Don’t expect religious exemptions from gay laws

Some Christians have said that the way to accommodate the new pro-gay laws is to accept them, but build in religious exemptions.  That is not going to be acceptable in the gay rights juggernaut.

Indiana has passed a religious freedom law, allowing individuals to claim an exemption in the courts when government action “substantially burdens” their religious beliefs.  Now thousands are protesting and boycotting the state, claiming that the law will enable people who have religious objections to homosexuality to discriminate against gays.

Christians need to realize that gays want to be accepted exactly on a par with heterosexuals, and they demand acceptance precisely from those who haven’t accepted them before.

I suspect that even among the general public anti-discrimination laws will trump religious freedom laws every time.  So will pastors who refuse to conduct gay weddings be charged with illegal discrimination?  I can see that happening.  Can you? [Read more...]

The first New Class president

Sociologist Peter Berger discusses the Houston mayor subpoening sermons (which have been cancelled, by the way), the progression of punishment for those who do not agree with gay sex, and President Obama as the first president from the “new class”  (the elite social class that trades in information rather than tangible goods). [Read more...]

Religious freedom vs. human rights?

The rise of religion globally threatens human rights, according to British academic Stephen Hopgood in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.  After the jump, read his argument and consider the thoughts I raise. [Read more...]

The world’s worst violators of religious freedom

The worst countries for religious freedom are either Muslim or atheist.  (Burma is Buddhist.)  We understand about Islam, but atheists like to present themselves as tolerant.  What does it tell us that no countries of Christian heritage are on the list?  (After the jump: the 15 countries currently on the official list of the worst religious rights violators.) [Read more...]

The penalty if religious institutions won’t comply

So what will happen if religious and other pro-life institutions refuse to go along with the Obamacare contraceptive and abortifacient mandate?

Under President Obama’s healthcare law, the HHS can levy $100 per employee, per day against institutions that won’t comply with the mandate.

Therefore, religious employers with hundreds of employees could be fined millions of dollars each year. A 50-employee institution, for example, would face a penalty of $1,825,000 each year.

“ObamaCare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and soup kitchens right out of existence,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), sponsor of the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act.

Using the language that the Supreme Court recently decided covered the penalties in ObamaCare, Sensenbrenner cites a February report by the Congressional Research Service that adds up the noncompliance tax to $36,500 annually per employee. Any group health plan and health insurance issuer subject to insurance market reforms in Title I of the Affordable Care Act that objects to coverage requirements based on religious and moral convictions does not qualify for an exemption.

via PJ Media » ‘ObamaCare Catch-22′: Crushing Fines for Religious Entities in Mandate.

Danish law mandates church weddings for gays

Denmark has passed a law requiring the state Lutheran church to hold church weddings for gay couples.  It allows pastors who don’t believe in gay marriage–from one-third to one-half of the clergy–to opt out, but bishops must provide a replacement pastor to preside over the wedding.

It isn’t clear to me from the news stories how this will affect other church bodies than the state church.  Reuters says, “The new law permits homosexual marriages in the Evangelical Lutheran Church as well as churches of other faiths, depending on those churches’ own rules.”  So are Roman Catholics, who have “rules” against this sort of thing, excused?  Or must they allow gays to use their facilities for church weddings, though they are not obliged to perform the ceremony?

Still, this shows that the assurance that churches won’t be forced to perform gay weddings, should gay marriage be legalized, may well last only as long as the government wants it to. 

Is it realistic to think that once gay marriage becomes the law that churches who don’t go along won’t eventually be targeted as discriminatory and forced to go along?  Or is this simply the jeopardy of a state church, with American traditions of religious freedom able to resist that kind of legal mandate?

New Danish law lets homosexuals wed in church | Reuters.


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