This morning on radio, David Barton called in to provide his insight into the Supreme Court’s rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Glenn’s feelings were split. On one hand, he was glad to see the government get out of the marriage business, but he also feared what the Prop 8 dismissal meant for our civil liberties. David Barton, meanwhile, looked into the implications the decisions will have for churches and other religious institutions.
“What's happened is that the decision, the DOMA decision, has brought in probably at least three major areas into play that weren't into play before,” David explained. Those three areas are:
- The military
- The State Department
- Conscience cases
“One is going to be the military because the military is under federal jurisdiction, federal law. It's not a state,” David said. “And so in that sense what we've been fighting the last two years is trying to protect the rights of chaplains not to have to perform gay marriage against their will, and two consecutive years the president has threatened to veto the defense spending if we didn't get that out of there that now becomes a real problem because we were able to do that before. Under DOMA we said, ‘Wait a minute. Under federal law you as the chaplain don't have to do this. DOMA defends you.’ We don't have DOMA anymore.”
“So now you watch the pressure on the chaplains and you watch what will happen now without DOMA,” he continued. “And we've already had this. We've already are two and three star generals tell these guys, look, if you don't like it, get out of the military. If you can't go along with this, get out. So now that will escalate. The rights of conscience are a real problem.”
The State Department
“The secondary where it will have a big impact is through the State Department. Now, the State Department has had DOMA in place, but hey've been ignoring it,” David explained. “I got word today from down in Central America the State Department saying, ‘Hey, sorry, we're going to withhold all State Department funds to your country until you get gay marriage in your Constitution.’…And see, that's another aspect, too, is in Kenya. Kenya has in its constitution we don't do abortion in Kenya, and the State Department said until you get that out, you don't get more funds.”
“Now people, you know, people don't keep up with the State Department anyway, but this will escalate State Department efforts to promulgate those two particular lifestyles instead of, you know, have at least a little restraint,” he continued. “And, you know, the next president would come in and it goes from president to president, who promotes and who doesn't. So that goes away.”
“And the third thing that will happen with the DOMA decision is it now complicates the conscience cases we have all over the nation in states that do have gay marriage,” David said. “For example, New Jersey where a church said, ‘Hey, we don't do gay marriage’ and [the government] said, ‘Great, you lose your tax exemption.’ That's it."
Tax exemption could prove to be a huge bargaining chip for the government, if churches don’t begin to walk away from the loophole.
“What are we going to do to get churches to walk away from their income tax exemption,” Glenn asked.
“I mean, they need to at the state level. What they believe is that they can't survive without it. Now, I'm a big believer in the way Paul did it. Paul was bivocational. He had his own income so that he wasn't dependent on a church,” David explained. “Right now what happens is so many ministers depend on their church, and I'm sorry, I often call it church welfare. These are guys that get their check from the church and they don't want to mess with their check, don't want to jeopardize that. It's time for more pastors to become bivocational so that nobody can tell them what to do with their money. They own their own money. If the church money dries up, great, they are still ministers and they can still preach because they've got an income. So I'm really into that mold. And until we get out of the church welfare mold, the church takes care of me and I can't afford to lose my check from the church. It's going to be really tough to get the guys in a different direction.”
Glenn has talked for a long time about reaching the end-of-the-road, the tipping point in which there is no return. In terms of religious freedom and protection under the First Amendment, it looks as though we have reached the point of no return.
“This, this is it,”David said. “Even the Prop 8 decision or non-decision as it is was – we don't allow the will of the people to stand, we're remanding it back. Well, guess what. They've already struck down the will of the people. So the Supreme Court in essence is saying, ‘Hey, we don't recognize the republican form of government.’ And that's a real problem. This is a time if we're going to keep our fundamental system as a republican form of government with traditional moral values and the basis of our Constitution, that plan has to go into effect. No question it has to go into effect.”