Lesbian Democrat senator denies individual right to religious liberty

The chilling redefinition of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin and the Senate’s only lesbian, is a looming threat to religious liberty.  With the possible loss of tax exemptions for churches and institutions that don’t comply with the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, an era of religious persecution may be upon us.

Baldwin made her remarks on the June 27 broadcast of Up With Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.  In a transcript of her remarks posted on Newsbusters, Baldwin ignored the fact that it was religious persecution in Europe that led to people fleeing here seeking religious freedom on an individual as well as institutional level:

Certainly the first amendment (sic) says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

Baldwin misreads the Constitution with its mandate saying Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  It is a key phrase in the First Amendment, leading off the Bill of Rights.  These are individual rights fought for in the American Revolution.  These rights are not limited to institutions; they apply to all individuals, just as the Supreme Court has decided the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not just to state-ordained militias.   

Baldwin had been asked the question, “Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married?  Where do you come down on that?”  She came down on the side of government coercion and the proposition that church is something you do on Sunday for an hour, and you otherwise shouldn’t act on your religious beliefs in your daily life.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tried to act on their faith but were ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple based on an order from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  As the Washington Times reported:

The order affirms an initial ruling in January that found Aaron and Melissa Klein had violated Oregon civil-rights law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013 and ordered them to pay damages to Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

In Iran, gay wedding cake and pizza requests are handled a bit more harshly and with more finality than a simple statement from a business owner that his or her faith won’t allow him or her to cater the affair.  If two gays contemplating marriage had walked into a Tehran pizza shop like Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, the pizza shop that refused to cater a gay wedding, hanging in the public square and not a simple refusal would have been a conceivable outcome.

Crystal O’Connor, member of the family that owns Memories Pizza, told local ABC news affiliate that she agreed with Indiana’s version of the federal RFRA signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” she told local station ABC57.  Her beliefs and rights and the beliefs and rights of the owners of Sweet Cakes should be respected.

The Hobby Lobby case revolved around the belief of the owners that people should be free to act on their faith in their daily lives, which includes their business lives.  It is a belief shared by many, including the Founding Fathers.  As Investor’s Business Daily observed:

So do scores of Catholic and non-Catholic institutions and businesses who argue either that the way they run their private businesses is an extension of their faith or that a church, something the federal government seeks to redefine, is not something that happens one hour a week on a Sunday but 24/7 through the hospitals, schools, soup kitchens and charities they may operate. They argue that acting out their faith through their works should not be illegal.

To gay advocates, acting on your sincerely held religious beliefs is bigotry.  They ask that their lifestyles be respected as well as their newly discovered right to marriage, apparently found in the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution that also gave us the right to abortion.  Neither abortion nor marriage is mentioned specifically in the Constitution, but religious liberty is, and those who say acting on your faith is bigotry are physicians sorely in need of healing themselves.

Sen. Baldwin’s definition of religious liberty is not very different from Lenin’s and Stalin’s.  Investor’s Business Daily once quoted Cardinal George regarding Obamacare and its imposition of the contraceptive mandate on religious institutions:

"Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union," Chicago's Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.

"You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society."

One wonders what would happen, or should happen in Sen. Baldwin’s view, if a gay couple walked into a Muslim bakery and asked for a Confederate flag on their wedding cake and asked for the ceremony to be performed in a mosque.  The road to anarchy and the end of liberty is paved with political correctness.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.              

The chilling redefinition of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin and the Senate’s only lesbian, is a looming threat to religious liberty.  With the possible loss of tax exemptions for churches and institutions that don’t comply with the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, an era of religious persecution may be upon us.

Baldwin made her remarks on the June 27 broadcast of Up With Steve Kornacki on MSNBC.  In a transcript of her remarks posted on Newsbusters, Baldwin ignored the fact that it was religious persecution in Europe that led to people fleeing here seeking religious freedom on an individual as well as institutional level:

Certainly the first amendment (sic) says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

Baldwin misreads the Constitution with its mandate saying Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.  It is a key phrase in the First Amendment, leading off the Bill of Rights.  These are individual rights fought for in the American Revolution.  These rights are not limited to institutions; they apply to all individuals, just as the Supreme Court has decided the Second Amendment applies to individuals and not just to state-ordained militias.   

Baldwin had been asked the question, “Should the bakery have to bake the cake for the gay couple getting married?  Where do you come down on that?”  She came down on the side of government coercion and the proposition that church is something you do on Sunday for an hour, and you otherwise shouldn’t act on your religious beliefs in your daily life.

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tried to act on their faith but were ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple based on an order from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.  As the Washington Times reported:

The order affirms an initial ruling in January that found Aaron and Melissa Klein had violated Oregon civil-rights law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony in 2013 and ordered them to pay damages to Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

In Iran, gay wedding cake and pizza requests are handled a bit more harshly and with more finality than a simple statement from a business owner that his or her faith won’t allow him or her to cater the affair.  If two gays contemplating marriage had walked into a Tehran pizza shop like Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, the pizza shop that refused to cater a gay wedding, hanging in the public square and not a simple refusal would have been a conceivable outcome.

Crystal O’Connor, member of the family that owns Memories Pizza, told local ABC news affiliate that she agreed with Indiana’s version of the federal RFRA signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.  “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” she told local station ABC57.  Her beliefs and rights and the beliefs and rights of the owners of Sweet Cakes should be respected.

The Hobby Lobby case revolved around the belief of the owners that people should be free to act on their faith in their daily lives, which includes their business lives.  It is a belief shared by many, including the Founding Fathers.  As Investor’s Business Daily observed:

So do scores of Catholic and non-Catholic institutions and businesses who argue either that the way they run their private businesses is an extension of their faith or that a church, something the federal government seeks to redefine, is not something that happens one hour a week on a Sunday but 24/7 through the hospitals, schools, soup kitchens and charities they may operate. They argue that acting out their faith through their works should not be illegal.

To gay advocates, acting on your sincerely held religious beliefs is bigotry.  They ask that their lifestyles be respected as well as their newly discovered right to marriage, apparently found in the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution that also gave us the right to abortion.  Neither abortion nor marriage is mentioned specifically in the Constitution, but religious liberty is, and those who say acting on your faith is bigotry are physicians sorely in need of healing themselves.

Sen. Baldwin’s definition of religious liberty is not very different from Lenin’s and Stalin’s.  Investor’s Business Daily once quoted Cardinal George regarding Obamacare and its imposition of the contraceptive mandate on religious institutions:

"Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union," Chicago's Francis Cardinal George recently wrote.

"You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. We fought a long Cold War to defeat that vision of society."

One wonders what would happen, or should happen in Sen. Baldwin’s view, if a gay couple walked into a Muslim bakery and asked for a Confederate flag on their wedding cake and asked for the ceremony to be performed in a mosque.  The road to anarchy and the end of liberty is paved with political correctness.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.