Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are concerned. They should be. The religion of liberalism is under attack. The Hobby Lobby fight in the high court? The tussle with the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue over gays pushing their agenda in the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade? The latest skirmish over global warming, aka climate change? The controversy about government funding of Planned Parenthood and the group’s abortion stances? Common Core? The business of turning NASA from a space agency to an outreach group to Muslims?
All of these and more are different parts of a wholly formed universe of beliefs that meets the dictionary definition of religion (Webster’s being the one) that reads:
…the service and worship of God or the supernatural…..commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance….a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
It is the religion of liberalism.
That it is a religion everywhere in America can no longer be in dispute. Judaism is a faith that contains the Orthodox, the Conservative, and the Reformed. Muslims have the Sunnis and Shiites. The Christians have Catholics and Protestants, the latter also split among various branches that include Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and more. Hindus are famous for the number and diversity of their gods and goddesses. Buddhists for different sects within their larger faith.
While the religion of liberalism also contains many different gods and goddesses, its adherants are united in a binding faith. No one gets to question The Truth without lawsuits, social isolation, public mockery, and ridicule, the threat of a job denied or lost, a child expelled, and on and on. Examples?
• Abortion: The University of Iowa College of Law is accused by teacher Teresa Wagner of denying her a job because of her opposition to abortion. As was noted here at Legal Insurrection, Wagner’s promotion at the U of I law school’s writing center was stymied, she said, “because of her conservative history, including work with the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, and the National Right to Life Committee, which opposes abortion.” Writes LI’s William Jacobsen:
Court documents and testimony show a less-qualified candidate was hired for the job in 2007 and that the law school’s associate dean, Jon Carlson, had written an email in which he expressed concern that the faculty might be opposed to Wagner’s application “because they so despise her politics."
• Climate Change: Over at a site called, with no irony, “The Conversation” was this demand from an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology to jail so-called climate change “deniers.” Writes Professor Lawrence Torcello:
The importance of clearly communicating science to the public should not be underestimated. Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organized campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.
• Capitalism: A while back Breitbart reported on the appearance of the SEIU’s Stephen Lerner — a “frequent Obama White House visitor” — at an Occupy Wall Street session. The subject? Abolishing capitalism. Reported Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro:
Breitbart.com has received exclusive tape of an Occupy Strategy Session at New York University, billed as a group talk on “The Abolition of Capitalism.” One of the headline speakers at this session was Stephen Lerner, former leader and International Board Member of the SEIU and frequent Obama White House visitor. Lerner argued in favor of people not paying their mortgages and “occupying” their homes; he spoke in favor of invading annual shareholders meetings to shut them down. But his big goal was to get workers to shut down their workplaces. That’s where the SEIU agenda and the Occupy agenda truly meet: once workers begin to occupy…
Lerner wasn’t the only one preaching this communist propaganda. The panel’s title told the whole story. This was an anti-capitalism panel. Lerner’s fellow panel members included David Graeber, who billed himself as “one of the original mobilizers behind Occupy Wall Street.” Graeber announced, “It strikes me that if one is going to pursue this to its logical conclusion, the only way to have a genuinely democratic society would also be to abolish capitalism and the state.”
• Free Speech: The efforts to impinge on free speech are everywhere. A call to ban Rush Limbaugh, as demanded here on CNN in this piece collectively authored by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem of the Women’s Media Center. Or to ban Fox News, a subject which has its own place on Facebook, not to mention the attempts early in the Obama era to delegitimize the network. An entire organization — FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — is devoted to standing up for free speech on college campuses. The university was, once upon a time, the place that not only welcomed diversity of thought but insisted on promoting and protecting it. Now, according to FIRE, one college after another across the country is awash in “speech codes.” Says FIRE:
Nevertheless, freedom of speech is under continuous threat at many of America’s campuses, pushed aside in favor of politics, comfort, or simply a desire to avoid controversy. As a result, speech codes dictating what may or may not be said, “free speech zones” confining free speech to tiny areas of campus, and administrative attempts to punish or repress speech on a case-by-case basis are common today in academia.
• Race: Judging others by skin color is gospel in this faith. As we have mentioned countless times, there is a reason liberalism has been home to everybody from Chief Justice Roger Taney of Dred Scott decision infamy to the Klan to George Wallace and Al Sharpton and La Raza. Race, race, race, from the beginning to infinity.
