Beck: Gay Marriage = Half of Churches Disappear

Okay, I’ve seen home hilarious and ridiculous predictions of what will happen if the Supreme Court allows same-sex marriage, but Glenn Beck may have taken the cake. It isn’t as outrageous as some, like civilization itself will die, but it’s oddly specific and quite absurd.

Glenn has a pretty clear stance on gay marriage: if it neither picks his pocket or breaks his leg, it doesn’t matter to him if gay marriage is legal or not. He simply doesn’t believe people of faith and churches should be forced to support it if they don’t believe it. In fact, government shouldn’t even be a part of it. But with gay marriage now before the Supreme Court, he predicts that a ruling in favor of gay marriage could drastically change churches across the country.

“Hear’s (sic) my prediction: If gay marriage goes through the Supreme Court and gay marriage becomes fine and they can put teeth in it – so now they can go after the churches, like the president’s lawyer says – 50% of our churches will fall away. Meaning the congregations, within five years, 50% of the congregants will fall away from their church. Because they won’t be able to take the persecution,” Glenn said. “Because the stigma of going to church will be too much.”

“When it comes to religious principles, whether that religious principle tells you you should be for gay marriage or against gay marriage, whatever it is, you have to draw the line. Persecution is coming. If this goes through, persecution is coming,” he said.

Glenn and Stu pointed listeners to the story of the Oregon bakery that now has to pay hefty fines of $135,000 to a lesbian couple after the owners refused bake them a wedding cake.

“Within five years, 50% of the people that you sit next to in church will not be there. And not because they’re like you know, I think it’s fine. Because they’ll say I can’t do that. I will lose my job. I’ve got people are picketing at my house. I just can’t do that,” Glenn said.

How amusing. Apparently he sees no difference at all between a business that is open to the public, which means it is not allowed to discriminate, and a church, which is absolutely allowed to discriminate. The wingnuts always gloss over this difference, as though there were a direct causal link between not allowing a florist to refuse to provide flowers for a gay wedding and frog-marching ministers out of the pulpit. But this is all intentional, I imagine. They know the difference, but it just doesn’t sell well. How do you keep listeners tuning in and money flowing? By scaring the hell out of people with lurid tales of impending persecution.

But here’s the thing: This is an entirely testable claim. Five years from June, Beck will be shown to be, to borrow a phrase from Christian apologetics, a liar or a lunatic.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • John Pieret

    Beck will be shown to be, to borrow a phrase from Christian apologetics, a liar or a lunatic.

    Or?

  • blf

    Apparently he sees no difference at all between a business that is open to the public, which means it is not allowed to discriminate, and a church, which is absolutely allowed to discriminate.

    Taxes. Don’t forget that a for-profit business has to pay taxes, whilst a for-prophet ancient mythology does not.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Gay Marriage = Half of Churches Disappear

    ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d…

  • vmanis1

    Is that what happened in Massachusetts?

  • brucegee1962

    Does anyone have any statistics on how many churches and ministers actually go on record as opposing gay marriage? My suspicion is that they’re probably considerably fewer than half. Most of the mainstream denominations (being run by folks who can read the newspapers) have already jumped the fence and said they’re ok with it.

  • dingojack

    “… 50% of our churches will fall away. Meaning the congregations, within five years, 50% of the congregants will fall away from their church. Because they won’t be able to take the persecution …”

    No Glen, half the congregants will ‘fall away’ because despite the great ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ by churches (and their ‘useful idiots’, like yourself) marriage equality won’t change anything. They’ll be no meteor-strikes, no famines, no financial crashes, they’ll be no change at all.

    The congregants will ‘fall away’ because they’ll start to realise that the churches lied to them, that the scare tactics were just the empty threats of a playground bully trying to get their lunch money. They’ll ‘fall away’ because your god will be revealed as a little man with microphone standing behind the green curtain, and nothing more.

    Dingo

    ———

    Within five years, 50% of the people that you sit next to in church will not be there…”

    The top half or the bottom half?

    “… I’ve got people are picketing at my house …”

    Projection, or the complete lack of understanding that, unlike fundies, the rest of us actually have a life to getting on with?

