Maggie, in light of media and pro-LGBT, activist-driven rage generated when Indiana passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) recently, something the federal government and 19 states in like manner had passed before it, these two polls show a very different picture of actual public sentiment.
Reverence for the Constitution’s protection of religious liberty and the attendant rights that it affords devout believers seems, even in a pluralistic and largely tolerant society, strongly intact. As New York Times columnist David Brooks, notes in his March 31 op-ed:
At their best, Americans have always believed that people should have the widest possible latitude to exercise their faith as they see fit or not exercise any faith. While there are many bigots, there are also many wise and deeply humane people whose most deeply held religious beliefs contain heterosexual definitions of marriage. These people are worthy of tolerance, respect and gentle persuasion…
As a matter of principle, it is simply the case that religious liberty is a value deserving our deepest respect, even in cases where it leads to disagreements as fundamental as the definition of marriage.
Hillary Clinton and the Democrats participating in the rage against Indiana – all in advance of a Supreme Court ruling this summer on same-sex marriage – are currently staring at a deep precipice and deciding whether they will intentionally leap into the cesspool of outright bigotry against public and private expressions of faith. Mr. Brooks would do well to school the movement on civility and morality, what he calls “a politeness of the soul,” where matters of religious faith and same-sex ceremony are engaged in cultural and legal conflict.
Will their attempt to strip away the conscience rights of citizens who hold religious beliefs at odds with with their own self-image as the new morality ultimately find them on the wrong side of history? These polls seem to suggest so.
Clint Cline is the president of Design4, a messaging and media firm with offices in Florida and Washington, D.C.