Churches are the left’s next target in the gay-marriage war

Churches are the left’s next target in the gay-marriage war

Everyone knows where the debate over gay marriage is going next.

Now that the Supreme Court has imposed its edict on the land, the question is whether religious institutions and people of faith will still be permitted to act on moral beliefs that the court has portrayed as bigoted and deeply wounding.

In his long prose-poem about love masquerading as a judicial opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy made a bow to these concerns.

He cited the First Amendment for the proposition that religions and those who adhere to them “may continue to advocate with utmost sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” Gee, thanks, Mr. Justice.

This assurance is about as convincing as the rest of Kennedy’s airy majority opinion with little or no connection to the Constitution or law — which is to say, people of faith ought to brace for the worst.

Kennedy’s statement was carefully hedged to include only advocacy and teaching, a lawyerly wording that the other lawyers on the court were quick to pick up on. The First Amendment, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out in his dissent, actually protects the freedom to exercise religion.

That means people of faith acting on their beliefs, not merely advocating them or teaching them.

It’s easy to see the coming clash of moralities, one enjoying official favor, the other religious sanction. What Kennedy refers to as the “dignitary wounds” of the traditional definition of marriage are also inflicted by the private institutions and people who uphold that definition.

In oral arguments, Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether, on the model of Bob Jones University a few decades ago when it banned interracial dating and marriage, a college that opposed same-sex marriage could be denied tax-exempt status. “It’s certainly going to be an issue,” Verrilli admitted. “I don’t deny that.”

At this juncture, most supporters of same-sex marriage do deny it, although they have a history of making whatever assurance seems necessary, before discarding it in due course. It used to be that prominent supporters of gay marriage pooh-poohed the idea of a judicial imposition of their view on the country.

In the Supreme Court’s prior pro-gay-marriage decision, just two years ago, it said that domestic relations were exclusively a matter for the states — before turning around and throwing out state marriage laws not to its liking.

If supporters of same-sex marriage truly have no interest in punishing the exercise of religion they find objectionable, they can sign off on legislation to prevent it.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, has a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act — yes, it’s come to that — protecting organizations from government retaliation over their opposition to gay marriage.

There is unlikely to be a rush on the left to endorse it, when the American Civil Liberties Union is heading in the opposite direction. It has just withdrawn its support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, on grounds that it can be used to protect organizations refusing to get on board with gay marriage.

Already, there are a few calls to remove the tax exemption of churches now opposed to what the Supreme Court has deemed a fundamental right.

These are only tea leaves. The move against religious groups will surely start small, with some isolated, unsympathetic Christian institution, and then grow until what once had been called unimaginable becomes mandatory.

The push for gay marriage is motivated by a moralistic zeal that sees only one point of view on the question as legitimate.

If its supporters weren’t patient enough to see their cause through the inevitable fits and starts of the democratic process, they aren’t going to let procedural niceties stand in the way of an effort to bulldoze their way to a more thoroughgoing conformity on the issue.

The gay-marriage debate isn’t over; it’s merely entered a new phase.

Written by Rich Lowry.

8 Comments:

  1. Gay marriages shouldn’t be honored in a church they believe in the Bible and that’s not Christian gay couples should be allowed to only get married in a court house since the court system made the law

  2. It is very unfortunate that Pastors & ministers sat on the sidelines quietly muzzled while our culture has been systematically destroyed by creeping liberalism. Most churches cannot survive the onslaught that is about to besiege them. Many pastors have little business experience & limited vocational skills. Just another group that will be added to government assistance in a long lingering economic recovery. It has been said “that for evil to succeed all that is required is for good people to do nothing”. Welcome to your new world folks.

    • you’re absolutely correct! the church has been silent, and unwilling to engage our culture, and politics, and this is the result of their non participation! The words of Jesus comes to mind!
      Mat. 5:13; “you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is therefore good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”.

  3. Even the seven billions the earth planet habitant s say ,gay people can get merry that doesn’t mean God gonna change his words, no body in the all universe can change it,blessings and God lo e u .

  4. Separation between church and state Marriges between man, and women is the only marriges that should be allowed in a God’s house 9f worship. Government passed the law for same sex marriges so government needs to marry them not pastor or anyone one else that honors God’s words

    • Quentin Fairchild

      Separation of church and state is not Constitutional. Freedom of religion is in the Constitution to keep the gov’t out of churches. At the time religion meant only Judaism and Christianity. Everything else is pagans and heathen. Thanks to liberalism for the perversion of our language.

  5. Traditional marriage was about:

    Forming family alliances
    Father selling his daughter to a suitor
    Incest
    Polygamy
    Extramarital affairs (men only)

    Marriage originally had nothing to do with religion. In fact, marriage had nothing to do with either the church or state, it was a private Agreement between individuals and/or their families.

    The Declaration of Independence declares that all Americans have the right to “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. These days marriage is a part of the pursuit of happiness.

    Your religious traditions are not under attack. You are attacking a tradition older than your religion. Your are forcing your religion on others and calling it “freedom of religion”, while referring to true freedom of religion as persecution.

    Freedom of religion means freedom from religion. You cannot have freedom of religion unless you are free from all other religions.

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