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Alliance Alert

Mar 24, 2017

Sexuality, Religious Liberty, and Cultural Engagement: A Discussion

How should Christians engage culture when orthodox views on sex and sexuality are more and more maligned?

That is a question we've all likely asked ourselves from time to time. Today, we'll hear from ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, as well as Andrew Walker and Barrett Duke from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Jennifer Marshall from the Heritage Foundation.

The discussion was held live at the ERLC National Conference. You can listen to it here.

The whole discussion is worth your time, but here are a few highlights from Erik Stanley:

"I think actually Justice Alito in Obergefell really gave us a clue as to where we are in this moment right now when he dissented and he said in his dissent that 'I assume that those who cling to the old beliefs about marriage can whisper them in the recesses of their homes and talk about them, but that if they speak about those beliefs in public they risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such.' And I think that's really where we find ourselves right now."

Stanley goes on to talk about Barronelle Stutzman, who faces some of those consequences.

Stanley also mentions a few other cases, like this one in California. And he discusses another of Justice Alito's dissents, this time a dissent to the Supreme Court's decision not to hear Stormans v. Wiesman:

"It was kind of summed up again for me, recently, by Justice Alito again, when he dissented after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case of the Stormans family, the Washington State pharmacists who were forced by a pharmacy board rule there to stock and dispense Plan B, the abortifacient pill. They lost their case, and the Supreme Court declined to hear it. And the problem with that case, as Justice Alito said, he said 'This case is an ominous sign.' [...] This was a targeted thing. You could refuse to stock the morning after pill for any reason, economic reasons, convenience reasons, but the bill targeted religious objections. As [Justice Alito] traces through that, he said 'If this case is a sign of what is to come, then those who value religious liberty have cause for great concern.'"

Both Stanley and Alito are right; there is cause for great concern. Just look at this list of ADF clients who have filed suit to protect their freedom. Or take a look at this list of men and women who have chosen to follow their consciences, no matter the consequences. This is part of the reason that religious liberty cases took up a significant amount of time in Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings.

Religious freedom used to be bipartisan. Ideologically distant groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Baptists worked together to get the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law. But no more. Recently, we wrote about the ACLU's decision to fight against religious and artistic freedom in Phoenix.

As David French recently wrote in National Review, "Religious liberty is a right our nation protects, not a right it creates." It is all the more important to defend religious liberty as religious views become less popular.

  • religious freedom
  • Erik Stanley
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