Politics & Policy

Religious Liberty and the Left’s End Game

The logical conclusion of opposition to the RFRA is support of compulsory speech.

When Ed Schultz orders the microphone to be turned off because he’s getting schooled about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), we know not to expect the Left to answer for its many sins when talking about religious liberty.

And given the liberal misinformation regime, don’t assume the Left to be held accountable for the principles that that lead to its protest against religious liberty. But the moment we’re in requires us to think critically about the perilous state of our constitutional rights and the Left’s hostility toward them.

Policies come to us with principles attached to them, and when debating public policy we should consider the principles not only of legislation that has passed but also of legislation that has been rejected. No one to my knowledge is discussing where the principles implied in the Left’s rejection of the RFRA lead. Responsible statecraft entails an examination of a principle’s logical conclusion. In the case of liberalism, the conclusions to which its principles lead help us see just how deeply opposed those principles are to the constitutional order we’ve inherited.

RELATED: The War on the Private Mind

When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites compelled speech. When photographers are forced under threat of fines to shoot weddings or religious services that they believe are immoral, the assumption is that we are sometimes legally bound to participate in certain kinds of speech, and the state becomes the arbiter of what that speech is in specific instances.

When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it welcomes the erosion of free association. When the state can deem codes of conduct or membership statements to be irrational prejudice, it diminishes the ability of citizens to associate or to organize for a cause.

When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites the derogation of religious motives underpinning free expression. It allows the state to determine what beliefs are properly or improperly grounds for taking legal action.

RELATED: RFRA: Now More than Ever

#related#Which leads to my final point. When the Left rejects the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it invites the imposition of state-enforced morality. The Left requires obedience and punishes dissent. It insists that all citizens must, against their will, act only in a manner that liberalism judges to be accommodating and politic.

Anyone acquainted with progressive thought knows that it is founded on unexamined assumptions, but seldom until now have we seen its unhinged hostility unmasked, as the Left reacts to our defense of a cherished freedom written into our Constitution.

Conservatives need to begin going on offense when talking about the RFRA. We need to clearly state that opposition to it is support of state-sanctioned coercion in all its many forms.

Andrew WalkerAndrew T. Walker is an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Executive Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.

Most Popular

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris Is No Moderate

Kamala Harris, they assure us, is a “moderate.” A moderate what? Moderate compared to whom? Senator Harris is a moderate autocrat. During the Democratic primary debates, she vowed to ban so-called assault weapons by executive order. When Joe Biden pointed out that the president has no such power and is ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris Is No Moderate

Kamala Harris, they assure us, is a “moderate.” A moderate what? Moderate compared to whom? Senator Harris is a moderate autocrat. During the Democratic primary debates, she vowed to ban so-called assault weapons by executive order. When Joe Biden pointed out that the president has no such power and is ... Read More
Elections

Don’t Count on Kamala Harris

On the menu today: all about Kamala Harris -- why her political instincts never quite lived up to the potential her fans expected, how she turns the “law and order” arguments upside down, and whether her campaign offers some warning signs about her ability to thrive in the executive branch. What Separates ... Read More
Elections

Don’t Count on Kamala Harris

On the menu today: all about Kamala Harris -- why her political instincts never quite lived up to the potential her fans expected, how she turns the “law and order” arguments upside down, and whether her campaign offers some warning signs about her ability to thrive in the executive branch. What Separates ... Read More