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Thread: So, What Will the Church Do?

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    So, What Will the Church Do?

    OK, please understand, this is NOT a political post. I want this thread to stay on the general message forum because it is intended to involve a question about how the church will deal with something. It is not about the pros and cons of same-sex marriage, except in the sense that the Church of the Nazarene holds to the sanctity of marriage and defines it as being between one man and one woman for as long as they are both alive.

    But here's a link to what Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program:

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/20...es_for_bigotry

    So, say that the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal. Knowing that the United States laws are such that ministers of the Gospel act as agents of the state when they perform wedding ceremonies, is the church prepared to deal with the issue of same sex people wanting a wedding performed while facing the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit if the minister doesn't agree to perform the ceremony?

    I know that Hans has said a number of times throughout the years that in the Netherlands, clergy do not have the authority to perform legal wedding ceremonies, but are free to have celebration/blessing ceremonies that don't have any legal standing. More and more, I'm wondering if that wouldn't be a better way to go in the United States.
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    Senior Member Steve Malcolm's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    But, in the US, pastors already have the discretion to marry or not marry whoever they want. You can choose not to officiate a wedding now. Why would this change in law change that?

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Malcolm View Post
    But, in the US, pastors already have the discretion to marry or not marry whoever they want. You can choose not to officiate a wedding now. Why would this change in law change that?
    The thought is that looking forward, if the law is changed to make same-sex marriage a "right", then anyone using the church doctrine could potentially be sued for discrimination. I'm not saying that the lawsuit would or would not be successful, but is the Church willing to face such litigation? Even if the lawsuit is unsuccessful, it will undoubtedly be expensive.

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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    So, say that the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal. Knowing that the United States laws are such that ministers of the Gospel act as agents of the state when they perform wedding ceremonies, is the church prepared to deal with the issue of same sex people wanting a wedding performed while facing the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit if the minister doesn't agree to perform the ceremony?
    If two eighteen year-olds walk into my office and say, "We met three weeks ago, got drunk, hooked up, now she's pregnant; will you marry us?" I would say, "no."

    If a 35 year-old man walks into my office and says, "I started an affair with my secretary and divorced my wife so I'd be free to marry her. She's divorcing her husband for the same reason and it will be final tomorrow. Will you marry us next week?" I would say, "no."

    If a same-sex couple walked into my office and said, "Would you marry us?" I would say, "no."

    In short, I will continue to exercise my recognized right to refuse to marry anyone I choose. The very idea being bounced around that ministers will be forced to officiate weddings they don't want to officiate is stupid. The state recognizes my authority to solemnize marriages; it does not mandate that I do so.

    The closing words of my wedding ceremony includes: "... by the authority vested in me as a minister in the Church of the Living God, and in conformity with the laws of this state, I do now pronounce you husband and wife." As noted above, my authority does not come from the state; it is recognized by the state.

    I can forsee a situation where Justices of the Peace, County Clerks, etc., will be forced to act against their conscience but it will not happen to ministers.

    Rush once again reveals himself to be... I'll stop there to avoid deletion.

    Edited to add: Disclaimer notwithstanding, this is a political thread about the relationship between church and state, etc.

    Wilson
    "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)

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    Senior Member John Reilly's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    I think in the Supreme Court debate over DOMA, we are seeing the tension of separation of church and state being further pushed to extremes. The church defines morality based on scripture and tradition. Marriage between one man and one woman has been a Judeo-Christian traditional standard for over 6,000 years. Until the reformation, marriage was a sacrament only available in the church. A tragedy of the Catholic / Protestant split is the loss of a unified front that marriage is a sacrament offerred byt eh church and not available outside the church. The role of the church is to form and protect doctrine and to inform the culture of morality. The morality and definition of traditional marriage formed by the church is being attacked by a morality redefined by a secular popular opinion. N.T. Wright talks about the neo-gnosticism of our culture and that the church does not seem to recognize it. Neo-gnotocism redefines morality based on popular opinion. As the chasm created by the separation of church and state grows wider, the Christian church that refutes same sex marriage will be identified as a violating equal rights for all people. I believe in equal rights for all people and also I believe that the sacrament of marriage and the sacramental marriage is only available in the church.

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilson Deaton View Post
    If two eighteen year-olds walk into my office and say, "We met three weeks ago, got drunk, hooked up, now she's pregnant; will you marry us?" I would say, "no."

