Quote – Kathleen Parker

“A secular world that ratifies homosexual marriage would provide a legal foundation that would open the floodgates to civil litigation against religious leaders, institutions and worshipers. In such an environment, churches might be sued for declining to provide their sanctuaries for gay marriages, for example. Ministers could be sued for hate speech for giving a sermon on moral behavior. Churches that protest homosexual unions could face revocation of their tax exemption status. The delicate balance between church and state…is teetering on a high ledge at this moment.

It’s ironic that those who oppose churches’ involvement in state concerns nonetheless have no compunction when it comes to the state dictating what churches can do. Even nonreligious folk should be concerned. Either we believe in separation of church and state or we don’t, but you can’t have it both ways.

The July 12 debate is really a discussion about ‘cloture’ — the process by which the Senate puts a time limit on filibuster, thereby allowing a bill to be voted on. In this case, 60 senators have to vote in favor of cloture for the Federal Marriage Amendment, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, to go to the floor for a full vote. Many senators prefer to delay voting rather than make their position public before the November election. But advocates for the amendment predict that November may be too late, that if President George W. Bush loses re-election, the amendment will be dead and marriage as we know it will be history.”

–Kathleen Parker

Comments

  1. Jim Holman says:

    This piece really seems goofy to me. Right now priests and ministers can refuse to perform weddings for *heterosexuals* who fail to meet certain criteria. Nobody has a right to be married by a particular member of the clergy, nor does anyone have a right to the use of church property. How would homosexual marriage change this?

  2. Michael Bauan says:

    Jim,

    I wish Mr. Parker’s comment were goofy. Unfortunately with Canada levying fines for quoting or referencing scripture that is critical of homosexuality and Sweden jailing a minister for sermons that were “offensive” to homosexuals, the comments are not as goofy as it first may seem.

    The secular left in this country is aggressively trying to put Christians in a box and keep us there.

  3. Brett John Gainer says:

    As an Orthodox Christian and a lawyer, I find the concerns expressed by Ms. Parker overstated, to say the least. In the United States, the 1st Amendment to the Constitution expressly forbids Congress to make “any law prohibiting the free exercise [of religion].” This prohibition applies equally to the States through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. While someone or some group could conceivably try to sue a church for “declining to provide their sanctuaries for gay marriages” or a priest “for hate speech for giving a sermon on moral behavior…” etc., no such lawsuit would have a prayer of succeeding under the 1st Amendment. (Nor under the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment, for that matter, both of which apply only to “state action,” not private conduct.)

  4. Churches will be able to maintain their stances on gay unions as the foundations of civil law in Canada differ from that in the US. Despite our protection of religion, many denominations can still legally refuse to marry interfaith couples as well.

    I also find her comment that “marriage as we know it will be history” to be almost verging on hysteria. I honestly don’t believe that either the millions of couples already wed will divorce or even that the relatively constant percentage of gay citizens will increase.

    However, I have heard that university groups like IVCF have been targeted by their school administrations for their lack of “diversity” (by not accepting Hindu, Muslim students, etc.). I do not know whether these attempts to impose this have succeeded, but I’m hoping that cooler heads prevail and that private religious organizations be able to maintain their own standards for membership. I also do not know what the implications are to religious institutions as a whole should these misguided attempts to “diversify” succeed within universities.

  5. Michael Bauan says:

    Mr. Gainer,

    I realize that the United States has far more legal protection for religion and freedom of speech than any other country in the world. However, the assualt against religious liberty in our courts has already eroded some of that foundation.

    I feel we are most vulnerable in the area of tax exempt status. Under “separation of Church and state”, what right do we have to claim tax exempt status? Isn’t that “establishment of religion”?

    My parish has a $3,000,000 building. We are in good financial shape, but it would still be a burden to suddenly have to come up with the property tax on such a building. There are many parishes and other Christian churches for which such a new budge item could be crushing.

  6. Brett John Gainer says:

    Dear Mr. Bauan,

    I did a little research, and it appears tax exemptions for religious institutions do not violate the Establishment Clause under current Supreme Court case law.

