Paul Strand - CBN
Paul Strand – CBN

Paul Strand of Christian Broadcasting Network asks: “Why Do LGBT Rights Outweigh Our Religious Rights?.” I am instructed by God to answer that query. His word is: “They don’t — dummy.”

What Mr. Strand seeks is Christian supremacy which is the source of Christian privilege. Mostly, he “just” wants the right to discriminate against people he disapproves of, regardless of applicable law.

As America becomes more secular, religious liberty is facing ever harsher attacks. Opponents have, what they feel, are reasonable objections to that liberty, some going so far as to say religious liberty does damage and leads to discrimination.

Intellectual dishonesty does damage to my patience. Religious liberty does not lead to discrimination. It is people who do damage and discriminate against others. Ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, slavery and then segregation were all inspired and excused by religion. Now it’s discrimination against LGBT people.

At the top of his post the author has a photo of a very campy drag queen. He is too stupid to realize that has nothing to do with LGBT issues but that’s how he views us. He would idiotically relegate the CEO of Apple, the world’s largest company by some measures, to drag queen status. What Mr. Strand has done is the very essence of prejudice and bigotry. Yes, Mr. Strand, you might think otherwise but you are a bigot — no better than some Klan yahoo who is also a proud Christian.

This has led people like constitutional law professor Michael Paulsen of Minneapolis’ St. Thomas University to study those objections and then answer them one by one. He’s even trying to reach way out beyond his law classes to spread his message that there’s a strong defense for religious rights.

Before a crowd at Washington, D.C.’s Family Research Council, he explained that, when America became a constitutional republic, most of its founders had a strong belief in God and a sacred sense about people’s religious rights. That’s why it makes so much sense for them to protect religion with the First Amendment.

Yes, well, Family Research Council is a hate group. I have written about Mr. Paulsen in the past. What I have said of Paulsen is that he does not fairly present the concerns that people have. The takeaway for attendees at that FRC lecture was that our objections are frivolous because Paulsen is begging the question. Strand goes on to quote Paulsen. Some selections:

God’s Commands Beat Government’s Demands

liberty is our collective sense or intuition that, if God exists and
makes commands on people, those commands really are more important than
what the state requires,” Paulsen told the FRC audience.

That all fine. Go to church on Sunday, keep kosher or pray in the direction of Mecca five times daily. It’s fine until someone believes that their god commands them to hurt other people. We are a secular society with laws that must have a secular purpose. It should not be necessary to enforce civility with laws, but it is.

Paulsen’s concerned about a growing hostility to people practicing
their faith in areas like their businesses. There are those with
objections to religious liberty who actually fear what such unfettered
liberty in the hands of business-owners might do to harm others.

That is based on real experience.

If You Believe Religion Is a Delusion

if there were a constitutional right that afforded special status for
delusional people, which is the way that many secularists view
religion,” he continued. “You would not want to protect delusions of
delusional people very strongly, and you would find that just about
anything that the state or society imposes as its rule should prevail
over religious truth.”

It’s why, these days, those who believe in
same-sex marriage and gay rights are going after cake-bakers and
florists and photographers who don’t want to serve gay weddings.

No. The reason that those two bakers, that one florist and that one photographer are, or were, in legal trouble is because they broke the law.  Assigning nefarious motives to law enforcement is dishonest.

The elected representatives of the people passed those laws and they were signed into law by another elected official. See what I mean about Christian privilege?

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling a Turning Point

thing is, the U.S. Supreme Court with the 2015 Obergefell vs. Hedges
5-to-4 ruling has now made same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

making it a constitutional right, the Supreme Court has given fuel to
the forces who wish to override the claims of religious conscience,”
Paulsen told CBN News.

Wrong again. Some of the claims of religious conservatives predate Obergefell. We don’t want to override anything. We do not care. We want people to obey the law. Furthermore this so-called religious conscience is a dishonest fabrication. It is merely a pretext for excusing discrimination against people that one disapproves of. As a society we are not compelled to yield just because someone cites religion. That’s not what Free Exercise means.

Christians, I think, share a variety of views that entail empathy for
the neighbor and are not hostile to homosexuals themselves. Nonetheless,
there are very many who would wish to preserve the ability to act in
accordance with what they think are scriptural commands, not to affirm
propositions with which they disagree.”

Naked arrogance. These people think that they are far more important than they are. Baking a cake affirms nothing other than cholesterol. It’s just another way of asserting that we require their approval and Obergefell removed a right that they never had in the first place. We neither seek nor require their approval. It is a concept that they will never seemingly understand.

“An Objection to the Constitution Itself”

stated, “It is the view of some that religious liberty should not be
protected and that every exercise of religious liberty basically is an
impairment of the rights of others.”

Some? Who? Who has that view? If there is a constitutional problem it is reflected in fundamentalist Christians who keep trying to redefine the very clear and explicit wording in the Establishment Clause. James Madison struck a balance. Free exercise of religion but not to the point of having religious laws. These folks want a version of Iran in America. It is un-American.

Faith Is Not Irrational

As society becomes
more secular, Paulsen suggests believers will have to learn to defend
their faith in a way that makes logical sense to others.

“It is
not irrational for people to believe in a Creator God,” he explained.
“And I think it is important in defending and explaining religious
freedom to be able to explain the premises that underlie religious faith
in a way that’s coherent to people who have competing philosophical

Paulsen is irrational. Faith might be. Who cares? He is free to believe anything that he wants. Whether or not anyone finds it irrational is irrelevant. Paulsen probably believes that faith in Lord Xenu is irrational. Yet, in this country, those Scientologists have the same legal rights as Catholics. If people want to pay a couple hundred thou for ElRon’s Bridge to Freedom that’s their business.

It’s why he’s out there defending it himself in an era where such
liberty may soon be threatened like never before in America. He’s also
written about it extensively in the article, “The Priority of God (a Theory of Religious Liberty).”

Please. These folks thrive on the notion that they are being persecuted or victimized. They are professional victims.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.