Church and state

Kansas is ground zero for religious liberty rights

Michael Schuttloffel is the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

Michael Schuttloffel is the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

by Michael Schuttloffel

Americans who believe that children deserve safety in the womb, and a mother and father out of it, really should find better marketing people.

Maybe they could hire the PR consultants employed by activists on the other side. After all, our opponents on life and marriage have demonstrated an uncanny knack for offering ever more spectacularly preposterous euphemisms to obscure what’s really at stake with these issues. Their success on this front continues.

For 40 years, those who support a right to legally assassinate a preborn human being have been identified as “pro-choice.” The question of whether we will allow living babies halfway out of the delivery canal to have their skulls punctured with scissors and their brains vacuumed out has been portrayed as a debate over “women’s health” and “reproductive services.” Now that’s marketing!

These same kinds of misdirectional tactics are now being deployed in the debate over same-sex marriage and religious freedom. This should not come as a surprise, as many of the activists aggressively opposing religious freedom legislation first cut their teeth shilling for the abortion industry.

For their latest feat of propagandist legerdemain, advocates of same-sex marriage have convinced swathes of the population that they are nothing less than the heirs to the civil rights movement. The local gay pride parade is the moral successor of the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. Those who believe that every child deserves a mother and a father are the modern incarnation of the segregationists of 50 years ago.

That this stupendously wrongheaded and offensive message could be received with anything other than outrage is made possible by:

  1. Historical amnesia. Cable news talking heads broadcast their stunning ignorance of Jim Crow’s horrors — lynchings, attack dogs, tear gas, fire hoses — when they callously compare it to religiously motivated unwillingness to participate in same-sex weddings.
  2. Moral vanity. By retweeting snarky quips about religious people from Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, millennials can pose as civil rights heroes from the air-conditioned comfort of their parents’ basements.
  3. A supinely compliant media. In recent days, virtually every newspaper in Kansas has printed the utter falsehood that House-passed religious freedom legislation allows businesses to refuse to serve gays.

There is a concerted effort afoot to discredit the very concept of religious freedom, and even religion itself, by linking it to bigotry. People of faith can fight back by telling their state senator to support the religious freedom legislation in the Kansas Legislature. Not for the first time, Kansas has become ground zero for a high stakes contest over an issue with profound implications for the entire nation. It is not a fight that Catholics can afford to sit out.

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Michael Schuttloffel

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