Beliefs Ethics Institutions Politics

Faith leaders call for religious protections ahead of gay marriage hearing

Citizens rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday (June 30), after it sided with the evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., ruling 5-4 that the arts-and-crafts chain does not have to offer insurance for types of birth control that conflict with company owners’ religious beliefs.

RNS photo by Heather Adams

Citizens rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday (June 30), after it sided with the evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., ruling 5-4 that the arts-and-crafts chain does not have to offer insurance for types of birth control that conflict with company owners’ religious beliefs.

(RNS) As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on Tuesday (April 28) that could wind up legalizing gay marriage nationwide, dozens of Christian leaders have issued a call to civil authorities to preserve “the unique meaning of marriage in the law” — but also to “protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage.”

The open letter “to all in positions of public service,” released Thursday (April 23), seems to reflect a growing recognition by same-sex marriage foes that they may be on the losing side of the legal battle to bar gay marriage and need to broaden their focus to securing protections for believers.

Gay marriage opponents are also losing the battle for the hearts and minds of their own flocks: Polls show that American believers, like the rest of the public, are growing much more accepting of same-sex relationships, or at least much less inclined to invest time or resources into waging the fight against legalizing gay marriage.

This week’s statement, “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” was signed by 35 religious leaders representing Catholic, evangelical, Pentecostal, Orthodox and Mormon churches. The only non-Christian signatory was Imam Faizul Khan of the Islamic Society of Washington Area.

The leaders forcefully reiterate their shared belief that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman” and argue that apart from religious doctrines, the state “has a compelling interest in maintaining marriage” for the good of society and the “well-being of children.”

But they add that “this commitment is inseparable from affirming the equal dignity of all people and the necessity of protecting their basic rights” if, for example, the high court rules that all states must recognize gay marriage.

“No person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition,” they write. “Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred of others.”

Arguments over how or whether believers must accommodate gay people have become a flashpoint in the culture wars and a source of political and legislative debates.

That was vividly demonstrated earlier this month when owners of an Indiana pizzeria who announced they would not cater a gay wedding because of their Christian belief became the focus of threats, and a rallying point for opponents of gay rights.

The state legislature later amended the religious freedom law that the pizzeria cited to make it clear the law could not be used to discriminate. A religious freedom law in Arkansas went through a similar revision. Both steps were seen as defeats for religious freedom advocates, even though Republicans deemed friendly to the cause were in power in both states.

Increasingly, some have been pointing toward a new law in Utah as an example of where religious freedom champions should put their energies. That law, passed in March in a deeply conservative state with the support of Mormon leaders, grants statewide protections against housing and employment discrimination for gay and lesbians as long as those measures safeguard religious freedom.

Among the statement signers are: Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; the Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III, president of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies; George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God; and Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.


About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.


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  • Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of racial segregation to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred of others.
    -Those conservative faith leaders 40 years ago.

  • The First Amendment guarantees anyone the right to do as they wish in their churches and personal lives. It also specifically forbids the government from using the law to impose religious beliefs on others, by denying equal protection of the law.

    You don’t have to marry us in your church, and you are free to think what you want about us. But, my husband and I – who’ve been together 17 years – have the same right to a State-issued marriage license as any other couple choosing a committed relationship. We also have the same right to public services as anyone else. If you don’t want to serve us in your store, stop using the streets, water, and electrical system we pay for with our taxes.

    If this does not make sense to you, you are ignorant of U.S. Constitutional law, and a bigot by definition.

  • All that these calls for “religious freedom” mean are:

    1) Religious exceptionalism. We don’t have to abide by any laws which mean we’re not special because we are bible believing Christians.

    2) conservative Christian exceptionalism: we don’t have to extend the same courtesy to gay people that we routinely extend to all of the people we believe are going to burn in hell forever. We must allow discrimination on the basis of religious belief in THIS ONE INSTANCE ONLY because gays are icky, and GAWD, and stuff.

    3) we are deathly afraid that gay people will start treating us the way we have treated them for the last 2000 years.

    Not to worry, faith leaders. We are much better than you are, as are the individual religious people, churches, synagogues, ministers, rabbis, and entire denominations that see you clearly for who you are, and what you are about.

    This isn’t about faith. It’s about religious belief used as a cover for an ancient and vicious prejudice.

  • “the unique meaning of marriage in the law” — but also to “protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage.”

    Not sure what all this would require, but for those wanting something these don’t want to part with—their marriage—why not establish your own ‘language’ so that you are not interring in their “unique meaning of marriage” … for yours, call it matrimonium (mater, matre- ‘mother’). This would hold a similar but different meaning 😉

  • The good news is revealed by the numerous studies that show that married people are slightly happier, healthier and wealthier than their single counterparts and this is true for gay couples as well. Therefore, the State should encourage gay marriage.

  • Well said, In response to the religious right’s “Love the sinner, hate the sin” slogan, try “Love the religious bigot, disagree with the religious bigotry”.

