Ethics Politics

Idaho ministers sue to prevent gay weddings at for-profit wedding chapel

(RNS) Donald and Evelyn Knapp own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where local officials say they could face misdemeanor charges for refusing to marry same-sex couples. RNS photo courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom

(RNS) The owners of an Idaho wedding chapel have filed suit against officials in Coeur d’Alene, claiming that the city is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages or face possible fines and jail time.

The state’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge earlier this year; the Supreme Court refused to consider Idaho’s appeal on Oct. 10, making the conservative state one of more than 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, to marry gay and lesbian couples.

Pastors have raised concerns about being forced to conduct same-sex weddings, though most experts call that concern a red herring. The lawsuit in Idaho raises a larger question of whether ordained ministers who run a for-profit business conducting weddings can be required to conduct same-sex weddings under nondiscrimination laws.

(RNS) Donald and Evelyn Knapp own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where local officials say they could face misdemeanor charges for refusing to marry same-sex couples. RNS photo courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom.

(RNS) Donald and Evelyn Knapp own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where local officials say they could face misdemeanor charges for refusing to marry same-sex couples. RNS photo courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who run The Hitching Post, a chapel in Coeur d’Alene, where they conduct weddings. They say in a lawsuit that they can’t provide same-sex weddings because it’s “something forbidden by their religious beliefs and ordination vows.”

A 2013 Coeur d’Alen ordinance bans discrimination, including based on sexual orientation, in places of public accommodation. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and jail time.

Religious entities are exempt from the city ordinance, as they often are from discrimination ordinances. But earlier this year, city attorney Warren Wilson said that the for-profit wedding chapel would likely be required to follow the ordinance.

“If you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services for them, then in theory you violated our code and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation,” Wilson told a local television station, KXLY.

Similar laws have been applied to florists, bakeries and photographers that have refused to work on same-sex weddings in other states, Wilson told the local newspaper, The Spokesman Review: “I think that term is broad enough that it would capture (wedding) activity.”

A man recently called the chapel to ask about a same-sex wedding ceremony and was declined, the lawsuit says. The chapel owners are ordained by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a Pentecostal denomination.

On Friday (Oct. 17), an Arizona-based religious liberty group, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a lawsuit requesting a temporary restraining order, arguing that applying the ordinance to the Knapps’ situation would be unconstitutional and would violate Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Eugene Volokh, who blogs for The Washington Post, believes the ministers will ultimately be entitled to an exemption under Idaho’s RFRA.

“Perhaps some might feel offended by such a statement of religious rejection, but I don’t think there can be a compelling government interest in shielding people from such rejections when it comes to the performance of ceremonies,” Volokh wrote. “Note that, if the law can be applied against the Knapps, public accommodation laws could also equally be applied to ministers who provide freelance officiating services in exchange for money.”

After the Supreme Court struck down the central provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, President Obama called for the equal treatment of Americans under the law, as well as a commitment to religious freedom.

“How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions,” Obama said. “Nothing about this decision — which applies only to civil marriages — changes that.”


About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.


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  • I would think that the ministers would be exempt from having to perform the ceremony, but the business would be required to host the event (with other officiants). A bigger concern for me is that these so-called ministers are providing Christian blessings on couples who are so far removed from the Christian community that they have to rent a pastor. Perhaps some of the couples gave legitimate reasons for not using their own ministers, but enough to actually provide for the needs of a family?

  • “They say in a lawsuit that their religious beliefs prevent them from performing same-sex marriage, ‘something forbidden by their religious beliefs and ordination vows.’”

    I disagree. This is about bigotry and hate. If they truly felt the conviction of their beliefs then they would never marry those who have been divorced because to do so would be in violation of Matthew 5:31,32, Matthew 19:9, Romans 7:2,3, 1 Corinthians 7:10,11, and many more biblical passages.

    This is about public accommodation. They are doing business in the public square and therefore must adhere to the laws of State where their license to do business was issues.

    Forty years ago these same hateful, ignorant people used the bible to hide behind their bigotry against inter-racial couples. Today they are using it against homosexual couples. What they are doing is just based in hate, not religion.

  • 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

    27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    Romans 1

    The liberals think they have the right to define other peoples’ religious beliefs in a country founded on the concept of religious freedom. Many people become divorced through no fault of their own but homosexuality is pure perversion.

  • One more thought. Divorce is a forgivable sin, just like homosexuality is a forgivable sin. But now they don’t call homosexuality sin. They are asking these pastors to officiate over a union that is based on willful sin, and furthermore there is no acknowledgement that their behavior is sin. They are also very aggressive and angry people if you have an alternative view.

  • Churches and pastors turn down joining couples all the time. Due to church policy. That is and should be protected, but this is a business and i wonder how much they scrutinized couples couples who walked through their doors in the past. They might have a case if they were a denominational organization, but i doubt that would be allowed for tax reasons.

    I want to believe their motivations are pure, but I’ve just heard way too much hateful rhetoric in ministry over the years.

  • In fairness a lot of people will be honestly struggling with the new law. I’m not concerned about this as much as i fear the Todd Starnes out there who out right lie while invoking The Lord’s name in the process will incite hatred where none previously existed. Most of us don’t want to hate anyone and its time we told the haters (Christian, LGBT’s, and otherwise) to just shut up!

  • That seems a very reasonable solution to me. Worst case they can subcontract to one un bound by religion,but legally licensed.

  • Truth and love is hatred and bigotry? Do you really care for these people or are you following the crowd and not thinking for yourself? Why do you support gay-marriage and have such animosity towards Christians? I’ve never meet one Christian who hates homosexuals. Crimes that have been commited against homosexuals have been from non-Christians. So why the label “hater and “bigot”?

  • Whether the Knapps are Christian ministers or post-apoclyptic zombies is a moot point. Their own website clearly delineates “wedding paclages” (specific goods and services) offered for set monetary considerations. That’s pretty much the definition of a business — a “place of public accommodation. “As such, the Knapps, or rather, their business, is subject to prevailing business laws and ordinances, including the anti-discrimination ordinace in question.

    The Knapps’ piteous mewlings remind one over-much of those uttered by white businessmen expressed half a century and more ago when “forced” to serve Afro-Americans.

  • That is an out right mis truth. I’m not calling you a lier, I’m say its completely untrue. While in ministry and after i have witnessed it first hand. A pastor i lead to The Lord in 1979 was cruel to me personally. Christians talk about stoning us to death. I heard it more times than i can count. It happens out of ear shot of the general population. Christians have told me to not go to their church for a visit. I heard cruel words and characterizations form (my) divinity professors.

  • It is a matter of time before Christians walk into gay owned shops and demand cakes and t-shirts that read “Marriage is between one man and one woman” and then sue for religious discrimination. Your tactic is an obvious set up.

  • A for profit business such as this is (and should be) subject to the “public accommodations” laws of the jurisdiction in which it operates. It is in no way a “church.:

  • If it is with other officiants, why can’t the set up artist go to another chapel. Oh, yeah, it is just another shake down.

  • I know of many churches who charge some fees for weddings. What makes them different from these people? Does one need to have a non-profit status, a congregation, or some other state accepted form of “religion” or “religious organization” in order to be protected? Religious freedom is at the center of the pantheon of American liberties — the right to force a minister to marry a same-sex couple? not so much. This shouldn’t even be a close call. The judge should give the city attorney a good tongue lashing.

  • It’s not a church and they are not pastors. They don’t have a congregation or perform other religious services i.e. Baptisms. They are business owners that run a wedding service across from the courthouse. Much like Fake Elvis and wedding chapels in Las Vegas. If they have a sign on the wall that says Wedding vows/services performed $100.00 and a same-sex couple comes in and drops a $100 bill on the counter and they refuse service based on “homosexuality” , they are breaking the law. And the law in Idaho is Same-sex Marriages are legal. If they were truly a church – then they can discriminate all they want. But according to the article, they are a for profit business. Probably will business licenses with the state/city. If it was a black couple could they refuse service? Oh and there are gay Christians.

  • Also it’s called “The Hitching Post” – how religious and Christian is that for such a “sacred” ceremony?

  • ” I’ve never meet one Christian who hates homosexuals. Crimes that have been commited against homosexuals have been from non-Christians.”

    Are you serious?? Virtually ALL the anti-gay animosity (at least here in the U.S.) comes from Christians. It is Christian parents who literally throw their kids out on the street for being gay.

  • It’s amazing how the homosexual movement has co-opted the language of “hate” and “bigotry”, abusing both the truth of the language and the truth of the issues themselves to deceitfully promote a lifestyle that is harmful not only to the people living it but the people they come in contact with and the culture at large.

    When people accuse Christians, or anyone else opposed to the perversions of the homosexual lifestyle, of being hateful and bigoted they are passing judgment upon them without knowing them, and based only upon the result of those people’s adherence to their value for life, peace, freedom and faith. They are the ones who are at least acting hatefully.

    Also, the accusers act as though they have a higher moral code than God Himself…which is incredibly arrogant!

  • There error here is the premise that if the law says a business has to be licensed by the state, then the state can dictate to the business whatever “morality” it want to. God’s mandate for His people is “have no gods before Me”. To yield the moral ground to the sate is to set the state up as a god over God Himself…which is totally unacceptable.

  • The state has no right to dictate morals that violate people’s religious moral values in a case like this.
    Also, the state has no moral right to dictate that a business must accommodate anyone that the business does not want to accommodate. This came about through the civil rights laws in the ’60s, insisting that the state has the right to prevent a business owner from discriminating against people on the basis of race, then later on the basis of other reasons. But that was a moral code decision, not the business of the state to decide in the first place. Though equitable treatment of people without discriminating on the basis of race is based on a Biblical principle, when the state sets the precedent of enforcing such laws it becomes the determinant authority on morality…which is what the Founders tried to prevent with the 1st Amendment. Now we have the state determining that it is morally “wrong” to “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation…exactly the actions of state the Founders hated.

  • There are no homosexual Christians, and there is nothing about homosexuality that is gay. The state has usurped, through the civil rights laws, the position of morals giver, which both the Founders hated and God hates.

  • Right – and their so much respect and tolerance by secularists of belief in God? How is it respectful to require a pastor to perform a ceremony he believes to be Satanic? As if the gay couple couldn’t just find a more liberal minister to perform the ceremony, but the gay couple needs this particular person to do it, knowing it violates his/her beliefs? Yeah right – so much tolerance coming from the ultra-left wing. Mind you – I voted for Obama twice. But this pushes things too far, just as they pushed it too far in California when they required schools to allow “confused” little boys to use the girl’s bathrooms in schools. The gay agenda is pushing things too far at its own peril.

  • Kim – that’s a pretty slippery slope isn’t it? LOL – just say “well pretend you’re not a pastor for today”. Go ahead bow down to Satan just for now, you don’t have to really believe it. How is it for anyone else to decide when a person feels like they are violating their own beliefs? Yes performing marriages is part of their calling AS MINISTERS OF THE LORD. Why must they do it, why not get someone else to do it? This is pushing things way too far, and if freedom of religious expression is still alive in this country then this WILL be struck down by the courts. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. There will be a massive backlash if it’s not. At some point people will say enough is enough. The gay lobby is pushing wayyyyy too far.

  • gay is not the new black – ask a person of color what they think about this? people choose to be gay and they choose where to get married. you can call this what you want, but it’s an affront to religious freedom. If you think it’s not, it’s likely because your biases give you no sympathy for those with such beliefs.

  • Next they will require these to be performed in churches where “wedding packages” are offered, then they’ll try to say “you can’t say no to a wedding service at all no matter where it is formed, based on religious belief, as that is discrimination too. Satan wants to cleans the church of the ability to sanctify marriages in accordance with God’s will. The gay lobby is satanic. Period. It wants their to be confusion about everything when it comes to gender roles. It wants little boys to use little girls bathrooms (check – in California schools), it wants there to be no distinction between right and wrong. Who needs the traditional family unit? It is just as good for boys and girls to experiment sexually with each other. Have sex with whomever you want, whenever you want. And those that support it are doing Satan’s will. This is the fall of Rome version 2.0.

  • it’s still a slippery slope – some gay couple will try to push a “beautiful” church to perform a gay marriage (they will do it to spite the church)- and some city official will “require” it.