    If a 35 year-old man walks into my office and says, "I started an affair with my secretary and divorced my wife so I'd be free to marry her. She's divorcing her husband for the same reason and it will be final tomorrow. Will you marry us next week?" I would say, "no."

    If a same-sex couple walked into my office and said, "Would you marry us?" I would say, "no."

    In short, I will continue to exercise my recognized right to refuse to marry anyone I choose. The very idea being bounced around that ministers will be forced to officiate weddings they don't want to officiate is stupid. The state recognizes my authority to solemnize marriages; it does not mandate that I do so.

    The closing words of my wedding ceremony includes: "... by the authority vested in me as a minister in the Church of the Living God, and in conformity with the laws of this state, I do now pronounce you husband and wife." As noted above, my authority does not come from the state; it is recognized by the state.

    I can forsee a situation where Justices of the Peace, County Clerks, etc., will be forced to act against their conscience but it will not happen to ministers.

    Wilson
    I can foresee a "test case" being used somewhere--perhaps not in the Church if the Nazarene, but somewhere--that a lawsuit will be brought against a church or a minister somewhere. The two 18-year-olds or the two divorcees would not easily be able to claim "discrimination." Perhaps a better parallel would be if a pastor or congregation refused to marry a bi-racial couple.
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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    I can foresee a "test case" being used somewhere--perhaps not in the Church if the Nazarene, but somewhere--that a lawsuit will be brought against a church or a minister somewhere. The two 18-year-olds or the two divorcees would not easily be able to claim "discrimination." Perhaps a better parallel would be if a pastor or congregation refused to marry a bi-racial couple.
    I don't care who they are, or what the reason, I do not have to marry anyone I don't choose to marry. It would take changes FAR greater than anything on the horizon right now (a complete collapse and overthrow of the government, maybe) before that will change.

    (I didn't use a bi-racial couple as an example, because it just so happens I wouldn't simply say "no" to them.)

    Wilson
    "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)
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    Senior Member Steve Malcolm's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Reilly View Post
    I think in the Supreme Court debate over DOMA, we are seeing the tension of separation of church and state being further pushed to extremes. The church defines morality based on scripture and tradition. Marriage between one man and one woman has been a Judeo-Christian traditional standard for over 6,000 years. Until the reformation, marriage was a sacrament only available in the church. A tragedy of the Catholic / Protestant split is the loss of a unified front that marriage is a sacrament offerred byt eh church and not available outside the church. The role of the church is to form and protect doctrine and to inform the culture of morality. The morality and definition of traditional marriage formed by the church is being attacked by a morality redefined by a secular popular opinion. N.T. Wright talks about the neo-gnosticism of our culture and that the church does not seem to recognize it. Neo-gnotocism redefines morality based on popular opinion. As the chasm created by the separation of church and state grows wider, the Christian church that refutes same sex marriage will be identified as a violating equal rights for all people. I believe in equal rights for all people and also I believe that the sacrament of marriage and the sacramental marriage is only available in the church.
    I'm reasonably certain that polygamy was acceptable in at least the Jewish tradition more recently than 6000 years ago and it isn't outright condemned in the NT either. That doesnt mean I'm advocating polygamy, but the "one" part of the equation is harder to argue against than the "Man and woman" part. Actually, that is the basis I have heard some of my UM friends argue against same sex marraige on. They have African pastors still fighting the polygamy fight who want to know, "If we bless same sex unions how can we continue the fight against polygamy with integrity?".

    Aside from that, I agree completely.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Malcolm View Post
    I'm reasonably certain that polygamy was acceptable in at least the Jewish tradition more recently than 6000 years ago and it isn't outright condemned in the NT either. That doesnt mean I'm advocating polygamy, but the "one" part of the equation is harder to argue against than the "Man and woman" part. Actually, that is the basis I have heard some of my UM friends argue against same sex marraige on. They have African pastors still fighting the polygamy fight who want to know, "If we bless same sex unions how can we continue the fight against polygamy with integrity?".

    Aside from that, I agree completely.
    There is of course the obvious answer, I'll admit that I've found very few who will agree, still it is the obvious answer.

    You simply cannot fight polygamy with integrity, at least not from a Judeo Christian perspective.
    -Jim

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    Senior Member Mike Schutz's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    The ministerial role is not that of an agent of the state - but rather of carrying out a function of the church that the state chooses to recognize. Christian marriage is a religious covenant that the state has traditionally recognized - it is not a civil act that the church chooses to bless. As a minister of the Gospel the state has chosen to recognize my authority in certain situations - and while they may choose to label that as my being an "agent of the state," I disagree. In the mind of the state, a minister is nothing more than comparable to a Notary Public whose jurisdiction is limited to signing off as a witness to a very specific type of contract.

