Home/Rod Dreher/Goodbye, Military Chaplains

Goodbye, Military Chaplains

Remember how no clergy member will be forced to perform same-sex marriages against their will. If the Obama administration has its way, all US military chaplains will have to do so. Excerpt:

 The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization bill that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to perform ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

If this goes through, the Catholic and the Orthodox chaplains will have to be withdrawn from the US military. Many Evangelical chaplains will choose to leave. If same-sex marriage is constitutionalized by Supreme Court ruling, then I don’t see how even a legislative exemption would be possible. This is another one of the answers to the question, “How does my gay neighbor’s marriage to his partner affect me?”

Erin Manning, who sent this link along, writes about possible implications beyond the military:

What it’s going to come down to, eventually, is this: “Oh, I’m sorry, Catholic Church/Orthodox Church/Protestant churches who agree with them re: marriage: you either perform gay “marriages,” or we take away your right to participate in civil marriage licensing.  Everyone else can get married in a church and have it “count” for the purpose of their civil marriage license, but Catholics and other “bigots” will have to “marry” in front of a judge or something and then have the church ceremony which won’t mean anything in the eyes of the state.”

It’s coming.

Marc Stern, the chief counsel of the American Jewish Congress and an expert in First Amendment law, has written:

No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them.  Same-sex marriage would, however, work a sea change in American law. That change will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are today unpredictable.

Stern goes on to say that conflicts over discrimination and state licensing exist now, and will sharpen if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land.

The strategy of the pro-SSM side seems to be to deny that anything like this could possibly happen, and that people who say it could are being irresponsible scaremongers. Then when it actually happens, they’ll say oh, who cares; those bigots deserve what they get. 

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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