SC Pastor Demands Right He Already Has

A minister in South Carolina wants Gov. Nikki Haley to sign an executive order allowing him to prohibit gay people from joining his church. Two problems with this: First, he can already do that. Second, if there were some kind of legal challenge to that right, a state executive order would be useless to stop it.

Darren Squires, pastor of the Socastee Original Freewill Baptist Church, said he currently welcomes LGBT people but makes clear that he does not support them, reported WMBF-TV.

But he sent a letter several weeks ago to Gov. Nikki Haley asking her to sign an executive order that would offer legal protection to pastors who wish to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

“It doesn’t matter if a man goes with a man, that’s his choice,” Squires said. “My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.”

Squires, whose Facebook page shows several photos of the pastor wearing Confederate flag attire, said the executive order would allow him to act on his religious beliefs without facing legal or social consequences.

“We’re trying to protect the church from being sued for standing what we believe,” he said.

You are already completely free to do that and that right is protected on multiple levels. Churches are already completely exempted from non-discrimination laws and the courts have long adopted the ministerial exception, or ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, to prevent the government from interfering with the right of churches to follow their own theology except in the most extreme cases (child abuse, for example).

But even if this executive order were signed, it would do nothing to protect you from a lawsuit. The suit could still be filed and it would then be dismissed, not because of that executive order but because of the First Amendment, the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine and a century of legal precedents, all adopted at the federal level.

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  • Alverant

    That’s not quite true. He also wanted protection from any SOCIAL consequences. Consequences like being told he’s a bigot or protesting his church. He didn’t explicitly give those examples, but those are some of the social consequences he wants to have the state protect him from. In other words, he wants special rights to deny other people their basic rights.

  • marcus

    I think that there is already a well-established right to be an asshole as long as you don’t actively seek to bring harm another person. He should know this as, I imagine, he’s probably been an asshole his entire life.

    The social consequences are, of course a different matter. No executive order will protect him from being called an asshole, case in point.

  • wreck

    “My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.”

    What, no shoving it down your throat? -10 wingnut points.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    If the Governor can’t protect him from homos, who can?

  • nemistenem

    People are easily confused about religious freedom rights, note all the hullaballoo concerning erecting crosses and religious symbology on public property that brings out people saying it will soon be illegal for churches to do the same (silly, really). I admittedly did not know churches are exempt from antidiscrimination laws completely but makes sense in hindsight. That is one of the reasons I appreciate this blog…

    I’d like to know what possible method this pastor or anyone can conjure where the gay actually makes him bow down and accept them, makes no sense whatsoever.

  • grumpyoldfart

    You are already completely free to do that and that right is protected on multiple levels.

    But now he is getting free publicity. Probably a full church next weekend and a nice little bit extra on the collection plate as well. Mission accomplished.

  • John Pieret

    nemistenem:

    I admittedly did not know churches are exempt from antidiscrimination laws completely

    Not quite. As far as their religious practices go they are all but completely exempt both by the 1st Amendment and by the various Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. In addition, many, if not most, anti-discrimination laws specifically exempt religious organizations from coverage under the laws. But religious organizations that also have secular businesses (the Roman Catholic Church owns much real estate in NYC that is not put to church use and includes such things as apartment houses and office buildings) can still be required to run such businesses in a non-discriminatory fashion. Schools may also fall under anti-discrimination statutes. Bob Jones University (sic) famously lost its tax exemption for several years because of its refusal to enroll black students and, later, its refusal to allow interracial dating.

  • John Pieret

    grumpyoldfart:

    From the comments to the original TV news story:

    http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/29577037/local-pastor-asks-governor-to-protect-his-religious-freedom

    The local people seem to think that’s just what this is about ,,, publicity.

  • raven

    Dumb xians can never keep their stories straight. Xian evolves by the hour sometimes.

    1. According to them all rights are granted by god. Who seems to have discovered democracy, voting, freedom from slavery, and the miniimum wage rather late in his life.

    2. So now Pastor Bigot wants Nikki Haley to…grant him his rights. She isn’t god!!! She isn’t even a…man!!!

    Might as well ask my cat.

  • busterggi

    It’s like Jesus said,” Hate the sin but hate the sinner more.”

  • Larry

    Give him a couple goofy companions, and a little dog and send him off down the yellow brick road to the city of Oz where a great and powerful wizard will grant him his rights written on a piece of parchment paper. Or so says the Fabulous Glenn da Good Fairy.

  • LightningRose

    “My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.”

    Well, at least they’re not cramming it down his throat.

  • moarscienceplz

    My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.

    I know, right! As a single person, I am always having to bow down to all these married people and I’ll tell you, my back is just killing me! Now I’m going to have to bow to same sex couples too? It’s too much, dahling! Too much!

  • Michael Heath

    They just can’t help but have homoerotic fantasies:

    “My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.”

