We get numerous questions about same-sex “marriage” (the quotes indicate this isn’t marriage at all, but is an attempt redefine the term – sort of like square circles). Answers to many of them can be found in the FAQ document on the Church Project resource page here, under Sermon Tools.
The most frequent question we receive is, “How will same sex ‘marriage’ effect the religious freedom of churches?” Recent legal developments provide the best answer.
First, a federal court in California ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that the teachings of Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics indicating homosexual behavior is sinful are “harmful” to those engaging in this conduct. The court went on to hold a California law preserving marriage as between a man and a woman violates the federal constitution. A court ruling a church’s doctrine is harmful is just one step away from saying it’s illegal. That case is on appeal and you can read more about the judge’s ruling in my 8/9/10 post.
Second, a church camp meeting association in Ocean Grove, New Jersey was sued because they refused to allow a same-sex wedding ceremony to take place in one of its facilities. This is just one example of attempts by the pro-homosexual lobby to impose its view of marriage directly on religious organizations and people, and it won’t be the last. You can learn more about other attacks on religious freedom by same-sex “marriage” proponents and what ADF is doing about it on ADF’s main website.
Lastly, legislation now pending in Congress would expand Title VII to include sexual orientation in the list of characteristics protected from employment discrimination. That bill is often referred to as ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act). If passed, this would have little effect on church employees because there is a broad exception to Title VII that allows churches to only hire employees that agree with their religious beliefs. But unless they’re closely tied to the church or are blatantly religious, parachurch organizations may not be able to take advantage of this exception. So soup kitchens, day cares, and other ministries for the needy may find themselves being forced to hire employees that engage in homosexual conduct, and provide benefits to their partners.
These are just a few of the examples demonstrating that same-sex “marriage” will have a profound effect on churches if we don’t fight very hard to preserve religious freedom. Contact us here at the ADF Church Project to learn more about how to adopt policies and bylaws that will protect your ministry from this coming onslaught.
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