Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gay Marriage: The Death of Religious Freedom

Nothing better illustrates the war that is being waged upon religion than the venom spewed toward Miss California Carrie Prejean.

Everyone who want homosexuals to just be left alone and have the same rights as everyone else is completely and absolutely missing what this war is actually about. Make no mistake, this war comes down to freedom of religion and is being waged by a Gadianton coalition with a premeditated agenda that has been being planned for years. Unfortunately, the other side, for the most part, is an uninformed citizenry of church-goers that would like to be open minded and loving, and for this are not understanding what they are or are not fighting for.

I do not wish to meddle with homosexuals. I wish them no harm. But the idea of letting them live their private life and leaving them alone is not a valid argument when their fight for gay marriage infringes upon my right of freedom of religion.

The California supreme court admitted that the state's domestic-partnership law gives gay couples "virtually all of the legal rights and responsibilities accorded married couples under California law." Marriage would add no new rights. So why did they continue the fight for actual marriage? Why not be happy with civil unions? The answer is they (the inter-connected groups pushing these laws) are not looking for marriage and the rights that come with it. They are looking to punish and stop the "bigotry" of those who believe homosexuality is a sin. Thus, religion has become the main target. They will do this through legal action. “The basic argument is: Once the state recognizes us as married, no private group outside of the sanctuary of the church is entitled to treat us otherwise, and various civil-rights laws banning discrimination over sexual orientation ought to take priority over religious liberty in every case,” says Marc D. Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress and a contributor to the forthcoming book Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty. The way this works can be demonstrated by the following cases that have already occurred inside the United States:

* In 2006, Vanessa Willcock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission against a company called Elane Photography for refusing to photograph her gay commitment ceremony. The business is owned by a husband and wife — evangelical Christians who have made a decision not to photograph ceremonies related to gay unions. In April, the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found against Elane Photography and ordered it to pay $6,637 for Willcock’s legal fees in bringing the complaint. The decision has been appealed. Of course, Elane Photography is hardly alone. There’s been an effort in the courts not just to legalize gay marriage but to force acceptance of it as a matter of conscience and religious practice.

* In Ocean Grove, N.J., a lesbian couple brought a complaint to the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights against a Methodist church for not allowing them to use a pavilion on the church’s beach-front property for their civil-union ceremony. The church had offered the couple use of its property and boardwalk for the ceremony, just not use of places the church considered “worship spaces.” In January, an administrative judge with the Division of Civil Rights found against the church and stripped the pavilion area of its tax-exempt status for the church’s refusal to comply with the state’s sweeping anti-discrimination law. This will reportedly cost the church some $20,000 a year. Notably, the tax exemption was tied to the church’s making its property publicly accessible, rather than to any religious criterion — but the Department of Environmental Protection managed to lift the Methodists’ exemption within one week of the complaint’s filing, even though it isn’t the agency in charge of lifting tax exemptions. The church is appealing the decision.

* In California, the state supreme court is hearing a case against San Diego fertility doctors who are being sued because religious objections led them to refuse in vitro fertilization to a lesbian couple. Legal observers noted that the court — the same one that just legalized same-sex marriage — seemed hostile to the doctors’ defense during oral arguments in May. In 2006, Catholic Charities in Boston stopped providing adoption services since state law would have compelled them to facilitate adoptions by same-sex couples. The archdiocese was prepared to provide referrals for same-sex couples looking to adopt, but that wasn’t acceptable to the state.

These cases have been documented by Mark Hemingway, contributor of The National Review.

The legalization of gay marriage is already causing problems with religious freedoms for religious individuals and groups outside of a church. However, other countries are further along in their acceptance of and legalization of gay marriage. They can provide some of the future we are in store for further down the line. The more credence given to the idea that gay marriage is the same as heterosexual marriage, the more our religious freedoms are chipped away at. Gay marriage is the biggest threat to our religious freedoms we have ever seen.

"In England, a Catholic school has been prohibited from firing an openly gay headmaster, and parochial schools there are forbidden by law to teach that homosexuality is a sin. In Canada, the Alberta Human Rights Commission recently took the draconian step of issuing a ruling forbidding a Christian pastor to make “disparaging” remarks about homosexuality — or even to repeat Biblical condemnations — for the rest of his life. And in 2005, the Knights of Columbus were fined by the British Columbia Human Rights Commission for refusing to rent their hall for a lesbian wedding." - National Review

As you can see, the legalization of gay marriage around the country will eventually lead to religions being controlled and being told what they can and cannot teach. Can you imagine if your church were outlawed from preaching traditional marriage? Do not think it cannot happen here.

