In May of 2013, Kile Jones launched a nation-wide project called Interview an Atheist at Church Day where he matched atheists and preachers for video-recorded conversations in their churches. I had immediately signed up as a candidate, but he was not able to find a match for me. Since then, he has continued to do interviews of his own and to pair up several more atheists with pastors. Finally, several weeks ago, he introduced me to Dr. Scott Colglazier, the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and we had the interview last Sunday, June 28. (Thank you, Kile, and thank you, Dr. Colglazier.)
After the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert was livid. (You may recognize him as the same politician who recently passed a bill to erect a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol property.)
He made a Facebook post whining about the inevitable Christian persecution — as if gay weddings will now end by sacrificing a priest — when one commenter told him that the “Rights of minorities are not overruled by the whims of the majority.”
Well, that didn’t take long.
Following the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision today to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Capitol Grounds due to it violation the state Constitution, several Republicans put out a statement calling for those judges to be impeached (where have we heard that one before…?):
The long overdue celebration over the decision that makes gay marriage just marriage overshadowed an important piece of news for the secular movement. On June 25, the ACLU announced that it would no longer support the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — the federal law Hobby Lobby used to successfully challenge the contraception provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Debate over the granting of tax exemptions to religious institutions is not new, but there is most certainly a need to revisit it in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell.
The landmark victory for marriage equality has spurred fear on the Right that this is just the beginning, and they’re somewhat justified in their fears. While falling short of an official designation, the decision in this case sets a precedent that bodes well for the inclusion of the LGBTQI community as a protected class. Advocates will be the first to tell you that there’s still much work to be done in terms of preventing discrimination against members of the community in arenas like housing, employment, and healthcare. The battle has only begun, and already, religious leaders are clutching their pearls over the prospect that they will be compelled to treat members of the LGBTQI community as — GASP! — human beings.