On Religious Liberty, Give Kasich a ‘D-‘


Many have asked me what I think of this answer by John Kasich to Brett Baier’s question: Do gay marriage dissenters have rights?

Well, look, first of all, I try to be a man of faith every day as best as I can, and I try to focus in my faith on the dos and I think the don’ts will take care of themselves once I get the dos right, which is humility, and loving my enemy, and caring for my neighbor.

But secondly, look, you’re in the commerce business, you want to sell somebody a cupcake, great. OK? But now if they ask you to participate in something you really don’t like, that’s a whole ‘nother issue, OK? Another issue.

Here’s what I’d like to see happen. The Supreme Court ruled, I don’t agree with the ruling. I’m of favor of marriage between — you know, traditional marriage, a man and a woman. What I hope was going to happen after the Supreme Court ruling is things would settle down.

If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, and he says, I’d rather not do it, find another photographer, don’t sue them in court. You know what, the problem is in our country — in our country, we need to learn to respect each other and be a little bit more tolerant for one another.

And at the end of the day, don’t go to court. Can’t we have common sense in America? That’s the way it used to be. And there was a book written called “The Death of Common Sense.” We need to bring it back.

But at the end of the day, if somebody is being pressured to participate in something that is against their deeply-held religious beliefs, then we’re going to have to think about dealing with the law.

But you know what, I’d rather people figure this out without having to put another law on the books and have more arguments in this country. Why don’t we come together as a country, respect one another, love one another and lift this country? I think that’s what people want.

I give him a ‘D-‘ for that answer, which for Kasich is an improvement over the ‘F’ I gave him for his response to Obergefell on our report card:

John Kasich: Grade F

The Supreme Court overturns the marriage laws of your state and many others by inventing a new right?  That gets a big yawn from John Kasich: “I do believe in the traditional sense of marriage—that marriage is between a man and a woman.  But I also respect the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Supreme Court of the United States made the decision, and as I have said repeatedly we’ll honor what the Supreme Court does—it’s the law of the land.”

What about threats to gay marriage dissenters?  Kasich doesn’t want you to panic: “Look, I think we all have to see how this develops.  I believe fundamentally that religious institutions have got to be given protection.  I have friends that are gay, I don’t have any of them say, ‘well you’re wrong’.  I don’t hear that at all.  Hopefully this is going to go smoothly.  If not, and if problems arise, and if people feel as though they aren’t being respected, well then we’ll have to deal with it.  But let’s not get carried away.  Let’s just wait to see what happens here.”

Memo to John Kasich: when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court says there’s a serious problem, maybe you should at least pretend to care?

Kasich’s response suggests he will do nothing to fight for the rights of traditional believers.  And he talks down to us to boot.

The improved grade comes from the fact that, for the first time, Kasich did not spent his capacity to attract national television time to dismiss and demean the people whom the government is punishing and stripping of their livelihood for the crime of refusing to bake a gay wedding cake.

The crowd reacted warmly to his common sense plea that the Left should stop suing these people.

Yes it is common sense: go to another baker, hire another photographer, live in peace.

But it is not what the Left is doing, Gov. Kasich. President Obama has redefined the 1964 Civil Rights Act by executive interpretation to maintain that gay marriage dissenters are the legal equivalent of racists, putting the power of government behind punishing, repressing, and stigmatizing those who disagree with the five Supreme Court justices that two men are a marriage.

The same processes that have lead state governments to punish the act of refusing to facilitate a gay wedding as some kind of civil crime are now being used by the federal government to, among other things, force American girls to shower with naked boys who have female gender identities.

The Left and the Democrats are eminently serious, Gov. Kasich. Chief Justice John Roberts warns us the tax-exempt status of Christian charities, schools and ministries are next on their target list.

What will you do, Gov. Kasich, to protect the rights of gay marriage dissenters?

The other three men on the stage have all indicated support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects gay marriage dissenters from discrimination by the federal government, including by the IRS (Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio strongly, Donald Trump half-heartedly).

Gov. Kasich has refused to say whether he would support FADA.

And while we can all applaud the fact that at last night’s debate Kasich no longer actively sided with those stripping Christians (and other traditional believers) of their family’s livelihoods, he also refused to commit to doing anything about it.

No wonder, as he said last night, he’s the Democrats’ favorite Republican.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

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