  • If these Christian bakers are all so high-minded, charitable and tolerant, why don’t they just tell their gay customers that they will be making an extra-large tithe to their fundamentalist church from the profits from the cake? Remember that a culture of peace, diversity and tolerance is a pretty damn good foundation for living in peace, otherwise you tend to get signs such as “Whites only,” or signs from Germany from the 1930s that say “No Jews.” Or those that read “No Irish need apply” or “No Mexicans or dogs.” Otherwise, we get to read about the first-year anniversary of the 300 girls kidnapped into sexual slavery in Africa by a bunch of violent religious fanatics who believe that they and they alone have the keys and the golden ticket into the afterlife; and the girls still have not been found and returned to their families. May we live in cultural peace; may we live in peace.

  • Or, even better, so that we don’t have to change a host of laws regarding marriage, family, and children:

    People who think that marriage is a god-ordained institution that never ever changes and should not be allowed to gay people, can either 1) avoid getting a marriage license from the state, or 2) call their extra special extra legal marriages holy matrimony.

    That way, when I go to a country or state that recognizes marriage equality, I don’t have to worry about suddenly being unmarried.

  • Calling gay unions a “marriage” is the tipping point for the State and Religion. Words do mean specific things, so adding same sex unions to the definition of marriage has caused an uproar……..owing to marriage being historically intertwined with religion. Yes, one can marry without religious ceremonies, but both civil and religious marriages always were defined as male/female. Now there is a rift in the definition of marriage. One side sees it as blue, the other side sees it as red. Who does not believe that in the future, the religious view of marriage will not be tolerated any longer….that Religion must conform to the accepted definition of married people……this new, revised definition? This is why Religion now needs a form of protection. Gays should have been mature enough to define their unions with a new word, a unique word for a unique condition.

  • No, any religion in this country can deny gay people any service they want. You play the victim pretty well. And a new word just for gay people? That is a stupid idea, my gay friends who are married are NOT going to say “We are civil unioned”. Heterosexuals do not have a monopoly on love and commitment.

  • It’s laughable that you think the First Amendment somehow applies only in your favor.

    Put on your big boy pants and stop whining, kiddo.

  • Don’t want gay marriage? Don’t have one. It’s as simple as that.

    Anything else and you’re shoving your religion down my throat.

  • Sorry, but you don’t get to play the Only True Religion game, let alone the Only True Christian game.

    There are a vast number of religious individuals, ministers, rabbis, priests, churches, fellowships, and ENTIRE DENOMINATIONS that not only support gay marriage, but consider it a sacrament within their tradition.

    Legal Marriages are not now, and haven’t been for well over two hundred years, entwined with religion. Civil and religious marriage are two different things. Religion is entirely optional.

    What has been entwined with religious marriage are WEDDINGS, which are not the same thing.

    The real issue is that you do not wish to share that word with people you consider your moral and human inferiors. you’ve made that abundantly clear.

    If you don’t want to share a word with us, then I suggest that YOU, not WE, find another word to describe your extra special unions. you can call them holy matrimony or applesauce.

    but why should I accept what you will not…

  • Or maybe it’s about religious freedom after all. You get to do your religion — gay marriage — but we don’t have to accept your religion as true, not even tacitly.

  • And yes, it also means Christians get to voice their non-acceptance of gay marriage out loud in the media even if it costs some of us our livelihoods and incomes and results in death threats against us. We get to continue publicly educating youth and adults against legalized gay marriage, even AFTER gay marriage is legalized.

    And it also means Christians get to continue resisting against attempts to bully Christian-related and church-related businesses, agencies, schools, and even churches themselves (such as their facilities) into tacit or overt participation in gay marriage or union ceremonies or receptions. And we even get to take a public stand (firm but not hateful) against those “entire denominations” that you mentioned, the ones who have sold out .

    Look for ALL these resistance activities to continue happening throughout America, even after the Supremes have rendered their expected final decision.

  • Man’s governments should be just, righteous, wise, loving, concerned, unselfish, not looking for its own interests, impartial, caring, and willing to listen to the concerns of its masses… BUT THEY JUST AREN’T!!!

    Why this is not obvious to the majority of humans they “claim” to serve is unconscionable!!

  • In the future, marriage will only be recognized as being from God and as a union between a man and a woman.

    Same-sex marriage and homosexuality won’t even be thought of since man will be perfect on earth without the inherited sinful tendencies and imperfections we all have to live with today (through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus and his Kingdom rule).

    Marriage will be the way it was meant to be since Adam and Eve were married by God…loving, respectful, very happy, and it will last for an eternity since man will finally live that long (Revelation 21:3,4).

  • Ted, I don’t think any Christian would be opposed to some sort of civil partnership for gay people, which extends certain legal rights for tax filing, or in the event of death without a will, as well as certain other rights that are extended to married people, but re-defining marriage is a bridge too far. Catholic Charities had to get out of the adoption business because they were being told by the government that they would have to consider gay partners as recipients, or lose all funding. That is the bizarre side of this whole thing. They have effectively destroyed religious rights, and trampled on the First Amendment with this approach. That is when “social politics” have become totally destructive, trampling upon Constitutional rights. It seems the courts will water down the free exercise of religion clause, but seem to hold the freedom of the press clause totally intact. Go figure.

