Cue this nonsense.
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, here come conservative Florida legislators to propose a “Pastor Protection Act.” They say it’s needed to reassure nervous religious communities that they won’t be forced to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their principles.
State Rep. Scott Plakon, a Republican from Longwood, near Orlando, is collaborating with the Rev. Chris Walker, pastor of the Cathedral of Power International Church and the author of an online petition that has gathered more than 22,000 signatures.
And today, another Christian group is holding a news conference in Miami to urge Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders to pass a measure meant to protect the tax-exempt status of churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The Christian Family Coalition said in a news release that it wants a “Clergy and Religious Institutions Tax-Exempt Protection Act.”
Rev. Walker says in his petition that he seeks a law similar to those in Texas and Oklahoma stating “that no licensed, ordained or authorized official of a religious organization can be required to solemnize or recognize a marriage that violates that official’s conscience or religious belief.”
But all this is already protected by a little something known as the First Amendment.
It’s important to keep in mind that what the Supreme Court ruled on was civil marriage — not the religious marriage rite held in churches and synagogues, and presided over by clergy. The two, though often imagined as being intertwined and inseparable, are very different things.
One is a contract between individuals that holds implications for property, taxes, health benefits and many other worldly concerns. The other has to do with the union of souls and the sanction of God, however the deity is recognized by a specific religion. The distinction is perhaps clearer with divorce. We are all familiar with churches, or rabbinical councils, that won’t recognize a civil divorce for religious reasons.
The court’s ruling was about civil rights. That is, civil marriage. As Justice Anthony Kennedy framed the issue, in writing the 5-4 majority opinion in the gay-marriage case, the plaintiffs were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” Nothing in the decision intrudes upon the traditions of a church, synagogue, temple or mosque.
The opinion expressly states that “it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures [it].”Did we all get that? Good. Now if these turds really want to know what it is to be oppressed they should try being atheists.