Ryan Anderson has quickly become my favorite advocate for the traditional, natural (and moral) law concept of marriage. His ability to articulate common sense points persuasively and with confidence cuts through a lot of rhetorical nonsense.
Anderson was at the Supreme Court yesterday, where oral arguments were heard in an attempt to determine whether there is a constitutional “right” to same-sex “marriage.” While there, he heard something upsetting, but not altogether surprising:
Is the Obama administration about to wage war on religious schools?
One of the more startling portions of oral arguments today at the Supreme Court was the willingness of the Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, to admit that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined.
Justice Samuel Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose their non-profit tax status.
The solicitor general answered: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”
This should not be an issue. Citizens and organizations that continue to believe the truth about marriage should not be penalized by the government.
Even if the Court says that all 50 states have to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage, there is no reason why the government should coerce or penalize institutions of civil society that simply ask to be free—without penalty—to continue to operate in accordance with the belief that marriage is a union of husband and wife.
Welcome to the new normal, America. This is coming. In fact, I don’t see any way for it to be avoided barring some sort of miraculous intervention or cataclysmic event that resets our current societal trajectory.
And it won’t just be schools. It’ll be churches. I’ve been saying for years now that the Catholic Church needs to be willing to give up its tax-exempt status so that it doesn’t feel constrained about preaching the truth, but perhaps that choice will soon be made for us. (Then again, the way most of our bishops are running things, I wouldn’t be surprised to see many dioceses sign a deal with the devil and mandate that their priests stop talking about politically-incorrect moral teachings so that the donations keep coming.)
Of course, publications like ours will be hit too. We’re a 501(c)(3), which makes your charitable contributions to us tax-deductible. This is how we’ve managed to bring in enough revenue to keep going. But I fully expect to lose that status, whether because of what we actually say in these pages or because of some pretense.
And if it comes to that, I’ll find a way to change the business model. I’m already looking into it. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
We’ve seen the IRS targeting conservative groups, we’ve seen the lawsuits against Christian businesses that won’t participate in “gay weddings,” we’ve seen the 1st Amendment violations in the Affordable Care Act and through other government programs and procedures.
It’s time to accept the fact that even if, on paper, it looks like we’re in the majority, we don’t have the power. We live in a society that is actively hostile to our beliefs. A society where a tiny minority has managed to convince enough people with power and money and influence that their rights override yours that they will get their way, through whatever coercive measures are necessary.
It’s worth remembering, for all the good the truth of it will do for us, that those who are demanding everyone accept “gay marriage” are currently scouring the Constitution, looking for an implied “right” that trumps an already explicit one.
They did it forty years ago with abortion, creating one of the most implausible arguments in human history in order to “prove” that a right to abortion existed in an amendment (the 14th) that no sane person could possibly agree with.
Don’t kid yourself by thinking they won’t do it again today.
The America we grew up in is gone. This is why we can’t have nice things – like rights, liberty, and tax-exempt status.
I’m not going to let it take the fight out of me. Are you?
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.