8 comments:

  1. It is so crazy how, little by little, our country is falling apart. I can't believe the way so many people think they are so open-minded and that things are getting better here in the U.S. because of it, yet families are falling apart like crazy and there are more problems than ever. The issues are running so much deeper, too. I was sickened by the sad things happening in people's lives while I worked on the Psych Unit. Anything sexual has gotten so warped.

    ReplyDelete
  2. (It's still legal - and always God-honoring - to air messages like the following. See Ezekiel 3:18-19. In light of government backing of raunchy behavior (such offenders were even executed in early America!), maybe the separation we really need is the "separation of raunch and state"!)

    In Luke 17 in the New Testament, Jesus said that one of the big "signs" that will happen shortly before His return to earth as Judge will be a repeat of the "days of Lot" (see Genesis 19 for details). So gays are actually helping to fulfill this same worldwide "sign" (and making the Bible even more believable!) and thus hurrying up the return of the Judge! They are accomplishing what many preachers haven't accomplished! Gays couldn't have accomplished this by just coming out of closets into bedrooms. Instead, they invented new architecture - you know, closets opening on to Main Streets where little kids would be able to watch naked men having sex with each other at festivals in places like San Francisco (where their underground saint - San Andreas - may soon get a big jolt out of what's going on over his head!). Thanks, gays, for figuring out how to bring back our resurrected Saviour even quicker!

    [If you would care to learn about the depraved human "pigpen" that regularly occurs in Nancy Pelosi's district in California, Google "Zombietime" and click on "Up Your Alley Fair" in the left column. And to think - horrors - that she is only two levels away from being President!]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Who is this Rocky2 fellow? I like him. Keep posting!

    ReplyDelete
  4. In the UK, a Christian preacher was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7668448/Christian-preacher-arrested-for-saying-homosexuality-is-a-sin.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! Great post and great comments!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I simply cannot follow any of your arguments.

    You say, "'virtually all of the legal rights and responsibilities accorded married couples under California law.' Marriage would add no new rights."

    But, "virtually all" is NOT the same as "absolutely all." It means "almost entirely: nearly." So, gay couples in civil unions weren't getting all the same rights as straight couples in marriages, even by your own words. Therefore, there was, and is, need to fight for the same - equal - rights.

    Second, the examples you post have been used time and time again by the conservatives to illustrate how allowing marriage rights to all couples will erode religious rights. That simply is beside the point.

    It is simply legally correct for all consenting couples to have the right to a civilly sanctioned marriage.

    To claim otherwise is to claim that separate but equal is a valid stance for America to take. It's not. Brown v. The Board of Education took care of that one when it removed segregation.

    To claim otherwise is to claim that your religion, which says that marriage between same-sex couples should not be allowed, is *more* valid than other religions which say that marriage between same-sex couples should be allowed. It is not. In America, where there is freedom of religion, meaning no theocracy and no official government-sanctioned religion, both religions have valid and equal points. Neither one should be able to infringe on the religious rights of the other.

    Bringing examples in from other places should hardly be allowed, since their legal system and laws are different from ours. The other examples you mention are isolated cases, as evidenced by the fact that they and only they appear tiredly in every blog post conservatives right about this issue.

    Given the information here, however, I don't feel that the photographers should have been sued. It was their personal decision, and that should be that. There may be more detail that isn't available here that would shed more light on why the suit was successful.

    The wording is confusing on the example of the church. If the conditions of their tax-exempt status were that the property would be publicly available, then yes, that status was correctly removed if the church refused to let the public use said property.

    Fertilization doctors - hard to say with the information here. "Hostility" and "same court" comments aside, there may be some federal money involved in the doctors' funding? Perhaps they were working for a state-run clinic? Without all the details, it's difficult to come to a clear conclusion. Similar questions apply to the adoption center in Boston.

    Where there's federal money or tax-breaks involved, there's also a federal standard to be followed, which is something along the lines of "all men are created equal...."

    And, just so you don't dismiss me out-of-hand as using the "statist" propaganda, I'll close with a statement or two from some people you know and trust. One is, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." The other is, "As I have loved you, love one another." (I *think* that love came without judgment, reservation, strings attached, questions about sexual identity or political leanings, or any other such superfluous nonsense....