    Once again, Rush either has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to the church, or he does and is purposely misleading folks.
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    This is where the true meaning of "separation of church and state" comes into play. Jefferson's point was that the government would not interfere in church matters. So if a minister refuses to marry someone, the government should not interfere.

    Alisa
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    Senior Member Steve Malcolm's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    There is of course the obvious answer, I'll admit that I've found very few who will agree, still it is the obvious answer.

    You simply cannot fight polygamy with integrity, at least not from a Judeo Christian perspective.
    I think it's more complicated than that. While scripture never completely outlaws polygamy it does tend to presume against it in many place so that it is an argument we need to have. In Mark Jesus argues for marriage to be understood from the context of Genesis one rather than the Torah to oppose divorce as a means of serial polygamy and Paul forbids men with multiple wives from Church leadership. Also, in first century Jewish practice it was already frowned upon pretty strongly. Christianity has been against plural marriage pretty much from the start, but we need to be honest that it requires a more nuanced argument than we tend to give.
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    Senior Member Andy Mistak's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alisa Stoll View Post
    This is where the true meaning of "separation of church and state" comes into play. Jefferson's point was that the government would not interfere in church matters.
    That's VERY debatable.

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Just a reminder that I am asking that this thread not drift into political territory; the intent of the thread is to ask what the role and/or response of the church will be.

    Thanks to all who have participated thus far!

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    I can foresee a "test case" being used somewhere--perhaps not in the Church if the Nazarene, but somewhere--that a lawsuit will be brought against a church or a minister somewhere. The two 18-year-olds or the two divorcees would not easily be able to claim "discrimination." Perhaps a better parallel would be if a pastor or congregation refused to marry a bi-racial couple.
    There are already churches who discriminate based on race. It shows up in the news at least once or twice a year, the last one I recall being a church in Mississippi that wouldn't allow a marriage of black people to happen in their sanctuary (and a pastor who inexplicably disagreed but went along with it). Before that it was a church in Kentucky that not only banned interracial wedding ceremonies, but refused to allow interracial couples from participating in their church life at all. As much of an uproar as these churches create, they are ultimately protected under the First Amendment.

    On the other hand, when a Louisiana JoP refused an interracial marriage in October of 2009, the outcry was so great that he lasted less than 3 more weeks in office before tendering his resignation.

    I'd say interracial marriage is actually the perfect test case for proof that the government cannot and will not force churches to perform marriages against its stated beliefs.


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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    Just a reminder that I am asking that this thread not drift into political territory; the intent of the thread is to ask what the role and/or response of the church will be.
    Right... but you're asking about what the response to a hypothetical situation which has no basis in reality and was cooked up by a political talking head will be. I would think the better, less political question would be 'can the government do that?' By asking what our response will be, it assumes Rush is right, which he clearly is not, and creates an excellent atmosphere for precisely the kind of political discussion you don't want to happen.


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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by wilson deaton View Post
    . The very idea being bounced around that ministers will be forced to officiate weddings they don't want to officiate is stupid. The state recognizes my authority to solemnize marriages; it does not mandate that i do so.
    this!
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Did I miss the post that answered this question that Rush posed, " If the Catholic Church can be forced to give away abortifacients and birth control pills, why can't the church be forced to marry gay couples who want the sacrament?" Why is the Catholic Church not protected under the first amendment with that issue, but is with the marriage issue?

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    Did I miss the post that answered this question that Rush posed, " If the Catholic Church can be forced to give away abortifacients and birth control pills, why can't the church be forced to marry gay couples who want the sacrament?" Why is the Catholic Church not protected under the first amendment with that issue, but is with the marriage issue?
    Can you walk up to a Catholic Church and demand a birth control pill?
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    Can you walk up to a Catholic Church and demand a birth control pill?
    The whole issue is about the Catholic Church covering you for birth control, medications that induce abortion, and sterilizations. These are all against the teachings of the Catholic Church. So, if you were employed by the Catholic Church, yes, you could demand birth control pills.

