Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton quotes a column written by one of those “serious news” folks from increasingly absurd Fox News.
Joe Carr believes a day is fast approaching when pastors will be charged with hate crimes for preaching that homosexuality is a sin and churches will face lawsuits for refusing to host same-sex weddings.
“It’s just a matter of time,” said Carr, the pastor of Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. “What’s happening in Europe – we’re going to see happen here and we’re going to see it happen sooner rather than later I’m afraid.”
And that’s why the congregation will be voting next month to change their church bylaws – to officially ban the usage of their facilities for gay marriages.
“We needed to have a clear statement,” Carr told Fox News. “It’s to protect us from being forced to allow someone to use our facilities who does not believe what we believe the Bible teaches.”
In how many ways is this unbelievably stupid?
First–and most important–the U.S. Constitution has this provision called the First Amendment. The First Amendment includes something called the Free Exercise Clause–and that Clause absolutely prohibits government from telling churches what to preach or who to marry. Your church can preach hate, it can ban gays, blacks, unwed mothers or smart-ass bloggers–your church can refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, interfaith marriages, or marriages between ducks and drakes…whatever your doctrinal pleasure, no matter how unwelcoming or bizarre.
READ MY LIPS: the government can’t make you change your theology or your practices. You are safe from the assaults of the homosexual hordes.
On the other hand, if the government actually could impose its will on your church–if there was no Free Exercise Clause, and if (as you seem to believe) a Supreme Court decision mandating equality could be applied to churches and religious bodies–do you seriously think that changing your bylaws would protect you? Try to think (I know it’s hard). If your church changed its rules and declared its church van would no longer observe the speed limit, do you really think that would protect you from getting a ticket?
And by the way–if you own your church, you get to say who uses it. Even if your bylaws don’t spell that out.
This is why civics teachers and lawyers drink.