“We’re Going to Punish the Wicked”

With gay ersatzrimony having the imprimatur of the State, and homosexuality enjoying a positive swing in popular opinion, the only thing standing athwart homosexualism is the Church, which is finding itself increasingly the object of neosexualist agitations.

Two weeks after Obergefell v. Hodges, a liberal firestorm erupted when a Catholic priest in Louisiana withheld communion from Tim Ardillo during his mother’s funeral because of his “marriage” to another man. Apologies (!) from the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Archbishop of New Orleans quickly followed.

Channeling Pope Francis, a diocesan spokesman, opined, “We don’t deny people communion… Who are we to judge whether they believe [the church’s teachings on the communion] or not?” (Emphasis added.)

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Rev. Roger Keeler of the Canon Law Society of America also weighed in, saying, “Being married outside the church should not be used to deny someone the Eucharist.” Note to Rev. Keeler: Mr. Ardillo was not married; as the attendant priest was aware, the communicant was “married”—that is, cohabiting with his sexual partner and in a state of unrepentant sin, which according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church is appropriate grounds for withholding communion.

What’s more, mea culpas and accommodationist overtones have little purchase in the fever swamps where religious objections are considered bigotry parading in clerical vestments.

Take Tim Gill a mega-rich LGBT activist who vowed “We’re going to punish the wicked,” which, according to his moral lights is anyone (person, business, or organization) wanting an exemption from participating in same-sex ceremonies. Or Equality Ohio, a LGBT activist group that announced it will go after churches—in particular, Catholic churches—that refuse to make their facilities available for events contrary to their religious beliefs. Or Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality that sponsored a colloquium of experts “to contest and reframe the utilization of religious exemptions to civil rights laws.”

What the punishers get and the punished don’t, is that Obergefell put an expiration date on the religious exemption, a point I’ll come back to in a moment.

Also under attack is anyone who challenges the LGBTQ tautology.

In 2012, a large-scale study by Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas supported a conclusion that, in recent memory, would have been unremarkable: children who grow up in gay and lesbian homes fare worse in a number of areas than those raised by both biological parents.

The study provoked such invective from the LGBT community that Dr. Regnerus was subjected to the threat of academic censure, charges of scientific misconduct, and a highly-publicized (and politicized) inquiry by university officials. Dr. Regnerus was eventually vindicated of all charges.

In October last year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) threatened Johns Hopkins University over a study by two leading researchers in the fields of psychiatry and behavioral science that debunked a number of major tenets of the lifestyle left, including “there is virtually no scientific evidence that people are born gay or transgender.”

The HRC demanded that Johns Hopkins censor what it called “an attack on LGBT communities.” When the university refused, the HRC “punished” it with a low Healthcare Equality Index (HRC’s measure of LGBT “friendliness”) rating.

Then there’s the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). After opening its membership to openly gay boys in 2013, the BSA further capitulated to homosexualist demands by allowing gay men as Scout leaders. When the organization pledged to support the right of church-sponsored troops to exclude gays, the president of the Human Rights Campaign warned “Half measures are unacceptable and discriminatory exemptions [for religious groups] have no place in the Boy Scouts.”

Legislators who share the HRC’s loathing of “half measures” and “discriminatory exemptions” have introduced a bill in Congress that will address them.

The Inequality of “Equality”
The Equality Act, as it’s called, amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by including “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) as protected classes, equivalent to “race.” The proposed legislation includes protections not just for employment, but for housing, public education, credit, jury service, federal funding, and public accommodations. Despite its noble label, The Equality Act is anything but. By giving special protections to concocted classes of individuals, it abrogates the constitutional freedoms of others, creating inequality.

For starters, the bill prohibits appeal to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a basis for discriminating against LGBT folk. So if, for example, you are an employee or owner/manager of a private or public business, your constitutional rights to freedom of conscience, speech, and association take the back seat to someone else’s socially constructed “right” to your acceptance of their sexual expression.

Although the sponsors have been quick to add that the religious exemption of the 1964 Civil Rights Act will remain in place, the exemption applies only to religious organizations in the hiring of individuals of a different religion. In the original Act, a Catholic church can pass over a Buddhist for employment because of religion, but not an African-American because of race. Under the amended Act, the prohibition applicable to race extends to homosexuals, transsexuals, and persons of any of the myriad (and growing) SOGI categories who might seek church leadership and employment.

Obergefell presaged the day when Caesar, having consecrated gay “marriage” as a civil right, will no more tolerate a church that refuses to marry same-sex couples or allow non-celibate homosexuals as members, communicants, leaders, or staffers than it would for a church that refuses the same for ethnic minorities.

The introduction of The Equality Act is a signal that that day is coming. How soon, depends on how the Supreme Court decides the religious liberty case before it, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

And when that day comes, churches acquiescing to the neosexualist agenda will be legitimized and officially recognized by the State and allowed to keep their tax exempt status. Churches refusing to comply will lose that exemption, causing many to become financially unsustainable, driving them, the confessing Church, underground.

What the “punished” get and their “punishers” don’t, will be something similar to the early Church despite its outlaw status: explosive growth.


  • Regis Nicoll

    Regis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. He is the author of Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.

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