Christian website The Gospel Coalition just posted a list of “10 Critical Religious Liberty Cases” to watch next year. Editor Joe Carter says there are “continual threats to the religious freedom of Christians in America” and these cases will be the battlegrounds in 2019.
He explains all 10 in a bit of detail, but really, we can summarize each of them in a sentence. See if you can find a common theme:
- Should a Christian florist be allowed to discriminate against a gay couple that wants to buy flowers for their wedding?
- Should a non-profit Christian school be given special treatment to expand in a part of Ohio designed specifically for commercial use?
- Should a faith-based women’s shelter be allowed to deny services to a transgender woman? (Or, as The Gospel Coalition put it, “men who believe they are women.”)
- Should a faith-based adoption agency be allowed to violate New York law and discriminate against gay couples?
- Should a Christian baker be allowed to discriminate against a transgender customer who wanted a cake that was “pink on the inside and blue on the outside”?
- Should Christian college students be allowed to proselytize on campus anywhere they want? (The college in question changed its policies to eliminate the limited “free speech” zones, but the Christians are still in court demanding cash.)
- Did a public university discriminate against an anti-abortion group when it denied them funding for a speaker… even though the school’s rules say that money isn’t meant to be used for speakers?
- Did a city discriminate against Christians when it passed an ordinance banning rentals for religious worship at the local civic center? (In this case, I agree with the church.)
- Should anti-gay Christian artists have to obey a local non-discrimination ordinance?
- Should anti-gay Christian videographers have to obey a statewide non-discrimination ordinance?
Just about all of these cases involve Christians thinking their faith is more important than civil rights. They think there should be an exception in the rules for them. When they can’t treat LGBTQ people as second-class citizens, they’re throwing a temper tantrum.
This is what “religious liberty” looks like to conservative Christians. It’s not about their ability to be Christian. It’s about their ability to be bigots in the public square — because that’s what truly defines what it means to follow Jesus.
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