  • Matthew 19:4-6
    “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    Marriage originated from God. In the context of the church and involving ministers a couple come to place themselves before witnesses into a covenant God Created. The minister is performing a religious ceremony as part of his obedience to and devotion to God.

    My wife and I had a choice to marry in a court room or in a church. We chose the church because we wanted God to be the origin of what we were doing and to do it publicly.

    To force a minister of the Gospel to obey the state and do something contrary to what God has created and violates his own devotion to and obedience to God and change the nature of a religious ceremony, is to impose your own beliefs and religion on him and place the state above God. If this doesn’t violate the separation of church and state what does? Is Idaho imposing a state religion, and will the United States do the same? What good is the constitution anyway?

  • What we’re seeing in the United States with this Idaho incident, and those involving the florist, baker, and photographer is an increasing effort by the state to prevent professing Christians from doing business as Christians. This is nothing more than excluding religion from the public square or insisting upon freedom from religion, which violates the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. In that document, the Founding Fathers advocated the freedom of religion not the freedom from religion.

  • The only real solution is to uncouple civil from religious marriage altogether, as most European countries have done for over a century (France, since the Revolution). A wedding in a place of worship would then become simply the blessing of a civil marriage — a purely religious ceremony in which the State would have no legal interest or jurisdiction.

    If we define ‘place of worship’ as a building owned by a religious body in which public worship is regularly offered, I doubt that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel would qualify.

  • I would suggest that if you went to a minister and not to the courthouse to get a license, you may be married in God’s eyes, but you won’t get the legal benefits that go with the marriage license GIVEN BY THE STATE.

  • So if you want separation of church and state, which is in the constitution but open to interpretation, apparently. get married by your minister and don’t go to the state for your license and rights that come with it. I don’t worship the state, but if you think the state doesn’t play a role in marriage/civil unions, then don’t register with the courthouse. And see what happens.

  • “If you want your religious freedom, you can keep your religious freedom.” (President Obama)

    Sound familiar?

  • Becca, it sounds like you’re the hater — and your hate is of the same kind and intensity as that of the southern bigots of the 1950s. You are living proof that bigotry is not the preserve of any one ideology, but is more a personality trait than anything else. If you were living down south in the antebellum period, you’d probably own slaves and want to punish abolitionists.

  • Jim, that’s a juvenile comparison. It was right to force business people to serve blacks for the same reason they have to serve people with blue eyes, brown eyes, red hair, or white hair. None of these traits have a thing to do with questions of morality or conscience. All of them are 100% heritable traits.

    But forcing business people to celebrate the complete redefinition of marriage into something it never was in any country and culture in recorded history is barbaric.

  • You could not have sated it any clearer than that we just have to remind ourselves to hate the sin and not the sinner. Jesus didnt come into the world for the saved and well He came here for the lost and sick

  • This issue is going to bounce around a lot with states and municipalities making different rulings before finding a universal footing. I think that individual churches will win the right to perform ceremonies as they see fit, but in the marketplace I can’t see how the state can do anything but enforce anti-discrimination laws. Once this issue becomes a civil right, then the application of the law seems clear, and based on where the culture and judicial system is this will be interpreted as a civil right. So what will Christian business owners do over the long run is the question?

  • Why?? WHY?!

    This baffles me because it is something that should not be an issue. You can’t compel someone to speak religious doctrine or participate in a religious ceremony that they do not wish to be a part of. This is first amendment stuff. Forcing someone, in ANY context, to officiate any sort of religious ceremony for ANY reason violates the first amendment.

    Second, why would you even try to force them to perform your marriage?? Why would you want to be married by someone who hates you?? Why would you want to prove conservative paranoiacs CORRECT by forcing them to participate in this religious ceremony they want nothing to do with?? Why would you want a homophobic minister to marry you to your spouse?? Why would you want to support a homophobe by forcing them to make a cake for your wedding?? Shouldn’t you be BOYCOTTING hate-mongering businesses, not FORCING THEM TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU?? This is just silly. All you’re going to get is ministers that half-ass their ceremony, photographers actively doing a bad job, and bakers spitting in your cake by forcing them into this against their will. If someone doesn’t want to participate in your marriage ceremony, just let them go. Forcing them to work with you will only make them hate you more, and you won’t even get good services out of them. There’s plenty of LGBT-friendly businesses to choose from, why even patronize the homophobic ones, much less force them to sell to you?? It’s absurd.

  • Well said Becca!

    This is about people hiding behind religious belief to act in an intentionally malicious fashion towards others. This is not a church, its a for profit business providing a service that can also be provided by the state.

    If they wanted the protection of 1st Amendment freedoms, they have to declare the chapel a bonifide church and limit their business to a specific sect.
    But these kind of whiners want all the benefits of open commerce and none of the responsibilities to the public it entails.

    Calling this a religious freedom issue is an insult to the term. You are right, this is about people looking for a right to discriminate against others.,

  • Time and time again Todd Starnes has been caught lying and fabricating stories. The man is pond scum who thinks that as long as it supports conservative Christians, any untruth will be made.

  • You are full of crap Adam. The bigots are the people looking to discriminate against others under the color of law. The alleged Christians are acting out of pure malice and deserve to be called out on it. Its hardly hateful to criticize people who seek to attack the civil liberties of others.

    ” I’ve never meet one Christian who hates homosexuals.”

    If you are supporting legalized discrimination against them, all you have to do is look in a mirror. Every so-called Christian who is posting about supporting these ministers is hateful. They are looking for excuses to be malicious and harmful to others,.

  • Not at all. Its not a church, its a chapel. Open to all faiths, denominations and sects. They are not acting in accordance with the rules of a given church, but performing a job the state permits people to do. This has nothing to do with freedom of religion. It has to do with looking for excuses to be uncivil and malicious to a gay couple looking to patronize their business.

    If the ministers are so uncivil and so deranged by the presence of gay people that they don’t want to perform the ceremony, they have to provide officiants who will. The business is open to the public it has to serve the public.

  • Ron, religious freedom means nobody ever has to be harmed because of your religious beliefs. You don’t have to agree with the values of others, but you have to act in a civil manner.

    If you are engaged in open commerce, you have to serve the entire public. If your alleged religious beliefs are so overwhelming that you cannot do so, then you must limit your business in various ways (private clubs, advertise in churches only, don’t do business in public…)

  • And Christians are the new KKK. They even use the same exact arguments. The Klan used to say that segregation was willed by God. They even quoted Bible verses in favor of keeping races separate. They wanted their businesses to be exempt from rules concerning serving people of color.

    Religious freedom never meant you could harm others under the auspices of your religious beliefs and get away with it scott free. Refusing business otherwise open to the general public is a malicious hateful harmful act to others. These ministers are no more exercising their religious freedoms than I would be if I used your family for human sacrifice.

  • Having someone to perform the business that they generally do for the entire public is hardly an act of force.

    Engaging in discrimination is hardly an act of religious conscience. Its a hateful act to deliberately harm others. Bigotry pure and simple.

  • The distinction is usually: a congregation, limiting services to members of the same faith & sect, if it is owned by a given denomination, if it performs regular religious services besides weddings.

    This has zero to do with religious liberties. The minister is not performing duties on behalf of a church. He is doing it as a personal business transaction. The minister should be fined or he should accommodate the customers. If he doesn’t want to perform the ceremony (because he is so uncivil and hateful that it prevents him from normally doing business) he should come up with an officiant who will.

  • No we are not.

    We are seeing Christians looking for legalized excuses to be hateful and harmful towards gays. If these people were such devout Christians they would not be performing the ceremonies as a public business.

    Being Christian does not entitle you to attack others under the guise of religious beliefs. If you are so deranged by being in the presence of people who your religious beliefs expect you to hate, you should not be engaged in open commerce. Obviously the duty to serve the entire public would be too much for you. Nobody else should have to suffer because of your personal animus.

    Our Founding Fathers had a dim view of people who used their Christian faith as an excuse to cause deliberate harm. Most of them came from families fleeing such people. We cannot have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. No laws in this nation are valid if their purpose is solely religious in nature.

  • Its called open commerce.

    Its not a matter of forcing them to do the business. It is penalizing them for being uncivil in refusing it. There is no right to discriminate in a business open to the public. It is no different than if the chapel had a sign saying,

    “No interracial marriages”
    “No Jews, Hindus or Mormons may be married here”

    We are not talking about a church. We are talking about a place which has no given denomination or faith affiliation. If they constantly perform weddings for people outside their sect, they are already violating their alleged religious principles in the matter as clergy. In the end the religious beliefs here are nothing but a socially sanctioned gloss on personal bigotry.

  • There you go. If you want to stick to your alleged religious principles, DON’T DO BUSINESS IN PUBLIC.

    When you engage in open commerce, you are bound by government rules entailed with it. You accept them as part of doing business.You can be as “moral” as you want, but it will cost you.

    If this is allegedly a stand of moral conscience, then the loss of busines and the fines should be taken with a measure of pride. None of this whining and expecting the government to enact Jim Crow 2.0 for your benefit. Show a little backbone and take your lumps for the Lord.

  • Jack, you support the legalized discrimination of others in open commerce. That makes you the hater. Becca is merely calling out people for doing so.

    If you want to use an analogy, you are a modern day segregationist. Christians like yourself even make the argument of “separate but equal” That essentially is the premise here.

    I don’t have to tolerate your intolerance. Especially since you want your views to carry the weight of the law on it. Such views deserve to be criticized. These alleged Christians insult the very idea of civil liberties and trash any notion of religious freedom.

  • Why don’t those black students just eat at another diner?
    Why can’t they just attend the college down the road?
    Why can’t those people just live on the other side of the tracks?

    Separate but equal sounded stupid back then. It is moreso now. Yet people invoke it without a hint of irony these days

  • Win or lose, Donald and Evelyn Knapp have done the right thing.

    Gay isn’t genetic, and gay isn’t black, no matter how much the Gay Gestapo pretends otherwise. The only appropriate response is to fight back.

    You are born black, but NOT born gay.
    You don’t HAVE to be gay, if you don’t want to.

    No use trying to hijack the black civil rights struggle. Even MLK Jr saw (and wrote to an inquirer in Ebony Magazine) that homosexuality is “a problem”. Problems gotta be fought back.

    So fight back. Don’t give up. God created you for good.

    Gay Gestapo is not good. Gay Quicksand is not good. Do NOT accept gay evil, even if it means fighting back for life. Fight back, I beg of you. You, whoever you are, are not alone.

  • You really think the Gay Gestapo is going to pay attention to anybody telling them to “shut up”?? I don’t think so, honestly. They are literally powered by hatred.

  • It wasn’t the “black civil rights movement” it was the Civil Rights Movement. Not just limited to race, but to all those who are discriminated against.

    By extolling discrimination in open commerce, you dishonor the works and deeds of those people. Denying a right to others, that they fought for to gain for all people.

    But hey, if you want to act like a Klansman, I am not stopping you. I just find it funny.

  • Yes they are powered by the hatred set upon them. All of the assaults, murders, discrimination, calls for their imprisonment and execution. That all powers the movement towards civil liberties.

    I love it when alleged Christians show their true hatred towards others. It makes any claim of their respectability a joke.

  • And yes Larry, it was the **black** civil rights movement. The “For Colored Only” signs on the restrooms and water fountains were VERY explicit about exactly which color was meant, thank you.

    There weren’t any “For Gays Only” signs, by the way. Not one.

  • Hmm. As long as we’re trading accusations for fun and profit, could it be that LARRY is the hater around here? Yes?

  • “We are not talking about a church. We are talking about a place which has no given denomination or faith affiliation.”

    Freedom of religion is not limited to “churches.”

    The ministers in question did not sign away their religious freedom by starting a business. No one does. The right to free exercise of religion, and to not participate in morally objectionable activities, is a plenary and comprehensive right belonging to the individual, that may be exercised in all contexts of life.

    I’ve talked to more gay apologists than I care to remember, all asserting that baking a cake is not really “participating in a wedding”–that taking photographs is not really “participating in a wedding”–that renting out space is not really “participating in a wedding”–and therefore should not present a religious liberty issue. Now are we actually, with a straight face, going to try to argue that performing a religious marriage ceremony is not really “participating in a wedding?”

    Nonsense on top of nonsense.

  • The only religious freedom Larry supports is for gays (as long as they don’t turn into ex-gays, which sometimes happens!) and for atheists (as long as they don’t oppose the Gay Marriage Cult.)