  • Ben: Like it or not, marriage is the logical consequence to nature. For humans, the natural instinct in most cases is that a male is attracted to a female, they date, get married, and have children. For the Christian, marriage is the initial glue that binds the two together, the biological children are the cement that binds them for life. Christian marriage, however, is not just a marriage between two persons, it is a marriage between two souls, with God in the middle holding it together, and if everything is in order, it is inseparable (Matt 19:6). But Christian marriage also entails being open to children, and accepting that duty for the continuance of the human race. Children, however, are not a natural consequence of Gay marriage… That is why the term “marriage” really doesn’t apply. I said earlier that domestic partnerships would have worked fine, affording certain rights to a gay couple, but not marriage.

  • Ben, any religion that defines gay marriage as a sacrament, has done so within the last 20 years. We could use words such as “novel,” “innovative,” “avant-gard,” etc., to label these churches. They certainly have the right to impulsively change what it means to be Christian, but they do so to their own destruction, as they violate the very book they claim to follow. One has to wonder if they are truly attempting to worship God, or worship themselves as gods. The courts will have to decide whether these churches are actually pursuing free exercise of religion, or whether they’ve merely set up shop so to promote gay marriage. But with the Courts becoming so political these days–and leftist at that–you will probably win that battle.

  • Greg, I would think Government would be interested in how these “catholic” adoptions turned out. Here is where studies can be done to find out how adopted children have grown and lived. Have there been adequate studies done on Catholic Charities? Are there fair and much needed follow-up on these? What immediately comes to mind is Spain’s stolen babies. Yes, this was Spain, but WHERE did these children end up?

    The treatment of women, dads, families in this is horrendous. How do we know that Catholic Charities aren’t just building numbers in the RCC? I am not so sure it’s all about gay partners adopting children.

  • Jabber on all you want, but redefining words to suit a minority’s wishful thinking is lazy ethics. Pluto is not a planet anymore, because it fell out of the definition of what a planet is. What if I start a lobby to call Pluto a planet again? The scientists and intellectuals would lose their collective minds. Same concept applies to the word “marriage”.

  • Sorry Greg but we have religious rights in spades in this country. If you want to start a new church and want to deny gay people entry onto your property you can do that. Just because you put two words together doesn’t mean you have a good argument, it means you have a good slogan. How does Gay Liberty or Gay Freedom sound to you.

  • Oh, “they” will win,and the country will have to sit through the election process for the next year watching politicians flip flop on this gay issue as if it is important. Legal or not, gay marriage is an illusion. Fawning over the gays for campaign money is right up there with courting Movie Stars…..usually the dumbest people on earth.But that’s what will happen, and true, important issues will be barely mentioned. We’ve entered the “Queen for a Day” era.

  • Fran, religion, yours included, is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Why is it not obvious to you that your whole set of religious beliefs is a total sham?

  • No, Greg, they were told they wouldn’t be receiving any money from the taxpayers if they discriminated against gay parents. Rather than forego more free money, they shut down. A Mormon adoption agency in MA doesn’t receive tax money, and are free to discriminate against anyone they wish.

    It would be helpful if you went to websites which are not shills for the anti-ex-gay industry for your information.

  • And Greg, civil unions were also opposed from the get-go in most legislation. Civil unions are not recognizable across state lines, let alone international ones.

    In any case, 1) a civil marriage license IS a civil union, with YOUR religion being completely optional, and 2) why should I accept something you would not accept for yourself?

  • Opeliart, Catholic Charities was the pioneer of modern adoption services in the USA. It began in 1910, and has been instrumental in this areas of charitable work. Aside from your dislike of the Catholic Church, there is no reason to be questioning everything she does. Unlike “for profit” organizations that compromise their intentions with greed, the Catholic Church always runs these types of things as non-profit, usually making less than they require to do the work. Yes there have been poor placements over the years, as is the case with any organization, but the aim is to do the work of God, for the greater good of society.

  • There are plenty of Christians and whole denominations that do not ascribe to catholic dogma. When you make procreation a legal requirement for marriage, or the participation of your God a requirement– and neither are a requirement anywhere in the entire world, to the best of my knowledge– you might have a point.

  • Ben, government funding IS Taxpayer money. And the Church agencies were shut down because they were being forced to not only give children to gay couples, but also unmarried heterosexual couples. Those two principles were in violation of the Catholic Charities by-laws.

  • First, these debates have been going on for the past 50 years, not the past 20. And YOU don’t get to define FAITH for others. If you did, we’d all be Catholics, by law, and freedom of religion would be gone.

    If they have the right, as you claim, AND THEY DO, then frankly, you have just invalidated your own argument. The Catholic Church lost on birth control in 1961. No one, not even the Catholic Church, and certainly not the majority of catholic, is claiming that birth control is the defining issue for Catholicism.

    If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t have one. The rest of your statements are in serious conflict with reality.

  • Or perhaps, just perhaps, as with most Americans, they see this as an issue of fairness AND religious freedom.

    And if it is an illusion, then what harm does it do you, and why are you so incensed over it? and why do so many heterosexuals also see your covenant all ideas of marriage as an illusion?

    There is the real question.

  • I’ll tell you what, Fran. gere’s the offer.

    I get my legal marriage while you are waiting for Jesus to return. when he does, then you get to have YOUR way. According to your theology, I think that my marriage will just hasten that day.

    So you should support my marriage. That way, we both win.

  • The Catholic Church requires that you be “open to life” before you can get married in the Church. If you tell the priest that you are not going to have any children, and are not open to the transmission of life during intercourse, you cannot get married in the Catholic Church. That is something that a gay couple cannot agree to because of the impossibility of biological children from their sexual act.

