Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and several other Senate Republicans are sponsoring an absolutely pointless bill to create the ridiculous fear that the federal government might take away a church’s tax exemption of they don’t perform same-sex marriages.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would prevent the Obama administration from pressuring churches into recognizing gay marriage.
“It is concerning that we have people in this administration who think that religious liberties are just not that big of a deal,” Lee said in an interview with the Washington Examiner Tuesday.
Despite President Obama’s recent promise to respect religious freedom, Lee worries the White House may try to work around that promise by revoking the tax-exempt status of churches that recognize traditional marriage.
“We need not just statements, but we need legislation to protect religious liberty from this kind of potential threat,” he said in the interview.
You mean legislation like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which already guarantees this? RFRA isn’t even needed because we have two centuries of judicial precedent establishing the ministerial exception and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which absolutely forbid such actions by the federal government. There almost certainly isn’t a single federal judge on the bench that would rule to the contrary. Indeed, Lee admits that no one actually thinks that should be done:
“Nearly every member of Congress on both ends of the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle, will at least purport to be a strong supporter of religious liberty, and this should be an uncontroversial position to take,” Lee said. “I don’t think anyone believes that the federal government ought to be making religious doctrinal decisions on behalf of churches and other religious institutions.”
He’s right, no one believes that. Even the most radical gay rights advocate does not think that churches should be forced to perform same-sex marriages. Every single state that has recognized such marriages has explicitly exempted churches, as they are exempt from all anti-discrimination laws (the government can’t even prevent a church from refusing to perform an interracial marriage, much less a same-sex one). Which means what Lee is doing here is demagoguery, trying to make people afraid that something that is virtually inconceivable, that no one even wants to happen, is going to happen unless you support him.
But this is my favorite part:
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) explained the thinking behind the bill: “Religious freedom is a foundational principle to our great nation, and it’s something that Louisianians and folks across the country cherish — including the millions of Americans, like myself, who support traditional marriage.”
Yeah, David Vitter supports traditional marriage: One man, one woman, several hookers and an industrial-sized bag of diapers.