  • Very good point you brought up. When the Gay Marriage Cult tries to promise Christians that neither churches nor clergy will be forced to perfom a gay marriage mess ceremony, THAT is one of the items that gets left out of the conversation.

    The little ceremony fee or “love offering” thing is so common, so taken-for-granted that most folks don’t even think of it as as possible attack point for the extremist Gay Gestapo.

  • And the Civil Rights Act only refers to racial discrimination. Just spin more fiction.

    “There weren’t any “For Gays Only” signs, by the way. ”

    But that is what you are asking for now Jim Crow for a new generation.

  • I am not the one seeking to discriminate with legal sanction. That is all you.

    I find your views repugnant, dishonest and corrosive to all notions of the liberties which make our nation great. But I am not trying to keep you out of businesses, calling for your imprisonment or trying to prevent you from having a normal sane existence.

    So no, you are the real bigot here. I don;’t have to tolerate your intolerance. You are asking the government to sanction bad behavior towards others. That is just hateful nonsense which deserves to be attacked for what it is.

  • Wrong. I support your right to spout off any amount of nonsense and claim it is part of your religion. I also know there is no compelling reason for our laws to adopt it. You do not.

    You seem to think that being born again entitles you to twice the rights as everyone else.

  • If you want the protection of 1st Amendment religious freedoms to the act of performing marriages, you need to be a church. You can discriminate in the use of a church for various functions under the notion of religious freedom. A church is not a commercial establishment. It is there for the promulgation of religious belief. It is not intended to be open to the general public for all use.

    A business has no such protection. You can’t just opt out of rules concerning all businesses because your religion says so. Those ministers lost the protection that a church would have to discriminate once they went into business open to the general public. From there on, they were obligated by the state rules concerning business transactions.

    Freedom of religion never gave one the right to harm others. Discrimination in business is a legally recognized form of harm to others. You want to limit your business to certain people, you can’t hold yourself out as being open to the public.

    Your right not to engage in “morally objectionable activities” has never been absolute. Being religious has never been an excuse to opt out of laws of general application. You want Christians to be laws unto themselves. You want our laws to sanction malicious hateful actions which tie up open commerce. That is morally objectionable.

  • Ministers don’t issue licenses. Only the state does. Ministers sign the civilly issued license after performing the wedding.

  • Even psycho civil liberties shredding Jan Brewer smelled this issue for the bullcrap it was. The idea of creating carve-outs to anti-discrimination laws for “strong religious belief” won’t fly. It makes a mockery of such laws.

    What will Christian business owners do? Either limit their business to private clubs and church only advertising or face penalties for tying up open commerce with their malicious nonsense.

  • Nice try, Larry, but there is nothing more intolerant than forcing people to sacrifice their freedom of conscience on the altar of the most reckless social experiment in history — a complete redefinition of marriage. You should be ashamed of yourself, supporting the bullying and bludgeoning of ordinary people who refuse to celebrate. If you wish to celebrate, that’s your business. But only a totalitarian mindset would force others to do likewise. And comparing this to the civil rights movement of the 1960s is to trivialize the horrors that black people endured for nearly four centuries. It is a ludicrous comparison — like comparing the endurance of torture to the endurance of a long line at Bloomingdales. Utterly absurd.

  • The fact that someone is engaged in a profit-making venture should not mean they automatically have to surrender their freedom of conscience.

  • “If you want the protection of 1st Amendment religious freedoms to the act of performing marriages, you need to be a church.”

    No, you don’t. Who told you that you have to be a “church” to have religious freedom? Did they also tell you that the 1st Amendment was a “Bartonism?” LOL!

    “You can’t just opt out of rules concerning all businesses because your religion says so.”

    Gross oversimplification of the situation.

    “Discrimination in business is a legally recognized form of harm to others”

    So is the denial of the right to free exercise of religion, and forcing of violations of conscience upon others.

    “Your right not to engage in “morally objectionable activities” has never been absolute. Being religious has never been an excuse to opt out of laws of general application. ”

    It is not absolute, but it is not up to you to decide where to draw the lines. There are more policy consdierations in play here and civil liberties to be balanced here than someone like you can understand.

  • Larry, freedom of religion and conscience do not end where open commerce begins. People don’t automatically surrender it when they step outside and into the public square or marketplace. No right is absolute, but every First Amendment right is broader than you’re portraying it.

  • Based on Larry’s formulations, most black ministers are “the new KKK” because they oppose gay marriage, too. And to compare blacks to the KKK is as repulsive as comparing Jews to the Nazis.

    And of course, people who adhere to Larry’s philosophy have a nasty history of treating black people as inferior, first as slaves, then through Jim Crow, and now through racial quotas.

  • Freedom of conscience is not deliberately harming others. The ministers are not acting as a matter of conscience, they are just being uncivil hateful people who want to use religion to excuse their bad behavior.

    This is no more freedom of conscience than if they discriminated against people based on race or religion. If the chapel refused business to a Jewish or interracial couple it sill be an act of conscience by your definitions. That is a steaming load of bullcrap.

    Engaging in business discrimination is causing deliberate harm. It not only attacks the patrons who are refused the business but it attacks open commerce as well by tying it up due to irrational prejudices.

    And yes, when you engage in open commerce you willingly put yourself in a situation to be regulated by the government. You want to discriminate? Don’t make your business open to all. Don’t advertise in general circulation. Do business as a private club.

    Taking a moral stand means accepting the potential downsides to your actions. If they want to discriminate as “their moral right” then either deal with the fines/civil judgments against them as a badge of honor or lose the potential business you would receive by being generally available to all.

    Asking the laws to condone such activities is far too much to ask for. It is immoral and harmful to the general public.

  • There is no “freedom of conscience” to harm others. But that is what you are asking for. A legally sanctioned right to attack others rather than serve the general public in open commerce.

    The First amendment is not license to attack others. It ends where it causes harm. If I sacrificed your family to Chtulhu as part of my religious rites, I am not exercising freedom of conscience.

    American Christians always whine that their religious liberties are being attacked when they are just being told they cant act obnoxiously towards others.

  • No it’s not, Larry. There’s plenty wrong with treating people differently based on immutable factors like race, gender, hair color, etc. But as for treating people differently based on behavior, there is not a person in the world, not even you, who would advocate a complete equating of immutable factors with behavioral traits. To equate the two is to take leave of reality.

  • Some of them are! Especially the ones who are actively supporting discrimination of others. The color of one’s skin doesn’t make them immune to bigotry. Its just irony that some people can be so tone deaf to history in such an obvious way.

    The NAACP however disagrees with those preachers on the subject. Every civil liberties organization disagrees with those preachers on the subject.

    “And of course, people who adhere to Larry’s philosophy have a nasty history of treating black people as inferior, first as slaves, then through Jim Crow, and now through racial quotas.”

    No. That is all you. Those Southern Whites and segregation lovers who became Christian Conservatives. Jack, does Lying for the Lord ever make you feel better?

    You want to treat gays as inferiors. Just like Nazis. Just like the KKK felt about blacks. You want “separate but equal” businesses. You want them segregated from your workplaces and residences.

  • Every bigot has an excuse for their animus. They all think their nonsense is somehow justifiable and reasonable.

    You want to treat a distinct group of people as inferiors and cause them deliberate harm. That makes you a bigot. Show a little backbone and own up to it.

  • “Who told you that you have to be a “church” to have religious freedom? ”

    Not what I said. You have to be a church to be selective about who you perform a marriage ceremony for in your facility. A chapel as a place of general commerce does not get that choice.

    Deliberately harming others is not exercising religious freedom or taking a stand of moral conscience. It is a malicious act of deliberate harm to others. No more valid an exercise of freedom than beating someone up for being Muslim.

    As for witholding engaging in morally unconscionable acts, where do YOU draw the line?

    How about if Max was a banker who denied your mortgage because of his strong moral objections to letting you as a bible thumper live near his neighborhood? He is merely exercising his moral conscience as you want to do with others. As an antitheist business owner, he is merely exercising his alleged right to discriminate based on his strong moral beliefs.

    If you were laying on the side of a road bleeding and an ambulance came by, Atheist Max is the paramedic. His good conscience as an opponent of all things religious prevent him from giving aid to you. He is exercising his religious freedom by not engaging in the immoral act of providing lifesaving services to someone he finds objectionable. He drives off and leaves you to die. He is merely following your example.

    Anyone can come up with “a strong moral religious objection” to acting in a civil and sane manner to others. But it is harmful to society in general. Your religious freedom ends where it harms others.

  • “Second, why would you even try to force them to perform your marriage?? Why would you want to be married by someone who hates you?? ”

    Why did black Southerners want to be served at lunch counters by people who hated them? I dunno. Maybe they cared more about eating lunch than the opinions of the waitstaff or other customers.

    Some people (call them the calm and rational minority) might find it noteworthy that in this case, it is actually the chapel’s owners who are filing a lawsuit, not a gay couple who want to be married at the chapel.

  • Can’t Christians gather to gather and go support these pastors! I just want to scream…. so very sick…now Indiana is allowing foster parents can be living together homosexuals… what great models

    Now what about the no shoes no service, no smoking, no public restrooms, no parking,, no, no..

    We Should have the right to say no! Its their business,, their faith ,their chapel. This makes me sick. Am I allowed to say that!
    Go to the court house. There is no gay marriage. God ordained marriage. Just go get the fake paper and leave people to their and YOUR rights.

  • “You have to be a church to be selective about who you perform a marriage ceremony for in your facility.”

    No you don’t. An individual possesses the right to free exercise of his faith regardless of where.

    ” It is a malicious act of deliberate harm to others. No more valid an exercise of freedom than beating someone up for being Muslim.”

    You don’t get to decide what everyone’s true motivations are, Larry. You seem to have a considerable problem with this.

    And both your examples are nonsense. A true parallel would be if I were to violate Max’s conscience by somehow forcing him to “bible-thump” with me. The line is drawn at forced PARTICIPATION — something you painfully slow scoffers have yet to get your head around.

    “Your religious freedom ends where it harms others.”

    No it doesn’t. It matters what kind and what degree of harm, and the existence of alternative solutions less intrusive than violating another’s religious freedom.

  • These people are not harming the homosexuals who are doing this simply to make a point. The homosexuals are actually harming them by trying to force them to do something that they truly do not wish to do, not out of spite or hatred, but because they feel it is wrong.
    Unfortunately in a world where tolerance is measured in only one direction, Christians will find that doing business in a public realm is simply going to become more and more difficult as their views and beliefs are tolerated less and less by a growing number of hateful and intolerant people who simply want to make a point. This was outlined by Christ 2 thousand years ago. Christians will once again be persecuted for their faith and belief. The greater problem is that this will become the established norm, supported not only by the hateful who do not believe, but also by the government, making it even more difficult.
    Whether these Christian folks fight this and win or fight this and lose, the writing is already on the wall, and one day the simple act of following one’s faith will not be tolerated.
    Remember that we are to pray for our enemies, and that we really don’t have to worry about protecting Christ. He can easily protect Himself. Live your life in accordance with your beliefs and if the government makes it difficult to do so, render unto Caesar. God will provide for us, despite those who hate and chastise Christians wrongfully.
    I am not saying that we should not fight for our rights and for our beliefs, but recognise that living under a certain government, especially one that is no longer Christian in theory or in practice, will require abiding by its laws or pay a price as many Christians have done in the past. Love as Christ loved, even those, such as some here in this discourse, who are blind and openly hostile to the Faith. God will deal with them in His time in His way, I pity them for their disbelief and their lack of understanding.

  • That is not correct. ALL new studies are finding toward chemical/genetic.

    And we already know in the medical profession, that in-womb chemical changes, can produce babies with the sex organs of both genders, or the genitals of one, and the chemistry of the other. This alone has already proven that Gay people are born that way.

    Your next objection will be the so-called anti-homosexuality Bible verses – yes?

    There are actually NO such verses, When read in context and in the original languages – it is very obvious they are talking about Sacred Sex to Moloch which is Idolatry, and therefore punishable by death, according to the Bible.


  • Civil rights is not for “all who are discriminated against,” because that would include anyone who was rejected by anybody for anything. This would be a ridiculously broad principle which would encompass every person who has ever lived. When a B student isn’t selected to be Phil Beta Kappa or a Rhodes scholar, he or she could claim discrimination.

