No doubt anticipating what was coming in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges on Friday, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Representative Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced bills a week earlier to keep the federal government from discriminating against individuals and groups exercising what is now left of their First Amendment rights. Called the First Amendment Defense Act, Lee asked rhetorically:
If five judges on the Supreme Court have pronounced, in a breath-taking presumption of power, that all 50 states must redefine marriage, what does that mean for the countless institutions within our civil society — churches and synagogues, charities and adoption agencies, counseling services and religiously-affiliated schools — that are made up of American citizens who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman?
Will eager overzealous federal agencies start using the decision as reasons to withdraw federal grants, limit student loans, and revoke tax exemptions on the basis of what was once free expression on the matter? Will it attempt to apply sanctions against home-school moms teaching the Bible? Will it force bakers to bake, private halls to host, small business owners to compromise firmly held beliefs that once were protected by the First Amendment?
Will federal agencies follow the heavy-handed approach taken by the present majority of Supreme Court justices – say, by revoking the non-profit, tax-exempt status of faith-based schools that continue to operate on the basis of their religious beliefs about marriage?
Lee and Labrador introduced the First Amendment Defense Act, which would “prevent any agency from denying federal tax exemption, grant, contract, accreditation, license, or certification to an individual or institution for acting on their religious belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.”
One measure of how highly unlikely such legislation is ever to see the light of day is this: In the Senate Lee has so far only been able to garner 18 cosponsors (out of 100 Senators), while Labrador has enlisted the help of just 57 of his colleagues (out of 435). That this bill hasn’t attracted the support of every senator and representative is reflective of just how far down the slippery slope of amorality and degradation the culture has moved in recent years. As Lee noted, “The right to form and to follow one’s religious beliefs is the bedrock of human dignity and liberty that must be forcefully defended from governmental interference.”
Written by Bob Adelmann
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