As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, Christian leaders of many denominations are mobilizing the faithful to protect their religious liberties and prepare for the possibility of massive civil disobedience in the face of penalties for exercising their freedoms.
In a statement on Friday, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said while he was not surprised by the Court’s decision, “The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions.”
“The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word,” Chaput continued. “The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision.”
Similarly, Bishop Michael Jarrell of the diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana said Friday, “Let me state very plainly that no human court has the authority to change what God has written into the law of creation. This ruling is irreconcilable with the nature and definition of marriage as established by Divine Law. The marital covenant was established by God with its own proper nature and laws.”
Jarrell asserted the Court’s ruling will create “conscience problems for many Catholics, especially those in public office.”
“In some cases,” he said, “civil disobedience may be a proper response.”
The bishop gave notice to all in his diocese:
No priest or deacon of this Diocese may participate in the civil solemnization or celebration of a same-sex marriage. All Catholics are urged not to attend same-sex marriage ceremonies. No Catholic facility or property, including but not limited to parishes, missions, chapels, meeting halls, Catholic educational, health or charitable institutions, or facilities belonging to benevolent orders may be used for the solemnization of same-sex marriage.
Jarrell said that while the Catholic Church has “profound respect for the dignity of all God’s children,” no basis exists in either law or nature for changing the definition of marriage as established by God from the beginning of time.
Catholic lay people are also launching their own campaign to educate fellow church members and non-Catholics as well about their right to express their faith in the public square.
Catholics for Freedom of Religion (CFFR) is expanding from its start on Long Island in New York to Florida, South Carolina, and Texas, according to National Catholic Register. CFFR recently invited Professor Robert George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, to keynote its rally at the Fortnight for Freedom which celebrates and seeks to protect religious liberty. More than 700 attended the event, including representatives from Mormon and Evangelical churches.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky – president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – compared the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling with that of Roe v. Wade, which ushered in legalized abortion on demand.
Referring to the same-sex marriage decision as “a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children,” Kurtz said it was “profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”
“Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that, from the beginning, marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman,” he said.
According to the Register, both Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Gerard Bradley, constitutional scholar at the University of Notre Dame Law School, expressed considerable concern that while Justice Anthony Kennedy – who wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell – recognized the right of free speech of religious institutions and individuals, he did not fully recognize the right to free exercise of religion.
“[T]hat is to say, to advocate in the public square, to try to affect public policy, to organize our ministries according to our teaching, or for business people to run their businesses according to that teaching,” Lori said. “I did not see anything approaching [support for] free exercise in the majority opinion, but I did see it in Chief Justice [John] Roberts’ [dissent, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas].”
Similarly, Bradley described Kennedy’s vagueness surrounding the issue of free exercise of religion as “catastrophic.”
Family Research Council senior fellow for Family Empowerment Ken Blackwell wrote that the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage is the beginning of a “new religious freedom war.”
Observing that the Constitution fails to mention “rights” to either abortion or marriage, Blackwell said, “Yet in 1973 the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to abortion resulting in decades of relentless political and legal conflicts.”
“If politicians and the courts do not reverse course, we will see civil disobedience, on a massive scale, by devout Christians peacefully following their churches’ biblical teachings on marriage,” he added. “The Supreme Court and the American people at the polls in 2016 need to decide whether this country will respect their First Amendment rights, including their fundamental right to dissent.”
Christian pastors told Breitbart News last week they are calling for massive civil disobedience among pastors and clergy of every denomination in the wake of the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“I see the way forward, it’s the civil rights movement all over again,” Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) said. “Most gospel preachers will not obey such a decision.”
Owens has reiterated many times that militant LGBT activists have hijacked the real civil rights movement – led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – and claimed it as their own.
“We wanted equal rights in the original civil rights movement I was part of. They want special rights,” he continued. “Before this is over, it will take civil disobedience. We will not set aside our religious beliefs over this. We will urge Christians to massively disobey any law that invades our religious freedom.”
Owens said that leadership in the United States has taken the nation into a “downward spiral.”
“President Obama overrode the will of the people,” he said. “The people voted for marriage between a man and a woman. Our votes were stolen from us.”
“We celebrated the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, but now they are allowing politicians and courts to take that vote away,” Owens added. “We will not be silenced.”
Owens warned LGBT activists will be very surprised by the repercussions of the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.
“Millions of people in this country will not stand by and see our civil rights violated, our right to religion, our right to worship,” he continued. “We will go to jail – I see it coming.”