The coming persecution of churches over gay marriage

The coming persecution of churches over gay marriage

How long before gay marriage is no longer an option for churches, but becomes mandatory by law? Douglas Kmiec, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine writes in today’s Chicago Tribune that we can expect an eventual push to require churches to perform gay marriages.

This increased judicial approval of same-sex marriage will metastasize into the larger culture. Indeed, an insidious, but less recognized, consequence will be a push to demonize—and then punish—faith communities that refuse to bless homosexual unions.

While it may be inconceivable for many to imagine America treating churches that oppose gay marriage the same as racists who opposed interracial marriage in the 1960s, just consider the fate of the Boy Scouts.

...  For technical legal reasons, it is difficult to challenge a religious group’s non-profit status in federal court, but state court is more open. There, judicial decisions approving same-sex marriage or even state laws barring discrimination can be used to pronounce any opposing moral or religious doctrine to be contrary to public policy. So declared, it would be short work for a state attorney general’s opinion to deny the tax-exempt status of charities and most orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious bodies. If enough state lawyers do this, expect the IRS to chime in.

Dissenters within the Church will lead the way


  • Half of me wants to say that’s crazy but in the eyes of the law, how does denial of gay marriage differ than denial of gay adoption?  The Catholic Church (via Catholic Charities) in Massachusetts has gotten out of adoptions.

  • How about the Church getting out of performing marriages? At least state sponsored marriage. The Church still performs marriages, but does not require state issued marriage licenses.

    Remember, government was not involved in marriage until after the French revolution. Let’s go back to our roots!  cheese

  • And in a stroke of leadership, Cardinal O’Malley will announce that the Church in Boston is getting out of the marriage business.

  • While I don’t think it likely, I could imagine a state saying to clergy who won’t officiate at “gay marriages,” okay, no marriage license for you.

    We would be able to celebrate the marriage; but it would have no legal effect, so the married couple would have to do something to have the state recognize their marriage as valid; either an actual ceremony, or perhaps simply signing a document.

    I am not sure, but hasn’t that been true in many countries?

    It would be an inconvenience, both for the couple and for the state. It wouldn’t bother me, except that it might cause some couples to say, either, “well, let’s just have the jp do it then,” or “well, Rev. So-and-so at 1st Lukewarm Assembly has a license, let’s have him do it.” In a mixed marriage, the Church could dispense from canonical form, and these would be valid; with two Catholics, we’d have a problem. But I think, most of the time, we’d work it out.

    It’s the next step—that the state would mandate an entirely religious act, with no civil consequences—be extended to gay couples—that would be a real persecution. I have no crystal ball, but I rather doubt that will happen.

    The next step would be to revoke tax-exempt status. That would be a huge pain, but not a fatal blow. As it is, our parish pays plenty of taxes: we pay property tax on the rectory where I live; they would be extended to the church and office. We pay various payroll taxes on our employees, including me; we would be asked to pay sales taxes and corporate income taxes.

    Except that if we don’t show any profit . . .

    And all this would have major political negatives for elected officials. So while a judge can make problems, actions of runaway judges soon end up being problems for elected officials, who are demanded to fix it. In some states, like Massachusetts, the Church loses a role in adoptions; that won’t happen most states. The same would be true, I think, here.

    If they were (or are) going to take away the Church’s tax status, it’d be over the abuse scandal; and that hasn’t happened anywhere. But that’s something everyone gets angry about. Everyone does not get angry that homosexual persons can’t make a church marry them; far more would be angry at such an arrogant power-play.

    In short, I’d say the landscape has to change very radically before this scenario happens.

  • Gerald,

    That’s wrong, but it’s probably going to end up where we’re going—getting married twice.

    Marriage in this country is not seen as a sacrament, but rather some sort of business deal for securing a spouse for stability and permanence.  As common as it is to cohabitate, that’s considered the “romantic interlude.”

  • And, in tune with the original post, I think we are going to go to the gallows for something along these lines:
    *homosexual “rights”
    *normal procreation—having kids in a biologically normal way
    *“advances” in embryology

    The last one is the scariest for me.  It hasn’t come about yet, but what happens when medical science manages to “improve” conception—ie higher IQ, built-in changes that every parent thinks they want.  This one will make us outcasts with a difference.  We will be the equivalent of “jehovah’s witnesses” who will not treat their kids medically.  Judges force treatment on those people.  IT could happen to us.

  • The Church has no power to alter the conditions for validity of a Sacrament. How can the State make the Church do something that She cannot make Herself do? The state-imposed remedy would be more than enforcing a ceremonial task; it would be the outright persecution of a belief system, which is protected by the First Amendment.

  • Then you haven’t been paying attention to what they did in Canada. They hope to do the same thing here. Back in the 60s when the interracial marriage bans were struck down you didn’t have US courts citing laws in other countries as precedents as you do now.

    And I don’t know which radical gay groups you’ve been listening to but the ones I’ve heard are talking of this very thing.

  • Jay said:
    This is an alarmist post, and not one that strikes me as particularly well grounded in the realm of possibility.

    Jay, Why is Catholic Charities not performing adoptions anymore?

    Why is the christioan business man being forced out of business by a human rights commission that disagrees with his decision not to violate his own christian convictions and produce filth and propoganda to promote the homosexual agenda?

