They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.
–Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. I
Continuing their efforts to turn “religious freedom” into a
dirty word and a dog-whistle buzzword for bigotry, nineteen religious groups
filed an amicus
brief arguing that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality
would imperil their religious freedom.
I’ll allow you a second or two to do a double take before we
The idea that granting the same marriage rights to LGBT
people as everyone else would infringe on their religious freedom because
people would think them bigots is so abjectly preposterous that it doesn’t
deserve to be treated as an argument any more worthy of serious consideration
than someone standing on a street corner insisting that the sky was puce and clouds
are made of cotton candy’s argument does.
What is worth noting, however, is who the amici are.
One of these things is not like the other.
All but one of the groups signed on to this brief can be
described as evangelical or fundamentalist protestant Christian groups. The
other group is the Mormon Church.
Let me note that all of the Christian denominations and
groups signing on to this amicus brief opposing marriage equality believe that
the LDS are heretical and not a Christian denomination, but rather a false
religion destined for hell. For that matter, half of these Christian groups aren’t
even entirely convinced that the other half are really Christians.
They have, however, chosen to downplay that into
“theological differences” because serious doctrinal issues upon which
they teach that salvation hinges are less important than supporting continued
discrimination against LGBT people.
What have we come to that denominations that preach against
being unequally yoked with unbelievers are willing to team up with the Mormon
Church—who they teach are unbelievers—while quite happily downgrading their
significant differences in beliefs, just to stop marriage equality?
This has elevated beliefs about LGBT people’s wrongness to
the highest issue of importance in Christendom, above even questions about
whether Christ is God incarnate. No, the key salvation issue is clearly what
you believe about LGBT people.
I’m not here to argue about whether or not Mormons are
Christians, but I would like to point out that this is a far bigger compromise
to orthodox Christian theology than accepting the rights of LGBT people to
marry could ever be.
If they wake up one day and find that they’ve wandered far
from the path of orthodox Christian beliefs, it’s not LGBT rights that are to
blame. Any blame will rest solely on their decision to ignore the historic
creeds of Christendom and write off fundamental, foundational disagreements as mere
They’re wandering off into territory that their own beliefs
consider heresy, and this is why? It’s like selling your soul for a mess of