    So it’s not as simple as you think. And that’s why the civil rights acts of the 1960s wisely focused narrowly on characteristics indisputably present from birth — race, gender, etc. Any expansion to include other categories that were not immutable would have to be done carefully.

  • Based on Larry’s absurd expansion of civil rights, people who don’t make it into Harvard could say that we have an apartheid system that creates two classes of citizens — Harvard grads and non-Harvard grads — and that those who don’t make it in suffer disabilities for the remainder of their lives relative to such grads.

  • Larry, there is a reason the 1960s civil rights laws were limited to certain categories, such as race and gender. Again, based on your definition, everyone who has ever lived could claim discrimination, because people and organizations make practical discriminations all of the time. The question is what sorts of characteristics or criteria entitle a person to protected-class status against such discrimination. You haven’t even begun to address that issue.

  • Ingledsva, you’re flatly wrong on this. Your premise — that there are non-genetic factors predisposing one toward being gay which occur before birth — does not support your conclusion, that all gays are born gay. In order to prove your conclusion, you’d have to show that 100% of non-genetic factors fall into this category, but you can’t because they don’t. It’s not even close.

    The idea that all gays are born gay remains completely unsupportable. Like every other kind of behavior, genetics predispose but do not determine.

  • Good job, Shawnie. Larry is making it up as he goes along, demonstrating at every point that he doesn’t understand, nor appreciate, what First Amendment rights, including the right to religious freedom, mean in real life. His view of religious freedom rights is absurdly narrow, and if applied to other First Amendment rights, such as speech or press, would represent a dramatic contraction of basic rights we take for granted.

  • Everything Larry has posted is based on the premise that leaving marriage alone, and accepting the implicit definition held in all times and places throughout history, imposes some sort of unique hardship on homosexuals. That is preposterous….all the more so today, when no discernible or tangible hardship exists.

  • Larry, you’re assuming that when Christians dare to push back against marriage being completely redefined, they are committing some sort of unique crime, rather than agreeing with every country and culture in recorded history.

    By targeting Christians, you’re deliberately ignoring this fact. The odd man out on this issue isn’t Christianity; it’s the proponents of gay marriage. It is they who are out of step with the rest of the human race in all times and places, except for our own, which is infintessimal by comparison. It is they who are imposing their view on the rest of humanity, not just present-day humanity, but generations to come.

  • Wrong on all counts, Larry. Black ministers are simply opposing a bizarre and unwarranted redefinition of the most foundational institution of humanity, one that no society has ever attempted. To call that bigotry is to label virtually every human being who has ever lived prior to the turn of the century as a bigot. When your position forces you into that miniscule corner, it is time to reassess whether it makes sense or is pure nonsense.

    As for treatment of black people, to treat the traditional definition of marriage as akin to hatred against blacks, especially while condemning black clergy for daring to support that definition, is the same tactic as, for example, you lefties comparing Israel to the Nazis. It is bigotry pure and simple. It is a deliberately chosen analogy that is meant to hurt or wound blacks, in the same way that comparing Israel to the Nazis is meant to harm or wound Jews, or at least the majority of Jews who support Israel.

    Like it or not, comparing gay marriage to the civil rights movement makes a mockery of black suffering through the centuries. And it is no coincidence that this comes from the same political party — the Democrats — that supported slavery, brought us the Civil War, pushed back against the Republican civil rights revolution after the Civil War, replaced civil rights with Jim Crow, fought tooth and nail against Dr. King when he sought to resurrect civil rights, and to this day refuses to treat black men and women as equals, imposing quota systems that presuppose black inferiority.

    So, yes, there is an unmistakable whiff of bigotry against black people on the part of gay marriage proponents who are attempting to piggyback on the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. The comparisons are inherently racist, the effect is to trivialize black suffering, and the party driving this is a party with a nasty history of racism which continues to this very day with the failure to treat black people as equals.

  • Are you seriously whining about people being intolerant towards your intolerance? You’re being a cry baby because you’re not allowed to discriminate against people that aren’t like you. It looks to be about time for you to grow up already.

  • So you want to mistreat two respectable individuals who love each other? That’s the behavior you’re talking about right? Why do you want to mistreat them? Because they’re not the same as you? You pretty much fit the exact definition of a bigot.

  • “Larry is making it up as he goes along, demonstrating at every point that he doesn’t understand, nor appreciate, what First Amendment rights, including the right to religious freedom, mean in real life.”

    That’s because he/she gets these talking points from what snippets he/she can glean from atheist propaganda sites, not from any kind of broad-based knowledge and understanding of constitutional law. That, and he/she doesn’t care about religious freedom — of others, that is.

    “His view of religious freedom rights is absurdly narrow, and if applied to other First Amendment rights, such as speech or press, would represent a dramatic contraction of basic rights we take for granted.”

    Yes — and this particular case also presents a freedom of speech issue that no one has addressed yet.

  • You’re also wrong about “Moloch” Your interpretation was unheard of until just about 35 years ago. No ancient commentary in existence supports it — they all took the scriptures’ prohibitions on same-sex behavior to be comprehensive.

    Those prohibitions may be found right next to similar ones about bestiality, incest and adultery. Are those OK too, as long as they don’t involve idol worship?

  • It’s also worth pointing out that no SCOTUS has ever yet held orientation to be equivalent to race wrt judicial scrutiny — even gender is not an equivalent. And there is a good chance that they won’t. In the Hobby Lobby case the SCOTUS assued everyone that narrowly-tailored RACIAL anti-discrimination law would not be overturned by the ruling, but references to other quasi-suspect classes were very conspicuous by their absence.

    Given that the trend of the last generation of constitutional law has been for more protection of religious freedom, not less, I could see this highly political SCOTUS (which seems mortally afraid of making a call) eventually striking a balance between the competing interests by making gay marriage available but recognizing religious objectors’ freedom to not participate. Which ought to satisfy most reasonable people — but of course many around here are not reasonable.

  • Dan, it’s your side that’s doing all the whining with your demented equation of same-sex marriage with the battle against centuries of oppression of black people. It’s your side that cooked up this bogus issue in the first place. You just can’t stand it that not everybody’s rolling over and praising the emperor’s fine clothes.

  • Sorry, Larry, but the bizarre, out-of-the-blue demand to redefine marriage into something it has never been in history does not equate with ending centuries of oppression against black people. And supporters of this demand are relying on people remaining too afraid to call such brain-frying nonsense what it is.

    You hard lefties are a study in audacity: each time you cook up some demented new idea, you expect the rest of humanity to march with you like an army of automatons. You will get your support, because most people don’t have the time or energy to fight back, and those that do would rather go along to get along. But no matter how many people are bludgeoned into giving you babies your bottle, it doesn’t make your absurd position any less absurd. Crazy remains crazy, no matter how well you try to dress it up as sane.

  • If we don’t stand up against this persecution it will get worse and worse. Christian faith principles are the new civil rights. Wake up Christians.

  • No Larry, you’re trying to create something that never was in any country and culture in history, and then accuse anybody who dares oppose it of being bigoted. You then lie about it by sweeping history under the rug, and then scapegoating Christians for this overwhelming human consensus through the ages, as though Christians suddenly created some brand-new barrier against same-sex marriage.

    If you’re going to blame someone for there never being same-sex marriage in any society in history, blame every prior generation going back to the dawn of civilization. Go ahead and call every one of them bigots. It only highlights the absurdity of your position. When your position forces you to call nearly every person who has ever lived a bigot, a thoughtful and intelligent response is to ask whether one is seriously wrong about one’s position.

  • No, Dan, you’re the bigot. You are exhibiting contempt and hatred against people of faith who dare to support every society in history by opposing your absurd demands to redefine the foundational institution of civilization. You’re also deeply narcissistic, believing that the rest of humanity has to redefine this institution into something it never was just so Dan can be a happy camper.

  • Thanks Shawnie5. I was going to comment on the Moloch argument as well.

    The best source for refuting this is the history of commentary on the subject….particularly commentary from Jewish writers from the past — since, after all, the Old Testament comes from them.

    It is crystal clear that the voice of classical Judaism has interpreted those texts to mean that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, Jews were known in ancient times for their unique position on that issue, opposing neighboring Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, and others on that issue.

    Ironically, though, when it comes to same-sex marriage, no culture, not even the Canaanites, Greeks or Romans, ever practiced it. Even the many cultures which saw nothing wrong with homosexuality never endorsed or practiced same-sex marriage. The far left may have convinced ditzy Americans that it’s a great idea, but it’s still an idea that knows no precedent in history.

  • Frank, first things first……First, people need to be convinced to get off their duffs and vote when elections come. Too many people aren’t even registered to vote and even among those who are registered, half never show up. The right to vote is a precious one, and people who go AWOL on election day are going AWOL on their country.

    For Christians, as I said to Fran, it’s even worse. God ordained government, so it follows that when Christians live under a government that is based on voting, they have a moral duty before God to vote. Not voting is to reject God’s ordinance of government.

  • Why do they do it? Because they can do it, that’s why. It’s human nature that in any fight, the side that’s winning doesn’t know when to stop, even when its own self-interest suggests the wisdom of stopping.

    That’s the story of human history….

  • Amen. Get out to vote Christians! You are obliged to because of your faith. Protect life, protect Gods designs and Will!

  • God Plan, “calm and rational” people know how to tread lightly when it comes to comparisons between the long and heroic struggle of blacks for racial equality and the sudden and historically unprecedented demand to redefine marriage. At some point, the trivialization or cheapening of black suffering by comparing it to the boundaries of traditional marriage comes perilously close to racism.

  • Wrong, Larry. Religious freedom is a basic human right, along with freedoms of expression and assembly. And like these other rights, religious freedom is quite broad and inclusive….and while no right is absolute, there had better be a darned good reason to make an exception regarding any of them. Forcing mom-and-pop operations to celebrate gay marriages isn’t an excuse for violation.

    You lefties used to believe in First Amendment rights. Remember? But that was before political correctness came along. Now you’ve become a bunch of Stalinists thugs.

  • Note how Larry failed to address the point made by Matthew Abate — which is the heart of what religious freedom is.

    Larry clearly rejects religious freedom, as do all anti-religious bigots.

  • I hope for the sake of the country as well as freedom that you’re correct in your prognostication, Shawnee. My fear is that SCOTUS is itself far too bullied and intimidated to let religious freedom have its say.

  • Pastors need to preach that any one of their congregants that can vote but doesn’t vote is violating God’s will by failing to honor government as an institution which He ordained.

  • Doc Anthony–

    When did you realized that you where straight?? As a human being I take offence to your comments. In all reality the Hitching Post is NOT a church. They are not pastors or hold religious events. They are a FOR profit business. They are ordained ministers. I can get ordained in less than a hour. As a Christian is our place to not judge or hate. It our job to show gods love when it is not present in others lives. It is also very clear in the bible that people should not marry outside their religion. Why is that OK?? Its not right to pick or choose what part of the bible you want to listen too.
    Lets look at the Nazis. Hitler believed that Jews where nasty, dirty people and killed millions over that concept. How is this different?? People where not born into religion, it’s not hereditary. It is a choice.

  • Larry, it’s clear that what you love is the idea of marginalizing Christians or other people of faith. That’s what anti-religious bigots seek to do. That’s why you want to sweep religious freedom away and jail people who dare to exercise it.

  • A knee-jerk response.

    The analogy between two broad groups of people who want to patronize businesses that don’t want to serve them is really quite precise and is not a broader comparison between the gay rights and African American rights movements.

  • When contacted by The Press for comment, Don Knapp said the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation. He also said he does not know ADF Attorney David Cortman.

    City officials in Coeur d’Alene say they have not received any formal complaints that the Hitching Post wedding chapel has violated the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance by refusing to solemnize same-sex marriages. They also claim they never threatened to jail or fine them!

  • Larry, religious freedom is far broader than that. That is the issue, not civility. And if forcing other people to violate their own conscience is not uncivil, nothing is.

    You remind me of a guy who stabs someone with a knife and then tells the judge that the victim “ran into my knife.”

  • Religious freedom does not end with entry into the public square. It is a broad, inclusive right that is not forfeited when one does business or anything else. Nor is religious freedom just for non-profit churches. Religious freedom is an individual right for every person on the planet.

    Jon Altman, why do you oppose religious freedom?