  • Trebuchet

    Unless it’s a very small congregation, odds are he’s got a gay member or two already.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Trebuchet “Unless it’s a very small congregation, odds are he’s got a gay member or two already.”

    One might sneak through, but if paired up, he’d have already caught them and kicked them out. They generally aren’t too hard to spot, on account of all that homogay mansex.

  • Scientismist

    The good pastor (who welcomes LGBT people) doesn’t want (or need) the governor to affirm his right to detest them. He wants a governmental affirmation that his religious opinion in this particular matter is valid and proper; to have it officially “established” if you will. You will note that he doesn’t ask for protection from the social consequences of any other bigoted opinions he might hold (as might be suggested by his Confederate flag attire).

    If there happens to be a lesbian couple in the local community that provides a home for adopted handicapped orphans, this abominable parody of a family is, of course, welcome to worship at the Socastee Original Freewill Baptist Church; but they must fully understand that the pastor has a signed affidavit from the Governor affirming that he not only has the right, but is right to refuse to “bow down and accept them.”

    The scripture reading for the day:

    “So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.”

    The Ancient Booer was only expressing an opinion, and taking her chances on the reaction of the crowd; but maybe we can get an official charter from the governor affirming that it is right and proper to publicly inform the Reverend Squires that he is a self-righteous asshole?

  • Bruce

    I want all governors to order that churches can exclude divorced people, and I want it to be retroactive to the 1970’s. That way, we could have shunned Ronald Reagan and kept him from daring to run for President. Yay, Biblical tradition.

    And then, I want the Governor of Connecticut to order the repeal of President Thomas Jefferson’s unofficial letter to the Baptists of Danbury, CT, in 1802. By this preacher’s crazy logic, that will erase all Baptist churches, so he won’t have any more problems then.

    My message to the preacher is that if he doesn’t like his religious freedom, he should catch up on a lifetime of tithes due to the one legally official Anglican Church that ran his state until we got freedom of religion. With interest.

  • whheydt

    Re: Scienismist @ #17….

    Actually he *does* want the governor to make an executive order that protects him from social consequences. How he figures that *any* governmental statement of any sort can do that, *i* don’t know.

  • jnorris

    Given his fabulous fashion instincts, how can The Gheys ever stay away?

  • http://www.facebook.com/whumenansky williamhumenansky

    Seems to me that the gays would bend them over rather than make them bow. Citation needed?

  • Scientismist

    whheydt @ 19 —

    Yes, you are right: social consequences. The national moral consensus may evolve, but he won’t. It’s not his religious “rights” that he wants/needs to have affirmed; it’s his privileged “righteousness.” He knows he has a Constitutional right to condemn anyone in the name of his religious morality; he just wants a piece of paper from the governor that he can wave around to prove that because he’s “religious,” the state must recognize his “right” to condemn people as a recognized moral authority. How could anyone dare to disagree with him and call him immoral with that in hand? If Gov. Haley doesn’t know better than to buy into such nonsense, she’ll deserve to share the social (and, one might hope, political) consequences.

  • whheydt

    Re: Scientismist @ #22…

    Easily…a secular government doesn’t dictate “morality”. It doesn’t matter what piece of paper he has, an increasing fraction of the population over time will consider his stance immoral and bigoted. I’m not sure he realizes that, though.

    Given recent events with regard to the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, I suspect that Gov. Haley isn’t falling for it.

  • StevoR

    Darren Squires, pastor of the Socastee Original Freewill Baptist Church, said he currently welcomes LGBT people but makes clear that he does not support them, reported WMBF-TV.

    Well ain’t that nice he welcomes peopel but .. just like he’s not racist but .. He won’t support them – and wants tahtclearly known – how fabulously welcoming!

    But he sent a letter several weeks ago to Gov. Nikki Haley asking her to sign an executive order that would offer legal protection to pastors who wish to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

    And how welcoming ..

    Squires, whose Facebook page shows several photos of the pastor wearing Confederate flag attire,

    .. And, again, gee that sure makes a whole other group of folks feel nice and welcome don’t it?

    What a chyaarrmer. (Eyeroll.)

    Good thing he wants to “welcome” people to his religion and is willing to, um, not exactly accept them let alone bow to them. hate to see what he’d do and say if he wanted folks to feel unwelcome wouldn’t ya?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    “It doesn’t matter if a man goes with a man, that’s his choice,” Squires said. “My problem is they’re going to try and make us, who do not believe in that, have to bow down and accept them.”

    The second sentence really doesn’t square with the first. If it doesn’t matter and it’s a matter of choice, what exactly remains for him not to accept?

  • whheydt

    Re: sigurd jorsalfar @ #25…

    He may be trying to say that he won’t perform same-sex wedding ceremonies and is afraid that gays are going to push that issue. He’s wrong, of course. There may be general social pressure, but that’s the extent of it unless he’s part of a denomination that supports same-sex marriage and he’s an outlier on the subject.

    All in all, coherence doesn’t appear to be something he’s good at.