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Churches Fear Lawsuits for Refusing Gay Weddings
Townhall.com ^ | July 15, 2013 | Todd Starnes

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.

“It’s just a matter of time,” said Carr, the pastor of Waynesville Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. “What’s happening in Europe – we’re going to see happen here and we’re going to see it happen sooner rather than later I’m afraid.”

And that’s 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. “It’s 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 isn’t 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 we’re 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 it’s 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.

“It’s 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 that’s 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 city’s 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.

Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., is facing thousands of dollars in fines and penalties for allegedly violating the state’s 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 don’t believe they are going to pass any legislation protecting pastors.”

Carr said he does not advocate, promote or endorse violence against anyone, “but I’m not going to back away from preaching with the Bible teaches.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: freedomofreligion; gay; gaymarriage; homosexualagenda; lawsuits; liberty; pastors; preachers; religion; samesexmarriage

1 posted on 07/16/2013 4:58:18 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

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.
Freegards
LEX


2 posted on 07/16/2013 5:04:20 AM PDT by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: Kaslin

“... nor to prohibit the free exercise thereof.”


3 posted on 07/16/2013 5:04:52 AM PDT by eCSMaster (Palin was right (again)!)
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To: Kaslin
Simple solution.Houses of worship that want no part of pervert "weddings" should formally and officially relinquish the authority their clergy have to perform marriages *recognized by the state*.So,when a normal couple comes to such a church they're told,"yes,we'll join you in holy matrimony,as recognized in the eyes of God,but the ceremony will not be *legally* recognized.For that you must go to a justice of the peace".Of course,after having relinquished their *legal* powers they'll tell pervert "couples"..."go to hell".And there won't be a damn thing the perverts can do.

Problem solved

4 posted on 07/16/2013 5:15:08 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (The Civil Servants Are No Longer Servants...Or Civil.)
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To: Kaslin

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


5 posted on 07/16/2013 5:19:02 AM PDT by bray (Coming soon: The Republic of Texas 2022)
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To: Kaslin

re: ““It’s 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.


6 posted on 07/16/2013 5:32:46 AM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: Kaslin

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.


7 posted on 07/16/2013 5:36:53 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: rusty schucklefurd

Why don’t the gays just start their own churches? Seems like an easy solution.


8 posted on 07/16/2013 5:37:07 AM PDT by Cyclone59 (I wish people would get their heads out of their butts and their noses out of everyones business)
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To: Cyclone59

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.


9 posted on 07/16/2013 5:39:53 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Gay State Conservative

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.


10 posted on 07/16/2013 5:41:46 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Kaslin

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...


11 posted on 07/16/2013 5:44:34 AM PDT by Clay Moore ("In politics, stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte)
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To: Cyclone59
Why don’t the gays just start their own churches?

The Church of the Holy Syphilis Chancre.Sounds good to me.

12 posted on 07/16/2013 5:54:20 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (The Civil Servants Are No Longer Servants...Or Civil.)
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To: Gay State Conservative

The “Church of AnusPenis” sounds “good”.


13 posted on 07/16/2013 5:55:22 AM PDT by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: Gay State Conservative

The First Church of Highway to Hell.


14 posted on 07/16/2013 6:40:58 AM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: Kaslin

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.


15 posted on 07/16/2013 7:13:52 AM PDT by Finatic (I ran out of change and have given up on hope. FUBO, I am so sick of your sorry a$$ you effin punk)
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To: Kaslin

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.


16 posted on 07/16/2013 11:08:42 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: Kaslin
Some good model Bylaws for Lutheran congregations.
17 posted on 07/16/2013 6:31:10 PM PDT by lightman (Prosecute the heresies; pity the heretics.)
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To: Cyclone59
Why don’t the gays just start their own churches? Seems like an easy solution.

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
• Episopal Church.

18 posted on 07/16/2013 6:35:04 PM PDT by lightman (Prosecute the heresies; pity the heretics.)
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To: fwdude

Why do I think this will not happen to the mosques?


19 posted on 07/17/2013 4:28:32 PM PDT by ReformationFan
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