  • Well, Greg, thank you for agreeing with me.

    you want a catholic wedding and a catholic marriage, you must follow catholic dogma. Except, of course, for the 90% or more of catholics how ignore the church on issues like birth control and divorce.

    but that is neither here nor there. I 100% support the RCC’s freedom to define Catholicism and Catholic marriages as it wishes, and this atheist would be standing right next to my catholic friends in defying ANY governmental interference in the practice of their faith within the walls of their church.

    but I’m not a catholic, and none of my catholic friends, as catholic as they are, would demand anything else of their church. And none of the rest of my religious friends– Episcopalians, Unitarians, a Lutheran, and a Presbyterian– want the RCC defining their faith for them.

    So, mind youro own catholic business. you aren’t the only store in town.

  • Separate but equal marriages? Marriage in all but name. Why bother? you only want such a thing because you know it would be a legally inferior status. Like all “separate but equal” arguments. Your sect of Christianity does not have a monopoly on marriage or any say on what constitutes marriage under the color of law.

    No. The anti-gay crowd opposed all forms of recognition of gay couples in the past with the same vehemence they oppose marriage now. Why bother compromising now? Christians lost their chance for that when they took a hardline attitude from the outset. Now they are poised to lose the entire fight.

    You have shown over and over again, you have no clue what 1st Amendment religious freedoms are. You are under the delusion they only apply to Conservative Christians. Religious freedom does not entitle you to government funding, nor give you license to discriminate in open commerce. The only people “watering down” the free exercise clause are people like yourself.

  • Which means taxpayers don’t have to fund things which discriminate against them. If you want to discriminate, do it on your own dime. Nobody forced Catholic Charities to take “Caesar’s Coin”

  • So your entire argument is , “because I say so”

    We re talking about civil laws concerning marriage. Nobody has to give a flying crap what you think a Christian marriage is or means. Christians do not have a monopoly on the term marriage. Marriage by a church in the absence of civil legal sanction has no value outside of a church.

    If you don’t like the term marriage, tough luck. Its not yours.

  • Nobody has to care what you think the gay marriage sacrament is like. The subject is civil laws, not your little cult’s ceremonies. Free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state means your religious beliefs carry no legal weight whatsoever. It is between you and your God.

    Btw nobody is asking for churches to perform gay weddings under legal coercion. That is just strawman nonsense.

  • Greg,

    I detest hypocrisy. Do not try and turn this around to appear as if I am a hater of religion. Go there and you will look an even bigger sadist (as you present yourself on these threads despite your ‘Scripture’ quoting to appear holy and well-intended). You are an indoctrinated idealist looking to damn others for not drinking from your cup. The RC Church is a propaganda operation intended to manipulate and control the masses. The pope is its magistrate as is the institution itself. It’s political in its religiosity. Anyone can see this if they open their eyes. How people perform within this orchestrated establishment varies. Understand this if you understand nothing else. I don’t hate Catholics. I hate the pride-filled ignorance and the denial. Your Institution won’t even address the CLERGY SEX ABUSE as is needed! Why should people assume the RC Charities are without concern? People assumed too much regarding your Institution—like priests and bishops being …

  • Thanks, Ophelia. you nailed it.

    “You are an indoctrinated idealist looking to damn others for not drinking from your cup.”

  • Marriage is the logical consequence of nature? Marriage, like religion, occurs in no other species but our own.

    Or quoting Mark Twain: Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

  • Well, Mr. carr, you must blame conservative, right wing Christians for that. They were so antigay and obsessed over homosexuality that they got George bush elected at least once.

    What did we get for that? An economic collapse not seen since the thiries, and two wars that have drained our treasury, destabilized the entire middle east, destroyed what little reputation we had left, and led to the murder of hundreds of Christians by muslim extremists.

    What a track record.

  • Fran, I’d say the same thing about a number of religions that are sleeping with the political power structures.

  • You should also note that prior to Catholic Charities getting out of the adoption business, they were, in fact, letting gay couples adopt. This was simply a political move post marriage equality.

    When they changed their minds about it, a number of their board members resigned.

  • They weren’t shut down, they shut themselves down. They were letting gar couples adopt before they shut down.

    There is no entitlement to taxpayer money. If they don’t want to play by the state’s rules, they should simply render unto Caesar, as commanded.

    it’s highly telling that without the free state money, the welfare of the children became unimportant. The church certainly has enough money to fund their own adoption services. But they didn’t.

    Who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me?” No one important to venal Christianity.

  • exactly right. They brought this on themselves.

    except that they brought nothing upon themselves. When marriage equality is legal throughout the lad, their lives will go on just as they had.

    As I always like to say, I won’t invite you to my wedding, and I won’t be expecting a gift.

  • According to all recent polls, it is no longer a minority view. Your view is the minority view. catholics support gay marriage at a higher proportion than other religions.

    look it up.

  • James C,

    “Jabber on all you want, but redefining words to suit a minority’s wishful thinking is lazy ethics.”

