Gov. Brownback has won the support of four Kansas bishops in his effort to secure religious liberty for all the state’s citizens. His executive order, necessitated by the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, offers protection to churches, clergy, religious leaders, and organizations: they cannot be forced by government to violate their religiously grounded convictions on marriage. Not only does it protect against attempts to strip churches of their tax exempt status, it bars state agencies from altering contracts.
Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Dodge City Bishop John Brungardt, Salina Bishop Edward Weisenburger, and Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme signed a statement in support of Brownback’s executive order. “When five individuals on the Supreme Court redefined the institution of marriage for the entire country,” they said, “the Kansas marriage amendment approved by 70% of the voters in 2005 was struck down.” The bishops stood their ground on refusing to perform gay weddings. Importantly, they did not stop there. “In this country religious freedom has meant the right to live one’s faith in one’s daily life, at home and at work, in private and in public,” they added.
Already critics are saying that we don’t need more protection for religious liberty. Ironically, those saying this, such as Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, are the very people we need protections from: they are pushing to crush our First Amendment right to religious freedom. Given their agenda, we can’t have enough rights.
No one is saying that homosexuals will be denied a marriage license. But no one should be coerced into giving his consent to gay weddings, either. Those who say that gay marriages should enjoy the same rights as interracial marriages are mistaken: there never was a plausible religious objection to the latter, but there most certainly is to the former.