  • John Pieret

    so now they can go after the churches, like the president’s lawyer says

    This is a meme we’re going to be seeing a lot of in the future, I suspect. I’ve seen it said that, in the argument by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. that he said that states could force clergy to perform SSMs. That’s not true. That question was asked of the main attorney for the appellants, Mary L. Bonauto, by Justice Scalia and she, with an assist by Justice Ginsberg, answered “No.” Although it wasn’t raised in the oral arguments, there is the “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws on hiring and the same logic would apply to anyone who brought a discrimination claim against clergy for not performing a SSM.

    Verrilli was asked by Justice Roberts:

    We have a concession from your friend that clergy will not be required to perform same-sex marriage, but there are going to be harder questions. Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?

    Verrilli’s answer was rather convoluted and not very clear but basically he said 1) the Court would only be answering what the states have to do under the 14th Amendment, not individuals; 2) the issue would depend on the civil rights laws of the states (or local governments) [which is where the supporters of SSM bans and the bigots that support them want that decision made and, in any event, where the “ministerial exception” would still apply]; 3) the Federal government has no anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation (and, given our present congress, isn’t likely to have any in the foreseeable future); 4) such questions are going to arise even if states are allowed to ban SSM (as in the Houston anti-discrimination law flap in Texas, that still doesn’t allow SSM).

    Asked by Justice Alito:

    Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?

    Verrilli said it could be an issue but would depend on what the particular circumstance were.

    The answer to Justice Roberts’ question is, assuming there is a state or local law forbidding discrimination in hiring based on sexual orientation and assuming that housing is part of the compensation for the job, does the job involve the “ministry” of the school (which can include duties constituting as little a 45 minutes a day of the person’s work)? If it is, then the school is protected. If housing is given to, say, a landscaper or a cook who has no interaction with students, then the school might be in violation of the statute. Of course, many such anti-discrimination laws specifically exempt religious organizations entirely.

    So if you see anyone saying that the Obama administration has “declared war” on churches based on the oral arguments, put them down as low-information morons … like Beck.

  • dingojack

    Well I suppose for people like Mr Bek, ‘The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’!*

    Their real fear, once their power is broken, is not persecution, but irrelevance.

    The end of the world for fundies is in sight, but it ends ‘… not will a bang, but a whimper’.

    Dingo

    ———

    * A highly apposite quote, as it happens… 😉

  • raven

    Mediamatters. org Beck Claim: “Out Of Control” Progressives Will Take To The Streets As “Revolutionaries” In Fall 2010.

    Appearing on Fox & Friends, Beck commented on a video of Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) criticizing someone who accused him of lying about health care reform and predicted “1960s protests on the streets” before the 2010 midterm elections and “revolutionaries on the street” after the elections.

    Beck has been making wild and wildly wrong predictions for many years. It’s in the dozens at least.

    In 2010 he predicted that revolutionaries would be marching in the streets. He also predicted Shariah law would be instituted in 2010 in the USA.

    They never happen.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Is that what happened in Massachusetts?

    It’s what happened in Canada, Marcus. Thanks to gay marriage, Canada is a veritable wasteland of abandoned, boarded-up churches that squatters keep setting fire to. Not to mention the endless riots sparked by gay marriage, just like in Baltimore.

  • whheydt

    Sigh… IF only he’s right…about the result, since he’s full of it about the cause, as so many in this thread have pointed out.

    Locally, some 11 miles from the epicenter of last Summers Napa earthquake, a couple of churches near where I live were moderately damaged. One lost part of an architectural parapet and the rest had to be removed before they could use the building (one can still see a somewhat ragged edge at the top) and the other had part of the side brick wall peel away, revealing the timbers underneath. That has been repaired (with, presumably, reinforcing for quake resistance) and the rest of the building appears to be getting remediation work on the rest of their brickwork. A bit more shaking and both churches might have collapsed.

    What I fond odd about the parapet is that California has had laws requiring remediation of such things for *decades* and it wasn’t done to that church. One wonders if the local code enforcement people gave them a pass because it’s a church, while ignoring the potential effects of dropping whole bunches of bricks 30 feet or so onto a sidewalk. (Churches can be dangerous to life and limb in more ways than one might suppose…)

  • Deacon Duncan

    Ironically, there’s some chance of Beck’s prediction coming true, but only if the court rules against gay marriage. The church’s persecution of gays is having a terribly negative effect on their perception among the younger folk, and religiously-motivated discrimination against gays may indeed rob the American church of 50% of its prospective members—the younger half.