    It seems what you are being told not just on RNS but throughout the US and … you and your “doctrine” is becoming a minority. Ratzinger said the RC would become a smaller, purer church. I responded with … it will become a smaller, poorer church. We can argue over purer-poorer another time, or not, but people are trying to tell you that your “church” (its law) is decreasing. There are so many Catholics doing their own thing within your Institution (including priests), I wonder how and why these topics rage on … ah, but those Protestants have come in handy, haven’t they? 🙂 But even here … they will go where the money, the votes … the power is. Each, including believing gays, needs to take care that are not being used or misused somehow.

  • Oh, call me all the names you want, it is the nature of your club.
    Screaming that the world is moving forward, being more progressive, is merely your opinion. The US is strangled with political correctness…..the opposite of truth speak. This is how the gay lobby has garnered support; through intimidation, crying discrimination, challenging people to speak as they truly feel. It is a hollow victory, a nation blackmailed by its own legal language.
    I’m waiting now for those chimps in NY to acquire human rights status. Hey, if they do, can we marry them?

  • Polls on what Catholic individuals believe are meaningless. If they choose to accept something the Church does not, then they place themselves outside of the Faith……they are only Catholic due to their Baptism. The Church never asks the world what it would like to change or get rid of…….it instructs the world. The Church denounces artificial birth control, which the majority of Catholics probably ignore, and yet it still remains a sinful choice……will always. The Church teaches as God would……that’s it.

  • @ophelia

    I’m starting to fall in love with you.

    Don’t tell my husband!

    😀 …

    James C, Greg and … really need to see the writing on the wall in this, and not just this. There are things that will be coming that will cause much consternation and understand … the RCC will be mourned by many, but the time has come for a great upheaval. History teaches this. The patterns are there. The Protestants as offspring of the Roman Catholic Church are readying for their own leap (of faith?). Schism is confounding but necessary. Catholics have been in growing pain mode for a very long time and have been protesting and protesting in their own way(s).

  • Benedict XVI was not afraid of a diminished or poorer Church, better to be rid of Catholic posers. He is assured that the Church would be reinvigorated and faithful to what it truly is…..the Church authorized by God.
    Like Jews, some Catholics look at their Faith like it’s a nationality, like being
    Irish. It is not, it is a Faith with no
    democratic options. So are you
    suggesting that it’s time to jump from a sinking ship? Nah, I’ll wait for the Prodigals to return.

  • Oh dear God…..the Oracle of Delphi speaks…..
    Let me know when to turn the lights out, Op…..

  • No, Mr. Carr, you’re dead wrong. but it fits your poor persecuted me narrative, and your self-righteous narrative, and your despite narrative.

    “This is how the gay lobby has garnered support; through intimidation, crying discrimination, challenging people to speak as they truly feel.”

    no, we have done the simplest thing possible. we have come out to our friends, families, neighbors, colleagues, and churches. We have shown the civilized people of the world the truth of our lives and our loves and our facts. They can see YOUR lies, YOUR bigotry, and YOUR despite for what they so clearly are, and they are no longer buying what you’re selling.

    What you call political correctness, sane people call the court of public opinion. And you are losing in that court– badly.

    but not to worry. There are plenty of people with minds, hearts, and souls like yours. Unfortunately for you, they are in Uganda, Russia, Arkansas, and Iran.

    I hear they are lovely this time of year.

  • Opheliart: If you were the head of a worldwide Church, given full authority by God Almighty to maintain order, morality, and a vision oriented toward our final end (and not this life), then it would probably look a bit like the Catholic Church. Yes the Church is like a patchwork organization, with final authority located in the place where its first pope (Peter) was crucified upside down, giving way to a series of successors, with our current pope being #266, but without authority, the Church would have no singly proclaimed doctrine, it would instead be much like this website, full of division, and anarchy. How in the world could the Church be “One,” (John 17:21), without somebody being the governor (hegoumenos) Luke 22:26. When Jesus conferred a “kingdom” on the Apostles (Luke 22:29), it came with authority. So relax about the “institution” of the Church, focus instead on the authority the Church has to proclaim Truth (Math 16:18), and how she can lead you to heaven.

  • It was fine when the Church was doing a great service for the people, saving the taxpayers lots of their hard-earned money, but of course when the ideologues on the left saw an opportunity to push their agenda, it was time to bulldoze any organization that got in the way of their idea of “progress.” The correct thing to have done was to “grandfather in,” Catholic Charities, because they were doing the service for over 100 years, but of course they couldn’t have cared any less. So, Catholic Charities had to do what its conscience, and its bishop, said it must do. And Ben, if there was an adoption here or there that did not meet their mission statement, I’m sure it was for good reason, but in general, they have to follow the prescriptions set forth by their mission in practice.

  • “Who does not believe that in the future, the religious view of marriage will not be tolerated any longer….that Religion must conform to the accepted definition of married people……this new, revised definition?”

    No honest, rational person believes your apocalyptic persecution fantasy, that’s who.

  • Ben,
    You can get “your marriage” legal now because it is becoming widely accepted by many states, countries and courts. However, “your marriage” is not considered legal nor approved by God, since he instituted it between a man and a woman (Adam and Eve). That’s the big difference between the two.

    I would not even consider marriage now in this crazy world of ours; but I would give consideration to it during Jesus’ millennial rule in the future, and to a man at that.

    There is plenty of evidence we are living in the last days of a wicked era (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), besides the sexual immorality that is rampant these days.

