During a reception hosted by the group "Freedom to Marry," White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett praised President Obama for his huge part in accelerating the gay marriage cause heard by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) last week. "The arc of the moral universe," said Jarrett, "bent a little faster than even we thought it would." The "moral arc" regarding gay marriage cannot be bent without harmful consequence, but you'd never know that listening to Ms. Jarrett.
Indeed. The arc is bent -- by intensely motivated activists pulling on it with all their might, demanding SCOTUS re-define the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. What's next? When anger motivates, enough is never enough.
The bigger danger, though is the resulting potential loss of freedom, something one of our Canadian neighbors, William Whatcott, fully understands. Speaking up about his Christian views regarding homosexuality and abortion by way of graphically honest pamphlets led to six arrests in Saskatchewan, 20 in Ontario, a six-month jail stint for protesting too close to an abortion clinic in Toronto and a $17,500 fine from the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal for distributing material deemed "hateful." On February 28, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Whatcott. Justice Marshall Rothstein wrote Canadians' right to freedoms of speech and religion are unlimited except when it is conveyed via "hate speech." Maybe a bit contradictory, given the words "unlimited" and "except" are mutually exclusive and the definition of hate speech is dependent upon those in power.
The court considered various cases including one suggesting that certain practices cannot be separated from a person's identity, therefore "condemnation of the practice is a condemnation of the person." Additionally, Justice Rothstein defined hate speech as targeting a particular group as "a menace that could threaten the safety and wellbeing of others, makes references to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred."
Jesus Christ himself could've been charged with hate speech crimes in Canada having defined marriage as between a man and woman, called people hypocrites, serpents, sinners and vipers while referencing scripture.
And we're not far off from that now in the U.S. as we await the SCOTUS decision this June. Clearly, free speech is not on the minds of intolerant activists who recently castigated two gay hotel proprietors, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, who did the unthinkable by hosting a quaint reception for presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in April to discuss foreign policy. Activists threatened a boycott to punish the two for sharing snacks and conversation with what they perceive as the enemy. Given the unmitigated backlash, the two relented. And repented, apologizing on Facebook for "hurting the gay community" although Mr. Reisner said they "spent most of the time talking about national security issues…regarding the defense of Israel to ISIS and Iran." Oh, the irony, that a discussion mostly about how a potential President Cruz's foreign policy might protect Americans from the real enemy, rather than an illogically perceived one.
One thing is for sure, even if SCOTUS rules in favor of gay marriage, the real "moral arc" remains constant. What is deemed legal is not necessarily right in the eyes of the One who created the laws of the universe. Justice Kennedy rightly questioned the appropriateness of the Court to abandon the definition of marriage. He said marriage "has been with us for millennia" making it "very difficult for the court to say, 'Oh well, we know better.'" We do know better, but the wide-eyed optimist I no longer am can only hope that those in power protect what is not really theirs to unravel. Anyhow, research shows that traditionally married people live longer, are healthier, happier, and have more satisfying sex. I guess God knew what he was doing when he created Adam and Eve.