Churches are the left’s next target in the gay-marriage war
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.
This local news story was done about a year ago:
(I've removed the video as it has an automatic start, which was driving me crazy, so you can to the the video by PRESSING HERE-FOR MY INTERVIEW OF GAY ISSUES FROM LAST YEAR.)
I recommend that we stop looking for persecution. It very likely will happen, but we could find our attitudes preventing a solution and even creating the situation we dread.
Have many of us on this blog not been saying this for a long, long time? So, Fr, what will you do when Brucie and Bobby catholic come calling for their homo abomination marriage?
AA, you continue with your hysterical straw men. I am not allowed to marry a man and a woman if one or the other has a previous marriage if not annulment is granted. If I do, I would be suspended by the bishop.
Heterosexual Catholics have no right to marriage in the Church if there is an impediment of some kind. There is no such thing as the Sacrament of Marriage for two homosexuals even if I illicitly performed the ceremony to which I would be suspended an maybe defrocked.
The state does not define what the Sacraments of the Church are or who is eligible to receive the Sacraments to include Holy Matrimony. The biggest problem is that we have placed ourselves into a positioin where the state does have some say over the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony because the bishop, priest or deacon who performs the nuptial liturgy has to sign the civil marriage certificate.
That is why I have written over and over again, that we must let the state perform the civil part of the marriage and the Church then and only then, and for only those who are eligible for marriage in the Church performs the Sacrament of Marriage.
I am certainly glad that is the case…for now. I don't think you fully appreciate what a tyrannical and all powerful government can
and will do. We are nearly there…being suspended by the Bishop is a joke compared to what may come…besides, the Bishops will be the first to go.
I am concerned that the redefinition of words will subvert The Constitution and existing laws as we delve deeper into what "the founders" intended (as opposed to *meant*). The effects on society of word redefinition will be to render religion, religious texts, religious observance and tradition as "hateful", non-nonsensical and irrelevant.
These processes are already underway and there is a growing number of people who are OK with that.
Without intervention it will only be a matter of time until the agenda reaches a neighborhood near you.
The USA is a big prize and certain people want it for their own.
I am more and more convinced that we are in the midst of the decline and fall of the American empire as we have understood these United States. No one can say, as the Church says for herself, that this can't happen. It is happening and it will happen. I just hope we can live with what comes of this. I suspect we will be ruled as a Islamic state similar to what is in the Middle East.
All the more reason that His Holiness, Pope Francis, words to the archbishops receiving the palium on Monday are important for us as Catholics:
Everything passes, only God remains. Indeed, kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to Popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ. Only the one who lives in Christ promotes and defends the Church by holiness of life, after the example of Peter and Paul.
Thank you for your sane response, Father. Thank you also for reiterating that nobody has a "right" to be married in the Catholic Church, simply because this is what they "want" and "feel" they should have. There is no "right" to ANY vocation in the Catholic Church, period: one has to be called; it's not a matter of voluntaristic self-determination.
That's an important distinction to make in a culture that presumes that everyone should get married or be in some sort of romantic relationship, or else they're "unloved" or "weird," and that love is about warm fuzzies. Marriage, for Catholics, has a purpose, and is part of the Church's mission. We don't get married because it's a culturally "expected" milestone, and for the sake of middle-class, suburban "respectability."
I myself didn't see marriage as all that beautiful until I discovered what the Church teaches-- namely that there is heavenly mystery, earthiness, and grit, as opposed to a sort of bland complacency. It's also important to remember that the ultimate in love for Catholics isn't married life or any particular state in life; it's the Eucharist. The Good News about the Eucharist is that you don't need to be married in order to partake in it, and even marriage, where husband and wife are meant to be open to life, regardless of family size, is only a reflection of it.
We Catholics shoot ourselves in the foot when discussing marriage, because our opponents are talking about love, and we aren't doing so effectively-- mainly because we appear to be defending a view of marriage that our opponents link with certain cultural markings or trappings ("respectability"). We are allowing ourselves to get hemmed in, because we haven't realized that if we're going to talk about love from a Catholic perspective, marriage isn't "it."