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    The whole issue is about the Catholic Church covering you for birth control, medications that induce abortion, and sterilizations. These are all against the teachings of the Catholic Church. So, if you were employed by the Catholic Church, yes, you could demand birth control pills.
    (emphasis mine)

    Again, I ask... Can you walk up to a Catholic Church and demand a birth control pill?

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Back to your initial question:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    OK, please understand, this is NOT a political post. I want this thread to stay on the general message forum because it is intended to involve a question about how the church will deal with something. It is not about the pros and cons of same-sex marriage, except in the sense that the Church of the Nazarene holds to the sanctity of marriage and defines it as being between one man and one woman for as long as they are both alive.

    But here's a link to what Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program:

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/20...es_for_bigotry

    So, say that the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal. Knowing that the United States laws are such that ministers of the Gospel act as agents of the state when they perform wedding ceremonies, is the church prepared to deal with the issue of same sex people wanting a wedding performed while facing the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit if the minister doesn't agree to perform the ceremony?

    I know that Hans has said a number of times throughout the years that in the Netherlands, clergy do not have the authority to perform legal wedding ceremonies, but are free to have celebration/blessing ceremonies that don't have any legal standing. More and more, I'm wondering if that wouldn't be a better way to go in the United States.
    This is the second time in the last couple of days that I've seen this suggestion.

    While I think there are some overblown doomsday scenarios being tossed about, I must say that this still bears a pretty significant attraction to me. And there's nothing stopping me from simply saying to couples: "I do not sign certificates for the state. If you would like a Christian Wedding (and qualify for such), I will perform that for you... but you will need to process your legal documentation another way." They could even have a notary/JP/etc. come on the day of the wedding and meet with the Bride and Groom and witnesses immediately prior to (or immediately after) the ceremony. I could make that decision after the next wedding that I've committed myself to do.... and probably even recruit one of my church members to function as the notary for any of our church weddings.
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    The whole issue is about the Catholic Church covering you for birth control, medications that induce abortion, and sterilizations. These are all against the teachings of the Catholic Church. So, if you were employed by the Catholic Church, yes, you could demand birth control pills.
    Where is the connection, exactly? The Catholic church has to provide insurance to its employees. It is by no means required to hand out birth control pills to any random person who walks into the Church and says 'I don't want to get pregnant.' Further, if it really wanted to press the issue, any given Catholic Church would be well within its rights to make being a Catholic in good standing a requirement of working there, and then excommunicate those Catholics who chose to use contraceptives.

    But all of that is irrelevant. This is irresponsible 'journalism' on the part of Rush, and I don't understand why anybody actually thinks he has a point. The whole thing with contraceptives is that the Church is required, as a business, to provide medical insurance to its employees. Businesses are not required to provide marriages to their employees. I can't imagine such a law ever being passed, but I would gladly jump on board in the fight against it if it were. Until then, this is much ado about nothing.


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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    (emphasis mine)

    Again, I ask... Can you walk up to a Catholic Church and demand a birth control pill?
    No one is saying that you can do that, Jon. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. I am saying that the issue is that if the government can make the Catholic Church provide birth control against its conscience, what is to stop them from demanding the church marry a couple who are living a lifestyle against the church's conscience?

    I believe it will most likely affect military chaplains first as they are employed by the government. Since this is being cast as an "equality" issue, the military chaplain will not be able to deny it because of discrimination. If this is to happen to our Nazarene churches, it will likely be further down the road.
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    Senior Member Wilson Deaton's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Twitchell View Post
    ...And there's nothing stopping me from simply saying to couples: "I do not sign certificates for the state. If you would like a Christian Wedding (and qualify for such), I will perform that for you... but you will need to process your legal documentation another way." ....
    Very intriguing....

    Wilson
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    No one is saying that you can do that, Jon. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. I am saying that the issue is that if the government can make the Catholic Church provide birth control against its conscience, what is to stop them from demanding the church marry a couple who are living a lifestyle against the church's conscience?

    I believe it will most likely affect military chaplains first as they are employed by the government. Since this is being cast as an "equality" issue, the military chaplain will not be able to deny it because of discrimination. If this is to happen to our Nazarene churches, it will likely be further down the road.
    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/1...lains-113011w/


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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    No one is saying that you can do that, Jon. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at.
    It just seemed as though you were saying that the Catholic Church is being forced to hand out birth control pills, when you said "If the Catholic Church can be forced to give away abortifacients and birth control pills,"

    The discussion was about random Steve & Tom (or whoever... I forgot their names) walking into a pastor's office and demanding to be married.

