We’ve long known that the religious right’s new campaign centered on “religious freedom” is absolutely meaningless. If they were truly devoted to the concept, they would be fighting not only for their own freedoms (which are secure), but also advocating for those who hold different beliefs. But they don’t do that. They are supremacists in every sense of the word, and they believe that the rest of us should roll out a red carpet for them. Hate group leader Tony Perkins affirmed that position, commenting on the pending North Carolina lawsuit in which pro-gay clergy are suing for the right to conduct same-sex weddings on religious freedom grounds:
When a caller on Monday’s edition of “Washington Watch” asked Perkins about his views on the case, Perkins replied that the ministers don’t have the same religious rights as others because they aren’t real Christians and therefore aren’t protected by the “true religious freedoms” given to Christians.
Caller: I wanted to see if I can get your response to the members of the clergy in Charlotte that are suing for the right to perform gay marriages, saying that the ban on gay marriage infringes on their religious rights. It’s my understanding that they are a Christian organization, it’s normally the other way around, and so I’m curious to hear what you got to say about it.
Perkins: I would use that term ‘Christian’ loosely. That title is — let’s talk biblical, here’s the deal, it’s like with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that we worked on in Mississippi and failed in Arizona and other places, here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom, a freedom that’s based on orthodox religious viewpoints. It has to have a track record, it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy.
You cannot point to the Christian faith and say that same-sex marriage has been a key teaching of the church. You can only point to the opposite, that the church has stood against sexual immorality in terms of sexual relations of those outside of marriage and in particular homosexual behavior. There is no place, there is nothing for them to stand on and say that same-sex marriage has standing in the orthodox Christian faith.
They’re playing games here, trying to turn the effort that so many Americans are now faced with of preserving religious freedom, they’re now trying to do a jujitsu move and say, ‘We’re going to use religious freedom to say we have a right to do same-sex marriage.’ Well, there is no foundation for that, there is no orthodox Christian holding that has ever said marriage is between people of the same sex.
Tony is freaked out. Though he is paid quite well to foster the delusion that he and his cohort represent the beliefs of most Americans, it’s not true. There are millions of people within his own religion who are sick and tired of the anti-gay obsession of the extreme right, and he does not speak for them. He’s also woefully ignorant of the history of “orthodox” Christianity that he’s referencing, as any historian familiar with evangelical Christianity will tell you that Tony’s version of religious faith is actually fairly new. An extreme, anti-gay, anti-woman segment of Christianity emerged over the last fifty years, and Tony is now a key player in that movement. That movement is starting to die (literally). An inclusive, humanitarian segment of Christianity, one that actually includes love, is becoming ever more prominent these days. It all factors into the idea of “religious freedom,” and all people of faith are included.
Tony will just have to learn to deal with it.