Word from the Center: Friday, June 8, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s issue…
No More Euphemisms, Dysphemisms, or Demonizations!
By this time, I’m sure that you are aware of the Supreme Court’s action of ruling in favor of a Christian Cake Artist named Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. Phillips would properly sell anything in his store to anyone who wished to buy, but he refused to create a unique cake for a wedding of a homosexual couple because it violated his conscience and his religious beliefs. Translation… The Court ruled that the homosexual couple may have the right to believe what they believe about the hotly debated issue regarding the definition of marriage, but so does the baker. But, even more importantly, the court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission could not take a hostile position against the Baker’s view of marriage. In down-to-earth terms that means that people who don’t believe in today’s alternative views of marriage, they may indeed hold a differing position without being maligned, demonized, and litigated against. Finally, the time may be coming for forthright discussions about relationships, marriage, culture etc. without the destructive force of government muddying up the issue.
The baker in this case was indeed demonized, caricatured, and maligned as a bigot and a homophobe. Why? Because he believed in the distinctiveness of the marriage of a man and a woman as unique among all relationships and as a foundational institution for a healthy society. His view can be demonstrated sociologically, psychologically, physiologically, and yes, even theologically. Sadly, this case was about none of that, but was ultimately about shutting down his right to have his public voice about marriage and forcing him through his art to publicly acknowledge something against his conscience. The demonization of his view was part of the effort to stifle his speech and the final hammer would have been the Government’s silencing of his voice by threat of law and punishment. That should frighten both sides of this cultural debate.
For many in the culture, the baker, the LCRL included, “Marriage” is more than a relationship. It is by definition, an institution. Today, this institution has been maligned, rejected, and now diminished to merely a relationship. But the West is imploding because of its disdain of marriage. Our cities are exploding because of our disregard for marriage. Our entire culture is wallowing in sexual confusion because of its diminution of marriage. At least for now, the Supreme Court said you can’t dismiss the perspective of marriage being a “unique institution among various relationships” as bigoted, homophobic, or sexist, which it is not. In fact, those of us who hold the traditional, institutional view of marriage believe that such a view can actually be beneficial to all (let those discussions/arguments begin). But, for now, one can be thankful that the State has been told that it cannot disparage such a view nor hold it in contempt with a “hostility towards religion.” That should rightfully undermine the euphemisms, the dysphemism, and the demonizations to the contrary. It’s about time.