  • Wrong, Pan. If that were the case, then I could create any new class of people based on their behavior and demand that they be a protected class. The fact that you are apparently clueless about this shows you know little or nothing about the history of the struggle for civil rights for black people in America. It also shows you have no regard for the struggle, for if you cared, you wouldn’t be ignorant of the history, or the care and concern that took place in the crafting of the great civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

  • Just as an aside, I would like to know who’s going to be around to clean up the royal mess that gay marriage is going to create for succeeding generations.

    The baby boomers, who started all the trouble, will be long gone. Ditto for Gen X.

    It will be the poor Millennials and their children, who will have plenty more on their plate as well, on every issue of the day.

  • Black isn’t a choice. Gay is. Just like heterosexual is. Get mad if you want, but the argument that a man is born eanting to br anally penetrated by another man is a lie of the Devil. If we accept that, then what’s to say we cannot reason that pedophiles were born that way and thus we must accommodate them? The line is drawn. Just because mankind wants to veer away from the standards of the Bible to engahe in worldly sins doesn’t mean those standards are wrong. I’m Black. This is not a choice but a fact. Gay is an act, a lifestyle choice, and not one that I have seen anyone embrace without much turbulence and inner turmoil. I’ve spoken to gay people who wish they weren’t gay, who feel trapped, but who by no means have hidden or cowered to the born this way rap. Sin has to be dwelt on to come to fruition. Gay sex invades the mind and secret chambers if the heart, fed by lust, until its born into doing the unnatural and sinful. It doesn’t and shouldn’t be forced down the throats if the God fearing just be auss a gay person likes it. I’m with these pastors. Don’t forsake Jesus or Gods word just to please this group of people. Should we start telling Christian men to pour acid on their wives because an entire sect of people believe its ok in another part of the world. No. Wrong is wrong and even though we all sin, we don’t Jane to forsake God and happily do it.

  • @ Jack

    Considering you are asking for a right to discriminate against others in business and using arguments such as “separate but equal” and virtually the entire pro-segregation playbook, bringing up the civil rights movement is more than justified.

    Calling it absurd doesn’t make it so. Just like calling malicious discrimination against others in commerce “religious freedom” doesn’t mean it is.

  • Ayoka, you are living proof that black people can indeed be bigoted.

    So you don’t find it the least problematic that they are being denied goods and services on the basis of some external characteristic.You think the act of discrimination is justified as long as it is not directed towards you. How very Christian of you.

    You call it an act and a choice, but that is just to feel better about despising them as people. It is much easier to pretend that it is their fault when you want to deny a group of people the ability to live without harassment and discrimination.

    The fact that you are so tone deaf to the situation you are willing to support people who not long ago would have treated you with the same level of disdain and hatred. You are an ignorant terrible person. You have no moral character to speak of. You simply want to wrap hatred in the pages of the Bible. There is nothing to respect about your views.

  • Your wrong Becca, you are acting as an accessory to this madness! This is Amercia and moral people should not be required to do things that they believe to be sinful and immoral! I love God and know that the Bible is His inspired Word, many, many times this subject is referred to as perverted and wrong! Of course you can stick with the queen james where it is all omitted. This is a sad time for our world heading towards the end, remember Sodom and Gammora, if not you might read all about it. Praying for sick people to find themselves and confess to God before it is to late!

  • Jack, you are not asking for religious freedom. You are asking for special privileges you are asking for a right to treat others like crap. A right that only existed back when other forms of bigotry were given color of law.

    What is not to despise about that? It has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with the inability of Christians to follow the same rules as everyone else and their inability to act civil to anyone but their own.

    These alleged Christians are so deranged by their bigotry that they cannot perform the business transactions that they make a living from, just because of the nature of the customer. That is their problem. If they suffer from it, that is their fault. They just can’t be bothered to behave like everyone else is expected to.

  • Denying people goods and services based on the kind of people they are is as hateful and bigoted as they come. I am not the one dishonestly trying to wrap up these acts in jargon and inappropriate generalities.

    It doesn’t matter what excuse people use for it, the act itself is a deliberately harmful one to others. Pretending your religion is the reason for it, is just fecklessness on your behalf. Religious freedom never gave one permission to harm others.

    You are not asking for religious freedom, you are asking for special privileges for being Christian.You want a right that nobody else has. A right to harm others in the name of your religion.

    The label is appropriate.

  • Jack, your whole argument is bullcrap. Why shouldn’t marriage be redefined if it serves a purpose which is helpful to people? Marriage laws are permissive in nature absent rational and secular purposes for banning them.

    What rational and secular purpose does a gay marriage ban serve? None. Just an excuse to keep gay families from living sane lives. To give bigots a sense of superiority over them.

    I can’t help it that people like yourself are so ignorant and tone deaf to history that they use THE EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS which used to be used to promote racial discrimination. It may be uncomfortable to contemplate the parallel in behavior, but it is pretty clear.

  • Your right to religious expression ends where it causes harm to others.

    The pastors have no more right to discriminate in their openly commercial venture than I do to burn you at the stake for heresy.

  • He is as clueless as you are. Someone who thinks being a Christian absolves them of the duty to follow the same rules everyone else does.

    You have no concept of religious freedom. To you, it is simply seen as a license to act as uncivil and obnoxious towards others as possible. This is why so many Christians make bonehead statements denying the existence of the separation of church and state. The rule which ensures the ability of free exercise of religion. They don’t really want religious freedom, they just want Christian religious dogma to dominate government and everyone else to stand aside for them.

  • Indeed. It’s hard to get any more clear and direct than “Against Apion.”

    “Ironically, though, when it comes to same-sex marriage, no culture, not even the Canaanites, Greeks or Romans, ever practiced it.”

    Weeeell….according to the Midrash Rabbah Genesis, there was one time when same-sex marriage WAS practiced, and that was in the pre-Noahide times.

    “The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.” — Midrash Rabbah Genesis 26:9.

    It’s not scripture, of course, but it really makes you think. It kind of gives a whole new color to Jesus’ words about the time of the end “And it shall be as in the days of Noah…marrying and giving in marriage…”

    And what was the sign given to Noah?

    “God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
    No more water but fire next time”. –James Baldwin


  • “Your religious freedom ends where it harms others.”

    No it doesn’t.

    OK so if you don’t mind, I will sacrifice your family to Cthulhu in an effort to exercise my freedom of religion in my newfound faith. My religion demands live blood sacrifice. Anything less would be unconscionable according to my deeply held beliefs and my devout following..

    According to you it is well within my 1st Amendment rights. 🙂

  • Way to weaselword Shawnie. You miss the important point to make a strawman distinction. SCOTUS has held sexual orientation to be a class worthy of protection beyond mere “rational basis” for laws dealing with them. Not to the same strict scrutiny as racial classes, but still a measure of judicial scrutiny above the norm.

    Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
    Romer v. Evans (1996)

  • Then stop insulting my intelligence by acting like a segregationist.

    You want signs in businesses saying “No gays allowed”
    You want to keep gays from living in your neighborhood, having jobs in your presence, or being capable of a sane existence.

  • Do you really expect anyone to take you seriously when you compare murder with a simple refusal to participate in a wedding? Good grief! Go lie down for a while.

  • So this whole thing may be a Todd Starnes’esque fiction. The ADF may be looking for cheap publicity. Typical martyrbaiting nonsense.

  • The point is, of course, that it’s NOT equivalent. Laws affecting different protected classes are not scrutinized to the same degree. Not to mention we have two different kinds of civil liberties in play here, both deserving of protection. There is an enormous range of policy considerations and possibilities that could factor into the process of “narrowly tailoring” legislation.

    Of course, simple minds crave simple answers — that only serve their own interests.

  • The difference here is that two ordained clergy have basically been requested to perform a ceremony that goes against the denomination in which they were ordained. The controversy reflects the dialogue now being conducted in the church: Some see same-gender preclusion marriage as a spiritual principle reflected in both Testaments of the Bible and two thousand years of church authority; others see same gender marriage as an acceptable evolution that reflects the compassion of Christ and the growth of the church. Scholarship exists on both sides of the question; but whichever side one agrees with, it is my hope that clergy will not be asked to violate their beliefs (whether they be Christian, Muslim, conservative Jewish or other faith) in this matter.

  • Larry, it’s obvious you don’t understand how the historic civil rights legislation worked.

    The norm in life is that people are free to make all sorts of discriminations, from what they eat to whom they befriend, to what job they take or reject, to what clothes they wear and all the rest.

    Discrimination is the norm……what the civil rights revolution was about was defining precisely what forms of discrimination should never be the norm but should be deemed immoral and intolerable….and that of course centered on the horrific treatment of black people in America over the centuries, first as slaves, and then as Jim Crow-era inferiors.

    In civil rights lingo, what was needed was a definition of protected classes of people. And when it came to such definitions, civil rights leaders imagined a pole, with on the one extreme, a class of people defined completely by behavior — ie hardened criminals — and on the opposite end of the poll, a class of people defined completely by unchangeable traits, completely unrelated to behavior, such as people whose skin color was black.

    On the one end of the pole, discrimination was not only okay, but essential: Of course we “discriminate” against hardened criminals by locking them up. But on the other end of the pole, discrimination was utterly abhorrent and intolerable: Of course we must outlaw discrimination against people whose only difference from the majority is their skin color. Thus the civil rights movement rightly and properly deemed black people a “protected class,” a group of people who by definition should never suffer discrimination. And obviously, it rightly deemed, say, hardened criminals not a protected class, since by definition, we darned well better make a moral discrimination between them and the rest of society….lest we allow them to inflict irreparable harm on society.

    So…to make a blanket statement that all forms of discrimination are wrong is worse than juvenile….it is nearly infantile. Again, we all make discriminations every second of our lives….each time we make a choice on anything, we are making discriminations.

    That is the norm….the question is when do we as a society admit special exceptions and say, “no, not this time. No, not in this instance. No, you can’t make a discrimination here, because it is wrong and it is evil.”

    In other words, Larry, you have it all precisely backwards. The burden isn’t on me, it’s on you to lay down the exceptions and explain why in each case.

  • You still aren’t actually reading. You just see certain keywords that trigger a Pavlovian repetition of predigested talking points.

    In fact, your latest reply is a non sequitur. Grammatically, it gives the appearance of responding to something I wrote; however, it’s actually a free-standing outburst that doesn’t follow from what I said.. If you don’t believe me, try identifying the actual statement in my comment that you believe you were responding to with, “If that were the case…” The “that” isn’t there. You’re just imagining it.

    Fourth Valley’s question wasn’t about the validity of same-sex marriage, which we all know by now you do not believe in. He was asking WHY people who FEEL that they are being discriminated against would want to force people not to discriminate against them. Even if we all agreed with you that same-sex marriage is a Satanic trick that will lead to the demise of Western civilization, FV’s question would stand. The point of comparison with civil rights activists wasn’t the validity of the two struggles, but the psychology of the protesters.

  • “The difference here is that two ordained clergy have basically been requested to perform a ceremony that goes against the denomination in which they were ordained.”

    They do that on a regular basis as part of their business. Most denominations do not perform rites and rituals for people outside their own sect. These pastors were making a business out of doing so. Their beliefs had nothing to do with this.

    They were treating the rite of marriage in the same manner as if they were serving customers at a Waffle Shack. Their business was open to the general public, and not a church. Not something specific to their sect or faith.

    If it was beyond their notions of civility and business to perform the ceremony, they should have made an accommodation and brought in someone who would perform it. This is not a question of religion, its a question of commerce.

  • Gays are considered a protected class. Just because you disagree with the notion, doesn’t change the fact.

    This is why the act of discriminating against them is punishable by fines. You are looking for a compelling reason to avoid these rules. You have none. Claiming religious belief prevents you from being civil to gays in a business is not a reasonable excuse anyone has to take seriously.

  • Well said, Ayoka, especially on the difference between immutable traits and behavioral traits. That distinction was an essential one which defined the civil rights revolution of the 1950s and 1960s.

    To blur the distinction is to trivialize the hard-fought and noble battle for civil rights.

    Very good post.

  • You are not asking for religious freedom. You are asking for special privileges for being Christian and whiny.

  • Why? because they believe that if people are forced to accept them they can consider themselves not disordered. Unfortunately a Fontanne or non accountancy doesn’t change the reality that all homosexual behavior is sinful and disordered.

    It’s all an attempt to validate themselves. So sad.

