[Ed. – Inevitable.]
[C]onservative columnist Matt Lewis propounded the following, provocative scenario in the Daily Caller on Tuesday.
“If you were a congregant in a church, wouldn’t you expect the pastor to marry you? Why should you be treated different? Any pastor — if he or she wants to maintain the church’s tax status, that is — had better grapple with this now.”
I suspect Lewis and I see the debate over the religious liberty defense from different perspectives. If you’re going to reduce the argument for gay rights down to a catchphrase, and you choose “leave us alone” instead of “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” you probably aren’t terribly happy about the reaction to SB 1062. And Lewis seems unwilling to grapple with the sweeping nature of some of these measures.
But I think he’s probably right about where the gay rights fight is ultimately headed.
It would be an infringement upon religious liberty to shutter a church that refused to marry interracial couples. But how many conservatives would go to bat for that church if the government rescinded its tax exemption? Would they argue that religious freedom entails the freedom to discriminate in otherwise unlawful ways and pay no taxes? I kind of doubt it. The same logic obviously extends to same-sex couples. And yet, if the past week proved anything it’s that many, many conservatives believe that not only is it morally acceptable for a church to refuse to marry same-sex couples, but that the only way to uphold that church’s religious freedom is to make sure it keeps its privileged tax status as well.
I think that’s absurd and inconsistent.