Ultimately, it will come down to the Eucharist-- the only reason why we are Catholic at all. It may be difficult to talk about in a culture that is not used to thinking in Catholic terms, but I think it gives us a distinct advantage.
“I suspect we will be ruled as a Islamic state similar to what is in the Middle East.”
I am curious to know how this is going to happen. Where are all the Muslims going to come from? Are they going to invade? Immigrate? Convert? Or is the electorate going to lose its collective mind and elect Muslim candidates to become a majority in Congress and presumably also President? And what is your imagined time frame for these events?
As you can probably tell, I am a bit skeptical about this prognostication.
But look on the bright side. If this were to happen, some of the first things the Muslims would do is to eliminate same sex marriage and to restrict abortion and contraception quite severely. =)
P.S. I hope you understand that I intend no disrespect by my previous comment, but I just cannot let such an alarmist prediction go without challenge.
Also, if certain Catholics (and Christians more generally) could see beyond the sensational headlines and the scaremongering rhetoric spewing forth from various talking heads in the media, they might realize that mainstream Muslims could be very helpful allies in defending religious faith and religious freedom in this country.
A2, any Islamic radicalized organization (and ISIS is a good candidate) who obtains even a small nuclear devise or a atomic bomb similar to what was used by the USA in Japan could eliminate either New York or Washington, DC in an instant. Take over accomplished!
I agree that you describe a very frightening scenario. I suspect you are correct in surmising that there are those who would want to perpetrate such a barbarous act. I also suspect that our government is being extremely watchful and is on guard against any such plots. Moreover, I also strongly suspect that if, Heaven forbid, some evildoer succeeded in carrying out such a plot, there are plans in place for a swift and terrible retribution.
P.S. I know that you may not agree with me on this point but in my view we would not be having this conversation were it not for the extreme folly of the Bush administration in invading Iraq in 2003. We must be careful to learn the lessons from that misadventure and not repeat such folly.
In retrospect many will now acknowledge that Mr Bush made a mistake with the military campaign in Iraq. Mr Obama badly bungled the end game however. Whether you are a coach who takes over a losing football team, an administrator who takes over a failing college, or a CEO who takes the helm of a bankrupt business, you accept responsibility for what then subsequently happens under your watch. You take it, you own it. No one is forced to be in these positions. Mr Obama took over the greatest country, militarily and economically, in the history of the world. The most tragic and inexcusable part of his legacy will be allowing the decimation of the Christian population in Iraq and Syria with no effective or credible effort on the part of the U.S. to stop or impede it. Almost every strata of society except the very wealthy are worse off under this president. Race relations are worse. The moral and spiritual fabric of our country has suffered great damage. The accumulation of national debt equal to that that built by all the previous presidents combined is but one of the gifts he will bequeath to whomever is unfortunate enough to win the next presidential election. You can continue to sing along to our current leader's tune, but to those who keep up with what is going on in the country, it is sounding more and more like the blues.
I believe Anon 2 is an extremely naive woman when she says: "I agree that you describe a very frightening scenario. I suspect you are correct in surmising that there are those who would want to perpetrate such a barbarous act. I also suspect that our government is being extremely watchful and is on guard against any such plots. Moreover, I also strongly suspect that if, Heaven forbid, some evildoer succeeded in carrying out such a plot, there are plans in place for a swift and terrible retribution.'
You have described yourself as a dreamer Anon 2 and with that comment I think you just confirmed it.
I suspect your skepticism is as accurate as your assumption about my gender.
By the way, where did I describe myself as a dreamer? Perhaps I did, but I just don’t remember that one.
I was only talking about Iraq. Because George Bush could not run for a third term, clearly someone else was going to inherit the disaster called Iraq. And surge or no surge, it_was_a disaster in my view, and in the view of many experts. The responsibility for the ensuing unholy mess lies squarely at the foot of the Bush administration and their bungling of the situation beginning with Day 1 of the occupation. They lied and they were utterly incompetent. They opened Pandora’s box and I doubt that anyone could have closed it. They poked the sleeping yard dog with a pointed stick and woke it up without even checking to see what type of dog they were dealing with. And now you blame the neighbors because they cannot get the vicious yard dog under control! Blaming Obama (or anyone who succeeded George Bush as President) cannot distract or detract from this fundamental point.
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