Skip to comments.Churches Fear Lawsuits for Refusing Gay Weddings
Posted on 07/16/2013 4:58:18 AM PDT by Kaslin
Joe Carr believes a day is fast approaching when pastors will be charged with hate crimes for preaching that homosexuality is a sin and churches will face lawsuits for refusing to host same-sex weddings.
Its just a matter of time, said Carr, the pastor of Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. Whats happening in Europe were going to see happen here and were going to see it happen sooner rather than later Im afraid.
And thats why the congregation will be voting next month to change their church bylaws to officially ban the usage of their facilities for gay marriages.
We needed to have a clear statement, Carr told Fox News. Its to protect us from being forced to allow someone to use our facilities who does not what we believe the Bible teaches.
These facilities may only be used for weddings that adhere to the Biblical definition of marriage and are solely reserved for use by members and their immediate family members, the amended bylaws read. These facilities may not be used by any individual, group, or organization that advocate, endorse, or promote homosexuality as an alternative or acceptable lifestyle. This policy also applies to birthday parties, reunions, anniversaries, wedding or baby showers, etc.
The church also included a passage to protect their pastor noting that he is not obligated to perform any wedding ceremony that would cause him to violate his conscience or conviction.
Under no circumstances is the pastor to officiate, participate, or endorse any wedding ceremony that violates the belief and teaching of this church body in accordance with the Bible, the statement read.
Even though Waynesville is a small community, Pastor Carr said he fears they could be taken advantage of by gay rights activists trying to intimidate us.
And Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church isnt alone in their fears. Hundreds of churches around the nation are considering similar changes to their constitutions and bylaws as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty legal organization, has already provided churches with sample bylaws that define marriage.
I think were in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality, attorney Erik Stanley told Baptist Press. This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur.
Greg Erwin, an attorney who represents the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said its hard to speculate on what impact the Supreme Court ruling could have.
It would seem that the law now is that churches do not have to perform marriages that violate its beliefs, he told The Baptist Message newspaper. However, if a church rents out its facilities for weddings to anyone but same-sex couples, then a court could find that the church is discriminating in violation of law by only refusing to rent to homosexuals.
Many Louisiana pastors said the changes are sad, but necessary.
Its a shame that we have to vote on something like this, said Paul Dabdoub, pastor of Ridge Memorial Baptist Church. But for protection, it is a must.
But Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told Fox News thats not necessarily true.
The U.S. Constitution already guarantees the right of churches to decide which sacraments they wish to perform and whom they want to include in these rituals, including weddings, Lynn said. So these additions to church constitutions are unnecessary.
Attorney Stanley said the legalization of gay marriage will have an impact on religious liberty.
Religiously liberty is on the chopping block any time same-sex marriage is legalized or normalized in the culture, he told Baptist Press.
Last week, American evangelist Tony Miano was arrested and interrogated in London after he delivered a sidewalk sermon preaching that homosexuality is a sin. He was charged with using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.
American pastor Scott Lively was sued in a United States federal court for preaching in Uganda that homosexuality is a sin. Sexual Minorities Uganda accused him of inciting the persecution of homosexuals during a 2009 mission trip to the country.
And a number of Christian-owned companies have come under legal attack for their opposition to homosexuality.
Hands On Originals, a Lexington, Ken. t-shirt company, was investigated by the citys Human Rights Commission after they refused to print shirts for a local gay rights group.
The state of Washington is suing a small flower shop after the owner declined to provide flowers for a gay wedding.
Arlenes Flowers in Richland, Wash., is facing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties for allegedly violating the states Consumer Protection Act.
Pastor Carr said he always thought such changes in the culture would occur way down the road.
But the shoes are dropping all over the country, he said. This is a religious liberty issue.
And he is especially troubled about what the future holds for evangelical Christian pastors.
I believe pastors will be charged with hate crimes and promoting violence against homosexuality by just preaching what the Bible teaches, he told Fox News. I dont believe they are going to pass any legislation protecting pastors.
Carr said he does not advocate, promote or endorse violence against anyone, but Im not going to back away from preaching with the Bible teaches.
The War on Christianity continues with this administration. Not only will they try to force thier agenda as this article implies. I suspect they will move to tax churches.
“... nor to prohibit the free exercise thereof.”
This is the real goal which will be the elimination of the Christian Church. The lawyers are lining up to sue them into oblivion.
Pray for America to Wake Up
re: “Its a shame that we have to vote on something like this, said Paul Dabdoub, pastor of Ridge Memorial Baptist Church. But for protection, it is a must.
I don’t see how this “protects” a church from a civil rights violation any more than if a pastor or the church just refuses to perform same-sex weddings. It amounts to the same thing.
It’s going to take this kind of courage to resist the creep of homosexuality. Remember that the civil rights movement began in Southern churches. And that’s where the Religious Rights movement will have to dig in too.
Why don’t the gays just start their own churches? Seems like an easy solution.
Because, obviously, that’s not the point, it’s not the goal.
The criminalization of Christianity is the goal.
It’s just like the left’s unwillingness to let conservative states be and not force them into the collective - it’s not about living in the collective, for them, but about destroying the individualism of those that don’t want to be part of the collective.
I don’t disagree with you, but my authority in Ohio is to “solemnize” marriages, as it reads on all the paperwork. My sense is that they’re saying their authority is what legalizes the union. They’re saying that mine is ceremonial and that my signature simply affirms the act has been completed. They see their license as the issue.
From my perspective, the critical element in American religion in our era is fighting, insisting, demanding that the effort by the state to recognize “freedom to worship” be recognized as the perversion it is. The constitution says “free exercise of RELIGION.” Our religion is far more than just our worship services.
Our religion touches every aspect of our lives, and that includes marriage.
Oddly enough, you can get a car a few inches in front of every single door of my church. Would be a shame if the doors were all blocked...
The Church of the Holy Syphilis Chancre.Sounds good to me.
The “Church of AnusPenis” sounds “good”.
The First Church of Highway to Hell.
I am keeping my eye on these situations. As a videographer i do the occasional wedding video but i certainly dont want to get involved with a gay wedding. I am happy to turn down their work but i dont want to face a discrimination lawsuit over it.
Churches will simply be declared to be “public accommodations,” and therefore subject to anti-discrimination laws. This is how the Gaystapo has done it in all other arenas.
They already have the almost exclusively gaysbian Metropolitan Community Church.
Their agenda has been embraced by the:
United Church of Christ
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Presbyterian Church USA
Why do I think this will not happen to the mosques?