The fugitive slave act of 1850 stipulated, among other items, that law enforcement must assist in apprehending and re-enslaving escaped slaves. There was no exemption for those who could not do so in good conscience. In fact the legislation was principally intended to force unwilling participation in the practice of slavery. Those who chose to disobey were punished with fines. By forcing participation in the practice of slavery the act attempted to ensure that the utterly intolerable moral condemnations of the practice would cease. Participation was pivotal. Abstention was unthinkable.
Recent court cases have seen Christian bakers, florists, and photographers coming under attack for refusing to participate in an institution which they object to for moral reasons. Their quiet condemnation is unbearable to homosexuals who appear to be actively seeking out Christians so that they can punish them for keeping their consciences intact. Complete moral silence is their aim because they cannot bear to hear or know that anyone thinks that anything that they are doing is wrong. Christian, bakers, florists, and photographers must be made to participate in homosexual weddings not because homosexuals can’t find others to perform these functions, but precisely because, as Christians, they are compelled to object to doing so. If the last internal qualms of homosexuals are ever to be finally suppressed, then it is necessary to first soil and besmirch the consciences of those who echo those qualms.
As I write, the supreme court is deciding whether Christian-owned companies can be forced to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients which they object to for moral reasons. Abortion supporters are tired of hearing that abortion is wrong and they aim to ostracize and financially destroy every CEO who doesn’t feel as they do. Descension and moral abstention cannot be allowed because that would constitute a mute condemnation and condemnation is intolerable. Christian business owners must be forced to pay for things that they cannot buy in good conscience, not because those things are costly or cannot be acquired by employees who want them, but precisely because the employers in question cannot pay for them in good conscience. If mothers are ever to become callous enough to kill their own children without a pang, then it is necessary to make sure that no one may object to the practice. In order to get to that point, everyone needs to participate.
That’s why conscientious abstention cannot be allowed. That’s why it must be stamped out. When no voice is raised against these practices, when we’ve convinced everyone that they are right, when we’ve silenced all disagreement, maybe then we’ll be able to convince ourselves too.