• Environmentalism: Back in 2003 the late Michael Crichton, who graduated from Harvard Medical School before turning to fiction, gave this talk at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. His topic? Environmentalism as a religion. Said Crichton in part:
I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people — the best people, the most enlightened people — do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.
Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.
Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.
And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.
As other religions have different gods, goddesses, sects, or branches — so too does the Religion of Liberalism have the same. There are those who worship at the altar of abortion. Who bow to the God of Climate Change. Who deify the concept of controlling the speech of others and adore the idea of banning capitalism or venerating gay marriage.
Islamic fundamentalists will cut off your head if you are an infidel, your hand if you are a thief. Catholics will excommunicate you — which means that you have committed some kind of proscribed grave offense. You can, however, work your way back into the faith in some circumstances. The Amish will shun you for your offense, no longer sharing a meal or cutting you off from a business relationship.
In the world of the religion of liberalism? As mentioned in this space earlier this week in discussing the cases of Vox’s Ezra Klein and the actor Alec Baldwin, the elders or self-perceived priests of the Gospel of Liberalism notified both liberal men of their sins. Klein half confessed to his thought crime. Actor Baldwin sought redemption by getting together with an LGBT group in Hawaii. Both were acts of contrition to keep themselves in the good graces of the Bishops of the Liberal Faith on the issue of gay rights.
Dante’s Inferno describes nine circles of hell — Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery — and the Religion of Liberalism has its own versions. The wrath directed at, say, that University of Iowa teacher. Note that the e-mail from the school’s associate dean stated flatly that her prospective colleagues “so despise her politics” — i.e., her pro-life views. They don't “disagree” — which is to say, have a difference of opinion. The word used was “despise," as in scorn or disdain or look on with contempt. Islamic fundamentalists do not “disagree” with un-believers. They regard them precisely as those Iowa professors regarded Wagner — as infidels. Unfaithful to the True Faith, not to mention treacherous.
This is why people like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Rush Limbaugh or Clarence Thomas or Ted Cruz stir such a visceral reaction from the Left. These people become successful by rejecting the Faith. One of us, or one of them. That’s not about politics or issue X and Y and Z. That’s a description of religion. And whatever the particular god or sect which this or that liberal worships — abortion, climate change, gay marriage, judging by race, opposing capitalism and so on — all are part of the larger church.
And Hobby Lobby? At the very core of the Hobby Lobby case is not a legal difference, contrary to all the headlines. The Hobby Lobby case is in reality a dispute between two religious faiths. One, held by owners of Hobby Lobby, that believes the Constitutional protection of religious liberty include the right not to be forced to pay for the birth control of their employees. On the other side? The believers in the Church of Liberalism, for whom forcing others to pay for their sex lives is a literal Article of Faith.
So the question: Is it not time to formally demand legal recognition for liberalism as a religion?
The particulars of their Liberal Faith are no more an outsider's business than the rite of communion that regularly appears in a Christian service or the Muslim belief in five daily prayers. But it would seem past time to recognize that the pro-choice movement is in fact but one tenet not of a political philosophy but of a religious faith. This said, America instantly becomes a very different place because the lenses through which the country is viewed are now very different.
Take the arguments presented by liberal Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor in the Hobby Lobby case. Yahoo wrote up their argument this way:
The Supreme Court’s three women closely questioned the argument Tuesday that employers may opt out of providing contraception because it violates their religious beliefs.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — all part of the court’s minority liberal wing — expressed deep skepticism as to whether Oklahoma-based crafts chain Hobby Lobby has religious rights as a corporation, and whether its owners may opt out of providing some forms of birth control to employees because of it.
“How does a corporation exercise religion?” Sotomayor asked Paul Clement, Hobby Lobby’s lawyer in the case. She raised a spectre: Could for-profit corporations seek to get out of a host of federal statutes, such as those guaranteeing a minimum wage and forbidding discrimination, by claiming they violate their religious beliefs?
What’s significant here is that in effect the three are acknowledging that most corporations already are run by the tenets of a religion: the religion of liberalism. One has to say: three cheers for Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg. At some level they get it, and they are terrified. American public life today — in corporations, in the public school system, in universities and much more — is being held hostage not to the rule of law but to the religion of liberalism.
Hobby Lobby is a threat precisely because it wants equal status for business owners that practice the Christian faith as ones who practice the religion of liberalism.
Whatever happens with this case, the religion of liberalism will never be the same again.