Some religious Americans are reeling this week. Woozy. Struggling to get up off the canvas after taking a left hook that would have made Joe Frazier proud. They are being branded as "intolerant bigots" by some of the least tolerant people this side of the Middle East.
This brawl began when the Indiana legislature passed SB 101, the now-notorious Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The vote in the Indiana Senate was 40 – 10, which sounds overwhelming. Trouble is, all 40 yea votes came from Republicans, while all 10 nays were Democrats.
So this bill was a partisan effort from the jump. Every bit as partisan as the Affordable Care Act. But in this case, in the view of the media and opinion-shapers, the bad guys won. And the bad guys, namely conservatives and Christians, had to be punished. Cue the hysteria, warm up the outrage.
The bill itself seems fairly innocuous, not very different from a federal version and similar laws in twenty states. It gives individuals and businesses a legal avenue to claim in court that their strongly-held religious beliefs shield them from government coercion.
We all know the familiar example. Should a Christian baker be compelled to deliver a cake to a same-sex wedding ceremony he finds objectionable? But while opponents of the law like to use Christianity, let's hypothesize about another religion that the left is terrified to criticize. Should a Muslim-owned restaurant in Indianapolis be forced to cater the union of two lesbians?
There are plenty of other caterers eager to provide that service, so the bride and bride will still get their food. It seems unreasonable, downright intolerant, for the state to compel the Islamic restaurateurs to go against their deeply-held beliefs.
The law has given secular progressives another chance to demonize people of faith, especially Christians. And it has exposed some rank hypocrisy among the enlightened. The CEO of one massive high tech company railed against the Indiana law, even though his firm gladly does business in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries where being gay is punishable by death. We won't name the company, but many of it's products begin with a lower case i. As in … iPocrisy. Yes, Tim Cook, we're looking at you.
The secular left has pretty much won the gay marriage debate, and they did it almost overnight. The Supreme Court will likely follow the lead of many states and declare that same-sex marriage is fully protected by the Constitution. But whatever the court rules, some Christians and Jews and Muslims will continue to oppose same-sex marriage. That is, pardon the expression, their God-given right!
But the left won't be satisfied (is the left ever satisfied?) until every American of faith is punished for holding any beliefs that differ from those of the cognoscenti.
The Founding Fathers were very clear in stating that religious tenets should not be imposed on the people. Most Christians don't want to impose anything, they simply want to be free to act on their conscience. The real "imposers" here are the anti-Christian bullies who claim tolerance, but display absolutely none.
The media plays a particularly shameful role in all of this. They are supposed to be, like a boxing referee, fair and impartial. But if you read the New York Times, if you watch network newscasts or most cable outlets, the Indiana law is nothing but hate on parchment.
So people of faith, after being stunned by that left hook, are now being kicked and brutalized by the ref. We've actually seen the spectacle of media types hectoring mom-and-pop pizza parlors, demanding to know if they would cater a gay wedding. And woe be upon the mom or pop who gives the wrong answer!
Republican Senator Marco Rubio posed a good question: "What about the religious liberties of Americans who do not want to feel compelled by law to provide a catering service or a photography service to a same-sex marriage that their faith teaches is wrong?"
An equally good question: Where are the religious leaders when we need them? They seem to be hiding under their altars, taking sanctuary in their sanctuaries.
Yes, people of faith have suffered a blow. But it's early in the bout. The secular progressive movement has been denigrating, demeaning, and dismissing religious Americans for decades. The bullies are winning. And the time has come for the flock to get up off the canvas and fight back.
Turn the other cheek? Not this time. A right uppercut is a far better idea.