When Caesar Claims What Is Not His
Joseph Bottum notes a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that looms as a logical subsequent step for liberal legal and cultural trends in the United States:
… the bill’s most controversial provision would enjoin churches and other religious bodies from discriminating on the basis of gender or sexual orientation in the selection of personnel, save in cases where said personnel regularly spend more than half their time “leading worship services or explaining doctrine.”
According to Simon Caldwell in Britain’s Catholic Herald, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has prepared a briefing to protest the measure. A senior Queen’s Counsel has informed the bishops that the bill’s pertinent clause will make it “unlawful to require a Catholic priest to be male, unmarried or not in a civil partnership, etc., since no priest would be able to demonstrate that their time was wholly or mainly spent either leading liturgy or promoting and explaining doctrine . . . the Bill fails to reflect the time priests spend in pastoral work, private prayer and study, administration, building maintenance, and so on.”
The Christian Science Monitor has more information, or for an experience of the what-government-thinks-of-you sort, check out the “easy read” document (PDF) available on the U.K. government’s official page for the bill.
The practice has already entered Western society, of course, but at a certain point religious leaders — if they truly believe what they preach — have to face the consequences for civil disobedience and proclaim that they have no intention of complying with unjust laws. Sure, the rabid secularists will smear with words like “bigotry,” but let them then go out and proclaim a belief in religious liberty. Let them then attempt to justify the creeping sharia that’s slowly permeating the West.
Let the politicians imagine, in short, the front-page pictures of men and women in religious clothes being taken away in handcuffs because they continued to believe what they’ve long professed. Such laws are either a bluff or a travesty. Are ostensibly democratic and freedom-loving governments going to begin shutting down churches for hiring according to their doctrine? Or will they satisfy themselves with pushing charitable arms out of communities, as Massachusetts pushed the Catholic Church out of adoption?
Either way, the broader society must be made to see this brand of “progress” for what it is. Whether that witness begets reconsideration really ought to be of secondary consideration to people who believe in the primacy of supernature.