  • A quite a mess they will find themselves in. In several generations children will be asking their parents who the hell thought gay marriage and adoption was a good idea?

  • You want to make the preposterous equation of malicious discriminatory acts and taking a moral stand.

    That is not only ridiculous but insulting to the intelligence of everyone outside your little Christian privilege bubble.

    If religious freedom does not end at the point of causing tangible harm to others, and should be excusable under the laws of general application, then there is no difference between religious inspired discriminatory acts and religious inspired assault and murder.

    There is no line to be drawn. All rules go out the window because someone who has a “deeply held religious belief” thinks they are exempt from following them.

  • “This is why the act of discriminating against them is punishable by fines.”

    Larry, what you don’t know about constitutional jurisprudence would fill a book. NOTHING is that simple when the balancing of civil liberties is at issue, and all “protected classes” are not the same.

  • Jack, unless you can cough up a rational and secular reason for keeping the definition of marriage to be heterosexual only, whatever history or tradition you invoke is irrelevant.

    The hardship of an adult consensual couple being incapable of solemnizing their relationship in the eyes of the state and being capable of raising children in a sane manner is a unique hardship. Just because you want to ignore it, doesn’t mean it does not exist.

    You don’t have a legitimate rational and secular argument to be made to oppose marriage equality. It is simply just personal bigotry with some Bible verses behind it to give your views a measure of social sanction.

    A sign that your POV is really full of crap is the fact that none of the anti-gay crowd can point to specific instances of harm or problems caused by gay marriage in places where it is legal. The inability of someone to discriminate is not a harm that anyone has to recognize. Its like saying the poor racists were victimized by segregation.

  • Your point is an irrelevant strawman because gays are a protected class.

    Laws specifically targeting them for negative treatment are held to violate their civil liberties and don’t even pass muster as “rational basis” (See Romer)

  • You missed the point, Larry. You based your entire argument on the erroneous premise that discriminations in life are wrong until proven otherwise. I just showed you the utter absurdity of that premise by showing how the norm in life is for people to make discriminations of all kinds every moment of their lives — from whom to befriend to what car or house to buy to anything else you can name.

    I also showed how the civil rights revolution of the 1950s and 1960s was a textbook case of how care was exercised to carve out a precise exception to the norm of discrimination — by seeking to outlaw discrimination that had zero to do with behavior and everything to do with undeniably immutable traits like skin color.

    Your obvious aim was to piggyback gay marriage onto the civil rights movement, rather than having to make a special case for deeming as a protected class a group of people who have in common a trait that is behavioral.

    Your statement about gays being a protected class deals with what is or what might one day be, depending on your definition. But either way, you again miss the point…..the question is not what is or what will be, but what should or should not be. It is up to you to make a special case for what you’re advocating, exactly the way the civil rights leadership may a special case for what it was advocating.

    So far, you’ve done nothing of the sort……all you’ve done is state that discriminations of any kind are wrong…..which again, leads to the absurd conclusion that all decision-making on any topic or issue — from getting out of bed in the morning as opposed to stay there to drinking water instead of soda — is wrong.

  • Larry, someone’s religious freedom, sooner or later, is bound to tread on someone else’s little toesies. That’s why they had to write an amendment protecting it…get it?

    A “tangible” harm means nothing in and of itself. Harm is a relative concept, and when balancing civil liberties the severity of the harm, the history behind it, financial burdens, and the existence of alternative solutions all come into play in deciding what kind of “harm” justifies infringing on another’s constitutional rights.

    You seem to be under the impression that any kind of inconvenience, no matter how trivial, is sufficient justification to override someone’s religious freedom. Wow, do you ever have a lot to learn!

  • Of course you do. That is what you are talking about.

    An alleged right for Christians to discriminate openly against gays in all sorts of public venues. You don’t feel like making a distinction or drawing a line at the activities involved, I don’t either. I doubt any of the so-called Christians supporting discrimination here would.

    Its pretty clear you would have no problem with invoking your Christian faith as an excuse to treat them maliciously and you want legal sanction to do it. Why should there be any distinction as to how or where it is done?

  • Again, Larry, you would have people believe that same-sex marriage was humanity’s default position until the big, bad Christians or Jews (take your pick) came around with a religious objection and narrowed the definition of marriage to opposite-sex unions.

    Even you don’t believe that historically false narrative. You know perfectly well that same-sex marriage wasn’t even on humanity’s radar until a few short years ago….and thus its exclusion had zero to do with a specifically religious objection and everything to do with humanity’s not even giving it a second thought until recently.

    We need to call this what it is — a completely manufactured and bogus demand, coming out of the blue, with no historical precedent and no logical or even philosophical link to anything preceding it.

    It arose initially not from homosexuals but from heterosexuals — and specifically from the same far-left heterosexuals who had been spending their entire adult lives bashing marriage as outdated, oppressive, and harmful to humanity.

    These were the same people who said marriage was “just a piece of paper” and that the main thing was that people living together loved each other and were in a committed relationship.

    Think about it….the same people who despised marriage or considered it a meaningless formality were suddenly devoting money and time to promoting this supposedly worthless institution as a wonderful thing for gays? If a person hates the institution of marriage, why would they be suddenly recommending it to another person or group of people?

    The only answer that fits is the obvious one: The original, heterosexual-driven drive for gay marriage was begun by radical lefties who wanted to mock marriage by changing its definition in an unprecedented fashion.

    Find another explanation for why leftist marriage-haters manufactured a demand to expand precisely what they hated to include gays. There is no other explanation. It is otherwise inexplicable.

    As for your repeated attempts to link gay marriage to the historic civil rights movement, either you have a reading comprehension problem or you are too stubborn to admit when you’ve been refuted. I suspect it’s a combination of the two in your case. You are comparing apples to oranges, as I and others have noted. And you are parading your ignorance about the history of the civil rights movement and how civil rights leaders helped craft the precise language of the civil rights laws of the 60s.

  • Again, Larry, religious freedom doesn’t magically dissolve when a person steps out of their house or place of worship and into the public square — any more than does freedom of speech, press, or assembly. In fact, all these freedoms are connected.

    In other words, neither you nor the government has any business violating any of these freedoms unless there is an absolutely compelling reason to do so. And the burden is on you or the government to make the case that there is such a reason. Otherwise, it’s not a true freedom, but a permission slip. And our ancestors didn’t fight and die for permission slips, but for iron-clad rights that no government can abridge without being lawless and tyrannical.

  • Larry, the issue is whether the government has the right to destroy people’s religious freedom by forcing them to celebrate the complete redefinition of marriage — a bogus issue admitted as such by the radical left proponents who have spent their entire adult lives telling us that marriage is a worthless piece of paper and that if people who live together love each other, all is well.

    That is a grossly tyrannical demand, arising from a completely frivolous issue (see above), a demand that is unworthy of a free nation and a free people, and one that dishonors every American soldier who fought and died for freedom.

    No matter what one’s views are on gay marriage, every American has a moral and an ethical duty to stand for freedom, because if America is not about freedom, it is about nothing at all. We don’t even have a country without it.

  • “Of course you do. That is what you are talking about.”

    Larry, where on earth did you ever get the notion that you can divine everyone’s true thoughts and motivations? You are making an abject fool of yourself by persisting with this.

    One of of close girlfriends in high school is now a lesbian. Another dear friend who was a bit younger than me has embraced a gay lifestyle. A second cousin with whom I played at many a family gathering, and who shared my love of music, is gay. My boyfriend from the 6th grade now lives with his same-sex partner in Dallas. Do I love all those people? Absolutely. Would I want to see them hurt or dispossessed of anything they need? Not a chance. Would I give any one of them the shirt off my back? You bet. Would I participate in one of their same-sex weddings or assist in it in any way? ‘Fraid not, sorry. I have a higher loyalty than an earthly one that has to come first. The difference is, though, that they are all reasonable people and not rabid, spite-filled haters who would want to force me to engage in what I believe is wrong. They all, moreover, possess some education and understand civil liberties and religious freedom, unlike some here whose names need not be mentioned because everybody knows who they are…

  • No, Larry, you don’t get to reinvent humanity’s foundational institution on a whim and then play Josef Stalin against those who refuse to jump for joy and celebrate this completely unnecessary Frankenstein experiment on future generations.

    Again, just listen to what people like you used to say about marriage in general:

    “Marriage is a formality….marriage is just a piece of paper; it’s the committed love and living together that counts….marriage is outmoded….marriage is oppressive….marriage presumes a monogamy that no one can practice…who needs marriage if we can have all of its benefits, including legal benefits, without it?”

    Just read those words, Larry. Those are from your side.

    These very words, from the same people who now advocate for gay marriage, show how utterly unnecessary it is to redefine marriage.

    Coming from these same people who created a demand for gay marriage right out of thin air, it exposes what a sham and a fraud this whole demand is.

    And you expect religious freedom to be sacrificed on its creaky altar without a fight?

    Dream on….

  • Larry, that’s ridiculous. Every human right creates some hardship to somebody. That includes freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly…..

    The basic rule for the exercise of all freedoms, including freedom of religion, is that such exercise is protected so long as it doesn’t create an imminent danger of physical harm to another person. And of course the burden is always on the government to prove in any given example that such exercise will do just that. The hurdle is high, not low.

    The big question is why you are singling out religious freedom as the one freedom you wish to muzzle. I’m sure you take an exceptionally broad view of the other freedoms I’ve just mentioned — a view as least as broad as the imminent-danger standard I just mentioned.

  • Larry, if you truly believe what you just posted, you don’t have a clue what religious freedom is.

    Hint: It means you don’t get to play bully boy with fellow human beings, forcing them to violate the dictates of conscience in favor of the dictates of the state.

    You don’t fine them.

    You don’t jail them.

    You don’t abuse them.

    You leave them the heck alone.

  • And for the zillionth time, Larry, civil rights are the great exception to the rule that government should leave people the heck alone. To turn the exceptional into the norm is to turn reality on its head. To use the concept of civil rights as a battering ram against religious freedom is a grotesque betrayal of the historic, specific, and unique battle for racial justice and equality.

  • Nice try, Larry, but you’re pretending that a failure to endorse the redefinition of marriage is some uniquely religious or Christian phenomenon. As you well know, no society in history ever sought to redefine marriage to include gay marriage. That includes pre-Christian, pagan societies, and, until a few years ago, modern secular democracies.

    Your radical-left friends concocted this boneheaded idea a few short years ago, out of the blue….and according to your logic, declaring every society in history to be bigoted for failure to see what only your extremist friends could see.

    So if humanity has been here for millions of years, that means that every society in history, including our own, was populated by knuckle-dragging bigots until just a few years ago…when, magically, your friends came along and set everybody right?

    Please…..You have no idea how silly you sound.

  • Terrific post, Shawnee. You have summed up the feelings and opinions of tens of millions of like-minded people, including myself.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that you write professionally or are involved in a career that requires lots of writing. No need to answer that, but take it as a compliment indeed.

  • I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might…spoil my fun. 😉

    But thank you for the compliment. I enjoy your posts as well. I can tell you have always done your homework, and you show far more patience than I–sorry to say– normally do. Something I must work harder on.

  • No, Larry, you don’t get to piggyback on the civil rights movement. The movement was about racial justice and equality, not playing frivolous little games with humanity’s foundational institution. It was the fulfillment of an American dream, not the start of a Frankenstein experiment. It was liberal democracy’s greatest moment, not the radical left’s latest play thing.

  • Larry, Shawnee’s point is entirely relevant because of your surreal premise that every instance of discrimination on the planet — which if taken literally would include people’s discriminations in all things in life, from food to friends — is the government’s business and must be banned. Based on your premise, every kind of behavior creates a protected class, making everyone and thus no one protected against everything and nothing……in other words, complete absurdity.

  • Shawnee, that’s very interesting…..

    While the Talmud isn’t Scripture, unlike the Old and New Testaments, it is still a source I respect. I once knew someone who read the Talmud through to the end and taught other Christians about it. An amazing lass.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve done some serious reading of it, too.

  • Some facts not included in the article:

    The penalties they are facing are severe. $1000 and 180 days in jail per misdemeanor charge. The city is charging them with a separate misdemeanor charge for every day they refuse to perform the ceremony. As of today they would be up to $5000 and 2 years 6 months in jail.

    The business plan for the chapel gives them the status of a religious organization which exempts them from following civil rights laws if following the law would cause them to violate the businesses stated religious standards (yes religious organizations can be for-profit). The plan specifically states that they will not perform any marriage that is not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.

