What a surprise, religious liberty is alive and well

Have you all noticed that there is very little complaining on the anti-gay fringe about the ongoing avalanche of changes to public policy in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA? The Department of Defense now extends full military benefits to same sex spouses, the Department of State is issuing immigrant visas to same sex spouses, and a multitude of other federal benefits of marriage will now be enjoyed by LGBT families previously denied them. But the anti-gay fringe is largely silent about these events that are actually happening, preferring to talk instead about a hypothetical event that is not only not happening, but is impossible due to our First Amendment protections. What they are talking about – and talking about incessantly in that hysterical, strident tone they favor – is the impending loss of religious liberty for churches “forced to perform homosexual weddings.” Really. It’s bound to happen any day now.

Fear not, fearful mongers of fear: Churches can (still!) refuse to marry any couple, for any reason. The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in Mississippi, for instance, just told an African American couple that they would have to be married in a different church, because, according to the pastor, “This was, had not, had never been done here before so it was setting a new (precedent) and there were those who reacted to that.

The couple, married instead at “a nearby church” which presumably had already set the “precedent” of allowing black people inside, described themselves as “hurt, devastated and crushed.” What they did not do was file a lawsuit against the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs for refusing to be their wedding venue, since such a lawsuit would be summarily dismissed as without merit – kind of like this one was. As far as the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs is concerned, the “controversy” is being dealt with internally, as it should be. Speaking of “those who reacted,” another member said “we hope we can straighten them out, you know, get them to understand what Christianity is all about because they have some misconceptions about it.” The racism within this church is a matter of religious belief, not a civil or legal one, even though race is a protected class in the sphere of civil law.

So, fearful ones, know that our precious religious freedom clause is still in full effect. Faith communities remain free, as they have always been, to be exclusionary, ugly, stupid, embarrassing and cruel if that’s what they choose to do, or to be the opposite of those things, or to work out what they are amongst themselves.

9 thoughts on “What a surprise, religious liberty is alive and well

  1. Pariahdog

    So David,

    Are you saying that the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs committed a hate crime? Are you? Are you? Answer me, now! :snort!

  2. Epluribusunum Post author

    Dear Pariahdog, you’re supposed to address me by my pseudonym here to avoid confusion :)

    But in the world of the desperate to confuse slower people by redefining common terms, yes, they committed a “hate crime.”

  3. Pariahdog

    Good EPU. Now that that’s settled, we can move forward in our efforts to expose your agenda. You want to make “race” a protected class, don’t you. That’s what this is all about. You want to re-vision the ConstiTEAuuuuuuShun to grant special rights to your favorite minorities, even though the words “race” “class” and “protect” are nowhere to be found in the Founding Father’s original document.

  4. Epluribusunum Post author

    Ok. As much as this might mimic actual comments I may or may not have seen, I don’t want anyone with a substantive point to make in disagreement to fear that their argument will be preemptively dismissed. That’s not the case. There are valid fears that some have about encroachments on their religious liberty, and we need to be able to discern fact from fiction. And stop watching The Californians so much.

  5. Barbara Munsey

    true. Different handles for different sites in the same area or subject can cause confusion, unless one knows the people using them.

    On this thread, with only the two of you here for the first several comments, not too confusing.

  6. Epluribusunum Post author

    PD, yikes. I bet he thinks it does. I assume it’s perfectly legal, it’s a private school. This is from their “beliefs” page, my emphasis:

    We believe the Bible is the Word of God, supernaturally inspired, and that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and preserved by God in its verbal, plenary inspiration, so that it is the divinely authoritative standard for every age and every life.

    The trade-off for the freedom to engage in the most heinous, intrusive discrimination in private life is that you don’t get to do it in public life. You only get to enforce the “authoritative standard for every life” clause for every life within your faith community.

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