Pornography OK, religion not
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.