    The key case seems to be Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, 397 US 664 (1970). Here is a good summary of the case, from a 1997 Supreme Court opinion:

    In Walz v. Tax Comm’n of City of New York, 397 U.S. 664 (1970), notwithstanding our assumption that a direct subsidy of religious activity would be invalid, [FN23] we held that New York’s tax exemption for church property did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. [FN24] That holding rested, in part, on the premise that there is a constitutionally significant difference between subsidies and tax exemptions. [FN25] We have expressly recognized that this distinction is also applicable to claims that certain state action designed to give residents an advantage in the market- place is prohibited by the Commerce Clause.

    FN23. We noted: “Obviously a direct money subsidy would be a relationship pregnant with involvement and, as with most governmental grant programs, could encompass sustained and detailed administrative relationships for enforcement of statutory or administrative standards, but that is not this case.” Walz, 397 U.S., at 675, 90 S.Ct., at 1414.

    FN24. We reasoned that “New York’s statute [cannot be read] as attempting to establish religion; it … simply spar[es] the exercise of religion from the burden of property taxation levied on private profit institutions.” Id., at 673, 90 S.Ct., at 1414.

    FN25. “The grant of a tax exemption is not sponsorship since the government does not transfer part of its revenue to churches but simply abstains from demanding that the church support the state. No one has ever suggested that tax exemption has converted libraries, art galleries, or hospitals into arms of the state or put employees ‘on the public payroll.’ ” Id., at 675, 90 S.Ct., at 1415. As Justice Brennan noted: “Tax exemptions and general subsidies … are qualitatively different.” Id., at 690, 90 S.Ct., at 1422 (concurring opinion).

    Hope this helps.

  7. Michael Bauan says:

    Thanks, I appreciate your information. I still have a problem with the ACLU and others using the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to defeat the free exercise clause. I’d like to have your comments on that.

  8. Ignatiev says:

    I must agree that Ms. Parker’s comments are silly alarmist garbage. Mr. Gainer’s analysis of the issue is spot on, IMHO. The serious issue arises under our President’s push for faith-based initiatives where churches may receive monies from the Federal fisc. If your church/charity is disbursed federal funds, they will be tied to requirements to not discriminate on any of the prohibited bases for discrimination (race, religion, gender, and now sexual orientation).

    This is the slippery slope we should be concerned about. This garbage about how churches will be forced to accede to homosexual marriage by virtue of us lacking a Federal Marriage Amendment is equivalent to the argument that the existence of Roe v. Wade means that the state can force people to have abortions. It plays great to the uneducated populace, but it’s demagogic, irresponsible, and ultimately counterproductive for those of us who oppose abortion, gay marriage, etc.

    People like Ms. Parker are highjacking the defense of traditional marriage by involving the federal government, which has no business in prosecuting crimes much less determining who may marry. Her outlook is like that of the militant temperance advocates that embroiled America in Prohibition and its attendant social ills: to Ms. Parker, it matters not the grievous cost paid by every citizen, so long as her personal crusade succeeds. In this era of ever-increasing federal involvement in the average citizen’s life, it would be tragic to invoke the federal government’s sweeping constitutional powers to meddle in what is ultimately a matter between man and God.

  9. Michael Bauan says:

    Ignatiev,

    While I agree with much of what you say particularly the faith-based initiative and the danger of churches accepting federal funds, I have some concerns.

    One of the reasons that the Marriage Amendment was introduced was the feeling that the process of judicial review to determine constitutionality has become judicial fiat and tyranny. Judges are imposing drastic social change that is not wanted, frequently not needed, and certainly not accepted by the majority of the American populace. Under our Constitution, the only remedy we have available to discipline judges is impeachment. Such a remedy is not available as long as the judges are not committing any crimes. Perhaps rather than a Marriage Amendment, what we need is an amendment that will allow some form of term limits for judges, or require reappointment after a specific period of time such as 20 years.

    I don’t understand your statement that the federal government has no business prosecuting crimes. Could you explain?

