Bench Memos

Religious Liberty as an “Afterthought”

In an outstanding essay on Public Discourse, law professor (and occasional Bench Memos contributor) Gerard V. Bradley outlines the three ideological commitments of the “new orthodoxy,” the convictions that have emboldened the Obama administration to impose the HHS mandate and that account for its shriveled conception of religious liberty:

(1) “dedication to advancing the ideology of ‘equal sexual liberty,’” an ideology that places “sexual satisfaction, expression and identity” at the core of what constitutes the “good life” and that—libertarians take note—emphasizes the “government’s responsibilities to establish conditions that make this life achievable for all with ease”;

(2) dismissal of the “moral propositions that undergird the conservative alternative to ‘equal sexual liberty’ as subjective religious beliefs incapable of rational defense” and “thus a species of bias”;

(3) identification of the “public value of institutional ministries” as nothing more than the secular services they offer.

Read the whole essay, and I think you’ll have a framework for understanding how the HHS mandate, the Obama administration’s radical position in Hosanna-Tabor, and its sabotaging of, and then refusal to defend, the Defense of Marriage Act fit together.

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