.- New York Times columnist Ross Douthat said in a recent column that the reactions against the Chick-fil-A president’s stance on “gay marriage” reveal that many people only maintain a “facade” of respect for religious freedom.
Douthat suggested in his July 29 column that many people now believe religious beliefs cannot be exercised or expressed “in ways that might make anyone uncomfortable with his or her own sexual choices or identity.”
As examples, he pointed to the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring employers, including many Catholic institutions, to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception. He noted a German court’s ban on circumcision as a violation of a newborn’s human rights.
Douthat also saw this trend in the reaction to the Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy’s comments in support of the definition of marriage between a man and a woman.
Several mayors in major American cities have responded to the comments by saying that the restaurant is not welcome in their city and that they will not allow new restaurants from the chain to open.
Douthat said this outspoken opposition might come from a belief that religious businessmen do not have the same rights as religious congregations. It could also draw from the belief that Western religion’s beliefs about chastity and monogamy are “incompatible with basic modern freedoms” in a way similar to honor killings, human sacrifice or forced marriage.
The columnist said that many critics of these religious views say they respect religious freedom but are instead are presenting a “facade” that they should be honest about.
“If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms,” Douthat challenged.
“Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will.”