    Your last contention that one’s sexual behavior is ultimately a matter between man and God is true as far as our salvation is concerned. However, your reductionism ignores the social and community aspects of both faith and government. The choices we make whether they are sinful or righteous have effects on everyone around us. A society has both a right and a responsibility to establish and maintain cultural norms that are conducive to the general welfare of its citizens. I would hope you agree that what constitutes a marriage and who constitutes a family is a fundamental cultural norm. All law ultimately stems from a common recognition of a society’s cultural norms and a willingness to enforce those norms when they are violated.

    Perhaps a Marriage Amendment is not the best way in this case, but I would like to your comments on a better way.
    .

  10. Daniel Crandall says:

    Ignatie writes, “This garbage about how churches will be forced to accede to homosexual marriage by virtue of us lacking a Federal Marriage Amendment is equivalent to the argument that the existence of Roe v. Wade means that the state can force people to have abortions.” Well as a matter of fact the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has decided that a woman who changes her mind can be forced to have an abortion .

    I have come to the conclusion that once your opponent resorts to name calling and slander, you’ve won the argument. Calling these warnings “garbage”, saying that Ms Parker has “hijacked” the issue and is engaged in a “personal crusade” tells me that Ignatiev has lost the argument and can now only hurl insults and ad hominem arguments.

  11. Ignatiev says:

    My response is quite lengthy, which may necessitate it being chopped up into several comments. I apologize for the inconvenience (should it occur).

    Mr. Crandall:

    I was speaking as a lawyer. Garbage is a highly technical legal term which means “an argument that has no basis in law or fact.” My apologies. I never intended it to be viewed as an ad hominem attack on Ms. Parker, who I am sure is merely an altruistic invoker of the federal amendment power of the people. I am equally certain that she was a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment as well.

    Here are some facts about the Roe v. Aware case that are not revealed in the IFRL article:

    First, Roe had had three previous abortions. Roe v. Aware Woman Center for Choice, 357 F. 3d 1226, 1227 (11th Cir. 2004). The case also makes it clear that Roe wanted the abortion stopped because she feared she may have internal injuries and wanted to go to the hospital for treatment, and not (as the IFRL article implies) because she, after three abortions, decided a fourth was one too many. Roe, 357 F. 3d at 1227-28. The doctor had her restrained while he attempted to stabilize her condition: she was suffering from extensive internal bleeding, and he believed that transfering her to a hospital for treatment would have been too risky. Id. at 1231.

    Here I will quote extensively from the 11th Circuit’s opinion:

    Turning first to Roe’s deposition, it is clear that she can offer no admissible evidence, as distinguished from speculation, conjecture, and opinion, about what Dr. Egherman’s motive was in ordering that she be restrained and continuing to treat her even after she had ordered him to stop. The following excerpts are typical of Roe’s deposition:
    Q. Well, do you know whether he was holding you down or keeping you still or doing whatever he was doing for your own benefit to stabilize you?
    A. I don’t think it was for my own benefit. It was because I raised my voice and told him that the pain that I was feeling was not pain that I had ever felt before and I said to let me go. And because of that, they kept me there….
    Q. Do you think he was doing that for your own good?
    A. No.
    Q. Do you think he was doing it for your own safety?
    A. To go back in me again for my own safety?
    Q. To do everything he did?
    A. No. No.
    Q. Well, why do you think he did it?
    A. To go in and finish the procedure….
    ….
    A. I don’t think it was for my safety.
    ….
    Q. Let’s assume hypothetically the doctor made a mistake. He did something wrong in this procedure and he needed to go back in and do what he did to make sure you wouldn’t die. Okay?
    A. Uh-huh.
    Q. Do you think he should have gone back in and did what he did.
    A. No.
    Q. He should have let you die?
    [objection]
    A. No. He shouldn’t have let me die, but he should have not gone back in. If he didn’t go back in for what he was going in for, why would you go back in?
    Q. What if he had to go back in just to save your life? He couldn’t complete the abortion. He had done something terribly wrong. He needed to go back in for other reasons.
    [objection]
    [A.] I still don’t think he should have went back in. What other reason would he have to go back in than to get the fetus?
    ….
    Q. Assuming he had to go in to stabilize you–okay? To stabilize you. Assuming he had to do that. For a perfectly valid medical reason, he had to go in. Okay?
    A. Uh-huh.
    Q. Just assume that. I want you to assume he had to go back in.
    A. Uh-huh.
    Q. Do you agree with him going back in?
    [objection]
    [A.] No.
    ….
    Q. You still wouldn’t have wanted him to go in?
    A. No.
    (Roe Dep. at 88-91.)
    Although Roe assumes that Dr. Egherman’s sole motivation was to continue the abortion, when asked point blank she admitted that she did not know what his motivation was. (Roe Dep. at 120) ( “Q. And you don’t know why he went back in? A. No, I don’t.”). Roe offered no evidence that Dr. Egherman’s motivation was to prevent her from obtaining reproductive health services.
    In contrast, during his deposition Dr. Egherman explained that a doctor cannot obey a woman’s demand that the abortion be stopped at just any time, because she might risk death if he did so. There is, according to his unrebutted testimony, “a point of no return.” (Egherman Dep. at 160.) He also specifically testified that his interest was in protecting Roe’s health and safety.

