There are, remarkably, two fine examples in the opinion pages of today's Irish Times of the contempt with which the progressive mindset views freedom of conscience.
In a letter to the editor, Jessica Copley of Knocklyon writes:
"Sir, – Patrick G Burke suggests (July 18th) that “There appears to be a drive to legalise same-sex marriage without the democratic consultation of a constitutional referendum.” It should be pointed out that democracy is predicated on the right of all citizens to equality before the law. Giving the majority an opportunity to decide on whether a minority should be afforded equal rights is not democracy. It is tyranny. Yours, etc."
Of course, you are then left with the question of who in fact decides what constitutes equal rights, or what contitutes a minority in the relevant sense. These decisions, in the opinion of Ms. Copley and many others, should be taken out of the peoples' hands. Who will make them for us?
(The letter printed immediately underneath this letter is by your humble servant. Embarrassingly, I used the term "Pre-Columbine America" instead of "Pre-Columbian America". I wrote to the Irish Times to correct myself soon after sending it, but they must not have noticed the correction.)
In a pro-abortion opinion piece on the opposite page, two female Labour councillors write:
"FINE GAEL has long-established form in delaying progressive social change while in government by failing to impose a whip on key issues. We are potentially faced with a repeat performance in relation to legislation arising out of the X Case."
In other words, freedom of conscience is a good thing as long as it doesn't clash with progressive dogma.
Later on in the article, they try to argue that this is not a matter of conscience, simply a matter of applying the constitution. They even, laughably, argue that withdrawing the whip from a vote on legislating for the X Case legislation is itself anti-democratic. Of course, the Irish people have never voted for abortion to be introduced in ireland under any circumstances.
Progressives seem to believe that democracy is all very well, but that the big moral issues should be kept out of the electorates' dirty hands-- just as secularists (often the same people) believe that freedom of religion is all very well, as long as it's kept indoors and doesn't frighten the horses.