Americans United for Firing Christians

Religious Liberty
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at 4:43 pm

My thanks to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the liberal group that praised WORLD yesterday for finding a great story.

Not exactly. The AUSCS website reported that WORLD, “a publication affiliated with fundamentalist guru Marvin Olasky,” had found a great “sob story.” (I’m a cracker-barrel philosopher at best, not a mixed-metaphor guru, but since this year is the centennial for publication of the 90 essays known as The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, I’ll take that as a compliment as well.)

Our “sob story” portrayed Jennifer Schoenrock, a 56-year-old deputy clerk in Waynesville, Mo., wife of a disabled veteran, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She receives about $24,000 per year for (among other things) issuing marriage licenses. She’s fine with homosexual civil unions but doesn’t want to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

You might think that AUSCS, which in previous decades wanted to restrict government power out of concern that officials could then impose a state-sponsored belief system on others, would be consistent with its past by wanting state separation from the new Church of Gay Dominance. Nope.

AUSCS is showing what its critics have long contended: It’s not for separation of church and state but for separation of Christians from state. “No one is forcing Schoenrock to be a clerk,” AUSCS’s Simon Brown wrote. “She sought the job. If she is unwilling to perform all aspects of her job, it’s time for her to look for another line of work.”

You might think that AUSCS would at least be sympathetic with Mrs. Schoenrock, but nope. No tears. Out she goes. I’ve debated AUSCS executive director Barry Lynn a couple of times and occasionally felt sympathy for him, but I now realize my glasses were foggy. Looks like I was actually debating Madame Thérèse Defarge, the memorable revenge-obsessed Dickens character in A Tale of Two Cities, who kept knitting, knitting, knitting as the guillotine carts rolled past her.

Happily, some gay rights advocates do want peace and not just victory. See Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, asking, “Should Mom-and-Pops That Forgo Gay Weddings Be Destroyed?” Also see Jonathan Turley’s Washington Post piece on how “Critics of Indiana’s religious freedom law are trying to have their cake and eat it, too.”

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is World View: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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