Tony Perkins is President of Family Research Council. This article appeared in The Daily Signal on June 30, 2015.
If there’s one thing the Supreme Court accomplished last Friday (besides unleashing cultural chaos on America), it was ending the liberal media’s charade. Whatever scrap of journalistic impartiality existed flew out the courtroom window Friday when the press decided five justices not only invented a right to same-sex marriage but to censorship, too.
Less than a week after the court trampled the Constitution, one of the biggest stories of the ruling is the industry tasked with relaying it—the mainstream press. After years of trying to drive out debate, the liberal media are using the cloak of the court to do it. Desperate to take away the voice of Christians at the public table, the left is already on the march to undermine the very freedom that gives breath to the speech it now enjoys.
Despite being one of two nations in the entire world who forced this on their people by the courts, much of the media have declared victory over a dispute that’s barely existed two decades. Americans who believe in thousands of years of human history must now surrender to a four-day-old “right”—or shut up altogether.
“What they believed yesterday is no longer acceptable today,” wrote Howard Kurtz, a Fox News analyst. “If you are an American who is opposed to gay marriage … you barely see yourself reflected in the coverage. The message is that you are clueless, out of touch, a lost cause. And in some quarters, it’s worse: that you are a bigot, a homophobe…”
In the hundred hours since the opinion was released, we’ve already seen the gloves come off.
At a newspaper in Pennsylvania, editors warned that they would “no longer accept, nor … print, op-eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.’ … This is not hard: We would not print racist, sexist or anti-Semitic letters. To that, we add homophobic ones. Pretty simple.”
These are the conversations taking place in newsrooms all across the country. This is just one that happened to go public.
Not surprisingly, people were outraged and flooded the newspaper with scathing emails and phone calls. Within hours, the editors issued an apology. It was, John Micek, said, a “genuine attempt at fostering civil discussion.” (Not very genuine, it seems, since ending the discussion doesn’t exactly foster one.) Still, Micek said, “These pages … belong to the people of Central Pennsylvania. I’m a conduit, I recognize, for them to share their views and to have the arguments that make us better as a people. And all views are—and always will be—welcome.”
For how long, no one knows.
Over at the Daily Beast, editors are already calling the justices’ four dissents “treason.” And it doesn’t take much imagination to assume that Americans who believe the same as President Obama did three years ago will be accused of the same.
Conservatives have been dealing with these attacks for some time. But after Friday, the campaign to blacklist those who still believe in natural marriage became surprisingly ferocious.
When Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell appeared on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” to talk about the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, left-wing groups mobilized thousands of people to contact the network, demanding it ban him from future shows. It’s a deliberate attempt to silence your voice, which we represent in Washington.
“You better be ready and you better be prepared because it’s coming,” Rev. Franklin Graham warned. “There will be persecution of Christians for our stand.”
In the media, there already is. The press is no longer a guardian against censorship but a portender of it. And this much is clear: they’ll shove anyone out of the public square who doesn’t stand their ground.
Of course, the sad irony of their intolerance is that if anyone should be a natural ally for free speech, it’s the press. After all, our right to disagree springs from the same well as their freedom to write about it.
If there’s one thing conservatives have going for them, it’s that the media have inflated the support for same-sex marriage for so long that they’ve actually started to believe it. It will come as a great surprise then, as I’m sure it did to John Micek, when millions of Americans start pushing back on this effort to drive conservatives underground. In its arrogance, the left seems to have overlooked the fact that the court ordered same-sex marriage by the slimmest of majorities—one that happens to reflect the deep divide of its country’s own people.
The marriage debate isn’t over, and Family Research Council will do everything it can to make sure it stays that way.
Today, we’re launching a new movement called Project Tolerance: Preserving Your Voice in the Public Square. The media are already hearing from the left—now it’s time they heard from us. If you want to know what you can do in the wake of Friday’s ruling, here’s something: check out FRC’s site and sign up to join the pushback.