Thursday, October 23, 2014

City Threatens To Arrest Ministers Who Refuse To Perform Same Sex "Weddings"

From the law suit against the City for forcing
the Knapps to violate their religion
The Hitching Post is one of the most well known chapels in the Inland Northwest. In its 95 years of operation thousands of people have been married in the small chapel. But the owners are willing to walk away if the ban on gay "marriage" is permanently lifted.

City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing read the law suit Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

“Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail.”

- Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, Jeremy Tedesco

According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”

But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local "nondiscrimination" ordinance.

That ordinance, passed last year, prohibits "discrimination" based on sexual orientation, and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.

City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.

“I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.

He also told television station KXLY that any including Jewish ones wedding chapel that turns away a gay couple would in theory be violating the law, “and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”

Wilson confirmed to Knapp my worst fear -- that even ordained ministers would be required to perform same-sex "weddings".

“Wilson also responded that Mr. Knapp was not exempt from the ordinance because the Hitching Post was a business and not a church,” the lawsuit states.

And if he refused to perform the ceremonies, Wilson reportedly told the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.

Now all of that was a moot point because, until last week, gay "marriage" was not legal in Idaho.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order on May 13 allowing same-sex "marriages" to commence in Idaho on Oct. 15. Two days later, the folks at the Hitching Post received a telephone call.

A man had called to inquire about a same-sex "wedding" ceremony. The Hitching Post declined, putting it in violation of the new law.

City officials did not respond to my requests for an interview, nor did they respond to requests from local news outlets.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Tedesco said.

“The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected, just as the First Amendment intended.”

Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance.

“The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.

It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the Knapps are in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.”

The lawsuit came the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity.

What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks? I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage.

“The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage.”

“Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.

Why should evangelical Christian ministers be forced to perform and celebrate any marriage that conflicts with their beliefs?

“This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions – where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs,” Perkins told me.

As I write in my new book, “God Less America,” we are living in a day when those who support traditional marriage are coming under fierce attack.

The incidents in Houston and now in Coeur d’Alene are the just the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the culture war – direct attacks on clergy.

“Government officials are making clear they will use their government power to punish those who oppose the advances of homosexual activists,” Perkins said.

I’m afraid Mr. Perkins is absolutely right.

No one should be discriminated against but have you noticed that any time a city passes a “nondiscrimination” ordinance, it’s the Christians and Jews who wind up being discriminated against?

(Fox News) highlights my additions

read this editorial from the daily beast showing how liberals want to force you to violate the Torah

Refusing to Marry Same-Sex Couples Isn’t Religious Freedom, It’s Just Discrimination

A ‘Christian or Jewish’ wedding chapel—a private business—in Idaho is suing for the right not to "marry" gay couples. There is no such right. Yet.

The first thing you need to know is that most “wedding chapels” are not actually chapels. They are private businesses, sometimes run by ordained ministers who are thus licensed to perform marriage ceremonies, but just as often run by Elvis impersonators. Thus, the question of how so called "marriage"-equality laws apply to private wedding chapels is ostensibly a question of under what circumstances the government can lawfully step on a for-profit company’s blue suede shoes.

Ground zero for this debate is now Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There, the city is apparently requiring the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel to officiate gay weddings. Now, it’s hard to imagine any gay couple wanting to get "married" at the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel. Their website talks about “the difference between men and women because we all know men and women are identical in all ways including anatomically” and says “women respond to love positively because they were created that way” and “men respond to respect because that is the way they are created.”

Yeah. And the private “chapel” reportedly gives its newlyweds a conservative Christian CD with hetero-reinforcing marriage sermons. Then again, given the über-butch Paul Bunyan log-cabin façade, if some gay men mistook the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel for a for a Western bar, that would be understandable.

Anyway, after a court effectively made so called "marriage" equality the law of the land in Idaho a week ago, it appears some misguided gay couple wandered into the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel. The owners, Evelyn and Donald Knapp, apparently declined to marry the couple and instead filed a federal lawsuit to stop the city of Coeur d’Alene from enforcing its non-discrimination law. Yup, Evelyn and Donald Knapp are “ordained Christian ministers” suing for the right to discriminate.