    I cannot, at this point in time nor in the future, support “your marriage” since I support God’s principles, guidelines and commands, which are only for our good and not to our detriment. We all have the “free will” to make huge and small decisions in life, and that includes you and me. We also have to live with the result of those…

  • Opheliart: Our Lord prophesied that in the end, very few will have true Faith (Luke 18:8). So it is to be expected that the Catholic Church as well as other churches teaching Truth, would not only be falling out of favor, but will likely be ghost towns before our Lord’s return (Mat 7:14). But the Catholic Church has been full of mystics and prophets, as well. My favorite it Anne Catherine Emmerich, who saw each and every day of Christ’s 3 year ministry, as well as much of the Old Covenant. Her beautiful visions were captured in four books, and these are all online. Man they are good:

  • Thank you for your measured response. With all respect…

    Though you and Mr Carr come from totally different perspectives, and probably see each other as misguided or heretics– you both suffer from the same problems.

    You believe that God is with you on this, based upon your understanding of a 2000 year old book. You presume to speak for God, no matter how much you say, “The Bible Says…”, because that makes you special. You don’t understand how prejudice works to make the bible say whatever you want it to, to justify anything.

    It is almost impossible for you to believe that maybe you really don’t understand any of this, let alone what god thinks, or know the relationship of god with any other person, alive or dead.

    You refuse to believe something as simple as this: if God is so against homosexuality and gay people, why does he keep making so many of them?

    You can answer “The Fall” and sin, but it’s not. It’s just is a useful label for your ignorance and…

  • And Ben, what is the basis for your self assured beliefs? Where is it written that you are right.
    I was glancing through Old Bailey Court Records on line from the 17th Century up to the 19th and was surprised with the long list of men executed for “buggery”, “deviant sex with another man” often consensual! Executed! These were not Religious courts, but Enlightened British civil courts.
    So how, or when did Religion assume all the blame? They were killing Catholics too for treason, so when did mankind grow into this fair and perfect “god”? From what source did man learn of the barbarism of their actions? It couldn’t be from a religious conscience, could it? Oh no, impossible.
    So religion is a more tangible source that would explain the moral leaps in civilization. If so, then who says “that is enough, Church, we want to go further without you” ? Not that you agree or care…….just sayin’……..

  • Ben,

    In answer to your last post, thanks for your response. I totally agree with your statement that James and I differ on many doctrinal points. Yes, I believe Adam and Eve’s fall has affected all of mankind and we are born imperfect and sinful persons because of their actions. But God will correct this situation in his due time. No, I don’t know exactly when this will take place, but you will have the proof you need when it happens.

  • Greg, there is no necessity to use taxpayer money paid by all to benefit a group which discriminates. Nobody forced them to take government money and its inevitable stipulations attached. Catholic charities are more than capable of raising their own funds. They wanted to make a statement. They aren’t martyrs here. Just whinybabies who didn’t get their way for money they HAD NO ENTITLEMENT TO WHATSOEVER.

  • Of course they had no entitlement, but who does? I’m sure your father and mother were totally in line with the Catholic Church’s teaching, or for that matter, 99.9% of Americans up until just a few years ago. These new and novel “discriminatory” acts, are nothing more than twists of truth. Giving children to homosexual couples, and heterosexual couples shacking up, is novel, innovative, and radical to say the least. I find it interesting that governments want endless evaluation periods for just about everything before writing new codes into law, but throw caution to the wind when it comes to political expediency. It shows how ridiculous government fools have become.

  • Ben, God has communicated his moral principles to us since the beginning of time, and they haven’t changed. With God, “one day is as a thousand years, and one thousand years is as a day” (2Peter 3:8). What this means is that God is outside of time. Time is something created by God for our benefit. If you can imagine God Almighty looks to his left, and sees the beginning of time, and he looks to his right, and sees the end of time. All time is present to Him concurrently, so there is no change in His nature. That is why we can pray for people who lived before us, or in the future, for God applies the prayers to any time he chooses, as it is all present to him synchronically. So for a book being 2, 200, or 2000 years old is insignificant. God has revealed his nature to us.

  • “You predict the end of the Church without any rational data to prove it. ”

    I predicted no such thing. I said there would be schism (this is really not hard to see, folks 🙂 And that “your church” would decrease … again, not hard to see … You need to learn to read. As for proving things … ask you “friends” (including that pen mate of yours) … to prove your church’s Transubstantiation Theory, and to prove that Chair of Peter, and to prove the RCC is the one true church and the “fuller” truth and …

    waiting? how long has it been now?

  • Frightened? What have I to be frightened of? Your god doesn’t scare me. Your god can’t touch me. Your church can do nothing to cause me any fear. The torture and the executions and stranglings and burning at the stake that your god was so fond of “back in his day” cannot touch me. You can pray to your god(s) all you want … means nothing to ME.


  • Who is entitled to receive government money? People who are willing to follow rules set for receiving government money. One of their big rules is that to receive it, you cant discriminate.

    Christians always want to think rules don’t have to apply to them. They want to consider themselves above the law, hence these nonsense discriminatory mini-RFRA bills/laws.

    At no point were Catholic Charities victims here. They chose to act in a spiteful political manner. They don’t deserve the sympathy you want to heap upon them. It is pure martyrbaiting, Pretending to suffer but not really.

