For months, Christian right leaders have been demanding that Christians engage in civil disobedience over same-sex marriage and now a group of very prominent leaders are now preparing a statement doing so again. What has still never been defined is what exactly they plan to do, or could do, that wouldn’t already be allowed.
A team of prominent Christian leaders is preparing a statement that will inform the public – including justices on the U.S. Supreme Court – that they will engage in civil disobedience rather that follow a ruling that establishes homosexual “marriage” across the United States.
Among those leading the charge is James Dobson of Family Talk Radio, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and James Robison of Life Today, whose brand new publication called The Stream reported on a recent telephone conference call discussing the issue.
Stream Executive Editor Jay Richards told WND that there were probably 20 other Christian leaders on the call, and members of Congress have expressed an interest in the plan, which reportedly will make its goal public in the next few days with a statement regarding marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, Scarborough wasted no time in an interview with WND explaining what is, and is not, going to happen.
“We’re taking a very adamant stand,” he said. “If the court declares same-sex ‘marriage’ to be on the same par as a civil right, that’s a bridge too far. We won’t obey. We’ll go to jail.”
Yes, yes, we’ve heard that before. But what are you actually doing to do that would send you to jail? Refuse to perform same-sex marriages? No one will care. Pastors are protected on multiple levels in this regard. No pastor will ever be required to perform a same-sex wedding. So what does that leave? Businesses that refuse to serve gay people or gay weddings will be breaking the law in some states, but there are no jail terms in the enforcement of those laws, only fines.
Along the way, Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman, tells a rather blatant lie:
Staver, whose legal organization has played a key role in the state Supreme Court decision in Alabama to affirm traditional marriage and prevent state judges from following a federal court ruling to impose “gay marriage,” warned Christians of what he sees coming.
“Immediately, when elevated to that level of a constitutionally protected category, [same-sex marriage] is given the same status as race. What you cannot legally do with respect to race, you will not be able to do legally with respect to same-sex unions and sexual immorality,” he said.“Think of race in the context of religious expression or conscience expression and replace it with sexual immorality, transsexualism or so-called gender identity. For example, churches and other religious organizations are exempt from the religious discrimination provisions of federal, state or local nondiscrimination laws. But they are not exempted from the race provisions. So Catholics can hire Catholics, and Baptists can hire Baptists, but they cannot hire only ‘white’ Catholics or only ‘white’ Baptists. They would face significant penalties. You can’t have separate restrooms or drinking fountains for people of a different color. If a church did that they would be liable for a significant amount of damages because of discrimination on the basis of race.
“Same-sex marriage or laws including sexual orientation or gender identity as a non-discrimination category directly impact religious organizations and churches. If a man wants to use the women’s restroom and a church official told him he could not, then that act would be like telling people of color they cannot use the ‘white only’ restroom. You will also have the same issues with tax exemption over sexual preference as you have now over race,” he said.
All nonsense. The same-sex marriage case, even if it goes the right way, will not mean that sexual orientation will be “elevated to that level of a constitutionally protected category” or that sexual orientation “is given the same status as race.” Any laws affecting race are analyzed under strict scrutiny. The Supreme Court has always considered cases involving gay rights under the lowest standard of review, the rational basis test. Even if they were to announce a new standard in the current case (and I hope they do), it would only be to heightened or intermediate scrutiny, which applies to cases involving gender currently, not to strict scrutiny.
And no, that does not mean that a church would be forced to hire gay person, just like churches aren’t forced to hire women as ministers. Nor does it mean that churches would be forced to perform same-sex weddings, just as they aren’t forced to perform interracial or interreligious weddings. The anti-discrimination provisions on public accommodations do not apply to churches and it does not force a church to violate its religious doctrines. Staver is being a demagogue, lying to make people afraid of a mythical future that does not and will not exist.
And again, nowhere in this article does it say exactly what kind of civil disobedience they plan to engage in as part of their “adamant stand” against marriage equality. Sit-ins at a county courthouse? Picketing outside gay bars? Interrupting same-sex weddings? I’d actually love to see that, as it would backfire on them in a huge way.