    End of quote. Roe, 357 F. 3d at 1229-30.

    The 11th Circuit decided not that a woman can be forced to have an abortion; rather, they held that “Roe’s theory is unsound because it confuses motive with effect. While continuing an abortion after a patient wishes it to stop does have the effect of preventing that patient from obtaining reproductive health services elsewhere, that is merely a side-effect when the abortionist is motivated by a desire to protect the health and safety of the mother because the procedure has progressed too far to stop or complications have arisen that require continuing it. FACE is only violated when the motivation requirement is met. Roe II, 253 F.3d at 680-81. Here it was not.”

    Roe, 357 F. 3d at 1231-32.

    I have provided you with standard format citations (unlike the IFRL article) so that you can check my analysis yourself. I am going to refrain from any snide remarks about people who rely on PAC press releases for their factual examples of forced abortions, rather than conducting their own research.

    Roe wanted to have an abortion. She went to a clinic, the procedure began normally, and complications set in. She wanted to leave because she was concerned that she could not get further “reproductive health treatment” if the abortion continued. According to the doctor, she was suffering internal bleeding and he did not want to release her until she was stabilized. Lamentably, he performed the abortion after she was stabilized. But this is hardly a court forcing someone to have an abortion.

    Mr. Bauan:

    When I said it was ultimately between man and God, I was referring to marriage, not sexuality. As for your question of how I would address the issue, I would recommend that we see if the Supreme Court will uphold the Defense of Marriage Act regime before we pre-empt it with an amendment that may well be unnecessary. My throwaway comment on the federal government not having the power to prosecute crimes generally is, unfortunately, much too involved to get into here, and moreover purely academic. Let’s just call it my crazy opinion and leave it at that.

  12. Jacobse says:

    If the argument is reduced to the single issue of whether the FMA will require churches to hire homosexuals or to refrain from statements that homosexual behavior is sinful, whatever, then yes, the original point stands.

    But the drive to sanction homosexual behavior is larger than the FMA. In fact, the FMA is not really about marriage at all but part of an effort to win social sanction for homosexual behavior.* If the culture does indeed santion it, and once those sanctions get codified, then any kind of descrimination based on sexual preference becomes illegal. Churches will be required to obey these laws just as they must obey all other laws.

    *In Holland gay marriages last an average of 1.5 years.

    Here’s another point to consider. Once homosexual marriage is legalized, publich schools will be forced to add homosexual sex to their sex education curriculum. The moral distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality will effectively be erased and any public enterprise like education will be forced to treat all homosexual related questions on a moral par with heterosexuality. Once facts like this become part of the public consciousness you will see resistance to gay marriage increase.

  13. Daniel Crandall says:

    I’m sure no one will ever use the Roe v. Aware Woman Center case as precedent to force someone who is found to be “lacking mentally capacity” to have an abortion (if it hasn’t already happened). Yup, I’m sure that will never happen.