    The first amendment gives us the right to practice religion as well as believe and talk about it. At the moment, those rights are being denied to those who openly express and act upon their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Many people have been losing their jobs and businesses because they refused to set their beliefs aside or even because they publicly expressed their beliefs. This is wrong.

    I don’t worry about what other consenting adults do in private and don’t support the violence which has been aimed at people because they belong to a certain group. In fact, until the issue of gay marriage began to interfere with the right of people to follow their fundamental religious beliefs it was a non-issue for me. Not being able to get married at a certain chapel is an inconvenience to the couple, but 1st amendment rights take precedence.

  • No one should be asked to violate their beliefs in conducting their business. Regardless of religion or lack thereof, everyone should be allowed to live every part of their lives according to their sincerely held beliefs unless it does harm to others. Refusing goods or services does not do harm, but merely causes an inconvenience. The individuals involved and the larger community can choose not to give them their business if they disapprove.

    One distinct difference between this situation and segregation in the south is that in the south segregation was mandated by law. Segregation was also sometimes a violation of business owners and employees sincerely held religious beliefs. Business owners were required to segregate their sustomers regardless of their personal opinions on segregation.

  • It is true that some Christians are hateful towards Gays and I am sorry that you have had such a bad experience. These are the Christians who read the last part of Romans 1 (a list of sins including homosexuality) but fail to read the beginning of chapter 2 (if you judge others for their sins than you will be judged in the same way for yours). Their view is not Biblical.

    The issue here is whether the right to act on religious beliefs takes precedence over inconveniencing the legal right of same sex couples to get married.

  • You have your facts wrong. Many countries in Europe have already extended the definition of marriage to include same sex couples.

  • It is not uncivil to refuse to do something because it is against your beliefs. It would not be considered uncivil for a Muslim to refuse to drink alcohol However, it would be highly uncivil to tell that Muslim that they must either drink alcohol or go to jail.

    When curriculum changes to vilify a certain group or point of view; Be on the watch- Tyranny is coming

    When people are mocked and their jobs and businesses threatened because they belong to a certain group or hold certain views; Be on the watch- Tyranny is near

    When people are arrested and thrown into jail because they refuse to discard their beliefs; Be prepared- Tyranny is here

    When people are killed for standing by their beliefs..

  • Actually, you sound a lot more patient than I am.

    Funny how Larry and friends are attempting the impossible — to portray you and other believers like myself as bigots from the backwoods. I suspect that you’re also probably from a metro area, perhaps along the eastern seaboard.

    As a single guy, I honestly do understand how gay people feel left out in a culture that still revolves around married people. I get it. And my experience with gay people is similar — I too haven’t met any who I believe would push all the way to denying people their exercise of religious freedom.

    But Larry and his not-so-merry band of ideologues just don’t see it that way. They’re the difference between yesterday’s liberals and today’s radical who have hijacked the word, “liberal” for their own purposes.

  • I know that about Europe, Julie. But of course that’s a recent development, “recent” being relative to the long history of humanity….in this case, not before the late 20th century.

  • “Funny how Larry and friends are attempting the impossible — to portray you and other believers like myself as bigots from the backwoods.”

    All bark, no bite. The word “bigot” really doesn’t even register on my mind anymore, as it’s been carelessly thrown around and misused by the likes of Larry and Max to the point that it no longer means anything. It flies by unnoticed exactly as “a**h*le” would.

    Of course, when “bigot” becomes a meaningless epithet, there goes about three-fourths of the radical lefitst’s debating repetoire.

  • Neither side is on such great legal ground here. It doesn’t seem like any couple actually has been denied a wedding, or that the state has threatened the chapel with a penalty for doing so. There was a bone-headed statement to the media by the city’s lawyer about a hypothetical scenario. Putting all that aside, the chapel’s website states that “ordained ministers” conduct a “traditional, religious ceremony.” Short answer, to me that means that they’re probably exempt from any anti-discrimination law.
    The for-profit status shouldn’t change this. For one thing, “non-profit” ministers often get paid, in donations to their discretionary funds for example. They’re still providing a service in exchange for payment. Also, what about for-profit religious product stores? Take for example Judaica stores. If a Jew for Jesus came in and wanted to buy a tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, could the store refuse? If a gay couple came in and wanted a ketubah, the marriage contract, could the store refuse? I don’t know the answer without researching it, but I can’t see how the store’s IRS forms would have very much to do with it.

  • Right you are, but these people are creating a whopper of a problem for society by crying wolf. By calling everyone who disagrees with them a bigot, they strip the word not only of its meaning but its bite. And so when real bigots emerge, it’s hard to get people to take it seriously.

    Great example: About 20 years ago, when David Duke, a real-deal bigot and former KKK grand wizard, was running for Louisiana’s governor, Ted Koppell (remember him?), was interviewing him and confronting him with the charge of racism.

    Duke responded by saying that the likes of Koppell regularly accused conservatives, including Ronald Reagan, of racism. Koppell didn’t know how to respond because unfortunately, the charge was true. Duke then proceeded to take Koppell apart.

    This is what happens when people misuse words like “racist” and “bigots.” When the real racists and bigots emerge, what then?

    Thankfully, Duke could not ultimately wiggle away and lost the election. But it was no thanks to people like Koppell, who, while a good man in many ways, was manhandled by Duke in front of millions — because of his crying wolf.

  • Jack, you still have no concept of civil liberties. Your right “to be left alone” pretty much ends where you start causing public harm to others.

    If you are looking for a right to harm someone by engaging in activities such as business discrimination, it falls outside your “acts of conscience” and “religious freedom”. You are asking for a right you were never entitled to on the basis of Christian belief. Special privileges of faith to be excused from the same rules everyone else has to follow regardless of their religious belief.

    You have no concept of rule of law or civil society. You want Christians to have the privilege to attack others with impunity.

  • ” Black ministers are simply opposing a bizarre and unwarranted redefinition of the most foundational institution of humanity”

    Because they hate gays and oppose any attempt at recognizing their existence in civil society. They are bigots. Just like you. They are not civil rights leaders, they are collaborators in supporting discrimination. Its telling that the groups representing racial civil liberties wholeheartedly support marriage equality.

    Unless you have a rational and secular purpose behind opposing the “redefinition of marriage” you are just begging the question. Why should “tradition” be upheld in this instance? You always avoid the question because you can’t cough up a legitimate reason anyone has to take seriously outside your faith.

    [vitrolic bullcrap precedes] “you lefties comparing Israel to the Nazis” [followed by vitriolic bullcrap]

    Sorry, wrong guy for that. Nice try at ad hominem and strawman. burning. What I do oppose is the backhanded Evangelical support of Israel. They want a Holy Land ultimately bereft of Jews as their eschatological scriptures claim. It was more honest when they were openly anti-Semitic.

  • Larry,

    Faith is not a hobby that can be switched out or altered. If there is a God than he is God. His wisdom is greater than man’s because he has seen everything, everywhere from beginning to end. If he has not than he is not God. God’s law takes precedence for believers over man’s law. You are free to disagree but if God does exist than denying him or persecuting his believers will not make him go away or change his laws.

    If there is no God than all that we have is man’s wisdom and law which means that what is considered right or wrong, legal or illegal, acceptable or unacceptable, will change based on who is in power for as long as the earth lasts.

    We have not become somehow more enlightened over the millennia. History repeats itself again and again. Attitudes like yours, which attack a certain group or belief system have appeared again and again. The USSR under Stalin, The Nazi Empire under Hitler, and red China under Chairman Mao are just a few examples.

    In each of these examples, they changed school curriculum (done), forced undesirables from their jobs and businesses (happening now), and then placed restrictions which led to false arrests, imprisonment in work camps, and eventually death.

    No one is asking you to agree, but putting refusal of services for religious reasons in the same category with the beating, rape, and lynching of blacks is an injustice to those who underwent such treatment. It is a reflection of your own hatred of those who disagree with you.

  • That was neither rational nor coherent. You essentially assumed a point of view and arguments never stated. Pure ad hominem. Pure strawman burning. Nothing related to responding to the point being made.

    Not one plausible reason to oppose gays getting married being given. Where is the rational and secular purpose behind a gay marriage ban? It is a simple enough question, but one you can’t seem to answer.

    Your spiel about redefinition is dishonest garbage. Again you ducked the question and started discussing “tradition” without an explanation why anyone needed to care about it. You would have been far more honest by just quoting Bible verses.

  • “This is no more freedom of conscience than if they discriminated against people based on race or religion. If the chapel refused business to a Jewish or interracial couple it sill be an act of conscience by your definitions.”

    That is exactly right. Churches and religious organizations normally only perform marriages for those of their own faith. This chapel is a religious organization which only performs Biblical Christian ceremonies and their incorporation papers state as much.

  • If your faith is so overwhelming that you cannot act in a civil manner to customers in your business, you don’t belong in business open to the public. That is your personal impediment. Nobody else has to suffer for it.

    If your faith demands that you deliberately harm others, it is bigotry. It doesn’t deserve respect or accommodation. If you are going to invoke Godwin, do it honestly.

    Attitudes like yours were exactly what was employed by the Klan and the Nazis. Find a group to demonize, exclude them civil society and commerce, advocate their inherent evil to society, advocate their imprisonment and legally sanctioned murder [Yes, American Christians have advocated the last two!]

    “In each of these examples, they changed school curriculum (done), forced undesirables from their jobs and businesses (happening now), and then placed restrictions which led to false arrests, imprisonment in work camps, and eventually death. ”

    Yes American Christians have demanded this happen to gays. Of course they try to do so in countries which don’t have the same level of civil liberty protection as here. Places such as in Africa and Russia.

    They too thought Christian religious belief sanctioned their actions. “Gott Mitt Uns”. If you want to know what a modern day Nazi is like, look in the mirror. You want to give bigotry color of law. That is more Nazi-like than anything I have ever advocated in my life.

  • Ron,
    Remember that the chapter and verse numbering was added later. It would be a good idea to read the beginning of chapter 2 before you condemn yourself by continuing to quote those verses out of context.

  • “No, Larry, you don’t get to reinvent humanity’s foundational institution on a whim and then play Josef Stalin against those who refuse to jump for joy and celebrate this completely unnecessary Frankenstein experiment on future generations.”

    Unless you have a rational and secular reason against it, I do. That is the way civil laws work, especially when it concerns marriage laws. I don’t have to give a flying crap what your religion or tradition say on the subject unless you can justify them in of themselves.

    You can’t give me a rational and secular purpose behind a gay marriage ban. So I don’t have to care about your nonsense about “redefinition”.

  • Their business is registered as a religious organization and in their incorporation paperwork that they will only perform biblical marriages. Both owners have been ordained pastors with the four square church since the 1970’s. All of the employees who perform marriages are ordained as well. and prior to purchasing the chapel the owners worked in churches as pastors.

  • It is uncivil when you have a business open to the general public to deny people on the basis of external characteristics.

    The same way it would be uncivil for a Christian to deny business to a Hindu because they are polytheistic and engage in idolatry. Having a business open to the public creates a duty to serve the entire public with few exceptions.

    Oh it is so oppressive that you can’t willfully treat others like crap and claim your religious belief as an excuse for the behavior. Grow up. Being Christian does not entitle you to ignore rules that apply to everyone else in the same manner.

  • Larry,

    You are making assumptions. I have read the petition to the court filled by the Alliance defending Freedom. They only perform Christian ceremonies.

  • Kim,

    For profit or non-profit status is just a designation for tax purposes. Religious organizations can be for profit. In fact, the Mormon Church is for profit with heavy investments in the stock market and a Gross worth of over $1 billion dollars. Religious bookstores are another example of a for profit religious organization.

    In order to be considered a religious organization, their primary purpose must be religious in nature. Their incorporation papers and business plan state that their purpose is to join couples in Christian marriage. Under their ordination vows and their interpretation of scripture neither they or those working for them can perform same sex weddings.

  • This is not a business refusing to sell someone a product available in a store. It is the government ordering them to offer a service that they don’t provide because it is a violation of their beliefs. A product based comparative would be telling a religious bookstore that they must carry books that they don’t stock because they are discriminating against the customers that want them.

