The Supreme Court decision Friday making homosexual marriage not only legal but giving it a status superior to heterosexual marriage* was ominous (never mind that the lead defendant’s name sounded like a rank in the Wehrmacht). In his majority opinion, one which cavalierly overthrew well over 6,000 years of human history in the service of Kennedy’s vigorously, if vicariously, twitching nether regions, Kennedy laid out a road map for the eradication of the legal ability to oppose homosexual marriage. This is the key section:
“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
First and foremost, this is what lawyers refer to as “dicta.” It is a statement made in an area of law that is NOT being decided and is not binding in any way, shape, or form.
Second, even were it binding it would be irrelevant. In Kennedy’s view, only religious organizations and religious persons would be allowed to dissent. This means that while your priest or pastor would be able to refuse to participate in a homosexual marriage it is nearly impossible for your actual church to do so. For religious colleges and universities with faculty and staff members who are not members of the denomination — this would include schools like Georgetown (though in fairness, Georgetown ceased to be a Christian much less a Catholic university years ago) and Catholic University — it would be nearly impossible for them to avoid participating in homosexual marriages.
This was not unnoticed by the minority. John Roberts, who decided to be an actual Supreme Court justice rather than Obama’s buttwipe for once, wrote:
Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for 28 OBERGEFELL v. HODGES ROBERTS, C. J., dissenting religious practice. The majority’s decision imposing same-sex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. Ante, at 27. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.”
“Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. See Tr. of Oral Arg. on Question 1, at 36–38. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”
It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.”
This is the roadmap.
The first attacks will be on small churches that don’t have the wherewithal to mount a legal defense against the IRS and against civil lawsuits. They will be confronted with a loss of their tax exempt status and the personal bankruptcy of their corporate officers if they do not allow homosexual weddings. The effect this will have on small congregations will be profound. Some will become “house churches”, much like what you see in Communist China. Many, however, will fall in line. The larger Protestant denominations will toe the line. Some, like the Episcopalians, are only nominally Christian as is. The Lutherans (ELCA variety) have had actively homosexual clergy for some time as have the Methodists. The two big targets for the government will be the Southern Baptist Convention — which is a voluntary association of independent churches — and the Roman Catholic Church. The pressure will ratchet up on them until they are confronted with confiscation of property or “discovering” hidden meanings in Scripture that reveal homosexual marriage has always been allowed.
Churches won’t disappear but the churches that you will see on Main Street will be peddling a warmed over and watered down version of Christianity that is a combination soup kitchen and twelve step program sans belief in a higher power. Real Christian churches will go underground but it will be a rearguard action. Christianity that chooses to ignore the very Word of God is not a religion, it is a cultural artifact.
The real price will be paid by those of us who are not actually employed by our churches. Organizing to resist homosexual marriage will bring down the FBI upon you as surely as if you were organizing a KKK chapter and with more alacrity than if you were an al Qaeda cell or blocking a polling station in Philadelphia. If you work for a large corporation or are in the military you can look forward to having your affirmatively support of homosexual marriage becoming an item on your performance appraisal.
My favorite Catholic blogger, Monsignor Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington says:
Remember this too: It is not just “the Church” that has a right to religious liberty. YOU have a right to religious liberty. Rather consistently local judges and others have said that religious liberty does not prevail for individuals who own businesses or engage in commerce. In effect, you can have religious liberty, so long as you don’t own a business. Here too there are legal nuances, but the fundamental trajectory is clear: Anyone who opposes the celebration of same-sex unions and lifestyle are going to be increasingly entangled in the courts and face more and more charges.
Less than ten years ago, predictions of today’s legal landscape would have been laughed at as dubious. Those who envisioned it were called fearmongers and worse. But here we are. And pardon me for being more than a little concerned that the slope is going downhill faster and steeper than any of us care to imagine. Things are going to get very tough very quickly — not just for “the Church”, but for traditional believers and anyone who dares stand against what has become a juggernaut of judicial activism and rule from the bench
This decision was beyond bad, it was a profoundly evil decision that was calculated to not only endorse homosexual marriage but to use the entire force of federal law enforcement to punish dissents. America is now a post-Christian nature. We will soon be communist China.
In the words of the late Cardinal Francis George:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
I fear Cardinal George was only half right. It is difficult to see how we recover from this catastrophe.
*Several states that forbid marriage between first cousins assert that a legal marriage between cousins obtained in another state is not valid in those states. Likewise for incestuous marriages. This gives homosexual marriage a privilege not granted to real marriages.