  14. Ignatiev says:

    Mr. Crandall:

    I’m pretty sure that I don’t understand what you mean. If you mean that hideous abominations can be wrought by our court system, you are correct.

    As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously wrote in an opinion affirming the court-ordered sterilization of an American citizen who was borderline retarded and the third generation in the family to suffer from mental retardation, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Like wise, 12 paragraphs of response to your drivel is clearly too much.

    Good day.

  15. Daniel Crandall says:

    If my drivel bothers you so much, don’t bother reading this. Ingatiev you state, “According to the doctor, she was suffering internal bleeding and he did not want to release her until she was stabilized. Lamentably, he performed the abortion after she was stabilized.” Why? Why did he perform the abortion after she was stabilized, and after she said she did not want the procedure to continue? You answer this question yourself, “He also specifically testified that his interest was in protecting Roe’s health and safety.” To this abortionist he was merely removing a worthless lump of tissue and could care less whether or not that removal bothered the woman on the table before him.

    You want to ignore the fact that a woman who had decided to have an abortion had changed her mind because of the pain she was feeling, but the abortionist didn’t care. Sure the case may have been decided on technicalities that “confuses motive with effect”, but that doesn’t change the fact that a woman changed her mind regarding an abortion and the abortion continued anyway.

    Thank you for refraining from snide comments for at least one posting.

  16. Ignatiev says:

    Mr. Crandall:

    I would appreciate it if you would spell my name correctly.

    I also note that you ignore the simple facts of the case: the abortion had begun when the internal bleeding began. Whether the abortion could have been stopped is unclear, but Roe’s life, according to the uncontested testimony of her doctor, was in danger. The simple fact is that Roe was not forced by a court to have an abortion, as both you and your propaganda piece from IFRL claimed. Now, you are changing the grounds of the argument to afford yourself a sturdier perch whence you can fling invective and attack straw men. I wish you joy of your duplicity.

  17. Daniel Crandall says:

    I-G-N-A-T-I-E-V, there, I think I got it right.

    No matter how you want to slice it, the end result of this entire sordid affair is a dead child and a suffering woman.

    If you think that is something we should just ignore while focusing on the legal niceties then I wish you joy in your moral myopia.

  18. Fr. Jacobse, you stated: “once those sanctions get codified, then any kind of descrimination based on sexual preference becomes illegal. Churches will be required to obey these laws just as they must obey all other laws.”

    I’m not so sure. We have federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race and creed, yet nowhere are churches required to perform intra- or interfaith or even interracial marriages. Some churches have strict rules concerning consanguineous marriages. i.e. opposite-sex marriages in which the bride and groom are too closely related. Some, for example, will not marry first cousins, even though such marriages are allowed in some political jurisdictions.

    Much ado has been made on Canada’s recent legislation, yet the Ontario Human Rights Code specifically exempts religious organizations from its provisions and allows said organizations to forbid marriages based on any factor with impunity.

    These arguments have been made numerous times. Can someone provide any validation that a church (of any denomination) has been forced to marry a couple against its will for any reason?

  19. Jacobse says:

    The issue is not that churches will be compelled to marry homosexuals. The case in Canada did not involve marriage, but criticism of homosexual behavior. The argument is that the sanctioning of gay marriage will ultimately make criticism of homosexual behavior a hate crime of one sort or another.

  20. Daniel Crandall says:

    As I reflect on this issue, i.e., churches being forced to recognize same-sex “marriage”, I think there is some credence to the argument that churches will not be forced to conduct these ceremonies (OK, Ignatiev, you win the day with regards to states forcing churches to conducting ceremonies – and the state may not force people to have abortions either – though the doctor in the case we argued is still a scumbag for continuing with the abortion).

    However, the chilling effect that State sanctioned same-sex “marriage” will have on churches that do not recognize these types of relationships will be profound. I believe that eventually Orthodox, Catholic or socially conservative Protestant churches that only recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman will be seen in the same way as we now look back on churches that wanted to remain segregated. Look at the language used to attack proponents of traditional marriage: We are described as bigots, homophobes, fear-mongering, hate-filled, repressive, oppressive, you name it. Quite simply we are the hated Enemy.

