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SupremeCourt

Marriage and the Rule of Law(yers)

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They were God’s covenant colors — a warm arc of reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and purples — transformed and splashed across the White House in a defiant display of pride.

It was a stark contrast to how the Supreme Court was lit up — with the candles of hundreds of men and women gathered to pray. Heeding a call that spread like wildfire through social media, Christians from across the city made their way to a vigil until the sidewalks were covered with the lights of God’s people.

One by one, they pleaded for mercy, protection, and forgiveness in these difficult days. “God’s not looking for a lot of people,” FRC’s Chase Jennings said, “He’s looking for a faithful people.”

And those faithful people have an important mission: showing the love of Christ by speaking the truth of Christ. But to do it, the church needs to rise up and realize that this isn’t the end of the struggle for marriage — but the beginning of the fight for freedom.

The Court, like the nation, may be deeply divided on marriage — but it still recognizes the sacredness of belief our Founders fought and died to protect.

“It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. “The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”

Even the President called the country to a tolerance so few on his side seem to exercise. “I know that Americans of good will continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition, in some cases, has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact and recognize different viewpoints, revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.”

Already, the Left’s army is marching on its next target: the First Amendment.

On MSNBC, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) set her sights on men and women of faith. “Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith, there is absolute power to… observe deeply-held religious beliefs. I don’t think it extends far beyond that,” she claimed. “[T]hey’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

If Sen. Baldwin swore to uphold the Constitution, then she at least ought to know what’s in it. Nowhere does the First Amendment say “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof if…” It applies to every American, in every occupation, of every faith. For Sen. Baldwin to argue that religious liberty is limited to the four walls of a church is like saying the Second Amendment only applies in gun clubs. But unfortunately for conservatives, her view is increasingly the prevailing one.

That’s why, as Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) tweeted this morning, this marriage ruling “means we must speed action on the [First Amendment Defense Act] by me and Senator Mike Lee to protect religious freedom.” And not just for evangelicals, but for orthodox Jews and Catholics, who are just as determined — and vulnerable to attack.

In Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking swift steps to shield the state from the government’s retribution. “This newly minted federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage can and should peacefully co-exist with longstanding constitutional and statutory rights,” he pointed out, “including the rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of speech.” In a special legal directive, he gave public officials the right to opt out of same-sex marriage — and in a separate statement advised them that numerous lawyers were ready to provide representation if necessary.

No wonder conservative leaders are rushing to build a firewall around religious freedom. Before the ink was dry on the Supreme Court’s opinion, news outlets like Time magazine were urging Washington to hurry and do what Solicitor General Donald Verrilli threatened — and strip the tax exemptions from faith-based groups, schools, and charities.

“Rather than try to rescue tax-exempt status for organizations that dissent from settled public policy on matters of race or sexuality, we need to take a more radical step. It’s time to abolish, or greatly diminish, their tax-exempt statuses,” author Mark Oppenheimer argued.

If there were ever a time to contact your congressmen and senators, it’s now. Ask them to stand with the majority of Americans on the front lines of religious liberty by supporting Senator Mike Lee (S. 1598) and Representative Labrador’s (H.R. 2802) First Amendment Defense Act. Let them know that what happened on Friday hasn’t changed our course — it only makes it more urgent.



 

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