Drain the whole sea, get something shiny

I’ve had a few churchgoing friends write Internet posts agonizing over the conflict between Romans 1:26 and yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling.  The word of God is superior to the rule of man, reason these religious folk.  And anyway, what law can require a minister to sanctify a marriage that he sincerely believes is a sin?

Reasonable question, churchgoing friends.  Let’s talk about your church.

Your church gets a number of privileges in our society because it’s a church… it doesn’t have to pay taxes, it can’t be told what to believe about the genesis of the world, and it gets the freedom to teach whatever it wants about God and morality.

Yet, as a resident organization of the United States, it is required to follow the laws of the country, regardless of religious beliefs. It cannot for example claim “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death” (Leviticus 20:9) and expect parents can get away with killing kids who talk back.

Believe me, I’d be dead and gone if that were the case.

Now in the US we have a series of laws, including today’s ruling, that reinforce the principle that people should receive equal access to public services regardless of what they look like, or what they believe. For example, if you own a restaurant and have a religious conviction that blacks are lesser than whites, you have no right under the law to refuse to serve blacks.

The Equal Protection clause has been interpreted many, many times in the courts consistent with this opinion.

Similarly, despite whatever a church’s religious beliefs are, if it provides a public service (as churches do), it must serve equal people with equal respect under US law, because it operates under US law and receives the benefits thereof.

That is not only the law; that is the morally right and upstanding thing to do.