Close to 1,100 pastors have signed up for this weekend’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday, promising to dedicate their sermons to opposing marriage equality. Pulpit Freedom Sunday started as a project to challenge regulations that prohibit churches from enjoying tax-exempt status — in effect a taxpayer subsidy — if they endorse or oppose candidates for elected office…Now with the presidential election over, Pulpit Freedom Sunday is moving its focus from endorsing candidates for office to denouncing marriage equality. It’s organizers go so far as to compare anti-gay pastors to pastors who spoke out against slavery…. Of course, pastors have long been able to freely discuss their support or opposition to marriage equality, but Pulpit Freedom Sunday supporters insist that they are subject to “government censorship or intimidation”….
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I feel moved to belabor something that should be blindingly obvious: In America, you cannot be an oppressed majority. When roughly 80% of Americans self-identify as “Christian,” one who claims to be a Christian can no more claim to be oppressed than I can claim to have the vocal range of Celine Dion. Oh…and by the way, having the freedom to speak freely from your pulpit is NOT ipso facto proof of a tyrannical government censoring you. In fact, I’d wager the government doesn’t much care what you have to say. About anything.
If you’re a church, and you want to maintain your tax exempt status, you CANNOT engage in politically partisan activity. Period. Despite this legal restriction- Section 501(c) of the federal tax code- there are those men of the cloth who feel they’re accountable to a “higher” law, and as such they should be allowed to do and/or say as they see fit. Being a Christian (or “an oppressed majority”) doesn’t put you able the laws that govern the actions of the rest of us mere mortals. The “no political activity” stricture isn’t censorship; you can’t expect the American taxpayer to subsidize your political activity if that’s what you choose to do.
The definition of censorship is not requiring you to refrain from partisan political activities if you want to continue to be subsidized by taxpayers. If you want to lead a politically active and involved church, then more power to you. Just keep in mind you’ve no right to demand that your church must continued to be propped up financially by the rest of us- some of whom aren’t Christian.
You might also want to keep in mind that America is NOT a Christian nation. It’s a secular nation with an 80% minority that identifies as Christian. If you have a problem with the idea of the separation of Church and State, there are options available to you. I hear Iran, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia are lovely this time of year- if you’re an authoritarian hyper-religious zealot whose beliefs are deeply rooted in the Old Testament.
The latest example of the American Taliban’s desire to have their cake while simultaneously consuming mass quantities of it is the curiously named “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” As you might expect, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” has little to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s far less about Christianity and leading a Christ-like life than it is spreading hatred “justified” by a selective interpretation of Scripture.
It’s What Jesus Would Do.
Religious dogma creates a perfect fertilizer for the weeds of hypocrisy.
- Steve Maraboli
To call “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” an example of hyper-religious hypocrisy doesn’t begin to do justice to the self-righteous bleatings of those behind the movement. Not only is their freedom not being threatened by a “tyrannical government,” they seem to think that Jesus Christ would sanction a minority class simply because of who and how they love. Do His teachings allow for the creation of a group considered second-class citizens and denied the same rights the majority demand for themselves? Or is it just that they find homosexuality “icky” and are determined to use their religious beliefs to oppress the GLBT community?
How does same-sex marriage threaten the marriage of a “born again” fundamentalist Christian? How does it pose a threat to their moral fiber and indeed their very existence? The truth, of course, is that same-sex marriage is a threat to no one’s morality…because there’s a very simple solution available to those offended by homosexuality and same-sex marriage: DON’T MARRY SOMEONE OF THE SAME GENDER. There’s no such thing as a “homosexual agenda,” except in the minds of those who deep down probably have recurring issues surrounding their own sexuality. Most of the GLBT community just want to be left alone to live as they see fit. Their lifestyle, if it’s even possible to label such a thing, is a threat to no one- particularly fundies terrified of something they can’t- and won’t- understand.
The only thing legalizing same-sex marriage does is recognize and grant legal legitimacy to the reality that not everyone lives and loves as the majority of good, God-fearing Christians choose to. And, when approximately one of two marriages end in divorce, it’s not like you can assert that heterosexuals have done a terrifically bang-up job protecting the sanctity of the institution.
It’s SO much easier to understand when we break things down scientifically, isn’t it?
If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then good on you; don’t marry someone possessed of the same plumbing. That belief in no way confers upon you the right to determine what rights should be available to those who may think, believe, live, and/or love differently. Live and let live…knowhutimean??
Or did you completely fly by Christian love and charity and decide to use your religious beliefs as a way to deny others the freedoms you demand for yourself? If you go to Church and your preacher is railing about the evils of same-sex marriage, that’s not a sermon; that’s political dogma. You’re not in a church, you’re in an institution whose primary purpose is political and theocratic indoctrination. Would that you could recognize the difference.