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-Did the Death of DOMA Sow the Seeds of a Crisis in Religious Liberty?

by Dr. D ~ June 28th, 2014

Supreme Court Pediment

                          (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

One year ago the Supreme Court of the US struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and opened the door to challenges in nearly every state that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

The deluge of lower court cases based upon that decision shows that it was a major turning point in redefining marriage in America.  The establishment of same-sex marriage in all 50 states is now a legal ‘fait accompli’ despite the current laws to the contrary in a large number of states. It is just a matter of time and court cases. The judiciary is changing America.

It is my contention that the decision not only affected marriage in the United States but also sowed seeds that could eventually lead to a an undermining of religious liberty and a major Constitutional crisis over an attempt to redefine the First Amendment.

The question will soon revolve around how the government (both local and federal) is to respond to Christians and Christian organizations and institutions that refuse to go along with the redefinition of marriage and continue to limit the participation of LGBT folks in their employment and leadership. I am not the only one who sees this crisis coming. Dr. Albert Mohler in an article on this same issue in the CNN Belief Blog observes:

A year after the death of DOMA, it is also clear that very real threats to religious liberty now loom before us. This is perhaps the inevitable consequence of a moral revolution of this scale.

Will the government now coerce the consciences of churches, religious institutions, schools, colleges, social service agencies, and the like? There is now strong evidence that government at every level will attempt such coercion. Will America abandon religious liberty for the sake of erotic freedom?

Those of us who believe same-sex marriage to be a moral impossibility now face a very daunting challenge — how to live in a society that is moving so rapidly against our moral worldview, even as the society shared that worldview for over 2,000 years.

We have already seen some indications of how government officials and the courts might proceed. last year, San Antonio (Texas) city officials passed an ordinance with a ‘non-discrimination’ policy that would seem to target and prevent Christian organizations from using the city’s convention center.  Then recently also in ‘conservative’ Texas, the city of Houston passed an ordinance that was suppose to be about ‘transgender bathroom choice’ but unreported was a provision in the law that would force Christian business owners to participate in same-sex ceremonies regardless of religious convictions or beliefs. And finally, there is the  New Mexico Supreme Court decision last year which blatantly declared that homosexual rights trump religious liberty and conscience. This is a case that SCOTUS refused to deal with during this session. Their inaction will encourage similar decisions in lower courts and actually lead to the crisis we are talking about.

Meanwhile, President Obama and his administration is in the forefront of encouraging a change in policy within Christian churches and organizations when it comes to homosexuality.  But far more ominous is his approach towards redefining the First Amendment as merely ‘Freedom to Worship’ which would limit religious freedom and liberty to inside the four walls of an official place of worship.

Make no mistake, freedom of religion is under assault in America even though we have a Constitution that guarantees it.  The judiciary and SCOTUS in particular has the power to limit, reinterpret, and redefine the First Amendment nearly at will.           *Top

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