Thursday, February 27, 2014

Forcing conscientious objectors to participate in same-sex marriages

(Excerpted from " Jim Crow laws for gays and lesbians?" column by Kirsten Powers, USA Today, Feb. 19, 2014) - What's the matter with Kansas? A bill protecting the religious freedom of businesses and individuals to refuse services to same-sex couples passed the state House of Representatives last week. It was blessedly killed in the state Senate on Tuesday.

Similar bills have cropped up in a half-dozen states in an effort to protect anti-gay religious believers against lawsuits. A florist in Washington state, a Colorado baker and a New Mexico photographer have been sued for refusing to serve gay couples getting married. They say to do so would be to "celebrate" nuptials at odds with their Christian faith.

It's probably news to most married people that their florist and caterer were celebrating their wedding union. Most people think they just hired a vendor to provide a service. It's not clear why some Christian vendors are so confused about their role here.

Whether Christians have the legal right to discriminate should be a moot point because Christianity doesn't prohibit serving a gay couple getting married. Jesus calls his followers to be servants to all. Nor does the Bible call service to another an affirmation.

Christians backing this bill are essentially arguing for homosexual Jim Crow laws.

Some claim it's because marriage is so sacred. But double standards abound. Christian bakers don't interrogate wedding clients to make sure their behavior comports with the Bible. If they did, they'd be out of business. [Pastor Andy] Stanley said, "Jesus taught that if a person is divorced and gets remarried, it's adultery. So if (Christians) don't have a problem doing business with people getting remarried, why refuse to do business with gays and lesbians."

Maybe they should just ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?" I think he'd bake the cake.


Jonathan ImbodyCMA VP for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody – “The bill that Kirsten Powers' acerbic commentary rails against would simply prohibit coercing people into performing marriage ceremonies or providing adoption or business services that are ‘contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs’ ‘regarding sex or gender.’ Powers cites the Bible and several pastors to argue that Christians should love and serve everyone regardless of sexual preference, suggesting that unchristian bigots who decline to bake cakes for or take photos of same-sex weddings deserve no protection for contrary convictions.

“What Powers overlooks is that our 1st Amendment guarantees that even if your beliefs do not comport with the Bible, even if your conscience goes against the current of the culture, the government must not compel you to violate your convictions. Christians and non-Christians alike enjoy the same protection of conscience, a bedrock of our country's founding and an essential foundation for comity and tolerance today.

“Americans' historic commitment to conscience is so strong that we do not even force conscientious objectors to join the Army when the nation is at war. Nor do we force Catholic physicians to participate in the death penalty, or Jewish deli owners to serve pork barbecue, or commercial photographers who support animal rights to supply shots for fur coat ads.

“People may disagree as to whether or not a Christian is bound by biblical principles to participate in same-sex weddings. But legally speaking—and that's the focus of this fight—the government should not be determining the answer for us.

“Unfortunately, many proponents of same-sex marriage apparently do not feel it's enough to have gained the legal right to marry; now they want to compel everyone to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. How ironic it would be to turn a wedding won through a campaign for ‘equality and freedom’ into an event of subjection and coercion.”

CMDA Right of Conscience Resources
CMDA Sexuality Resources
CMDA Marriage Related Ethical Statements

Action: Use our easy pre-written customizable message to support Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (Senate bill) - S 1808 and Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (House bill) H.R. 3133

No comments:

Post a Comment