  • I don’t know exactly what you’re referring to, so i’ll just answer your post.
    What is the basis? A lifetime of study– including you r holy book.

    Enlightened British Courts? At a time when they were executing gay men, putting people in the stocks,still burning witches, sending people to debtors prisons? not my idea of enlightened.

    Where did they get these ideas? from 1900 years of church law prohibiting, in their sexual obsessions and hysteria, “the crime against nature, not to be named among Christians.” You could talk about murder, incest and deicide, but you couldn’t even NAME that. 1900 years of culture, law, history, and faith, twisted and perverted into THAT.

    I know you wish to believe that conscience came from your church. I’m sure some of it did. But by your admission, Catholics were murdering Protestants and vice versa, when they weren’t murdering everyone else.

    Whatever advances we have made in moral conscience were done despite your church, not because…

  • Of your church. 1900 years of virulent antisemitism led to the murder of 6 million Jews, and as many as250,000 gay people as an afterthought. Your representatives of your holy god have a legacy of child molestation and coverup going back 1000 years– AT LEAST. It’ teachings on birth control are leaving hundreds of millions in third world countries in dire poverty, as the church says, “Breed! Breed! Breed!”

    I will not be taking moral lessons from the likes of them. I strive to be as good a person as I can, harming no one, making the world better, I hope. I don’t do it because someone claims to speak for God, but because I am a thinking, caring, compassionate human being. I have empathy AND morals…

    Unlike a certain recently resigned bishop who knew that his priests were harming innocent children, and chose to ignore it. Unlike the pope, who eats his dinner with a golden fork in his castle, while children in Africa starve.

    I will not be accepting moral guidance from the…

  • Greg you say> So relax about the “institution” of the Church, focus instead on the authority the Church has to proclaim Truth (Math 16:18), and how she can lead you to heaven.

    Why should anyone relax! That has been much of the problem. Believing people like you who look away from the crimes. Spain’s stolen babies-300,000! That is MASS MURDER to women, dads, families who were told their child DIED (and taking a frozen babe out of the freezer? very ill behavior) Last I checked that is CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, Greg. Lies, deception and Catholics working with GOVERNMENT? which brings us to the bishops covering up in the Clergy Sex Abuse of CHILDREN. Again, criminal behavior. Which politicians-government officials are in league with protecting both priest and bishop? Do you know? Or don’t you see that these are serious matters—that ALL citizens should be concerned about. What else are these bishops on up been involved with that is criminal?
    If that is your truth—ick.

  • Ben, God knows we all have weaknesses that lead to sin, but only asks that we include him in our struggles.

  • Opheliart, Most of the things you bring up are conflated fireballs that have been lobbed at the Church so many times that people start believing them wholesale without separating them out and looking at what is actually being said, or what the intention was by the person. What you will fail to see, is that the Church actually has, and has had, people of great Faith over the years, who actually had one thing in mind when exercising their actions: Doing God’s Holy Will. Please give people the benefit of the doubt. Yes the Church is full of sinners, but so is your family, and extended family. Do you love your family? Or do you walk up to every relative and start accusing them of having evil intentions? Please, what God has forgiven, exists no more. Do you want God to bring up the sins you have expressed sorrow for at your judgment? I hope not. Please stop thinking the Church is evil. You have to get beyond that.

  • They are only meaningless to you and the church, in your spiritual arrogance and lust for dominion.

    That these Catholics have changed their minds, and they vote, is what is important to me.

    The birth control issue is a perfect example. the church has declared it to be sinful. I’m having trouble finding out where God said it is sinful. “Thou shalt not use the pill or rubbers? It’s in the bible somewhere, right?

  • Greg, you are more high-minded than I am. O’s rant is so outlandishly wrong that it boggles the mind……and so hateful. Bless you for being so kind……I’ll step out of this one.

  • James is only stepping out because he’s frightened of opheliart. He was looking for an easy way out. What a wimp.

  • Don’t want slavery? Don’t have one. It’s as simple as that.
    Anything else and you’re shoving your religion down my throat.
    And Mauritania still likes its slaves, from what I’ve heard.

  • So what you are telling me RMW, is that you understand the concept of an analogy but not its inherent limits in a discussion.

    How is gay marriage equal to slavery?
    What is a rational and secular argument against gay marriage?
    I can think of a dozen or more for slavery.

    I can think of half a dozen ways the opposition to gay marriage is equivalent to opposition to segregation and other civil liberties. Such an analogy makes sense. Especially in light of people using the exact same arguments against marriage equality that were used to support legalized racial discrimination.

  • Silly silly silly.

    Slavery is not a legal institution in this country. Marriage is. I am not aware of any religion in this country that supports slavery. I am aware that just about every religion inthis country supports marriage, some more than others. Slaveyr violates the right of free men. My marriage doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.

    Where do you people go to school? Brainwashington State?

  • Ben in Oakland,

    ” Where did they get these ideas? from 1900 years of church law prohibiting, in their sexual obsessions and hysteria, “the crime against nature, not to be named among Christians.” ”

    ” Whatever advances we have made in moral conscience were done despite your church, not because…Of your church. ”

    Magnificently and perfectly said.

    ” I strive to be as good a person as I can, harming no one, making the world better, I hope. ”

    That is or should be the desire of all.

