At this point, the Christian right bigots have no choice but to resort to the most absurd predictions of impending doom to keep their followers from giving up on the fight against marriage equality and keep the money flowing in. Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman, tries to fire up the perpetually terrified:
The coercion by the government and radical leftists to force Americans to accept the homosexual lifestyle and its sexual immorality has exploded. If the High Court wrongly affirms same-sex “marriage,” the floodgates will be opened for lawsuits and legislation to label speech against homosexuality as a hate crime – and force participation in their events and ceremonies.
Such bullshit. It’s like he thinks the First Amendment just doesn’t exist, nor the decades of court rulings that would make such legislation void the minute it were passed. And why on earth does he think such legislation would pass at all? Who would vote for it? Even the major gay rights groups would be strongly opposed to it. If such legislation were ever even submitted, I and virtually everyone I know who is a gay rights activist would join Staver in opposing it and fighting against it. This is so disconnected from reality as to be utterly delusional.
John Zmirak, Contributing Senior Editor of The Stream, and an endorser of our Marriage Solidarity Pledge, recently commented on one line of questioning by the Supreme Court Justices, which not only coincides with the warning flags we’ve been raising, but, in fact, should cause every pastor and church leader in America to take note.
His headline warns… “If the Supreme Court Imposes Same Sex Marriage, You Could Lose Your Church. Obama’s Solicitor General admits that the feds will treat orthodox Christians like racists.”
“If the court imposes same-sex “marriage,” it will be exposing the churches attended by the majority of Americans to sustained legal attack. Does that sound like crazy alarmism? The Solicitor General of the United States agrees with me. Except that he is in favor of it.
“Justice Samuel Alito asked Solicitor General Donald Verrilli whether acceptance of same-sex marriage would subject orthodox Christian churches to the treatment once accorded Bob Jones University, which lost its tax-exempt status because its ban on interracial dating contradicted federal policy. Verrilli seemed a little taken aback, then answered yes, ‘it’s certainly going to be an issue.’
“In other words, if the Supreme Court votes against natural marriage, it will free up the feds to target organizations you might have heard of, such as the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention… Remember that the Obama administration has already tried to force these same churches to provide abortifacients to their employees. Attacking their tax-exempt status over biblical sexual ethics is peanuts next to that.”
John then takes this argument one step further. “If the court hands the Obama administration the bully stick it is requesting, it will be creating a two-tier system of churches in America” — those that ‘obey’ the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and ‘those that don’t.”
That leads to the logical creation of “registered” and “non-registered” churches, similar to restrictions used in communist countries for churches that toe the party line.
And yet more bullshit. There’s so much that is wrong here. First of all, Bob Jones University is not a church, it’s a college. That means that the ecclesiastic abstention doctrine in American law does not apply to it in the same way it does to churches, though it does still apply in some circumstances. Under no circumstances would, or should, the courts ever allow punishment of a Christian university for any expressive activities (stating their beliefs on anything in any way), but that case did not involve expression, it involved rules that governed conduct. In fact, the ruling in that case explicitly noted that it does not apply to churches:
“We deal here only with religious schools—not with churches or other purely religious institutions.”
Secondly, the decision in BJU was based upon a strict scrutiny analysis of the police, as all legal cases involving race are. Sexual orientation has never triggered even intermediate scrutiny; cases involving sexual orientation only get a rational basis review, the lowest standard of review. Unless the Supreme Court announces a new strict scrutiny standard when they rule on the marriage cases in June — and it’s extraordinarily unlikely that they would do so — the standard will never be strict scrutiny in such cases.
Lastly, BJU only lost its tax exemption. It wasn’t shut down, it wasn’t punished. The Supreme Court ruled, by an 8-1 margin, that if you refuse to comply with the anti-discrimination laws — which does not include sexual orientation at all — you don’t get to be tax-exempt. And that still has nothing to do with churches because BJU was not a church. Churches are explicitly exempted from those anti-discrimination laws.
This is all just paranoia, but very convenient paranoia. All they have left at this point is trying to scare people to death.