In a blog posted on Christianity Today’s website, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway discusses the methods being used by gay rights activists to make their point. She argues that “obnoxious, bigoted mobs that won’t tolerate any disagreement don’t usually win supporters.” Her article goes on to say that the actions of gay rights activists are turning people away from their movement and helping to unite those who support traditional marriage, including groups that historically have not worked together.
I am not interested in discussing the main theme of her article, but you can read it in its entirety here.
My interest lies in a realted topic that Ms. Hemingway touches on in her blog post. She writes:
Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who drafts federal legislation related to sexual orientation, has publicly said that when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
Indeed, religious liberty almost always loses. A lesbian couple in Albuquerque successfully sued a Christian photographer because she declined to shoot their commitment ceremony. When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, Catholic organizations had no option but to shut down their adoption services.
The California Supreme Court ruled that doctors must provide reproductive services to lesbians despite religious objections. A Methodist camp in New Jersey lost its tax exemption after it told a lesbian couple they could have their commitment ceremony anywhere except in buildings that are used for religious services. The list goes on.
As a pastor, I have thought a great deal about this issue. If I do not feel that I can perform a wedding ceremony, based on religious convictions, will I / should I be in danger of losing my legal rights to perform weddings? Will churches be in danger of losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to allow gay weddings in their facilities? What rights will Christians and other religious groups have in determining how to address this issue based upon their own convictions?
When religious liberty and gay rights intersect, how do we determine which road to take?