There may be a contest going on. We know that politicians say the darndest things, but are the wacko right wing religious fanatics going to beat them out:
For his part, The Reverend Franklin Graham, president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is using all the tools at his disposal to manage the Court’s decision, unfortunately for Graham and his cause. While some of the best legal minds in this country have applied their method, which involves arguing the case before the Court, Graham is employing a method that has never been known to work:
That would be hard to beat. But what we have now is wacko right wing religious fanatic Bryan Fischer:
Bryan Fischer is the former Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA). He hosts the talk radio program Focal Point onAmerican Family Radio and posts on the AFA-run blog Instant Analysis (formerly Rightly Concerned).
Fischer opposes abortion, national health care, gay adoption, and same-sex marriage. Fischer’s comments about homosexuality caused the AFA to be designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in November 2010. To avoid being classified as a hate group, the AFA has officially repudiated Fischer’s views on Muslims, Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, The Holocaust being caused by homosexuals, the outlawing of homosexuality and that LGBT parenting is slavery, and that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian.
We get all of that, but what has Bryan Fischer said that is really outlandish? It could be this:
Christian conservative Bryan Fischer is calling for civil disobedience if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on gay marriage.
The high court is expected to hand down a ruling next month in a case challenging bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.
“This has got to be a non-negotiable red line for us,” Fischer told his radio listeners on Wednesday. “It is absolutely imperative that that we categorically, unambiguously, and publicly declare that we will NEVER … accept the normalization of homosexual marriage, and will NEVER capitulate to any Nazi-esque order from any government at any level to violate either conscience or biblical principle on this matter.”
A particularly curious point from this is the phrase “Nazi-esque.” It’s almost humorous, because normalizing homosexual marriage would have been one of the last things the Nazis of old did. I’m not saying Fischer’s language is incongruous, just humorous. Fischer goes on to say:
“They can’t arrest us all. They can’t prosecute us all. They can’t lock us all up. They can’t shut down every Christian-run business. They can’t shut down every Christian-run school. They can’t shut down every Bible-believing church. They can’t shut down every Christian ministry.”
Fischer has talked about resisting, and now he’s talking about prosecution and shutting down churches. If you’re like me by now you are starting to wonder how all of this would play out. First of all, how would Fischer suggest we “resist?”
So two men get married. We should resist. How? We can approach the happy couple and announce, “No, no. You are not really married.” Are we going to get arrested? Certainly not. The First Amendment is not going to be abrogated by any legalization of homosexual marriage. Nobody is going to be arrested for telling people those two men are not married.
How about the churches? What have churches to do with homosexual marriage? What have churches always had to do with marriage? According to the law, nothing. The law does not recognize a religious marriage ceremony. Excluding what is termed “common law marriage,” people are married when they obtain and execute a marriage license from a government agency. This certificate is then presented by a married couple when they want to take advantage of any of the legal advantages of marriage. Those advantages would include filing joint tax returns, inheritance rights, custody of children. Nothing churches do affects this aspect of marriage.
About this time some explanation is in order.
What changes in the law are about, what the court decisions are all about is what public officials do. What people in this country have to do to have their marriage legally recognized is to petition the government, in all cases a local government agency. The federal government does not perform this service. People wanting to have their marriage recognized ask a favor of a local government agency. “Please issue us a marriage license.” It is state agencies refusing to accept certain petitions for marriage licenses that is at issue. Notice in all of this no church is involved.
I was unable to reconcile Fischer’s reference to Christian-run schools with the matter at hand, so I’m going to let that slide. How about Christian-run businesses? Here is where the law comes into play, and it is not about homosexual marriage.
There is a federal law from 1964 that prohibits business that are open to the public from excluding customers based on their religious and racial backgrounds and such. Some courts have extended this to discrimination based on sexual preference. Put bluntly, legalizing homosexual marriage would likely have no effect on similar court rulings in the future. A notable case in New Mexico involved a photography studio, open for business to the public, refusing to provide photo services for a homosexual wedding. The rejected customers sued and won. The legality of the homosexual marriage would not have affected this case. What the business said in essence was that homosexuality is a sin, and the company did not want to do business with homosexuals.
Some digression here. I have been in that business. I have been in the business of photographing weddings. It’s one of the scariest businesses on this planet. It’s only a notch down from open heart surgery. The risks and consequences of failure are legion.
- If you have an equipment malfunction, and the photos are ruined you can be sued. The cost of the wedding might have been multiple thousands of dollars, and you have spoiled it completely by denying the happy couple their only photos of the event.
- Once a bride posed incorrectly, the tiara was not at the correct angle. The photographer didn’t catch the mistake. The photographer did not even know there was a correct angle. There was a law suit.
- One couple later changed their minds and wanted a different wedding. The photographer was sued for the cost of re-staging the wedding (photographer won the suit).
I can imagine a photographer, in business for decades, being approached for the first time to photograph a homosexual wedding. He might feel as though he were peering into his open grave.
Wedding cakes are a matter. “We want a homosexual wedding cake.” “I can do that.” “We want our cake to have figures of two men on top of the cake.” “We have some figures, they are only of of a man and a woman. We don’t have any with two men.” “We insist you make us a cake and put figures of two men on the cake.” You can see there are possibilities the law of 1964 will be abused.
And do you know what? None of these cases result from the legalization of homosexual marriage. Regardless of whether homosexual marriage is legally recognized in a locality, these cases can still come up. Remember, all the local government does is to issue a license, a certificate. The business owner requested to photograph a homosexual wedding and the bakery requested to supply a cake never ask to see the license. That never enters into the business transaction. A business may be required to serve all customers regardless of whether homosexual marriage is recognized by the government.
Finally, “shut down every Christian ministry?” Really? The government will be shutting down churches? The First Amendment is now history? If the government ever got into shutting down churches it would have started with the People’s Temple.
Nah, I don’t think it’s likely the government is going to be shutting down any churches.
Back to Bryan Fischer. What is he thinking? Is he thinking? I’m thinking he is not thinking. I’m thinking his revulsion for homosexuality needs some outlet, and he is allowing his voice to vent his frustration absent any working of his brain.
And that’s just fine, because this sort of thing provides amusement for the rest of us and employment for me.
Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.