Monday, June 30, 2008

The ascendant hatred of traditional morals

I've received a seeming spate of articles and posts lately on the erosion of common civil rights of those whose beliefs in traditional family values is taken for homophobic prejudices animated by sheer hatred. Some time ago we commented on the erosion of these sorts of rights in Canada ("Censuring 'homophobic hate speech,'" Musings, June 13, 2008).

In this same vein, here are a few recent cases:
Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its married dormitory. A Christian school has been sued for expelling two allegedly lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned its adoption service in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. The same happened with a private company operating in California.

“A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case, and legal experts believe that a doctor who refused to provide IVF services to a lesbian woman is about to lose his pending case before the California Supreme Court.” (Barbara B. Hagerty, "Gay Rights, Religious Liberties: A Three-Act Story", NPR, June 16, 2008)
Two articles of recent note include the following: (1) Patrick McIlheran, "Your beliefs are going to be called 'hatred'" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 18, 2008), and (2) Terry Mattingly, "Is sex outside of marriage a sin?" (Scripps Howard News Service, June 25, 2008).

A few excerpts. From the first article:
NPR tells the story of the wedding photographers in New Mexico, a couple, who just happen to think that marriage is what everyone has always thought it was until pretty much yesterday.

So when a woman was planning to “marry” her girlfriend, she emailed Elane Photography in Albuquerque to inquire about a shoot. The photographers replied simply that the company doesn’t shoot same-sex weddings but thanks for asking. They later explained they just don't want to use their abilities in the service of something they saw as wrong.

They got sued.

And they lost: The New Mexico Human Rights Commission told them to pay the plaintiff’s $6,600 lawyer bill....
From the second article above:
It's becoming more and more dangerous for preachers to use the words "sex" and "sin" in the same sentence.

Consider this question: Is sex outside of marriage a sin?

Say "yes" and millions of believers who are sitting in pews will say "amen." But that same affirmation of centuries of doctrine will offend just as many believers and nonbelievers, giving them an easy excuse to avoid congregations they believe are old-fashioned and intolerant.

"We have to recognize that our historic positions on sexual issues are becoming incredibly distasteful to more people in this culture and especially to our media and popular culture," said Ed Stetzer, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Research team.

... The numbers were radically different in different pews, with only 39 percent of Roman Catholics believing that homosexual acts are sinful, as opposed to 61 percent of Protestants and 79 percent of those who identified as evangelical, "born again" or fundamentalist Christians.

... The issue of homosexuality does not, of course, stand alone, said Stetzer. It's getting harder for religious leaders to maintain consistent teachings about other acts and conditions that traditional forms of religion have, for centuries, considered a sin. This affects preaching on premarital sex, divorce, cohabitation and adultery.

"Ultimately, the modern church has failed to proclaim and explain a biblical ethic of sexuality," he said. "We also need to admit that the church has failed to live out the ethic that it's claiming to be advocating. If we are going to say that we stand for the sanctity of marriage, then we -- in our churches and in our homes -- are going to have to live out the sanctity of marriage."
[Hat tip to C.G.-Z., E.E.]

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