    Live and let live, you know? Let people be married, and if it comes to them wanting to be married in your temples or churches, then fight that issue if it happens. (Frankly, I don't really know why they would, but you never know!) :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. While the quote from the California Supreme Court may have used the word “virtually”, I do not believe they meant there was a right or two missing. Regardless, many other legal scholars have said that homosexuals do have all the same rights available to them through other legal means. One of these scholars that I am speaking of is LaVar Christensen, author of Utah’s Amendment 3. Based on this, I do not accept the argument that they do not have all the same rights.

    I am not looking for separate but equal rights. I don’t even support civil unions. Homosexuals already have equal rights to everyone else – they have the equal right to marry an individual of the opposite sex.

    Your argument attempts to “steal a base” and start from your assumption that marriage is the union of any two people. This conveniently ignores millennia of human history. Marriage has never been recognized as anything but the union of man and woman. Not woman and woman and not man and man. As you know, the person who sets the parameters of the argument has already won the argument.

    The whole point of my post is that gay marriage rights erode religious rights. That is not beside the point. That is the entire point of my post and my entire contention with the issue of gay marriage rights.

    Gay marriage is not legal where I live. I am not discriminating if I don’t believe that a church can do whatever illegal thing it wants just because it is part of their theology.

    Using examples of what has happened in other countries is simply to illustrate what happens further down the road. To simply say we have different laws so it does not matter is ignorant. Some of the same people that have been fighting the laws here have also been fighting the laws in other countries. Of course they are looking at what has worked in other countries as a blueprint for how to wage their war here in America. Your argument that we have “different” laws is a similar argument to “it can’t happen here because this is America”. We may have different laws, but it has already started happening here in America as you can see with the cases referenced from here in America. The cases referenced do not represent isolated disputes, they are just the most notable cases. And yes, there will be more. Especially if gay marriage becomes widely legal. Even if you don’t think there are enough court cases for you to be bothered with, these cases set a precedent, and in our legal system precedents are binding and are used to make later judgment. This precedent leads to people feeling forced into changing their behavior accordingly if they don’t want to be sued.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Regarding all of my examples lacking enough detail for you to come to a decision on them, there is no need for us to speak in the hypothetical. A quick google search will provide you with any detail you could wish for. The outcomes of some of these cases including the photography case were based on discrimination laws which say that none may be discriminated against for their sexual orientation. When it came to the court of law, we can see that the winners of these cases were those on the side of sexual orientation rights and the losers were on the side of religious freedom rights. This is a scary precedent that has been set. It is all the more reason to fight now for religious freedom and against gay marriage, for the precedent shows that if there is a legally recognized right to gay marriage, this makes it only worse for religious freedom when it comes to court. We can see that, if we take your example, homosexuals would like to get married in our temples, from the precedent of past cases, our religion has a real chance at losing this case and facing the consequences. The time to fight for our rights is now. You can’t keep taking steps back and draw a line in the sand at “getting married in the temple”. If you start there that fight has already been lost.


    According to LaVar, those he has met fighting for gay marriage in the court system are waging a war on religion, and gay rights are the means. It is important to realize that the legality of gay marriage is part of the communist agenda. I have no doubt that many of the gay marriage supporters, and maybe even most of them, are genuinely fighting for gay marriage and do not know they are fighting against religion. I believe you fall into this category.

    I agree when you say that “if there is federal money or tax breaks involved, there’s also a federal standard to be followed”. If gay marriage becomes the federal law of the land, then most churches just may lose their tax exempt status. But is this what you really want? Legalizing gay marriage would, in effect, give many churches the choice to either conform and agree with gay marriage or give up large amounts of money through losing their tax exempt status. If you are okay with this, then you have that right. But we must be honest about the very real and very large repercussions to churches if gay marriage becomes legal. I only wish the tax exempt status of all organizations would be scrutinized so closely.

    Jesus did say to love everyone and judge not others. I believe this is the trap that most members of the LDS church fall into when they choose to support gay marriage. They believe they must support it in order to love everyone. Our church has, however, asked us to not support gay marriage. We can love those that are homosexual without condoning their homosexuality. Love the sinner but do not love and excuse the sin. Look, I am a sinner as we all are. Love me, but don’t excuse my sins and I will do the same for you.

    ReplyDelete