  • I feel sorry for you Larry. I don’t know what experiences have caused you to become so bitter, but I will be praying for you. I was once hateful and bitter like you. The world had torn me down and made me feel worthless and I lashed out at everyone who was an easy target. It was not until I set aside my own pride and admitted that I couldn’t do life on my own; and turned to God, that I was able to let go of my bitterness.

    God loves all of us male or female, black or white, gay or straight just as we are and is willing to accept you where you are. In fact, he loves us too much to let us remain in the same place. As Paul wrote in Romans “everything is permissible for man, but not everything is good for man”.

    I am leaving this discussion knowing that no one can be convinced of something that they are unwilling to believe, but I will pray for you to find God and be released from your bitterness

  • Kim,

    It is an unfortunate fact that many pastors do claim to only perform Biblical marriages but then violate that by marrying couples who do not meet other requirements but then single out Gay couples by refusing to marry them. It singles out a particular sin which is unbiblical to say the least. According to most interpretations of the Bible, unbiblical marriages include:

    A Christian marrying someone of another faith
    Someone who, after becoming a Christian, divorced for a reason other than marital unfaithfulness marrying someone other than the first spouse
    Same sex couples
    Marrying a couple who share a familial relationship including in-laws, in most circumstances

    I don’t know how much this chapel scrutinizes the couples who come in, but it should be noted that virtually all pastors who perform weddings and funerals or memorial services do so as freelancers and charge a small fee. Technically that means that they are operating a freelance for-profit business. If the pastors at this chapel are forced to choose between discarding their beliefs or going to jail than all pastors in town will be required to do so.

  • Thanks for your circumspect thoughts, always the exception in places like this. The question should hinge, to my mind, largely on whether the chapel is a for-profit *corporation*. If so, then it enjoys market benefits granted by the government– ultimately by the people– and it is proper to require certain standards of conduct in return, beyond those that should be mandated for individuals.

    That said, it is in any case a small, intimate business, and as a gay person I, for one, would go elsewhere to pick a fight. The anti-gay lobby attempts to stoke public horror at the prospect of churches being forced to violate their beliefs, and incidents like this provide them with ammunition.

    I am totally in favor of same-sex marriage under the law, partly because most of the same people who oppose it oppose even providing domestic partnerships with any robustness, if at all.. However, I can’t quite see its legitimacy as a Christian rite, which would make it a one-size-fits-all procrustean bed. This would imply that the gender of one’s chosen life partner were interchangeable or inconsequential– emphatically not the case, be one either straight or gay! I suspect that this incongruity is the unspoken basis of those who oppose same-sex marriage, and they have a point. As a Christian, I object not because I oppose blessing same-sex unions, but because the church can do *better than this* by consulting its own history, where one can reecover centuries-old ceremonies designed for this very purpose. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and calls them by name.

  • Oh, please, you never heard of couples paying a Justice of the Peace to perform a wedding? I did. If these holy hillbillies are charging good money to perform weddings, they better perform them for everyone who’s eligible, that was their tacit agreement when they got their permit. Otherwise they are guilty of discrimination. I say “throw the bums in jail!” Down the wall a piece Larry equates this with not serving blacks at lunch counters. EXACTLY THE SAME THING. If these poor excuses for Christians continue to refuse to serve part of their legal clientele, the city should shut them down.

  • Larry, we’ve gone through this before…..People have the right to make routine discriminations in life — civil rights are the exception to the rule. How does any society determine what groups of people come under civil rights protection? The easiest and best cases are groups defined by immutable traits such as race or gender. The most problematic cases are groups defined solely by behavior.

    This is not to say that no group defined only by behavior should be a protected class.

    But it is to say that such designation is not automatic… obviously depends on the behavior…and that’s a value judgment, obviously.

    What is it about this distinction that you don’t understand?

  • What you’re really saying, Larry, is that you won’t respond to refutations of your position, but will keep repeating it mantra-like as though nothing had ever been said.

    Based on your logic, I can call anything I want a civil right, and I and others can get together and demand protected class status prohibiting society from discriminating against me for it.

    That’s how your position falls totally apart. Unless you define what a civil right is, everything is….and if everything is, then nothing is. Unless we have definitions, I can say that literally any behavior you can name is a civil right and that all people exhibiting it are a protected class which should not be discriminating against.

  • Still tilting at windmills, Larry? We’ve gone over this ground already.

    The rule in a free society is to leave people alone.

    The rule in a free society is people routinely exercising First Amendment rights — freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and, yes, religion and conscience.

    That’s our starting point.

    And while none of these rights is absolute, the burden remains on the government to prove that it has an extraordinarily good reason to abridge any of them — including freedom of religion and conscience.

    A business refusing to celebrate the sudden redefinition of humanity’s foundational institution is not a good reason. In fact, it’s a pathetically weak reason. In free societies, the only kinds of reasons that have been universally accepted through time have been ones relating to imminent threats to other people’s lives. Thus, shouting fire in a crowded theater is a problematic use of free speech, and actively seeking the death of other people an intolerable use of freedom of speech or religion. But beyond such extreme cases, the norm is to respect freedom.

    I’m sure you believe in the other freedoms — I am equally sure you don’t believe in religious freedom. It’s obvious. Your anti-religious bigotry is showing and it’s quite ugly.

  • No, Larry, if by “separation of church and state,” you mean locking religious expression out of public life, then it is you who don’t understand religious freedom. Religious freedom includes the idea that all forms of expression should be allowed in the public square, religious and non-religious alike. The establishment clause does not ban religious expression anymore than it bans any other kind. What it does is ban the formal elevation of one sect or religion to that of an official state religion. That is what it means, and that was the intent of its drafter. In no way does it restrict expression of any kind, unless, again, such expression poses an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of other people.

  • You have it backwards, Larry. It is civil rights that are “carve-outs” from the norm, which allows people to make routine discriminations in virtually every area of life. Every time you make a choice of one person, place, or thing above another, you are discriminating. The only way to ban all discriminations is to ban all choices in life. And that’s the definition of totalitarian tyranny on a Nazi or Stalinist level.

    Civil rights are the great carve-out, the great exception to the rule. And to preserve the rule, which is freedom, not everything can be deemed a civil right. Not every group can be designated a protected class. Groups defined by immutable traits are the best candidates. Groups defined by behavior alone are the most problematic candidates. African Americans are a great example. Ax murderers are the worst example. Most other groups defined by behavioral characteristics fall somewhere in between.

  • Pan, it’s obvious that you’re not reading very carefully, if at all. It’s far easier to apply the notion of civil rights to groups with immutable traits such as race or gender than to groups with behavioral traits….and if you can’t see this, it has clearly never crossed your incurious mind.

    The best way to understand this is to pick a random set of behavioral traits and ask whether businesses have an automatic obligation not to discriminate against people exhibiting them. We can all come up with legions of examples to the contrary. If, say, a barber shop has to choose between a candidate with 20 years experience cutting hair and a candidate who just escaped from prison after cutting off somebody’s head, no person would conclude that the shop was wrong to discriminate against the beheader for beheading.

    The point is obvious….groups defined by people sharing common immutable traits are the best candidates for being deemed protected classes prohibited from being discriminated against. Groups defined by people exhibiting common behavioral traits are the most problematic candidates for such designation, because behavior is not neutral, and every society makes judges on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. IN other words, it depends on the behavior and the society…..No society grants all behaviors a thumbs-up. All of them pick and choose based on what values matter most. Thus we can’t automatically assume that groups defined by behavior get automatic protected status. It is a value judgment based on the society that’s doing the judging.

  • No Larry, the immediate issue is freedom. That is the starting point in a free society. Freedom.

    The burden rests on those who would take freedom away.

    Therefore, you have it backwards. It’s not up to freedom to justify its presence. It’s up to restrictions on freedom to justify their presence.

    And freedom includes freedom of conscience. You can’t just strip it away from people at will. You must have an extraordinarily compelling reason to do so.

    Otherwise, don’t call it freedom. Call it a privilege that almighty government bestows or withholds based on mere whim.

    And the fact that you want to redefine marriage and want to force other people to agree with you is not only an inadequate reason, but a pathetically bad reason. Who are you, who is some government official, who is anybody, to dictate to another person that they must abandon conscience and adopt values that are alien to them?

    You keep citing the civil rights revolution, and I keep telling you that in order for civil rights to have any meaning and power at all, they have to be the exception, not the rule. Otherwise, again, any group of people based on any conceivable form of behavior can demand protected status for themselves and for that behavior. For the sake of freedom, the burden must rest on any group that wants such status. For black people, the burden was easy to prove, because being black is an immutable status having zero to do with behavior.

    And so, when the characteristic is immutable, the civil rights status should be automatic. When the characteristic is behavioral, obviously it can’t be automatic…..because that means any and all behavior then achieves protective status.

    This is hardly rocket science. It’s simple common sense. Groups defined by immutable traits having nothing to do with behavior are the best candidates for protective status.

  • Larry, you’re arguing in circles. Freedom comes first and the first freedom in the First Amendment is religious freedom.

    It does not have to justify its existence. Restrictions on it have to justify their existence.

    Freedom is not some special privilege granted by a government official. Freedom is a right that exists above and beyond governmental whim or cultural fads.

    The only thing that matters more than freedom is life itself. And that’s why the only broad exception to exercising freedom is when freedom is used to create imminent physical danger to other people.

    Beyond that, it’s your burden to prove in any given instance that freedom should be abridged.

  • No, Larry, I simply refuted your not-so-hidden premise that gay marriage was humanity’s norm until Christians or Jews came around and began squashing it. As you well know, that’s pure nonsense. Gay marriage was unknown in recorded history, even before there was Christianity or Judaism. It was as unknown to the pagans as it was to the Puritans. It was as unknown to libertine societies as it was to puritanical ones.

    Thus, to oppose the redefinition of marriage is not to impose some alien notion on humanity. It is to reaffirm the tried and true that has defined and raised humanity. It is the demand for such redefining that is alien.

    Nor is it intolerant to respect the opinions and practices of every known culture in history on the subject — but it is supremely intolerant to trash their opinions and impose the opposite on this generation and on future generations.

    And it is supremely arrogant as well. It presumes that in the whole of human history, one and only one generation — this generation — is right, and every other generation is wrong, not on a small issue, but on the biggest issue of all — how to define humanity’s most basic and enduring institution.

    It is not my burden to show why one and only one generation in history is wrong, while all others are right. It is your burden to show why that sole generation, and it alone, is right, while all others are wrong.

    It is you who are odd-man out on this. I am simply siding with the human consensus across every prior time, place, and culture — including even our own time, place, and culture until a mere few years ago. And even in our tiny sliver of time, most of humanity still agrees with that consensus.

    You have no answer, because there is no answer to this conundrum. You can’t even say that redefining marriage is necessary, because as I’ve shown, not only is it not necessary, but the same left-wing activists who insist it’s necessary today were saying yesterday that no marriage of any kind — heterosexual or homosexual — was necessary yesterday. They were saying that marriage was just an unnecessary piece of paper.

    You can’t slither away from history….either of humanity’s opinion on the matter or of the hypocrisy of those who have told us forever that all marriage is unnecessary but who are now saying that gay marriage is suddenly necessary.

  • Homosexuality will soon be a thing of the past; so this will no longer be an issue for anyone to contest or disagree about!! (Revelation 21:1-4… The former things have passed away). 😀

  • Thanks to the internet, we now know where “pedophiles” live in our neighborhoods.

    It also appears that there are also ISIS supporters scattered about in Canada and the US… What to do about them??

  • Ayoka, you are the perfect example of everything that is wrong with religion in this country. Do you even understand that so called Christians used to bible to deny Blacks their civil rights? The fact that you are using religion as justification to deny other Americans the rights you enjoy today make you no better than the slave owners who once held your ancestors as slaves. You are very fortunate to have been born in the late 20th century. I think you might have a different take on things if you were born in the United States 150 years earlier.

  • Oh come on… Its against their religious beliefs. There are other places to go, I wouldn’t go into a kosher restaurant and demand pork I would just go to a place that served pork… or should we just throw the jews in jail because I love pork and they wont give it to me

  • If it wasn’t for the fact that churches are subsidized at both the State and Federal level in the form of not having to pay income or property taxes, I would have no problem with them refusing. However, given that they do, to the estimated value of 82 Billion a year (, they should be considered public servants and required to abide by all State and Federal laws. Pay taxes, religious freedom, get subsidized loose it.