2 July 2014
¶ On today’s Op-Ed page, Paul Horwitz looks behind the Hobby Lobby decision to find three fault lines that have opened up in American life, creating chasms that might well be unbridgeable:
- Traditional consensus on the importance of accommodating religious freedom has collapsed.
- Same-sex marriage has brought to an end the long-standing cease-fire on disagreements about the role of religion in marriage.
- The marketplace is no longer the ideologically free zone that it used to be.
We see a fantastic irony in the third point: free markets in everything have reduced religions to values with market currency.
A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next. A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise. And a nation whose marketplace itself is viewed, for better or worse, as a place to fight both those battles rather than to escape from them is still less likely to find surcease from struggle.