  • dingojack

    Well Ed – Mr Bek would have taken the cake but –

    well, you know.

    😉 Dingo

  • http://www.facebook.com/KacyRay kacyray

    Speaking of 5 years after the fact… Have you seen this?

    ACCOUNTABILITY AND DADT

    A Framework for Assessing Predictions of Disruption

    Caused by Openly Gay Military Service

    Written in 2011, it documents many of the more prominent “predictions” of impending doom made regarding the repeal of DADT. Considering we’re at the 5 year mark of repeal, it’s interesting to go through and see exactly how wrong all of these notable folks were.

    Of course, most of the dire predictions have gone down the collective memory hole, so it is helpful they these were documented and collected in one place.

    Will these folks ever be taken to task for their errors by those who respect and admire them? Not likely.

    Neither will Beck.

  • raven

    Speaking of 5 years after the fact… Have you seen this?

    ACCOUNTABILITY AND DADT

    A Framework for Assessing Predictions of Disruption

    Caused by Openly Gay Military Service

    No, but good find.

    1. I had real trouble finding a list of Glenn Beck’s dozens of failed prophecies. He is so obscure and wacko that no one really pays attention or cares. Except his mysterious followers who have made him a net fortune of over $100 million.

    2. The all time champion of failed apocalyptic predictions, except for jesus coming back, is going to be SSM in the USA. It’s a few per day right now.

    3. None of them will happen. No one is apparently keeping track either. We are so used to fundie xians babbling like loons that no one does more than laughs at them and moves on.

    4. They won’t disappear because the internet doesn’t forget. But they will quickly drop out of our consciousness as they rattle on about their next imaginary apocalypse. It will be the Moslems and atheists.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    vmanis1, well half the Catholic churches have closed, but the reason has more to do with there being way too many to start with and not having priests to celebrate mass and having to sell off land to pay up on te sex abuse claims.

  • matty1

    While this is wild nonsense he may be right in a way that the number of churches that publicly oppose same sex marriage is going to drop. It won’t be a quick process but just like on interracial marriage many will eventually follow public opinion* in order to keep bums on seats. The remainder will hold out, perhaps indefinitely but with every passing year fewer and fewer people will want anything to do with them.

    *Or discover that they have always been on the side of freedom and it must have been those nasty liberals causing trouble

  • http://essaressellwye.tumblr.com Hershele Ostropoler

    I have a feeling that if future generations are less religious (or less involved with organized religion), it won’t be from not being able to take the persecution. It doesn’t, historically, seem to work like that; if anything, it’s the opposite.

    The fact that he conflates religious institutions and businesses is telling.

  • anubisprime

    Out of all of the nonsense and bullshite spouted by Beck….this one and only this one actually sounds like a genuine benefit to society…

    I hope he is right…although the prig will be absolutely insufferable beyond his present level if he is!

  • colnago80

    OT but a little trembling in Grand Rapids. Maybe god is sending Brayton a message.

    http://goo.gl/Pn72ML

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Well damn, what a dilemma. I am hetero and have no sexual nor romantic interest in other men, but if it would mean wiping out half the churches, perhaps I would consider having a gay marriage…

  • dugglebogey

    If that’s true, can we legalize gay marriage twice?

  • sugarfrosted

    @22, That’s would make 75% of them disappear. We have to do better than that. I propose legalizing gay marriage 25 times that would assuredly get rid of all of them.

  • robertfoster

    Half of the churches gone? For once, I hope Beck is right.

  • Leo T.

    @1:

    Beck will be shown to be, to borrow a phrase from Christian apologetics, a liar or a lunatic.

    Or?

    I’m still stuck on the “will be” there.

  • Matt G

    He says it like it’s a bad thing….

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Your church employed child-rapists! Knowingly! While concealing it from you! And while assigning the child-rapists to positions with access to children!

    Parisioner: Meh. So we’re a collective of child rapists & child-rapist assistants. Who cares, I’ve got Jesus’ love.

    Your church doesn’t sufficiently support the private celebrations of queers!

    Parisioner: ZOMG!! This institution’s reputation has become too intolerable for me to continue my association!

    Beck: you’re a genius.