Arizona: Losing Our Religion

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This week we got our first real preview of what a post-gay marriage America could look like.

What began as a straightforward attempt to protect religious freedom and conscience rights ended with yet another defeat when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062.

But this defeat reveals a great deal about the kind of battle we find ourselves in now.

It didn’t matter that both the Arizona House and the Senate passed the bill, it didn’t matter that we had a Republican governor, it didn’t even matter that precedent, facts, the law, the argument and the truth was on our side. (Hint: click and read these links before leaving attack comments below).

The power wasn’t on our side.

The power of the media and the political capital of gay activists was overwhelming.

Gay activists believe in political power, and as I’ve argued, Christians must learn to equally recognize the importance of politics if we are to have any hope of influencing the culture.

But let’s get back to the media. Throughout all of the mainstream coverage of the story I saw, and I watched a great deal of it, I failed to find any instance or moment in time when the media disagreed with or even floated a minor criticism of the gay activists’ propaganda. It doesn’t help that, because the media doesn’t “get religion”, they simply have no category for religious freedom. And the only category they have for gay rights is “if a gay person wants it, it must be their right to have it.”

Where does this end?

What does it mean when the media simply takes the rightness of one side in a debate completely for granted? When, if ever, will gay activists finally cross the line and provoke a breach with their media enablers? Arizona makes clear that taking religious freedom away does not represent crossing the line for the media.

So let’s talk about the next line.

Look at this picture:

protest

Here’s the media description of what we are seeing:

In addition to protests at the state Capitol over Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062, activists have now taken to the office of the lobbying group that developed and pushed the bill, the Center for Arizona Policy.

Citizens for a Better Arizona led a delegation of people to CAP’s Phoenix office today, to demand a formal apology from the organization’s president, Cathi Herrod.

“If you follow the puppeteer’s strings, they go right to this building, and to one person — Cathi Herrod,” said Beto Soto, of Citizens for a Better Arizona.

…This afternoon, activists put up red tape in front of the office building that read “closed,” as Soto declared CAP as “incompatible with Arizona values.”

This is the next line, a line that has already been crossed, but which the media finds invisible — targeting and harassing pro-marriage citizens for exercising their basic civil rights. The Center for Arizona Policy argued that their bill was necessary to protect individual freedoms. Now their offices, leadership, and freedom to lobby are threatened, and the media is blind to the irony:

protest2

This isn’t just an image of the Center for Arizona Policy’s office, it’s a picture of your office, of your father’s place of business, of your best friend’s company, if we allow this to continue.

“Going out of business”. They’re serious.

They printed out the name and image of CAP’s President Cathi:

cathi

That’s not going to be Cathi in a few years, it will be your picture.

They already have my picture posted up.

But I asked for it when I chose to defend marriage in public.

In the next wave, you’ll be asked where you stand.

Either you will hide your witness or you will risk joining the Cathi’s and Thom’s.

These images of private property and private citizens being harassed and intimidated can now happen at any place of business or private residence of anyone in the state of Arizona who dares give voice to their disagreement with gay marriage.

The media has already sanctioned it and a law to prevent this from happening has been vetoed.

But what has happened in Arizona will not stay in Arizona unless we act.

Now is the time to ask ourselves some basic questions: did we know about SB 1062 before we heard the news it had been vetoed? If we were informed, did we do anything to help its passage? Do we know what laws are on the books in our own state protecting marriage and religious freedom? Are we active in defending and promoting those laws? Are we aware of the threats to those laws? Do we help organizations and are we involved in efforts to protect marriage and religious freedom?

If we refuse to educate ourselves or get involved, we might as well all move to Arizona because we’ll all be living there soon anyway.

This is how a country loses its religion.

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The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Thomas Peters grew up in Southern California and attended college in Michigan. He has two graduate degrees in theology. He began his award-winning American Papist blog in 2006 and has been proud to be a part of the CV team since 2010. He was one of a handful of American bloggers invited to the Vatican’s first-ever Bloggers’ Meeting in Rome. Peters has appeared in dozens of TV, radio and online media outlets over the years discussing and debating the intersection of Catholicism and politics, as well as pro-life and pro-family activism, in addition to writing and speaking about the future of social media and youth activism. You can follow Thomas Peters at @AmericanPapist.

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