Reed Suddenly Opposes Subsidizing Church

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition has suddenly decided that it is opposed to government subsidies for religion, if it means funding a church that performs same-sex weddings. The National Cathedral, which received a $700,000 federal grant for restoration in 2011, decided to host same-sex weddings and Reed is now demanding that they lose that grant:

In recent years, the National Cathedral has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants. The Episcopal Church is one of the richest denominations in the United States and the oldest. According to Richard Ostling of the Associated Press, “the 7,364 congregations of the Episcopal Church receive $2.14 billion in offerings a year: Their buildings and liquid assets are worth untold billions.” Why is a church with untold billions in assets and asking American taxpayers to fund their church? With this policy change, taxpayers are being asked to subsidize gay marriage ceremonies for a church that can readily access millions of their own funds.

Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans cannot sit idly by.

We believe the definition of “marriage” to be the union of one man to one woman. If the National Cathedral wants to continue to receive taxpayer funding from Congress, they should respect Congressional action like the Defense of Marriage Act.

They’re right, of course, that the cathedral should not receive any federal funding of any kind. But if a group that advocates separation of church and state had made that argument (and they did) prior to the church deciding to perform same-sex weddings, Reed would have called that anti-Christian bigotry and hostility toward religion.

14 comments on this post.
  1. raven:

    How cute. Very traditional.

    Tribalism.

    Ralph Reed’s cults are the Real Xians and the National Cathedral is run by Fake Xians.

  2. fifthdentist:

    Begun, the fundie war has.

  3. Abdul Alhazred:

    Give him credit for finally understanding the point about separation. It’s not just to protect the state.

    If the USA hadn’t had the first amendment, the “Church of America” would very likely be the Episcopalians or something very like that.

    I’m reminded of Alphonse D’Amato, one time Republican US senator from New York. He was against public school prayer even when the Republicans were really pushing it. He remembered when he was a kid it was always Protestant prayer.

  4. vmanis1:

    Is the funding due to the fact that state ceremonies (funerals come to mind) there? That would be different from just subsidizing a church; there is value received.

    One could ask whether such ceremonies should be conducted in a church, but that’s a different question.

  5. roggg:

    This is why I always found the right wing “religious freedom” argument against gay marriage to be vacuous and dishonest. There are religions and denominations perfectly fine with gay marriage. The religious freedom argument falls squarely on the “pro” side for marriage equality by any rational analysis.

  6. Noadi:

    I’m actually okay with the cathedral getting a grant for renovations. A quick googling shows that it got the grant through the park service not because it’s a church but because it’s a historic building with artistic and architectural significance and other grants went to other non-religious sites. We should be preserving historic sites whether they are of a religious nature or not but that’s the history geek in me talking.

  7. Pierce R. Butler:

    … if a group that advocates separation of church and state had made that argument (and they did) prior to the church deciding to perform same-sex weddings, Reed would have called that anti-Christian bigotry …

    Waitaminnit. A quick search for “National Cathedral, Ralph Reed” produces little more than this story and RR’s attendance at Chuck Colson’s funeral.

    Our esteemed host has overreached himself: claiming that something would happen under certain circumstances, acknowledging that those circumstances have occurred – and not showing that the something happened (which apparently it didn’t).

  8. raven:

    The National Cathedral, completed in 1990,

    Noadi, are you sure about the historical significance of the National Cathedral? It was finished in 1990.

    By that criteria, a huge number of houses in the USA aren’t just historic, they are old enough to be archaeological sites.

  9. Gregory in Seattle:

    Construction of the Washington National Cathedral was chartered by Congress in 1893 and started in 1903. It was built entirely by private subscription and is maintained solely by the Episcopal Church with no government funding. It serves as the home church for the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and as the see of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington.

    Because of its Congressional charter, it is at the disposal of Congress for state events. In 2012, Congress used it for a memorial service for Neil Armstrong and for the state funeral of Senator Daniel Inouye; in the recent past it was used for a national funeral for civil rights leader Dorothy Height (2010), a vigil to honor the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre (2007), and a national service of mourning for the victims of the 9/11 attacks (2001.) When the National Cathedral is used for such purposes, Congress writes a check to cover the use of the facility exactly like any other group hiring a space for a public event. For two state funerals, with all the attendant security, pomp and overhead, $700,000 does not sound unreasonable.

    Ralph Reed is a whiny twit, but we all knew that already.

  10. Gregory in Seattle:

    And, according to the National Cathedral’s Wikipedia page, it was also hired for the state funerals of Gerald Ford (2007) and Ronald Reagan (2004.)

  11. John Hinkle:

    Pro-family and Pro-freedom Americans cannot sit idly by.

    Reed, sitting in an armchair, thinking to himself:

    Hmm. Some other Christian denomination is collecting the dole that is rightfully mine. I better go all out and push the usual anti-gay buttons… but I need to turn it up to 11. Hmm. I know! Throw in something about freedom!

  12. nigelTheBold, just some guy on the internet:

    Yeah. Why is it that “pro-freedom” groups are all about diminishing the freedoms of others?

    I do not think that word means what they think it means.

  13. d.c.wilson:

    Theocrats loves to toss around words like “pro-family” even though they do fuck all to help actual families in need. Likewise, they love to talk about being pro-freedom or pro-liberty even has the work to take freedoms away from others. Nothing they do is without irony.

  14. Ichthyic:

    Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition has suddenly decided that it is opposed to government subsidies for religion

    right, no more 501c3 tax exempt status for you then.

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