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Lose Your Church

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John Zmirak was on my radio program recently, and we talked about his column with the provocative title, If the Supreme Court Imposes Same Sex Marriage, You Could Lose Your Church.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but you can’t say everything in a title.

He makes the point that other Christian commentators are making. The upcoming decision by the Supreme Court could have dire consequences for more than just people who refuse to photograph or cater same sex weddings. Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute warns that any tax-exempt Christian organization could be under attack. This would include Christian colleges, Christian schools, churches and other faith-based organizations.

As I mentioned in a previous commentary, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli suggested this in the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case. Justice Samuel Alito asked him whether Christian colleges could lose their tax-exempt status in the same way that Bob Jones University lost theirs in the 1980s. Verrilli seemed a bit taken aback by the question, but then answered yes, “it’s certainly going to be an issue.”

Joe Carter in a recent column explains, “How the Federal Government May Put Christian Schools Out of Business.” Some Christian schools could try to exist without taking any form of federal money, but most would probably not survive.

John Zmirak makes a similar point about churches. The administration has already tried to force churches and Christian organizations to provide abortifacients for their employees. He says: “Attacking their tax-exempt status over biblical sexual ethics is peanuts next to that.”

He believes that many churches will likely cave in order to keep the doors open. That will make it worse for churches that don’t compromise. The government can point to other Catholic churches or Baptist churches that have accepted same-sex marriage to show that the churches that don’t are resisting the necessary change that must take place in the 21st century. The political and financial pressure will be intense.

In the end, churches may be forced to choose one of two options: cave or close. We might be surprised how many choose the former when the pressure gets too great.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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