    I was reading the Scout Law recently —

    — Wow, what ‘beautiful laws or guideposts to live by’, far far better than nearly anything and everything I’ve ever read from the Bible or heard from any church.

    ” God knows we all have weaknesses…but only asks that we include him in our struggles. ”

    Excellent comment.

  • Opheliart,

    ” …but the time has come for a great upheaval. History teaches this. The patterns are there. The Protestants…are readying for their own leap (of faith?). Catholics have been in growing pain mode for a very long time… ”

    Opheliart, I think that only a sort of prophetess could make that kind of observation.

    Here’s what I read some 40 years ago about two famous books, ‘The Man Nobody Knows’, a Discovery of the Real Jesus, and ‘The Book Nobody Knows’ authored by Bruce Barton —

    The welcome accorded them gave color to the often expressed conviction that an intense revival of religious feeling only awaited the appearance of the man who could apply the Bible to modern conditions and also indicated that Mr. Barton had contributed to preparing the way for clarifying the biblical material on which such a revival depends.

    I’ve always felt that was written just for me.

    But the unknowns of fame scared me away and I went on doing what I was educated to do.

  • “How is gay marriage equal to slavery?”
    I understand they were/are social-political issues.

    “What is a rational and secular argument against gay marriage?”
    Let’s go deeper. What exactly is marriage in the first place?

    “I can think of half a dozen ways the opposition to gay marriage is equivalent to opposition to segregation and other civil liberties.”
    Since you claim to see similarities, maybe I’ll just take the cynical view and broach a taboo subject. What exactly has American de-segregation really accomplished? Just more social animosity that I can see? This black woman writer claims to feel rejection every time she sees a black man go out with a white woman:

    And in case you’re wondering, I’m not American at all. I live elsewhere in the globe.

  • Tell that to some business owners who found themselves getting threatened by your ilk like that Indiana pizzeria. Got threatened with arson when they said they wouldn’t support the nonsense of homosexual marriage.

    I’m not American. I come from a place where Islam is very prominent.

  • “Unlike a certain recently resigned bishop who knew that his priests were harming innocent children, and chose to ignore it.”
    Compared with what, the British police and other civil authorities in the town of Rotherham who ignored hundreds of child sexual abuse cases for fear of being branded racists, since most of the perpetrators were Asian gangs?

    “Unlike the pope, who eats his dinner with a golden fork in his castle, while children in Africa starve.”
    I presume you yourself are not living a comfortable life (nice house of your own, good food, etc) on behalf of these poor African kids?

  • ” It’ teachings on birth control are leaving hundreds of millions in third world countries in dire poverty, as the church says, “Breed! Breed! Breed!”
    The way I see it, breeding nations (and some say the Islamic ones are the ‘highest performing’) have a future. The ones that don’t, such as Japan, are apparently going to die out. No future there.

  • “I understand they were/are social-political issues.”

    I understand you are a vertebrate of the mammalian order, but that doesn’t mean you are akin to a platypus or a wilderbeast.

    “What exactly is marriage in the first place?”

    Have you tried google.

    But you have shown yourself to be a racist as well as a homophobe.

    “And in case you’re wondering, I’m not American at all. I live elsewhere in the globe.”

    Then you probably don’t understand our system or things like the positive effect of ending legalized discrimination. Nor from all accounts how to make an argument which needs to be taken seriously.

    As for business owners being threatened, you have nothing but hearsay on that. Saying offensive things to public media is likely to cause offended people to respond. Acting in a malicious discriminatory fashion is not going to get you sympathy.

  • That Indiana pizzeria made a fortune pandering to bigots through phony martyrbaiting. They made more money off the prejudices of the anti-gay crowd than they would have made in years.

    It was a great scheme to bilk the prejudiced gullible fools. Much like people who donate to Focus on Family or National Organization of Marriage.

  • Ed,

    Yes, false religion is a total sham and it’s been around for a long time, much too long. However, it is being exposed for what it really is and will meet its end. Truth will prevail at the end and will become common knowledge for people of all nations (Isaiah 11:9).

  • Ben,

    Yes indeed, when they (religions) should have nothing to do with the political systems! And their morals leave a lot to be desired, as well.

  • @Larry
    “I understand you are a vertebrate of the mammalian order, but that doesn’t mean you are akin to a platypus or a wilderbeast.”
    And what about you?

    “Have you tried google.”
    A union between a man and a woman.

    “But you have shown yourself to be a racist…”
    Simply for pointing out there are racial and ethnic animosities that have arisen out of de-segregation?
    Here’s another black female writer decrying black men selecting white women over black women. Her argument is it is a painful form of abandonment. You got a problem with that, take it up with her. Or wait, is that somehow problematic?

    “Nor from all accounts how to make an argument which needs to be taken seriously.”
    Then why did you reply to my post? Did you just lower yourself to my supposed ‘unserious’ level?

  • @Larry
    More like there are still some decent people around to defend and support a pizzeria that got threatened. And how interesting that you do not care that someone did threatened to burn down the pizzeria. But then I suppose that’s what you and your ilk want, the destruction of innocent people that you are against?
    Come to think of it wasn’t there an American atheist (named Craig Hicks I believe) that murdered 3 Muslims in cold blood recently?

  • Oh, Bobby and Susie called me the “C” word ! Well, you two are real “c’s”. Dive in.