    Those who embrace same-sex “marriages” are described as compassionate, caring, open-minded, enlightened, etc. Furthermore, the media actively promotes those who embrace same-sex “marriages”, while at the same time it stigmatizes social conservatives or “Fundamentalist Evangalicals” who do not.

    Now please don’t get me wrong; I’m not arguing for racial segregation. I’m simply trying to point out that hears the same language today condemning those who promote traditional marriage as was, and is, used to condemn those who mantain racial animus. In addition, the chilling effect against criticism of homosexual behavior is extremely powerful. It controls language in primary and secondary education, and it prevented real action from being taken when HIV was first discovered as being primarily passed along in gay bath houses.

    No, the state may not actually force churches to conduct these ceremonies but, the stigmatization and marginalization that comes when people find out that this or that church refuses to acknowledge same-sex “marriages” may create the same result.

  21. Michael Bauman says:

    The “hate crime” enforcement is more likely at first than actually forcing churches to perform marriages. Even with the very real protections of the Constitution.

  22. I still am uncertain about how “hate crime” charges could be filed against a Church. If someone is calling for acts of violence against a group of people (as someone like Fred Phelps does), then perhaps this is feasible. The verbal rejection of certain kinds of behavior seems to fall outside of this spectrum, though, as well it should.

    Daniel: admittedly, the language used by both sides can be offensive and over-generalized. However, take a look at sites like that of the “Traditional Values Coalition”, who paints gays as falling somewhere between the moral spectrum of Adolf Hitler and Ted Bundy. The only thing missing from their front page caricature is a pair of devil’s horns and a pitchfork (there’s a sinister looking supposedly-gay man on the front cast in this hellish-green glow).

    Such silliness detracts from any valid arguments which may be made and does not promote any rational discussion.

  23. Ignatiev says:

    As an Orthodox Christian in the South, I’m already stigmatized. It doesn’t really bother me, for who desires the good opinion of those who despise them? Maybe we will have to shake the dust of America off of our shoes, as my family had to shake the dust of communist Russia off of their shoes eighty years ago. But I really don’t believe this parade of horribles has any relation to reality.

  24. Daniel Crandall says:

    Same-sex “marriage” and abortion are two elements of the culture of death. When the various cases regarding abortion were decide, I don’t think a lot of people would have believed that these decisions would lead us to the point where a significant portion of the population and our elected officials would think it acceptable to kill a child by sucking its brains out just as it was about to leave its mother’s womb, or that an ethics professor at an ivy league school would argue that newborns are not actually persons until some arbitrary number of days after birth and therefore they can be killed if their parents so chose, and that this same ethics professor would be described as “the most influential ethicist alive.” But that is where we are today.

    Is that because abortion was a “right” “discovered” in the Constitution and, therefore, foisted upon the entire United States because of a few unelected judges? Perhaps not. Did these abortion decisions play a role in leading us to this point? The answer must certainly be yes.

    No one knows for certain what will happen when the courts redefine marriage for all the states. I’ll acknowledge that. But we do see what is happening in nations that have decided that criticism of homosexual behavior should be covered by hate crimes statutes. We can also see what is happening to families in countries that have embraced same-sex “marriage”. Furthermore, I may be able to resist the culture of death surrounding me, but I do not want my or anyone else’s children to have this forced upon them. And it will be. Of that we can be certain.

    I am glad that the United States was here so that your family, Ignatiev, could shake the dust of the Soviet Union off your feet 80 years ago. But as America travels further down the road of the culture of death, where will you go?

    Josh, I have no idea what you are talking about. I saw two photos at TVC’s webpage regarding homosexual behavior, one of which was in their Aids section which showed a sick man being comforted by another. The other was no different from what one sees at any Gay Pride parade. If you got a link you might want to provide it.

  25. Ignatiev says:

    Mr. Crandall:

    I’ll be retiring to Belize in about forty years, thanks for asking.