they seek to ad­vo­cate and teach the prin­ci­ples that are so ful­fill­ing and cen­tral to their lives and faith.” Such lan­guage re­stricts re­li­gious free­dom by ex­clud­ing “free ex­er­cise thereof.” This re­stric­tion pro­hibits ex­er­cise of re­li­gious be­liefs in busi­ness and per­sonal lives even though the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion makes no dis­tinc­tion be­tween in­di­vid­u­als and their or­ga­ni­za­tions and churches. The in­ter­pre­ta­tion marginal­izes tens of mil­lions of Jewish, Chris­tian and Mus­lim be­liev­ers for whom God’s cre­ation of het­ero­sex­ual mar­riage means ho­mo­sex­ual be­hav­iors sep­a­rate peo­ple from the love re­la­tion­ship God de­sires with hu­man­ity. Any sub­se­quent scrip­tural rea­son­ing ap­plied must de­rive from that ba­sic un­der­stand­ing.

Now we have a coun­try where women, cit­ing free­dom of ex­pres­sion, can en­ter the adult film in­dus­try — but bak­ery own­ers can­not cite free­dom of re­li­gious ex­pres­sion to pre­vent be­ing forced to de­sign and bake wed­ding cakes for gay cou­ples.

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