Kasich on Religious Liberty: Can’t We All Get Along?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Michael Vadon via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ohio Governor John Kasich was on CBS’ “Face The Nation” show on Sunday. When the controversy involving state religious liberty laws came up, Kasich seemed to belittle the notion that religious liberty is something worth defending.

Kasich said he “probably” would not have signed the law in North Carolina requiring men to use men’s restroom. He conceded that religious organizations should be free to follow their faith. I’m glad to hear that. But it was downhill from there.

The issue gets “tricky,” Kasich said, once businesses are involved. He asked, “Can’t we figure out just how to get along a little bit better and respect one another? . . . Everybody, chill out, get over it if you have a disagreement with somebody.”

I wish we could just get along. But, governor, you are lecturing the wrong people!

Tell that to the left, which keeps pushing the envelope. Left-wing social engineers have gone from asking for tolerance to using the law to force men and women of faith to accommodate their demands, whether it’s small business owners, Catholic nuns or young girls in high school locker rooms.

What is the public policy reason to force religious business owners — whether it’s a photographer, a baker or a florist — to violate his or her faith? There is no place in America where a same-sex couple can’t find someone to provide services. If someone objects to participating in a same-sex wedding, it would be reasonable for that couple to respect the views of the business owner, and “chill out” as Gov. Kasich put it. But that is not what is happening.

Why can’t Kasich see that the First Amendment is not limited to the confines of a church or synagogue? If that is the new standard, America won’t be recognizable much longer.

Here’s another example. Suppose an Orthodox Jewish family owns a catering business, and a customer from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) comes in. CAIR is an apologist group for radical Islam and is extremely anti-Israel.

Should that Jewish catering business, under force of law, be required to cater CAIR’s event? In a country where tolerance is supposed to be among our greatest values, the answer should be no.

In my view, Kasich’s response shows he is not prepared to defend values of millions of Americans who are being browbeaten into violating their most deeply held beliefs. Men and women of faith would like to be left alone, governor. But the left won’t allow it.

Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.