Thursday, December 22, 2022
Paul Moses has a piece up at Commonweal, "Conscience, Contracts, & Covenants", about the recently argued 303 Creative case at the Supreme Court and about the more general question of religious-freedom-related exemptions from public-accommodations laws. Obviously, the question is tricky, because it is implausible either that (a) justice requires that anyone who invokes "conscience" as a reason for violating a public-accommodations law should be exempted or (b) public-accommodations laws should be applied entirely without regard to the religious commitments of those who are affected.
Disagreeing with the U.S. Bishops' reservations about the recently passed Respect for Marriage Act, Mr. Moses quotes Pope Francis's Amoris laetitia, and then writes, "Francis wasn’t urging the bishops to be culture warriors. He was calling on the Church to do more to realize and express the beauty of a sacramental marriage, rather than to impose rules on others." Again: Far too often, the "culture warrior" epithet is directed at anyone who observes that unjust laws are being enacted or that various regrettable culture trends are in motion. It is not "culture warrior"-ing for the bishops to defend religious exemptions, and it is a misreading of the Holy Father -- who, obviously, understands that Christians today cannot expect positive law alone to communicate persuasively the soundness of the Christian understanding of marriage -- to read him as ruling out such a defense.