Tuesday, April 29, 2014
As Howard Wasserman notes (here, at Prawfsblawg), Mark Joseph Stern -- who writes regularly at Slate -- wrote a snarky hit-piece (my characterization, not Howard's) in which he accused "conservatives" of "hypocrisy" for not rising up in opposition to a North Carolina law that, he claimed, makes it a crime for "houses of worship to honor lifelong commitments they deem worthy of solemnization in the eyes of God."
A law that purported to make it a crime for a religious community to include same-sex unions in its religious understanding and practice of marriage would, certainly, violate religious freedom. And, I suspect that most, if not all, of those whom Stern charges with "hypocrisy" think as much. As Ramesh Ponnuru and others have explained, though, Stern apparently misunderstands the North Carolina law he's writing about and so his "hypocrisy" charge is both unwarranted and uncharitable. But, Stern has a practice of characterizing religious-accommodations and RFRA-type laws, and those who support them, in rhetorically excessive and inaccurate ways. It would be nice if Slate made an effort to facilitate more thoughtful contributions to the debate.