The state of California is restricting travel for all state employees to Texas. The basis for this restriction is the preservation of religious freedom for certain adoption agencies or other religious-based child welfare organizations.
This raises many interesting political questions, but for now, I’m content to let people more qualified than myself have those discussions. What I’m concerned with is the implications this could have, and likely will have, on religious freedom and the political force of conformity.
First, what does California care about what rights and privileges Texas grants to its citizens? Isn’t this a bully tactic to try and get the residents of another state to conform to California’s thoughts and beliefs? This is a small step forward in forcing people to accept and acquiesce to politically acceptable beliefs.
I don’t want people to be forced to agree with my beliefs. Our country is founded upon the right to disagree. I don’t want anyone to change what they believe or how they live simply because of a belief that I hold. I want people to make decisions based on their own conscience and their own faith. I don’t want the government involved in my faith at all – and we’re definitely going to talk more about this in the future.
The First Amendment to the Constitution fiercely defends religious freedom in our country. If we sit by and idly accept the idea that government, any government, can make laws regarding religious freedom, then what happens when Christianity is no longer the dominant religion in our country? What if Islam becomes the dominant religion? Would we accept sharia law? Since I do not want Hindu or Islam dictating aspects of my religious faith in daily life, neither do I want the government imposing “Christianity” on people. The government should simply stay away from my religion.
Second, this is a threat to religious-based groups of all stripes. The law in Texas, to the best of my understanding, does not allow state agencies to deny adoptions based on anything to do with gender or sexual orientation. The law in Texas speaks only to religious-based child welfare services. If I got this wrong, somebody please let me know, but otherwise, the government should bow out. If a religious group is funding organizations to care for children, then certainly they should be allowed to decide what care is best for those children.
What I fear we are seeing is the slow creep of government into religion. Socially normative views will eventually be forced upon all people no matter their religious convictions. This will continue until, in a very roundabout way, our government has many laws and regulations which directly violate the First Amendment.
What can we do right now? If you live in Texas, write to your state senators and representatives telling them to keep preserving religious freedom. This is important no matter what your religious views are. If we don’t tell those who rule over us to protect our religious freedom, then don’t expect them to do it.
If you live in California, write to your representatives and explain to them the basic premises behind the First Amendment to the Constitution. Then tell them to quit wasting their time worrying about what Texas does and focus on fixing California’s problems. Isn’t that what you elected them for?
If you live somewhere else, take note. This is all headed your way soon if it’s not there already. Write to your representatives and let them know that you want your religious freedoms defended.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. An honest discussion on all topics is necessary and proper for our country to continue working the way it should. May God bless us all, and may God bless the United States of America.