Originally published August 16, 2023 as an op-ed at The Washington Times
Vitriol toward Christians seems to be increasing among liberals, who view Judeo-Christian heritage as a source of oppression. They rarely come out and say it, but evidence is mounting that this is what they believe. Their intent appears to be to eliminate this heritage from our public space.
Take the state of Colorado, which has shifted significantly under Democratic rule and aggressively gone after Christian businesses and ministries. What else explains the pattern of animus in the state?
The latest incident is the opposition to a Colorado preschool. Darren Patterson Christian Academy is a faith-based preschool that has served Chaffee County families for over 40 years.
When it applied for the state’s new universal preschool program funding, the state denied it, saying that the school can’t hire employees based on its religious beliefs. The preschool is now suing the state.
Along with that is the incidence of the Denver Communists, a group that according to its website was launched in 2012 as the Denver branch of the International Socialist Organization, and LGBTQ protesters trying to close down a Christian coffee shop.
The shop has been helping homeless people since 2012. But this summer, protesters have been harassing customers, and the shop has been vandalized because of its biblical convictions on sexuality.
Within the last year, there was the attack by the Denver Post on the Denver Catholic Schools for their enrollment policies. The policies, the news outlet discovered, are driven by a directive from the Archdiocese of Denver upholding Catholic teaching and biblical views of sexuality.
Around the same time was an attack on the Denver Rescue Mission, an evangelical ministry that has served the city’s most vulnerable for 131 years. The city threatened to remove its funding of the mission because the evangelical ministry hired evangelical Christians who believed in biblical standards of sexuality.
Much more public than all of these were the actions taken by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against the Lakewood baker Jack Phillips. Mr. Phillips refused to create a cake with a message that violated his religious beliefs about marriage and gender.
Because of this, for the last 11 years, he has been relentlessly hounded by the government of Colorado despite a rebuke by the U.S. Supreme Court and its finding of “clear and impermissible hostility towards Jack’s sincere religious beliefs.” Mr. Phillips is now involved in his third lawsuit.
Finally, there was the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of 303 Creative, a website design company. The case pointed out how the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act is being used in a way that violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment. State commissions use these laws to force objectors (i.e., by compelling speech) to affirm progressive orthodoxy about sexual identity.
The high court reminded the country that Americans who have traditional and biblical views about marriage and sexuality are equally protected in the public square. Despite this, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said that “we don’t need to change the nature of our anti-discrimination laws.”
What ties all of this together is a resolute, vocal, strident, public and increasingly aggressive anti-Christian bigotry. The left is being driven mad by these individuals’ and ministry’s long-held beliefs: God created us male and female; marriage is between a man and a woman; sexuality is not the deepest and most important inner truth; and parents, not the state, are ultimately responsible for bringing up children.
There is nothing new about these beliefs. They are ancient, rooted in the Bible. They envision a world where there is something greater than the autonomous self.
All through Colorado history, American history, Western history and much of world history, for that matter, people have held these beliefs. They form part of the Christian identity, which goes back thousands of years.
What is new is the attempt to use the law to exclude them and those who hold them from public life.
It is strange and hypocritical that liberals want everyone to live out their identity — everyone except orthodox believers. Liberals’ celebration of diversity ends with their own agenda. Free speech is fine, as long as it suits their purposes. First Amendment deference to religious liberty has gone out the window.
Their tolerance is more along the lines of philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s repressive tolerance — tolerate everyone except those who disagree.
Perhaps this explains the death threats that have come to baker Jack Phillips and 303 Creative owner Lorie Smith. This side of hate is seldom if ever acknowledged by the media.
And what about the language from the 2022 Respect for Marriage Act, in which Congress says that “diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage,” including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, “are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable philosophical premises” and are due proper respect?
This new pattern of harassment and exclusion amounts to reverse discrimination against millions of people who live by Judeo-Christian moral law. It is not exclusive to Colorado; it has advanced more rapidly in blue states. Look for it to spread wherever “progressives” take control.
This animus will not stop with Christians. It will target Orthodox Jews and Muslims for the same reasons.