Oh noes! ChristianToday.com reports that Louisiana lawmakers failed to pass a law that ostensibly would have protected churches and pastors from the non-existent threat of being forced to perform gay marriages against their will. Now the only thing protecting conservative Christians in Louisiana are the First Amendment, a number of federal laws that already protect religious liberty, and a couple centuries or so of legal precedent.
Proponents of the bill, of course, are trying to frame marriage equality as some kind of attack on Christians, with the goal of enslaving pastors and forcing them to offer gay couples church weddings contrary to their church’s traditionally bigoted teachings, all led by (of course) the ACLU.
[State Rep. Mike] Johnson warned pastors who attended the committee hearing that they should expect the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Coalition to come after them if they decline to perform gay weddings.
Never mind that in the real world, the ACLU would actually defend any pastors or churches who were ordered to violate their own religious doctrines by any kind of official government order.
ChristianToday.com does not go so far as actually pointing out that pastors are already protected by the First Amendment, numerous federal laws, and centuries of legal precedent. They do, however, condescend to actually printing one short quote from an ACLU spokesperson, regarding Johnson’s fact-free claims.
ACLU Louisiana Director Marjorie Esman disputed this, saying, “we will always defend the rights of a clergy person not to do something against their faith.”
But on the other hand, they give about the same amount of space to Johnson’s rebuttal of the claim that his law could be used to protect pastors who refuse to perform mixed-race marriages.
“I’m not aware of any religious tradition in this state that is opposed to interracial marriage. I certainly don’t know any clergy who would refuse to do that,” he said.
Naturally. Whoever heard of racists in Louisiana, amirite? Not that this has anything at all to do with the question of whether or not his law would in fact allow pastors to refuse to perform mixed-race marriages if that was contrary to their church’s teaching. But guess what? That’s already protected by the First Amendment, federal law, and legal precedent as well. The reason churches usually don’t forbid mixed-race marriages is not because they’d lose a court battle, but merely because it’s such bad publicity for the church.
So good job, St. Rep. Johnson. Your ability to miss the point completely, along with your won’t-somebody-think-of-the-poor-majority histrionics, probably bode well for a long and successful career in conservative politics.