In our time, a lot of attention is paid to outward symbols of religion. Around the world, various governments and workplaces have disallowed the wearing of crosses, for example, often in an effort to avoid giving “offense.”
Frequently, however, the contemporary situation goes beyond mere outward symbols and touches on matters of conscience. As a result, people are often coerced into going against their consciences for the sake of complying with certain laws, ordinances, or regulations. And what we have to remember is that it’s at least as important not to be coerced into violating your conscience as it is to be able to wear symbols of your religion.
Particularly evident in jurisprudence, the attitude in some courts right now seems to be that you can abide by the dictates of your conscience so long as it’s okay with everyone else. But regardless of attempts to square this position with the religious freedoms protected by the First Amendment, common sense dictates there can be no freedom of religion where people are forced to go against a well formed conscience.
Of course, there are vocal proponents of this conscience-crushing tide who openly espouse coercing individuals to go against what they believe. And this is particularly prominent in efforts to further the homosexual legal agenda. To make their arguments viable, such proponents will often divide freedom into various sub-categories so they can then claim to be seeking a balance between many different things, like religious freedom and sexual freedom (or religious liberty and sexual liberty).
For example, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum, who taught law at Georgetown University Law Center, unabashedly says, “There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”
She clearly had no qualms with teaching her students, many of whom will become future jurists and law professors themselves, that sexual freedom trumps religion freedom almost every time.
Is this not tantamount to saying that the consciences of religious people are not even to be given consideration?
Sure it is. But that’s the price the left would have us pay in order to ensure they continue to have the freedom to do what they want, when they want, where they want.
Conscience must be protected. And not just the conscience of some, but of all (Christians included).
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
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