“Ironically, the real victims of “discrimination” under the new cultural regime of intolerance are politically and economically uninfluential small business owners lacking the resources and connections of their elitist opponents who wish to squash them and silence their faith convictions.”
The media and corporate intimidation aimed at Indiana and Arkansas over their Religious Freedom Restoration laws has justifiably alarmed many Christians and other defenders of conscience rights. Laughably, histrionic critics of these laws are concerned about “discrimination.” This word has become demagogically the equivalent of “communism” during the heated McCarthyite era. But communism was a real, murderous force that merited alarm. The contrived concern about “discrimination” has become mostly a rhetorical weapon of intimidation against traditionalist dissenters from secularist orthodoxy.
Ironically, the real victims of “discrimination” under the new cultural regime of intolerance are politically and economically uninfluential small business owners lacking the resources and connections of their elitist opponents who wish to squash them and silence their faith convictions.
Some wonder if the culture war against religious traditionalists will amplify until any meaningful public dissent from the dictates of liberal secular elites becomes socially and economically impossible, even when legally protected in theory. Are we witnessing America’s religious and speech freedom perishing before our eyes? Possibly, but there needs to be perspective. Religious and speech liberty has never been free from threats, even in America during its best times. The Constitution protects both, but the Founders had no illusions that written law would guard against lynch mobs, whether real or virtual. Protecting freedom requires constant vigilance.
Methodist history offers some examples. Early Methodists were anti-slavery. But after an 1800 church decree urging anti-slavery appeals to state legislatures, social and political hostility against Methodism increased in southern states. Mobs threatened preachers, who sometimes were arrested. South Carolina passed a new law limiting religious gatherings. Bishop Francis Asbury was warned his life would be threatened if he traveled to that state, which he avoided for several years. The First Amendment failed to protect the Methodists, who responded by mostly going silent on slavery. To do otherwise would risk effective banishment from an entire region.