Liberal-leaning commentator Kirsten Powers strays from a common understanding of faith in asserting that Christians who support protections for religious views on marriage “are essentially arguing for homosexual Jim Crow laws,” Heritage Foundation scholar Ryan T. Anderson writes in a National Review Online column.
Powers makes the comparison in her column in today’s USA Today, attacking a Kansas measure that proponents say would prevent government from forcing citizens to honor same-sex marriage when it’s against their religion. In a rebuttal, Anderson writes at NRO that “the government shouldn’t enshrine Powers’s theology into law.” Legislation such as the Kansas bill, he explains, actually aims to prevent the kind of coercion that occurred under the South’s old Jim Crow regime by protecting freedom of association, freedom of contract and freedom of religion.
Powers appears to dismiss the religious convictions of florists, bakers, photographers and other business owners who don’t choose to join in celebrations of same-sex unions. “Christianity doesn’t prohibit serving a gay couple getting married,” writes the Fox News Channel regular. “Christians serve unrepentant murderers through prison ministry. So why can’t they provide a service for a same-sex marriage?”
Anderson, who as Heritage’s William E. Simon Fellow has written extensively about the marriage debate, counters that Powers misses the point:
“But many of these professionals understand their professions differently – being a wedding photographer is not simply being ‘a vendor,’ but utilizing God-given talents to tell the story of a particular couple and their relationship. Likewise, many of these professionals understand their obligation to witness to the truth differently –celebrating a same-sex relationship as a marriage affirms that relationship. It is understandable why some religious believers would not want the government coercing them into doing that. The government shouldn’t enshrine Powers’s theology into law and then coerce those who have a different understanding of what their faith requires.”
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.