Tim Schultz, president of the 1st Amendment Partnership, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom for Americans of all faiths, joins Matt, Derek, and Alastair to discuss the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling. The discussion includes an overview of the ruling, the ruling’s implications, the response given by Sen. Josh Hawley, what social conservatives can learn from other religious minorities, and more.
Overview of Bostock v. Clayton County [0:00 – 7:32]
What Bostock means for religious liberty [7:32 – 11:49]
Is there an opportunity for co-belligerency between Christians and LGBT people? [11:49 – 15:00]
What is a more likely read of Bostock, pessimism or optimism? [15:00 – 20:49]
Will this ruling impact people’s approach to voting? [20:49 – 22:09]
Matt’s optimism is deflated [22:09 – 26:05]
Is SCOTUS acting in place of congress? [26:05 – 29:46]
The Hawley speech [29:46 – 39:25]
– Was It All for This? The Failure of the Conservative Legal Movement
Social conservative’s inability to work with co-belligerents [39:25 – 45:00]
What should the stance of social conservatives be post-Bostock? [45:00 – 53:18]
Was It All for This? The Failure of the Conservative Legal Movement
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I used to listen to Mere Fidelity regularly, but I confess it is becoming more difficult, as the hosts tend to put guests on with provocative opinions, and then hardly challenge them. The recent interview with Mr. Schultz is, sadly, a prime example.
Mr. Schultz’s view that the culture wars are over, with the terms of surrender all that remains, is a popular view in evangelical circles, and may be the correct one. Mr. Schultz shared his reasoning on this, but at no point was he asked to discuss his core views. What does religious liberty in an anti-Christian culture look like to him? What should we be prepared to give up? What must we
fight at all costs to keep? These questions were never asked, and I would have liked to hear the answers.
Mr. Schultz is rather disdainful of many of his fellow Christians, especially evangelicals, and I got the impression that, to an extent, he sees the coming persecution as just desserts. His crack that “some Christians” will decide this November that Biden is “in league with the devil” and will come back to Trump, is silly and a cheap shot, the sort of thing a man says when he is hoping merely to differentiate himself from the great unwashed. I never have and never will vote for Trump, and even I found his distaste irritating. I know of no Christians who see Biden as in league with the devil.
Schultz’s lurid recounting of bigotries by previous generations of Christian activists seemed to leave no room for any conservative to have opposed the gay agenda for honest reasons. But of course that isn’t so. Maybe it’s not even what Mr. Schultz believes (this topic was not further explored). But it is the story that Mr. Schultz chose to tell, to the exclusion of all others, and he was not challenged on it.
Schultz makes a very interesting point that there is a vast and well-funded network of pro-gay groups that have accomplished virtually everything they set out to do, and will be looking for new hills to climb, which could make them dangerous to Christian liberty. Yet, again, it leaves a question unasked. Is the purpose of pro-LGBT groups truly to see legal rights bestowed upon their brethren, or rather (as I suspect) to ensure that certain marginalized sexual lifestyles achieve normative status in American culture, with the power of the state and the cultural elite to enforce it? If the latter is true, people like Mr. Schultz, and the rest of us, have been conned. The LGBT lobby has only just begun; there are many opposing voices still to crush.
“Making friends with the opposition” for which Schultz advocates, is a fine relational/evangelistic practice for all Christians. But as a legal strategy it is weak sauce at best. If we are dependent solely on the good will of our theological and epistemological enemies, then we have no strategy. We exist, day to day, at the pleasure of those who despise us. It will not last long. There must be a better way.
I would urge you to challenge your guests more, and push them on the implications of their views, so all of us can learn more. God bless and be well.
Thanks for listening.
There’s lots we didn’t talk about, but then–we said that there was lots we didn’t talk about, including why Bostock is a bad ruling! It was a narrowly framed conversation, which used Bostock to address other issues. I did not think that we would be able in 45 minutes to work through the full scope of what religious liberty will look like in America a decade from now–which is, more or less, what I take it you wanted us to explore.
I deeply disagree with your assessment of Tim. But then, I may do so because I so vociferously agree with Tim and have talked with him at length (privately) about many of these issues. The idea that he’s disdainful of evangelicals is, candidly, not worth addressing; the idea that some evangelicals are going to decide Biden is in league with the devil is incontrovertible. The fact that you don’t know anyone who thinks that way is immaterial; I know many who do, and they will grow louder in the months to come.
The idea that he thinks there’s no reasonable argument against gay rights is also ludicrous. The narrative he gave is not “lurid”: those things actually happened, and religious conservatives have to reckon with the fact that they happened. But then, everything Tim says on that I have also said at great length here at Mere-O over the past fifteen years–even while opposing gay marriage. If you note carefully, Tim at one point references an essay of mine (favorably). Perhaps that should be a signal to you that he is not hostile to those who (like me) argued loudly against gay marriage.
Perhaps I spoke in haste. I apologize if I was wrong. God bless you and be well.