May 23, 2018 - Wednesday
The Long Harm of the Law
The latest legislative push by liberals reveals the deep ideological divide that exists in America today. In a bill that does the opposite of its title, the "Do No Harm Act" would seek to elevate sexual behavior above religious beliefs. Plenty of harm would be inflicted on men and women of faith, especially in areas like health care, government grants and partnerships, employment, and small business. But, for once, the duo of Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are at least being honest about their agenda, making it clear that they want to limit religious freedom to the Left's newly defined sexuality.
Resurrecting one of Barack Obama's turns of phrase, Harris claims that the "freedom of worship" is important, but so is "the right to live free of discrimination or fear that one's civil rights will be undermined because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity." In other words, when the First Amendment clashes with their new radical agenda on marriage or transgenderism, the Constitution would lose – along with every baker, military chaplain, health care worker, florist, teacher, businessman, charity, or adoption service that disagrees.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R), the man behind the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that liberals are taking a hammer to, was adamant. "The original intent was to prevent government officials who think they know better than everyone else from forcing individuals to violate their religious beliefs. The only thing that's changed is the Left's beliefs that all people are entitled to religious protection, regardless of where their views fall on the ideological spectrum... The day we begin carving out exceptions to RFRA," he said in warning tone, "is the day RFRA dies."
For the Left, this new challenge is certainly a shift in strategy. Usually, liberals like Harris and Leahy don't fight their losing battles legislatively, where their extreme ideas are more likely to fail. Instead, they duke it out in the activist courts, making gains they could never get in Congress or from voters. They're either frustrated that the courts won't totally abandon America's First Freedom or they've been watching MSNBC and listening to their own speeches so much that they believe this is a winning message for America. It might be for the extreme coasts, but it isn't a message the heartland of America will embrace.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.