Suppose an on-duty police officer sees a known homosexual getting stomped to death in an alley by two men shouting, “Die, faggot, die!” He does nothing to stop it, and he lets the thugs escape, because he believes in Leviticus 20:13:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
His religious beliefs make it impossible for him to intefere with what he views as God’s will, or even to hold the assailants responsible.
Should this officer be penalized? Or would that violate his religious freedom?
I’d like to know because NOM continually warns that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty. They’ve even identified the “first casualty” of New York’s marriage equality law — an upstate town clerk who doesn’t want to sign marriage licenses for same-sex marriage:
Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in upstate Volney who is responsible for signing marriage licenses in the town, said she’s morally opposed to same-sex weddings and does not intend to affix her signature to any marriage documents for gay or lesbian couples.
“If there’s any possible way to not do it, legally, then yes, I would not want to put my name on any of those certificates or papers,” MacEwen told POLITICO. “That’s their life, they can do it, but I don’t feel I should be forced into something that’s against my morals and my God.”
This taxpayer-supported public servant wants the right to choose which taxpayers she’ll serve. NOM, apparently, sympathizes with her.
That’s why I have to wonder about the limits to NOM’s notion of religious liberty. Personally, I’m no big fan of government coercion. You know that New Mexico photographer our opponents keep talking about? I think he should have been free not to photograph a same-sex wedding. Just as I think a gay photographer should be free not to shoot a wedding in a church that works to strip him of his marriage rights.
But Barbara MacEwen is a public employee. She’s an elected government official demanding the privilege of not following the law.
Who’s asking for special rights now?
What other “rights” does NOM think Barbara MacEwen should have? The right to withhold licenses from interracial couples? From a divorced person who wants to remarry? From a Catholic and a Baptist planning to marry in a Baptist church?
All those unions have been considered immoral by someone’s religion. Where does NOM stand on these items? Because as far as I can tell, NOM conception of religious liberty include the right of public servants to ignore laws they don’t like.
At this point, I was going to bring back the police question I asked at the beginning, but I thought of another I like better: A number of states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, so…
…if NOM wants to let town clerks pick and choose the laws they’ll recognize according to their religion, then shouldn’t clerks from gay-friendly faiths be able to issue same-sex marriage licenses regardless of state law?
So tell us, NOM. Tell us exactly which religious liberty protections special rights you’d like to have.