Policy hits conscience; believers often classified as bigots
Oregon tends to lead the pack in causes favored by some wings of the political left — legal abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, recreational marijuana.
Some fear that next on the progressive docket could be tax exemption for churches and the right of church agencies to operate according to their ancient beliefs, especially in the dignity of life and marriage.
“There has been a striking change just in the last 10 or even just five years,” says Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in central and eastern Oregon.
Bishop Cary cites demographics. Among the fastest-growing groups in Oregon is the population without religious affiliation. That means they have no personal interest in protecting religious freedom. In their minds, personal choice trumps religious liberty, the bishop says.
Also new is the government’s willingness to use policy to try to force people to act against conscience. . . [Full text]