Saturday, 4/9/16

  1. Bolting from Team Red
  2. Shallowest criterion yet for human personhood
  3. Dripping with snark
  4. Safe bet of the day


Popehat lawsplains colorfully some problems with a new Mississippi law, which problems exactly parallel the federal First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and my concerns over opposition to it:

That new law in Mississippi.  The one people call a “religious liberty” bill, either with our without scare quotes.  Does it really allow people in Mississippi to refuse to serve gay people who come into their stores?

Yes with an if, or no with a but.

That’s not helpful.  So does it just let people refuse to serve customers if something about the customers offends their religious sensibilities?  

Only if their religious sensibilities arise from three narrowly defined beliefs identified in the bill.

Wait.  What?

This bill doesn’t protect all religious beliefs from government intrusion.  It just protects three that the legislators like.

Which ones?

Read the bill, would you?  It’s right here. Or here, if you want a pdf.

SECTION 2. The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:
(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

Wait a minute. Can the government decide to give extra protection to some religious beliefs but not others? Does that violate the Establishment Clause or the Equal Protection Clause?

As we speak, lawyers are thinking about how to argue that.

That’s a copout answer.

I’m waiting for smarter people to answer it first.

What if I don’t want to provide a cake to a wedding reception because it’s a divorced Catholic getting remarried, or because it’s an interfaith wedding, and those things violate my religious beliefs?

This bill doesn’t protect you, then. The Mississippi only singled out three preferred religious beliefs for protection.

Doesn’t that violate the . . . .


So the state of Mississippi chose three specific religious doctrines, and announced a special right for public employees to articulate those specific doctrines that is broader than the right to articulate other religious doctrines and ideas?


How would you summarize this?

Mississippi’s bill does not “allow anyone to discriminate against anyone,” as it’s been inaccurately described in the media. For the most part it only says that, if Mississippi or its cities ever had any laws protecting gays from discrimination, religious organizations and wedding vendors in Mississippi wouldn’t have to follow them.

However, the spectacle of a state law that chooses very specific religious doctrines and elevates them above other doctrines and beliefs is very disturbing. As I read it, in Mississippi, a public employee could be fired for saying “discriminating against gay marriage is a sin against God, who wants us to love one another,” if the disruptive effect of saying that outweighed the employee’s speech. But the same public employee could not be fired for saying “gay marriage is a sin against God,” even if the same balancing test showed that its disruptive impact outweighed the employee’s speech rights. That’s just freakish. It’s not the rule of law.

That’s about 90% right and I’m not going to quibble about the remaining 10%.

I honest-to-goodness breathed a little sigh of relief when I read this because up until now, almost nobody seemed to share my concern.

I’m genuinely fearful for the future of religious freedom in the U.S., but FADA strikes me as a harmful distraction that will eventually be stricken down and will discredit the cause of religious freedom along the way. It protects only a person who:

believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

I like Ryan Anderson. I am grateful that he exists and is so patient when under attack from insufferable asses like Piers Morgan and Suze Orman.

Yet Ryan Anderson inexplicably supports FADA.

I was concerned about religious freedom before Ryan Anderson was born, and I’ve picked up some credentials along the way.

Religious freedom isn’t absolute, but if it’s not even-handed, it’s a sham. Religious freedom worthy of the name protects people who hold false beliefs as well as those who hold true beliefs. The First Amendment Defense Act protects only those who adhere to the truth about marriage and sexuality. It’s not even worthy of its name insofar as it fails to protect the airheads who have been taken in by error.

Yet I guess I’m supposed to support it because I’m a member of Team Red.

I wonder if my Report Card ever said “does not play well with others”?


You’re not a real human until you’re recognized by corporate America.

(Arwa Mahdawi, rejoicing in the unalienable dignity conferred on lesbians by big corporate booze companies who want to intoxicate 20,000 of them in Palm Springs. H/T Rod Dreher)


  • more welcoming and less judgmental
  • no new rules or marching orders
  • no top-down edicts
  • Alluding to … diversity and complexity
  • solutions better suited to [local] culture
  • sensitive to [local] traditions and local needs.
  • Francis … wants … a church that greets families with empathy and comfort rather than with unbending rules and rigid codes of conduct

That’s from the first two-and-a-half paragraphs of the New York Times “breaking news” story on the new apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Spontaneous and unrehearsed, kind of like a Trump stump speech.

Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that the reporters are a bit hostile to the Roman Catholic church?


Safe bet of the day: I bet paragraph 300 of the apostolic exhortation will become a bone of contention with Roman Catholic “traditionalists” (for lack of a better term).

As Friday wore on and I caught other bits and pieces interspersed with my work, it sounds as if the Pope has decided that marriage is, de facto, dissoluble — if you’ve got an understanding Bishop. This will not be lost on the [supply your better term than “traditionalists’].

It also erodes one impediment to reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, for which reunion many yearn, as it brings Catholic practice (if not theory) into close alignment with Orthodox practice of oiconomia on divorce and remarriage.

Of course, many bloggers more knowledgeable than I are pounding away at their keyboards, and I may end up deciding that I woefully misconstrued things.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.