Wednesday, April 30, 2014

But Not For Thee

I was wondering when this would happen.

In a novel legal attack on a state’s same-sex marriage ban, a liberal Protestant denomination on Monday filed a lawsuit arguing that North Carolina is unconstitutionally restricting religious freedom by barring clergy members from blessing gay and lesbian couples.

The lawsuit, filed in a Federal District Court by the United Church of Christ, is the first such case brought by a national religious denomination challenging a state’s marriage laws. The denomination, which claims nearly one million members nationwide, has supported same-sex marriage since 2005.

“We didn’t bring this lawsuit to make others conform to our beliefs, but to vindicate the right of all faiths to freely exercise their religious practices,” said Donald C. Clark Jr., general counsel of the United Church of Christ.

The denomination argues that a North Carolina law criminalizing the religious solemnization of weddings without a state-issued marriage license violates the First Amendment. Mr. Clark said that North Carolina allows clergy members to bless same-sex couples married in other states, but otherwise bars them from performing “religious blessings and marriage rites” for same-sex couples, and that “if they perform a religious blessing ceremony of a same-sex couple in their church, they are subject to prosecution and civil judgments.”

The United Church of Christ is joined in the case by a Lutheran priest, a rabbi, two Unitarian Universalist ministers, a Baptist pastor and several same-sex couples. They said the state’s marriage law “represents an unlawful government intervention into the internal structure and practices of plaintiffs’ religions.”

This has been one of the points about marriage equality that I’ve made here many times before: banning same-sex marriage violates the religious freedoms of a number of denominations, including the Quakers, who recognize and welcome all people and who perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.  (In the case of Quakers, it’s called “Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Marriage.”  Mazel tov.)  It’s about time someone took it seriously.

This did not sit well with the sniveling bigots.

But Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, which opposes same-sex marriage, derided the legal action as “the lawsuit of the week filed by those who want to impose same-sex marriage on North Carolina.”

“It’s both ironic and sad that an entire religious denomination and its clergy who purport holding to Christian teachings on marriage would look to the courts to justify their errant beliefs,” Ms. Fitzgerald said in a statement. “These individuals are simply revisionists that distort the teaching of Scripture to justify sexual revolution, not marital sanctity.”

“Revisionist”?  Seriously?  The United Church of Christ is the descendent of the original colonists who came here in the 17th century to escape religious persecution, as did the Quakers.  In other words, to get away from people like Ms. Fitzgerald.

And who the hell is she or anyone else to sit in judgment on what exactly are someone else’s Christian teachings?  She and her group are perfectly happy to dictate religious terms to the rest of the world, secular or not, but not let anyone else inform the world that not all Christians are homophobic dictators.

7 barks and woofs on “But Not For Thee

  1. And Tami probably hasn’t noticed she’s imposing her values on the people of NC. *sigh* Rightwingers….case studies from a psych textbook.

  2. Not an “entire religious denomination” at all, Tami. Among those joining the suit were members of other congregations and a Rabbi. For what it’s worth, the UCC is the only religious body I’d consider joining. Problem is one would have to believe in god, but their moral stance is consistently admirable.

      • Might check it out. I’m not one for holding hands as is now done in the Episcopal service and hugging your seatmate. So awkward and forced. But the idea of sitting quietly does appeal as long as we don’t have to embrace (“Friends”?) . . . .

  3. “Revisionist”? Seriously?

    Seriously. Recall that these volk have no sense of history: the US History courses they like best start with Columbus (a paragraph or two involving jewels and boats and Indians), hop over Spanish/French/Dutch colonization and Jamestown and go straight to Plymouth, skip everything after that until 1773-6 (Boston Tea Party / Declaration of Independence), then take a line or two at 1787 and proceed directly to 1861. There’s no sense of the depth in their secular studies, and that matches their “faith” which presents itself as Eternal and True without the challenge of explaining that their interpretation of The Book comes from misreading Elizabethan English thirty years ago. Nuance is lost on them, as is the depth of time involved (one more reason that Creation Science is so popular: when the last century is An Awful Long Time Ago, the idea of 5 billion years is totally alien). To them Orthodoxy is “new” simply because they haven’t encountered it before.

    There are times I think the US needs its own Peace of Westphalia – because all the blood and misery of the Wars of the Reformation are too long ago for them to know about.

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