I am looking forward to something if the Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage to remove the complementary genders.
This USA Today article from Michael Farris, head of the HSLDA, hints at it.
Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”
Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”
The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible.
As an appellate litigator and the coach of eight collegiate national moot court championship teams, I understand the goal of such preparation. You never want to hear a question from the bench that you have not thought about ahead of time.
Alito’s question was premised on the Bob Jones University case from 1983 in which the IRS revoked the school’s tax exempt status because of its policies on interracial dating and marriage. BJU defended on the basis of the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court rejected their defense holding that the government’s goal of eradicating racial discrimination in marriage was more important than BJU’s religious rights.
So, the follow-up question from Alito’s question is obvious: If the court rules in favor of same sex marriage, how can religious colleges that refuse to acknowledge such unions avoid BJU’s fate?
No one should think that IRS implications will stop with colleges. Religious high schools, grade schools and any other religious institution will face the same outcome. And this includes churches.
All of these entities are exempt from taxation under the same section of the IRS code. And even though churches can be exempt without application, their exemption can nonetheless be revoked.
Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.
Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several stateswithout it.
Christian colleges and churches need to get prepared. We must decide which is more important to us — our tax exemption or our religious convictions. Keep in mind, it is not the idea that the college itself might have to pay taxes that is the threat. Schools like Patrick Henry College, which I started, never run much of a profit. But since PHC refuses all government aid, all of our donations for scholarships and buildings come from tax deductible gifts. Cutting off that stream of revenue is effectively the end of such colleges absent a team of donors who simply don’t care if gifts are deductible.
A slogan of the American Revolution, “We have no King but Jesus” may well be overturned by a 5 to 4 decision of the Supreme Court near the end of June.
Now here’s what I want to see.
I have spent a lot of my life in church, youth groups, campus Christian groups (not talking about Ratio Christi of course) and around happy-clappy Christians who focused on feelings and being accepted. In my current church, issues like abortion and same-sex marriage have never been discussed, much less economics and foreign policy. The leaders of the church are very pious Calvinists who struggle with the idea that they should discuss anything. It probably has something to do with losing the money they get from having a tax-exempt status, but they couch it in piety when they explain to us why we are getting a gospel sermon for the millionth time in a row.
Well, now. I think that if we lose this same-sex marriage case in the Supreme Court, one of the wonderful things that will happen is that these pious churchy ministers will at last be confronted with the mistake they made by giving away the culture to the secularists. At last, all the decades of anti-intellectualism and feminization will hit them right where it hurts – in their pocketbooks. And there will be no denying that they made a terrible mistake in trying to make church solely about praise hymns, devotions and Bible study then. There is a price to pay for focusing on good feelings and comfort, and the churchy pastors are about to find out what it is.
Maybe the Sunday after the decision, the pastors in my church might actually talk to us about the good secular arguments and sociological evidence that there is in favor of traditional marriage. Hey, we might even get a sermon on the evils of divorce, with more arguments and evidence to support the Bible’s position on that issue. Maybe even a sermon on the sexual revolution and premarital sex, that pairs what the Bible teaches with secular arguments and secular evidence that can be used by the flock to make an impact with non-Christians in the culture. Money has a wonderful way of focusing the minds of the most pious of pastors.