At the Southern Baptist Convention gathering over the weekend, President Ronnie Floyd (below) told the audience that if same-sex marriage is legalized, he will refuse — refuse! — to perform any gay ceremonies:
“I declare to everyone today as a minister of the Gospel — I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies,” he said. “I completely refuse.”
To which those of us who support LGBT rights say…
Yeah. That’s fine. We don’t care. We were never going to force you to perform a ceremony in the first place. Hell, no gay couples even want Floyd to perform their ceremony. A wedding is supposed to be a day of happiness, not fire-and-brimstone bigotry.
Professional Christian Bullshit Artist Todd Starnes applauds Floyd’s response to the fictional fear:
A growing number of Christians have already faced persecution because of their objections to gay marriage. Public workers have lost their jobs, private business owners have been slapped with lawsuits and complaints and private citizens have been bullied and harassed for signing pro-traditional marriage petitions.
Dr. Floyd stood resolute — the face of what I am sure will be national attacks from intolerant bullies and the radical speech police. There is no doubt he will be called a homophobic bigot. I’m sure some will label his remarks as hate speech.
Well, he is a homophobic bigot, but he’s allowed to be! If the Bible teaches him to be an asshole, who am I to stop him?
The real issue, of course, is whether state employees could refuse to perform these ceremonies if gay marriage is legalized nationwide. No. Their obligation is to the law, not the Bible. But no Christian church is under any obligation to treat the marriage as sacred and no Christian pastor is under any obligation to treat a gay couple with dignity and respect.
Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery adds this important distinction:
Floyd and Starnes are trying to muddy the religious liberty waters by equating two very different things: one — requiring a minister to marry a couple against the teachings of his faith — would be an impermissible violation of religious liberty. The other — requiring government officials and people who run businesses serving the public not to discriminate against gay people or same-sex couples — is not.
Not that Starnes or Floyd care to make any of that clear to their followers. They have too much riding on the ignorance of the people who take them seriously.
(Image via YouTube)