    Why did it take 2 years of a minister in Sweden to GET OUT OF JAIL because his homily raised RELIGious questions about the homosexual lifestyle (now called HATE SPEECH)?

    Your comment is disalarmist and fails to acknowledge the reality of the current scary situation.  It is time for Mitt Romney to perform his constitutional obligation and enforce the current and longstanding marriage statute which FORBIDS same-sex marriage.  HIS FAILURE TO FIX THIS PROBLEM WILL CERTAINLY LOSE HIM THE WHITE HOUSE.  He’s just too dumb to realize that if he had an ounce of courage to stand up and do what is right, what he is legally obligated to do, then he could walk into the white house untouchable by any of the other middle of the road fence post riders.

  • You don’t think Christians take a beating?

    Then let’s talk about how many kids are abused by public school teachers in the USA and how heavily it appears in the news in a concerted stream.  This is a huge source of child sexual abuse.

    Let’s talk about a great new sensationalistic novel about the tragic histories and creepy characters of Islam or Buddhism.  Better yet, let’s make a movie of it and personally harass all the Muslims and Buddhists we know about it over lunch breaks at work….

    Oh, and let’s not forget to get presidential candidates who pretend to be Muslim, Buddhist, etc but aren’t, so we can rub real Muslims, Buddhists, etc noses in the perversion of their faith, on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers……

  • I’m not saying we should really do any of those things, mind you.  It was written for contrast’s sake—to show how our treatment has been (and is) so much different than the treatment others receive.

  • Jay said:
    It’s business, and it’s regulable (and should be).  Nobody’s “rights” have been trampled.  A Christian does not leave his home with a special bubble of constitutional protection around him in any and all activities he does, such that he never has to have an unsatisfying moment.

    So under your theory, then Catholic Hospitals and Catholic Doctors who are in business will be forced to do abortions (simply an unsatisfying moment for the greater “good”). . or they can just simply stop performing all medical services?  Should a doctor be able to say no to abortions?  Or is it simply tough luck? 

    If a doctor cannot in good conscience choose not to perform abortions, then what business should Catholic doctors go into?  Not permitting Catholic Doctors to be doctors is not freedom.  Maybe they should try the video duplication business?  But if you agree that a doctor can in good conscience refuse to do abortions, then doesn’t it make logical sense that a video duplicator does not have to violate his religious beliefs either (regardless of what illegal law was in place at the time he entered the business?  Or do religious beliefs fall below sexually deviant behaviors in terms of rights under our great constitution?  By the way, where does it say that in the constitution just so I fully understand you?

    Can you tell me what businesses will christians be allowed to do?  Only ones that gays don’t choose to force their agenda on???  That is not freedom.  A christian should be allowed to be in ANY business they choose, without having society force them to accept and engage in conduct against their religious beliefs.  Otherwise the govenrment has ESTABLISHED a religion (the religion of people who believe the opposite of Christians—whatever you want to name that; atheism or homosexualism) and they have prevented Christians from FREELY EXERCISING their religious beliefs.  Both of these rights are EXPLICITLY WRITTEN INTO THE CONSTITUTION AND OUGHT TO ENJOY AT LEAST THE SAME LEVEL OF RESPECT THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO GIVE SEXUAL DEVIANT BEHAVIORS. 

    For the same reason the private parade on public grounds can be run on St. Patrick’s day (that you referred to), a private business under our constitution cannot be forced to engage in conduct that intereferes with his free exercise of religion.  If that is not true, then Catholic churches will have to perform same-sex marriages.  There is no other way around it.  Catholic schools will have to teach about abortion and homosexuality.  Otherwise, get out of the business of education.  Tough luck.  What the hell kind of approach is that? 

    Do you really believe that that is freedom?  Do you have any idea what the founding fathers meant when they wrote the constitution? What is the “free exercise” of religion if one can’t be in business without violating one’s religious beliefs.  Your arrogant answers fail to address this.

  • Regarding Catholic Charities:  to say that there was no government action here is outright false.  The legislature stated publicly through the Speaker of the House that they would never allow Catholic Charities and exemption.  Mitt Romney (remember him, the guy who brought same-sex marriage to America.  The man who took our state constitution, which defines the term marriage in it as one man and one woman—if you understand the idea of a legal term called constitutional construction—and he threw the constitution out the window.  The man who is currently currently violating the Constitution and the marriage statute by handing out VOID same-sex marriage licenses to same-sex couples, without any legal authority.) said he could do nothing to protect the religious liberties of the Boston Catholic Charities, and when they decided to get out of the business, Romney all of a sudden found the legal ability to protect the Springfield and Worcester CC’s organizations who want to stay in the business.  The failure of the Archdiocese of Boston to assert and protect its own religious liberties is no credit to Government inaction.  The Government simply was never given the the opportunity to completely demolish the religious liberties we hold dearly under our great constitutions.  Had the Archbishop had an ounce of courage, we would have seen the Government outright abandon any religious freedoms that we posess as quick as you can say sodomy.

    Religious freedoms are in serious jeopardy.  Why you are unwilling to see that is either because you remain in the coma that everyone else is in—you know the same one that all of the good german people (who never believed hitler would do what he did) were in, or you are actually in favor of ending religious freedoms.  Which is it?