    You brought up the Catholic Church and birth control, so I wondered if random Steve & Tom (or Jon... or Lorie) could walk into a Catholic Church and demand a birth control pill.

    That's all I'm trying to get at. I'm just not sure how the two things relate, that's all.
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    Senior Member Steve Malcolm's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    No one is saying that you can do that, Jon. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. I am saying that the issue is that if the government can make the Catholic Church provide birth control against its conscience, what is to stop them from demanding the church marry a couple who are living a lifestyle against the church's conscience?

    I believe it will most likely affect military chaplains first as they are employed by the government. Since this is being cast as an "equality" issue, the military chaplain will not be able to deny it because of discrimination. If this is to happen to our Nazarene churches, it will likely be further down the road.
    I think you are failing to distinguish between a hospital or school run by a church and the church itself. I think you have a good point theologically, but we have so separated worship from participation in missional activity that I think the government can be forgiven its confusion on this issue.
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    The legal issue wouldn't be with individual pastors, but with the denomination itself. No matter what a pastor's opinion on who can get married, the denomination determines who can be married by Nazarene pastors. We're accountable to the denomination.

    If a gay couple came to me and asked to get married - I don't even need to take a position, I simply say, "I'm not allowed to do so." Perhaps the denomination would be sued, but I find it hard to believe that a religious organization could be sued over their tennets - or else Fred Phelps would be bankrupt by now. As it is, he makes most of his money counter suing and winning damages.
    ...just my $.02.
    Thanks Steve Malcolm, Jon Twitchell, Billy Cox - "thanks" for this post

  30. #30
    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post

    I believe it will most likely affect military chaplains first as they are employed by the government. Since this is being cast as an "equality" issue, the military chaplain will not be able to deny it because of discrimination. If this is to happen to our Nazarene churches, it will likely be further down the road.
    I spoke with a friend of mine who is a military chaplain about this. What he told me is that military law strictly prohibits the military from requiring a chaplain to do anything contrary to what her/his endorsing denomination allows. What the chaplain is required to do in the case that she/he is approached by a soldier/sailor about a same-sex marriage is to direct that person to a chaplain who can provide the marriage. His comment to me was "that argument is null and void."
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Jon Twitchell's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    I spoke with a friend of mine who is a military chaplain about this. What he told me is that military law strictly prohibits the military from requiring a chaplain to do anything contrary to what her/his endorsing denomination allows. What the chaplain is required to do in the case that she/he is approached by a soldier/sailor about a same-sex marriage is to direct that person to a chaplain who can provide the marriage. His comment to me was "that argument is null and void."
    I'm pretty sure that this is true for chaplains in all sorts of areas besides marriage. A chaplain is only bound to provide the services that his/her faith allows them to provide. You want a particular religious service (baptism, confession, last rites, etc. (or... more to the point, a non-Christian rite/practice))... the chaplain doesn't have to provide that particular service, but to help you find someone who can. In other words, if the Muslim soldier comes to the protestant chaplain and asks him for something, the protestant chaplain can refer him to someone who can provide that service... or help the soldier accomplish it on his own.
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    Thanks Steve Malcolm - "thanks" for this post

  32. #32
    Senior Member Paul DeBaufer's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    So Shea is, yet again, the voice of reason. Rush makes these statements to inflame, he is an entertainer not a news reporter. Even when I watched and listened to and agreed with him I knew that. He is tapping into a collective fear of his audience. It is hyperbole at best, which Rush is very much prone to, it has made him a rich man.

    The comparison to contraceptives being covered by health insurance is another tactic to play on the audiences's fears. Rush is very good at fear mongering. Used to love that about him. But his arguments are fallacious.
    You can be right or you can be in relationship

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    Senior Member Bill Morrison's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    I suspect how this plays out may revolve around how one thinks of and defines the "Church".
    Those of us who have spent our lives in Nazarene Higher Education tend to view our institutions as important components of the COTN.
    (and our low salaries are frequently justified because, like pastors, we are "working for God") I think long before (if ever) pastors are forced to marry same sex couples, the colleges will be "forced" into a non-discrimination policy for faculty and students who are legally married but same sex. We have this situation now in relation to race, gender, and disabilities. I'm NOT saying I disagree with government policy on the latter three at all, just pointing out the precedent that will make legally married folk of the same sex to have the same rights and protection as traditional married couples.

    BILL

  34. #34
    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Honestly I have grown to hate these conversations.

