New 'morality' will deny religious freedom

March 27, 2011|By GEORGE MICHAEL

Tim Rowland spends 51 weeks of the year telling us all how ineffective our county delegation is in Annapolis. Last Sunday, he tried to make the case that the “small men” representing us blocked gay marriage in Maryland. If true, what an accomplishment!

In truth, this is one issue where the county delegation or the Republican party, outnumbered 98 to 43 in the House of Delegates, could not have stopped the law from being passed. The most underreported aspect by our media of the whole affair was the fact that it was Democratic African-American delegates who strongly opposed gay marriage, effectively blocking the bill. In the end, it was not even brought to the floor of the House for a vote. Apparently, the black community does not see this as a “freedom” or civil rights issue.  

The biggest problem with Rowland’s column is that his whole premise is wrong. He tried to cast this as a religion vs. freedom issue by defending “freedom” as much more important than anyone’s small or petty religious views.  

Ultimately, all laws reflect one’s value system. Rowland has some sort of creed of morality and ethics. But what is it based upon? It appears that it might be secular humanism or postmodernism or some such. His creed has “religious” implications reflecting values and ethics, even though his world view premise is that his view is not religious; that it is only rational, or scientific, or something else. That’s where his premise breaks down.

In the past year, the federal government has been cracking down on polygamy violators in Texas and Utah, where some men have married a half-dozen wives, including underage girls, and have fathered 40 to 50 children. Is it wrong for the government to take away their “freedom?” And what other “orientation” options are out there that will become the new social paradigm in the future? Would Rowland justify ending laws against underage marriage or incest in the name of freedom? If not, on what basis?

The gay marriage push by Rowland and others the last 20 years suggests that the new “freedom” is based on changing world views and values. America’s laws and system were based on Judeo-Christian values. Currently, the religious creed for our nation seems to be secular humanism, which denies God and the Ten Commandments. It also appears to have become the new basis of morality for our legal system.

Since this is the “religious” view currently taught in most schools in America, as soon as the older generation that was raised on traditional, more Christian values dies off, there will be the ascendancy of the new religious and moral system. This new “morality” will have triumphed under the guise of “freedom.” Sadly, Rowland could be right that the laws on gay marriage will be changed in Maryland in five years, and in most states in 10 years. It will be based on a new religious and moral framework by overthrowing traditional morality.

This means that religious freedom will then be denied for many as the new “morality” is imposed by the government. The loss of freedom Rowland bemoans for gay marriage advocates will be reversed as other citizens then lose their freedoms. This is what was at stake in the proposed Maryland law. Those organizations such as the Catholic charities and others that do not subscribe to the new values system eventually will be denied their religious freedom. That was the point of much of the debate that did take place in the legislature.  

Rowland destroyed any pretense of credibility by his comment “our delegation is populated with small men.” Is an ad hominem attack his best shot? It reflected poorly on Rowland and on The Herald-Mail. In context, it suggested our legislators are petty and small-minded. Who is petty and small-minded here? In the end, Rowland asserted, “we should respect the rights and beliefs of others,” contradicting most of his article.

I would like to think that reasonable people are open-minded enough to consider this viewpoint. I fear, however, that those who fancy themselves as open-minded are often more intolerant of those with whom they disagree. That is what came across in Rowland’s column — his disdain for the view of others. It all depends on one’s religious and moral viewpoint.

George Michael lives in Williamsport. His email address is

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