Saturday, September 7, 2013

Be Calm. All Is Well.

If you've ever seen Animal House, you're familiar with the above refrain. It's come to mind a couple of times over the last week, not so much due to current events, but in observing various Catholic (and other Christian) reactions to events.

The main item that has drawn commentary isn't even the stuff going on in Syria. It's the recent case of a Christian-owned bakery in Oregon that was forced to close following an official complaint of discrimination to the state government and the subsequent boycott of the bakery and its suppliers, customers, etc. by homosexual activists.

While this has been the story that has gotten the most national news, it seems perhaps to be part of a trend. Consider a couple of other instances:

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photographer must provide services to faux same-sex weddings on the same basis as real weddings.

In Washington State, the attorney general filed suit against a florist who declined to sell flowers for a same-sex ceremony.

In Iowa, a bed and breakfast has been targeted for not submitting to be a venue for a ceremony. Likewise for a party venue in Fort Worth.

A Vermont inn paid $30,000 to settle a case filed against it for allegedly refusing to host a a homosexual reception.

A complaint was filed with the New York State Human Rights Division against a farm that refused to host a homosexual ceremony.

A Hawaiian court ruled that a bed and breakfast unlawfully discriminated against a lesbian couple for not giving them a room.

There are other examples, but you get the point. None of these are particularly shocking. We're used to seeing this in other countries. It was only a matter of time before it happened here. As mentioned above, the reactions of other Catholics and Christians has been what is disconcerting.

First, many seem almost gleeful in seeing these event unfold. They are quick to label the proprietors in question as bigots (or worse) and see the above as just desserts. I've heard many suggest punishments that go way beyond fines or shutting down the person's business via boycott or regulation.

Second, there is almost no empathy whatsoever. Some of the individuals above, including the bakers in the Oregon case, were subjected to threats of violence and/or wishes for their deaths (or worse).

Third, so many of these Christians think that it's fine to invoke the magic of "conscience" to excuse everything from contraception to fornication to abortion, yet the business owners in these cases apparently have no right to follow their own consciences in doing business in accordance with their sense of morality.

Fourth, this is all ok from a legal perspective because the laws being used against these businesses are state laws rather than federal laws. So there you go. As long as it's an individual state that's doing it, rather than the feds, things are fine.

Fifth, the concerns of where all this is going are utterly non-existent. If it comes down to, say, forcing Catholic churches to provide venues for homosexual events or even perform faux marriages, things will be fine. The courts will save us. They've done such a bang-up job of that so far, what could there possibly be to worry about?

Sixth, as a sort of corollary to the preceding point, many activists on this issue are pretty blunt about where all this is going. And it isn't a good place.

It's an odd thing to see so many Christians pleased with these developments. As more and more laws and ordinances are passed that further push the homosexual agenda, that so many Christians consider worries over slippery slopes and such to be nonsense, absurd, or simply closet bigotry is a terrible sign for the future. Nothing to do but remain calm, I suppose.

All is well.

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