    While we may hold that the practice of homosexuality is not God's plan for us we are absolutely called to love homosexuals. These conversations just make us look like the hatemongers that so many in the homosexual community believe we are. The whole thing is a ruse for political gain and out of fear (a decidedly unchristian emotion) we get sucked in every time. My state (Washington) has gay marriage. The sky didn't fall and an earthquake did not drop us in the ocean. The clergy have zero pressure from the state to perform gay marriage and we all seem to forget that the free practice of religion is itself a constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Clergy are never going to be "forced" to perform gay marriage. If in fantasy land someday they force us, then we go to jail, so what, Christians have been going to jail for their beliefs for a long time, get over it.

    Christian marriage has nothing to do with civil marriage. (See Mike's post) The way Christians talk about this whole thing is in my opinion as unchristian as homosexuality itself, probably more so because as followers of Christ we have agreed to abide by Christ's law.

    We need to focus WAY, WAY more on loving homosexuals than trying to make a point. Andy Stanley asks "Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a difference?" I choose to make a difference.
    Last edited by Craig Laughlin; March 28th, 2013 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Spelling
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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with having this conversation. I didn't see anything in anyone's post that could be construed as hateful towards the homosexual. The thread is about what the church will do if this should all come to pass.

    I think we're fooling ourselves to think this won't affect our denomination. IF it will not change things from a legal standpoint, it will change how the Nazarene church is perceived. Our church will be perceived as bigoted and homophobic. Look at Chick Fillet. Look at the Boy Scouts. Look at the Catholic Church (once again---"anti birth control" = "war on women"). This doesn't mean we should change our position. I'm only saying that we need to be ready for it and decide what positions we're willing to stand firm on.
    Thanks Pete Vecchi, Julie Reed - "thanks" for this post

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    Multi-Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    I can foresee a "test case" being used somewhere--perhaps not in the Church if the Nazarene, but somewhere--that a lawsuit will be brought against a church or a minister somewhere. The two 18-year-olds or the two divorcees would not easily be able to claim "discrimination." Perhaps a better parallel would be if a pastor or congregation refused to marry a bi-racial couple.
    If there were a test case , and I doubt there would be, then the activist groups would get involved on all sides and it wouldn't cost the church a dime.
    Thanks Nate Pruitt - "thanks" for this post

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    Multi-Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorie Hatcliff View Post
    I think we're fooling ourselves to think this won't affect our denomination. IF it will not change things from a legal standpoint, it will change how the Nazarene church is perceived. Our church will be perceived as bigoted and homophobic. Look at Chick Fillet. Look at the Boy Scouts. Look at the Catholic Church (once again---"anti birth control" = "war on women"). This doesn't mean we should change our position. I'm only saying that we need to be ready for it and decide what positions we're willing to stand firm on.
    We're already perceived as bigoted and homophobic by many. I don't lose too much sleep over it when someone considers me those things, because it simply proves they don't know me.
    Thanks Shea Zellweger, Nate Pruitt, James Johnson - "thanks" for this post

  38. #38
    Senior Member Glenn Messer's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Malcolm View Post
    I think you are failing to distinguish between a hospital or school run by a church and the church itself. I think you have a good point theologically, but we have so separated worship from participation in missional activity that I think the government can be forgiven its confusion on this issue.
    This won't be an issue. Obamacare will eventually --- Oh, wait. I'm getting political. Sorry.

  39. #39
    Senior Member Glenn Messer's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shea Zellweger View Post
    Where is the connection, exactly? The Catholic church has to provide insurance to its employees. It is by no means required to hand out birth control pills to any random person who walks into the Church and says 'I don't want to get pregnant.' Further, if it really wanted to press the issue, any given Catholic Church would be well within its rights to make being a Catholic in good standing a requirement of working there, and then excommunicate those Catholics who chose to use contraceptives.
    I'm not an attorney and I think even I could argue this lawsuit.

  40. #40
    Host Sports forum Shea Zellweger's Avatar

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    Re: So, What Will the Church Do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn Messer View Post
    I'm not an attorney and I think even I could argue this lawsuit.
    On the side of the Catholic Church, or the plaintiff who sues them?

    I think I could argue either side, but I've seen multiple job postings from religious institutions which require you to be a part of their church in order to apply, even if it's a custodial position. So long as that requirement is legal, there is nothing stopping a religious institution from firing dissenters- they just have to remove them from membership in the institution first.


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