In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Masterpiece decision, both religious and LGBT advocates are pensively waiting to know which side the court will take in the conflicts between them. The court’s minimalist ruling did nothing much more than further the national unease.
Some religious freedom advocates believe the court’s decision protects the religious community from state hostility on behalf of LGBT interests, while others see it as a rejection of the free speech and religious free exercise defenses. Some LGBT advocates believe it reinforced that the state will protect the LGBT community against religious discrimination, while others see it as a violation of LGBT rights.
One thing is becoming abundantly clear through the cloud of confusion, peace cannot be obtained until the court takes a stand to do what is fair for all. Because this is a fight over rights, neither side has heretofore been willing to voluntarily stand down from the conflicts.
At some point, the court must do its duty to settle the interminable conflicts between rights. This is an implied point of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent — a dissent essentially calling out the court to stop the dilly-dallying that is aggravating further discontent and division.
The majority of conservative evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons responded to their discontent by disgracefully discrediting their own faith values in the last presidential election to politically pack the courts, while millions of others are responding to their discontent ever time they march in the perennial Pride Parades all over America to influence the courts.
This is the realpolitik of the culture conflicts, which have significantly contributed to the populist uprising in this nation. An uprising enraged by the court’s inability or unwillingness to evenhandedly resolve the culture conflicts. While abdicating its key responsibility as the arbitrator of fairness for all, the court continues to provoke and prolong unresolved culture conflicts in the face of warning dangers to the nation’s solidarity.
Both wings of the court should abandon personal and ideological prejudices and build a legal bridge between historical, First Amendment rights and rights more recently established by the court. In other words, the court should strenuously surmount all legal and cultural stumbling blocks to reconcile the renderings unto Caesar and unto God for the good of the nation.
In the meantime, religious freedom advocates should dignify their faith and empower their freedoms by: 1) vigorously living, defending and promulgating their faith codes; 2) fully disengaging from the culture conflict; 3) denouncing all hostilities towards the LGBT community; and 4) petitioning all branches of government to extend full public accommodation rights to the LGBT community without delay.
The culture conflicts have gone on far too long, engendering hatred and hostility. It is time for religion to arise and lead this nation away from the caustic culture carrying a corrosive contagion contaminating its body politic.
We have seen this contagion attack a body politic many times before. We know how it destroys nations. We see it now in our own. So let’s end it, before it ends us.
Stuart C. Reid, Ogden, is a former Salt Lake City Council member, Utah state senator and Army chaplain.