According to the Washington DC-based Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), “The American Founders understood the importance of religion for the flourishing of individuals and society. They viewed and enshrined religious freedom as America’s First Freedom, and were convinced that respecting it in culture and protecting it in law were necessary for the well-being of citizens, for the common good, and for public virtue, without which they believed the new Republic would fail.
“RFI is determined to preserve this fundamental right in the United States and around the world, and we echo the words of George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789. Responding still today to Washington’s invitation, let us render ‘…unto [God] our sincere and humble thanks…for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…'”
Today, however, many of our First Amendment freedoms as given to us by our Founders, enshrined in our Constitution, and protected by previous generations are under attack. With an ugly combination of “cancel culture,” big tech censorship, unjust employers, and increasingly hostile laws, many dare not speak their minds or follow their conscience.
We are now in a “lame duck” session of Congress, in that the elections are over but the new Congress will not be seated until January 2023. Therefore, the current politicians holding office for these few weeks will either retire, have been defeated, or have time left in their terms. This is an opportunity to ram through controversial or unpopular measures that they were unwilling to vote on before an election. And the fact that most Americans are busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations is an even bigger green light for mischief because few of us are paying attention to what is going on in DC.
I remember sitting in a Christmas Eve candlelight service once, aware that Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and his Democrat colleagues were using that night to ram through Obamacare. We were promised Obamacare would make healthcare more affordable, but just this morning a friend was complaining to me how much higher his insurance keeps going. So much for politicians’ promises.
Although the 2022 midterm elections had muddled results, the fact that the House of Representatives is going from Democrat back to Republican leadership shows that millions of Americans are upset with our nation’s current direction and want more checks and balances over our currently-woke White House.
However, in our current lame duck Congress, the Senate is planning to vote on Monday, November 28, on the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill’s supporters claim their intention is to enshrine in US law the right for people of the same sex to marry each other. The narrowly decided 5-4, 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court opinion struck down the marriage laws of all the individual states and granted people nationwide the right to marry someone of his or her own sex.
With the Supreme Court’s 2022 landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade, many on the Left have expressed outrage that Obergefell might be overturned too. However, the majority opinion in the recent Roe case stated clearly three times in the text that the Court had no such intention. Still, Democrats introduced their “Respect for Marriage Act” in this Congress. The bill passed the Nancy Pelosi-led House of Representatives earlier this year, and the Senate is set to vote on it next Monday. Since the bill does not involve a budget issue, it requires 60 votes to pass. Currently all 50 Democrats support it, including Virginia’s two senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who lived for 28 years on Richmond’s Confederate Avenue. Moreover, 12 Republicans have gone on record for supporting the measure.
The 12 GOP Senators supporting the measure so far are: Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Todd Young of Indiana.
Since the House passed the bill already, passage in the Senate before January will send it to President Biden for his signature. However, if it does not pass the Senate now, it would require passage in the House again next year. With that body soon to be under GOP leadership, that would be unlikely. Thus, we see the Democrats stepping on the gas.
“What could be wrong about respecting marriage?” you might ask.
As explained by many religious freedom and civil libertarian groups, the issue is not about homosexual couples tying the knot, as the US Supreme Court has already endorsed that. In contrast, this is a veiled attempt to punish and criminalize anyone who, following the dictates of their faith and/or conscience, disagrees.
This concern is not far-fetched. In fact, countless lives and careers have been destroyed or nearly destroyed in this way. Just research the outrageous attacks against creative artists like Jack Phillips the cake baker or Barronelle Stutzman, the floral arranger. The whole idea of being an artist is the ability to express oneself freely without government coercion. However, in these two cases (among countless others), they sacrificed about one decade of their lives fighting court battled and public hate-campaign smears.
This is no longer a case of the traditionally-liberal “live and let live.” It is more like what George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 predicted: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaking on his popular podcast “Verdict” (here) and (here), which is now syndicated nationwide on iHeart Radio, predicts outrageous outcomes if this bill passes the Senate and President Biden signs it into law. Cruz explains it will open the floodgates of litigation against individuals, businesses, and Christian schools and colleges that hold to the biblical view of marriage as being between one man and one woman. A view, by the way, held as the standard in western civilization for centuries, and supported up until recently by people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Moreover, we have already witnessed the Obama administration weaponize the IRS to go after groups it disagreed with, so Cruz warns that the Biden IRS will quickly move to revoke the non-profit status of all churches, Christian schools, and other ministries that do not bend the knee to Caesar.
In closing, if you think the name “Respect for Marriage Act” sounds harmless, please remember that the “Inflation Reduction Act” was the name for the recent law that created and spent hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air. The same friend who this morning was complaining about his increasing prices for insurance remarked that everything is going up, and he has to pass those costs on to his customers.
So, if you still believe Congress chooses honest names for all its bills, please contact me. I’d love to give you a great bargain on some lovely oceanfront property in Giles County.