John McCormack and Joe Scarborough are the only voices of sanity at this discussion (see above). The other talking heads are a perfect illustration of the irrational “media freak-out” that is the real story here. For more on that, read Rod Dreher’s remarks in my earlier post. Very troubling.
John McCormack is one of the few people in this debate that has pointed out that the 70 year old florist in Washington State happily served openly gay people for many years. It was only when she was asked to provide flowers for a gay wedding that she balked.
The bakery owners in Arizona also gladly served openly gay people but drew the line at catering a gay marriage. Their conscience was violated because they believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. The founder of Chik-fil-a supported traditional marriage but was willing to serve food to anyone regardless of their sexual orientation.
The outrage over this law reflects a lot of paranoia and hype. It does not, and has not, lead to wide spread discrimination or even a significant level of discrimination. Even legal experts who support gay marriage support this law.
Some time in the very near future, some ambitious Democrat running for the Senate or Presidency will propose that since churches pay no income or property taxes then it follows that they cannot discriminate and must perform same-sex weddings. Some Christians, wishing to remain influential in the media, academia, and the arts, will go along with this by arguing that this is a great way to demonstrate tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, etc. Other Christians will argue that performing gay marriages is an excellent way to be “culturally engaged” since “Redeeming The City,” “Redeeming Culture,” and “Pursuing Social Justice” is what being Gospel Centered is all about.
Besides, where else but during a gay marriage ceremony could the officiating minister proclaim the gospel? Performing gay marriage will be the new way to Make Christianity Cool and Relevant to Millennials, Hipsters, Foodies, Techies, etc.
The American people (mostly unbelievers and therefore captive to the flesh and the world) will have been primed to accept the conclusion. These arguments about the Christian baker/florist/photographer/printer/etc being forced to provide services for gay weddings are merely the tedious hors d’oeuvres for bloggers, journalists, and pundits. The real feast of persecution will be when the faithful churches decline to participate and opt to pay their taxes instead.
Andrew, this is a fallen world. We are privileged to live in a society where, until perhaps now, Christians have been able to practice our religious freely as we see fit. History shows that this is an aberration for the Church in most of the world over the centuries.
I can understand the argument that discriminatory churches lose tax exempt status. Though, almost all religious bodies are discriminatory in some form or fashion. Perhaps all churches (of all faiths) should lose their tax exempt status. Especially since the majority of most churches’ revenue stays within that church, as opposed to flowing outward in the form of charity.
Buddy, the secondary issue though is that if churches lose their tax exampt status, then we also will likely lose the ability to deduct our charitable donations to those churches who don’t meet the correct status. Financially, Biblical churches as we know them will cease to exist. Ultimately, true Biblical churches in Amercia will probably end up similar to those in closed countries.