Marriage In Crisis: The Conflict Between Sexual Freedom And Religious Liberty -- By: Ryan T. Anderson

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 05:1 (Fall 2015)
Article: Marriage In Crisis: The Conflict Between Sexual Freedom And Religious Liberty
Author: Ryan T. Anderson

Marriage In Crisis: The Conflict Between Sexual Freedom And Religious Liberty

Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He also focuses on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory.

The following is an adaptation of a presentation from the 2014 Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s National Conference on The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.

Sexual liberty and religious liberty need not be in tension. Indeed, most Americans don’t want them to be in tension. It’s true there are bad stories out there where people have been victimized by intolerance. Some of this has been at the hands of market leaders. Consider Brendan Eich, who six years ago made a donation to Proposition 8, and six years later, when it was discovered, was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla Fire-fox.1 Never mind that Prop 8, defining

marriage in California as the union of a man and woman, passed with more than 7 million votes. That view was now considered unacceptable. Or consider the case of Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.2 The reaction to these cases from ordinary Americans was that they had gone too far. Ordinary Americans — both those in favor of gay marriage and those who oppose gay marriage — could agree that these cases were disconcerting. And so, not surprisingly, A&E (the network that airs Duck Dynasty) and Cracker Barrel (the restaurant chain that had removed Phil Robertson’s products from its store) reversed their decisions within 48 hours. Robertson was no longer suspended from Duck Dynasty, and you could buy his wares at the Country Store at Cracker Barrel. The simple explanation is that the executives who run A&E and Cracker Barrel were out of step with their customers. They were out of step with ordinary Americans who enjoy country-fried steak and watching a show about duck hunters.

As these controversies were unfolding, no one suggested that Mozilla had to employ Eich or that A&E had to employ Robertson. No one wanted a law to force Mozilla and A&E to do this. No one suggested the government should coerce them into employing Robertson and Eich. They had the right to do what they did even if many Americans didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I opened by saying that sexual liberty and religious liberty need not be in tension and that most Americans, whether they’re for gay marriage or opposed to gay marriag...

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