State and federal laws generally exempt only religious institutions from having to perform gay "marriages". Yet the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is not a church or a synagogue or a mosque but a private business—apparently one in the newly created categorical mold of Hobby Lobby, a “for-profit religious corporation.” If you wondered what the slippery slope of the Hobby Lobby decision might entail, here’s a good look. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, Justice Alito wrote that the decision does not “provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice.”  We’ll see about that. The faith-based legal advocacy group defending the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel will undoubtedly lean on Hobby Lobby to make its case.

Either way, it’s worth noting that the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is at this point being required to officiate same-sex "weddings" not because of any federal or state law, but because of local non-discrimination laws passed in Coeur d’Alene. So much for all those conservatives who want the federal government to butt out and let local jurisdictions rule. I guess that’s only when they agree with the local jurisdictions.  showing the first amendment is irrelevant 

By the same token, conservatives seem to only support government forcing people to do things when it comes to requiring that doctors read out loud misleading information written by abortion opponents to any women patients contemplating terminating a pregnancy like many women regretting this after the fact. That kind of government coercion of speech and action seems a-OK to the conservative liberty crowd like how the liberals did with repairetive therapy or MBP. But forcing a religious person to violate their religion by requiring a private business to provide unequal accommodation to all Americans, including the gay ones? Tyranny! first amendment be darned

Mind you, just as Hobby Lobby initially covered the forms of contraception that it later stopped covering and objected to when filing suit, the Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel entirely reincorporated its business just last month with a new business certificate and a new operating agreement that suddenly includes the religious values also asserted in their lawsuit to protect themselves from gay terrorist who want to force them to violate their religion. They now have a new Employee Policy and Customer Agreement saying they will only perform weddings “between one biological male and one biological female.” most likely (like every states original marriage laws) never dreaming years ago that the definition of marriage would need to be clarified

It’s hard to argue that opposing so called "marriage" equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex "marriage".  just like it's hard for a Jew to claim that Judaism forbids lighting a fire on shabbos when most Jews break shabbos in and do so?

if you suspend the fist amendment Conservatives are already trying to conflate the issues here , saying that Coeur d’Alene is forcing “Christian pastors” to perform same-sex "weddings" or “face jail”—deliberately blurring the line between this for-profit chapel because religion only exist in officially sanctioned environments?  and actual religious institutions and entities so according to liberals anything that is not officially a religious institution can be forced to violate their religion. But regardless, even in the case of florists or cake makers or photographers who want to practice  their religion by "discriminate" against gay couples, their grounds for doing so are thin provided you don't believe in the first amendment. It’s hard not to argue that opposing so called "marriage" equality is a central tenet of Christianity when majorities of Christian voters support same-sex marriage like majority of all Jewish voters don't believe in torah mishamayim, as do an increasing number of denominations like "Reform-Judaism" is a branch of Judaism . In Kansas, where Republicans tried to pass a law legalizing discrimination by private businesses and individuals, the pastor of the state’s largest church took a stand for equal treatment, saying, “Jesus routinely healed, fed, and ministered to people whose personal lifestyle he likely disagreed with.” Reform Temple Emanuel is the largest "synagogue" in NYC do you think your rav should pasken based on them?

Pastor Andy Stanley, head of the second-largest evangelical church in America, said, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.” In other words, using Christianity to rationalize discrimination against one’s fellow human beings doesn’t seem very, well, Christian.

Jesus also spoke very clearly about the dangers of private profit (“You cannot serve God and money.”), but I don’t see any of these so-called religious businesses rushing to embrace those teachings.

The Hitching Post Lakeside Chapel is a for-profit business, just like the Elvis Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas that also wants to "discriminate" against gay couples in violation of local, state, and federal laws and deeply held principles of fairness and equality on which our country was founded Liberals forget this country was founded on freedom of religion and speech not fairness and equality, fairness and equality the way liberals understand is closer to Marxisim . The image of an Elvis impersonator trying to claim religious exemptions should strike us all as a hunka-hunka burning crap.

These entrepreneurs have chosen to incorporate as private businesses, with all the legal rights and privileges that entails. That means they have to follow the laws that apply to private businesses and suspend their first amendment rights?. Don’t wanna "marry" everyone who are entitled to "marry" legally under the law? Then don’t run a wedding business. After all, the government isn’t forcing you to be in that line of work.

Wedding businesses under liberal rule

(thedailybeast) highlights my additions

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