In the sprit of civil discourse, I submit my response to Olive’s remarks. I will be forthright and declare at the outset that I do not approve of homosexual behavior. I do not approve of gay marriage, gay pride parades, or sounding from the rooftops any time a gay person accomplishes something for the first time. No amount of legislation, public pressure, government coercion, or episodes of “Will and Grace” will change my views on homosexuality. It is a behavior and lifestyle that makes no logical sense to me.
If viewed through the lens of contemporary popular culture, my disapproval automatically makes me a monster. If we continue Olive’s allusion to Ender’s Game, I am a Bugger, one of the people who the gay activist left must destroy in order to achieve its goals.
But it is no longer enough for me to affirm human rights. My disapproval of a certain sexual behavior means I am still the enemy, subject to accusations of hate, bigotry, to threats of ostracism and violence. I am smeared with the label “homophobe” because I don’t agree. My actions are of no immediate consequence. It is my beliefs and my thoughts that are being assaulted.
My disapproval does not give me the authority to actively prevent others from engaging in a given legal activity. By the same token, it does not give others the authority to compel me to participate in an activity with which I am not comfortable. This is the problem I have with coercing people to provide goods and services to a gay wedding when the service providers are morally opposed to homosexuality. It’s the difference between baking a cake and baking a wedding cake. When a baker bakes a cake, it is to profit from the sale of the cake. There is no underlying political or religious motivation. It is a simple exchange of currency for commodity. A wedding cake, however, implies a personal involvement. Baking a wedding cake requires that the producer of the cake participate in a particular, unique event. The cake is no longer an mere agglomeration of flour, yeast, eggs and sugar, but a symbol. For some devout Christians, a wedding cake symbolizes deeply held, sacred beliefs that serve as the foundation for the way they live their lives. It celebrates a sacred covenant between a man, a woman, and God. Contrary to what many of the activists on the left might think, these bedrock beliefs are grounded in love rather than hatred or fear. It is unjust and wrong to coerce a person to act in a manner contrary to the tenets of his faith. The first Amendment guarantees people the right to freely exercise their religion. It is the first right listed, and I believe this is no accident. Coercing a person to participate in a ceremony that solemnizes homosexual behavior clearly violates the First Amendment by depriving that person of the opportunity to freely exercise this or her religion.
I am skeptical of the notion that the primary motivator for gay activists is fear. Gay Pride Parades have been held regularly since 1970. Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 70s and 80s, and I don’t remember people being spit on for contracting HIV. What I remember was the gigantic quilt, emblazoned with the names of those who lost their lives to that terrible disease. They were lauded as “victims” and there were demonstrations demanding that the government do more to find a cure. I remember no such outpouring of compassion for the victims of child leukemia, neuroblastoma or Spina bifida. If fear exists, it certainly isn’t rooted in what is occurring in our culture today. Today’s homosexual activism appears to be motivated out of revenge, rather than fear. They want my disapproval stamped out entirely, like a modern-day Robespierre rooting out the vestiges of the old aristocracy, a watered down, present-day Reign of Terror. If it was fear motivating them, their activity would have slowed down as it became apparent that the court system was going to give them what they wanted. But I don’t see it slowing down at all. Once they have the bakers and the photographers, their next logical target will be the priests an the pastors. The argument will go something like this: “Photographers, florists, and bakers have no legal justification to refuse participation in a homosexual wedding ceremony. Therefore, neither does anyone else in the wedding business. Any priest of any faith who normally performs weddings is prohibited from discriminating against gays and lesbians. Failure to comply will result in the loss of that organization’s tax exempt status.” And that will be that for the First Amendment.
When Ender Wiggin learned the truth about what he had done to the Buggers, he felt shame and regret. The rest of his life was devoted to repenting for his actions.
Shall I expect the same from the Enemy Camp?
I think not.