I was listening to Hugh Hewitt the other day on the Townhall Review podcast, and near the end of the show he touched upon an interesting topic. The cultural battle over the issue of same sex marriage highlights an important difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution, and how the left is trying to francify the US.
The American Revolution was underpinned by religious conviction. The Declaration of Independence very quickly and clearly asserts that the natural rights granted man are so given by God. Indeed, many of our country’s founders came here seeking freedom of religion (as opposed to many of our shrill contemporaries who seek freedom from religion). Our revolution was based upon freedom. Of course our forefathers valued equality, though that was but one principle under the greater umbrella of liberty. The First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, along with freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.
The French Revolution divorced itself from religion and indeed aggressively persecuted those of faith – a good fact to keep in mind when you’re told how religion is at the root of the world’s death and violence. The French Revolution glorified equality over individual freedom, despite the motto “liberté, égalité, fraternit.” During the Reign of Terror, the Mob, as part of its struggle to achieve a classless Equality, summarily executed thousands of people, including priests and nuns. Rights of the individual be damned.
That brings us to what’s going on today. I don’t enjoy going on and on about same sex marriage. I have gay friends and gay friends of the family, and I bear them no animus. Perhaps it’s a little craven, but I’d much rather just stay out of their relationships altogether. I’d rather not care. However, as Erik Erikson presciently wrote two years ago – “You will be made to care.”
Not only must we be “tolerant” of gay marriage, we must approve of it. We must participate in it when asked. Otherwise we are bigots and hate criminals. We can be charged under anti-discrimination law. The idea of leaving each business to decide what customers it wants to serve (in non-monopolistic cases, anyway) is now considered evil by some. Even engaging in a dialogue, trying to find common ground with those who disagree on the issue of same sex marriage is a lynch-worth offense now to many of the left.
We are all Equal, and neither your freedom of speech nor your freedom of religion will protect you.