Your livelihood, the way you work, the way you pray, how you associate with others, could radically change this week. Why? Because the Supreme Court will rule on a gay marriage case, and it has the potential to completely change the country. To help explain just how dire the situation is, Glenn invited Kelly Shackelford from the Liberty Institute onto the program. Once you hear this conversation, you’ll understand why this issue goes far beyond traditional marriage vs. equality.
Listen to the interview from Wednesday’s radio show below:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment:
GLENN: When Barack Obama said the fundamental transformation of the United States of America begins in five days, he was five days away from his -- his election in -- in 2008. And we have seen a fundamental transformation of America, but I believe we haven't seen anything yet. I believe everything leads to the Supreme Court decisions. Your -- your livelihood, the way you work, the way you pray, how you associate with others, everything is at stake now. We're talking about the Supreme Court's decision as it comes out probably on Monday. It could come out tomorrow. On gay marriage.
People are talking about this ruling as if, oh, you know, we have to defend traditional marriage. Or, hey, finally equality. They've tried to make this into an argument about, who are you to say if I love somebody else?
I think most Americans are fine with that. I think most Americans are like, look, I don't need to celebrate your marriage. I don't need to agree with your marriage, whether you're straight or gay. And I don't want to be in your bedroom, and I don't want to be talked to you about love. That's none of my business. That's your business.
But also most Americans, because we are tolerant, we feel this way, but we expect tolerance to go the other way. We expect if you're saying, celebrity diversity, that you understand that I might disagree with you.
Our churches are about to come under attack. And I had one of the most sobering conversations I have had in a very long time last night on the TV show. Because I had Kelly Shackelford with me from the Liberty Institute. Kelly joins me on the phone now, and we're going to talk a little about this because you need to wrap your arms around how your country could change in the next five days, dramatically so.
Kelly, welcome to the program. How are you?
KELLY: Great. Thanks for having me, Glenn.
GLENN: Kelly, tell me first of all what your institution does.
KELLY: Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the country that exclusively, solely handles religious freedom, you know, First Amendment cases all across the United States, free of charge for people of all faiths.
GLENN: Okay. And you've been doing this for a long, long time. And you've seen all kinds of cases, but you've never seen cases like the cases that are coming across your desk now. And this is only the beginning.
KELLY: Yeah. I think you hit it on the head when you said -- most people look at the case coming up -- let's say on Monday, is when most people think they're going to hand down the same-sex marriage decision, and they just think about it just affecting marriage. They don't think about the impact that it will have on the First Amendment and religious freedom. We filed a brief on behalf of, you know, all kinds of national groups. National religious broadcasters. Big ministries that people would know about. We've seen what happens in other countries when they do this. And the First Amendment -- Canada took no time to have hate speech laws and other things. And now Christian organizations can't even -- can't even come into existence and be like law schools or things like that because they violate the new right.
So I just want people to think about -- and I can run through real quickly -- if there is a new federal constitutional right created by the Court -- and that's two of the three arguments -- that's what they're asking that they do, then this new federal constitutional right for same-sex marriage will be -- you know, immediately, the question will be, well, all right, how does this constitutional right compare to this other constitutional right of freedom of religion or free speech? And we don't have to wonder -- I mean, some of this came out in the oral argument. The solicitor general of the United States was asked, hey, look, if this is a new federal constitutional right and if people are discriminating, in the past, we've taken away tax-exempt status from religious groups, for instance, who discriminated on the basis of race. So won't we have to take away the tax-exempt status of all the nonprofit groups that disagree with this new federal constitutional right. And everybody thought that the solicitor general would say, oh, we're not going that far, et cetera.
His answer was: That will be an issue. So you can start with tax-exempt status of all nonprofits who disagree with this new federal position will be open for discussion. Christian colleges, school accreditation will be under question and attack. Faith-based adoption organizations, foster providers. Federal contractors and grantees, including with those with just loans at religious schools. Religious staffing at faith-based organizations will now be under attack. Those in the military, you don't follow this new agenda will suffer the consequences as well. We're already seeing those cases
PAT: Kelly, are you saying -- are you saying that a student who gets a loan to go to a school like BYU, for instance --
GLENN: Or Liberty University.
PAT: Or Liberty University would not be able to get the loan based on this ruling? Or the school would be under pressure to, what? How does that work?
KELLY: Yeah, absolutely. And let me say something. I'm not saying that we will have lost all these. I'm saying, there's like a -- a battle line opens. One way to put it is, it's not that this case will be the end of the battle. It will be the beginning of the battle, and all these things now are going to be attacked. So they, yeah, it could say, we can't allow you to get a federal loan to go to an institution that engages in discrimination.
KELLY: And it goes further. Faith-based businesses, which you've already seen, will certainly be under attack. There's all these federal laws that triggers will into place now when they change the definition of marriage. Things like Title VII, which covers employment of anybody who has 16 or more employees. Housing and Urban Development. Department of Labor. Think of education. The SCC, I mean, there's a lot of people that are thinking about this case that they're not even thinking about, hey, this might impact my minister that I listen to or watch on TV or something. Do you think the FCC will allow a license to people who engage in discrimination against this new federal constitutional right?
GLENN: So, Kelly, let me ask you this. Let's go through a couple of things.
First of all, there already is a case that you guys are handling of a guy who was -- a person who had a scripture taped to the bottom of their monitor of their computer. Tell that story.
KELLY: Yes. This is a marine who was actually court-martialed. And by that, I don't mean they were charged. I mean, they were convicted. Court-martialed for having a scripture verse taped to the bottom of her computer at her workspace. We're now appealing that. We weren't involved. And when we saw it, we immediately jumped in to get involved. Because this kind of precedent will affect everybody in the military. And so we've now appealed to what's called the Court of Military Appeals, which is sort of the military Supreme Court.
But, you know, Glenn, that's just one of many examples. We have a chaplain we're representing who after 19 and a half years of incredible service for our country -- he was not just a chaplain. He was like a chaplain to SEAL Team 6, to Special Forces, and after an impeccable record for 19 years, he's been essentially -- you would call -- it's called detached for cause. But he's essentially been fired because he was asked in 101 Counseling what the biblical answer was to sex outside of marriage and what the Bible would say about that. He answered according to his faith, and that person complained that he was intolerant. And a commander has literally fired him from doing his job. Now they're considering kicked him out of the entire Navy. Losing his pension and everything. So this is the kind of thing that is already happening before the decision -- when it becomes a federal constitutional right, you can imagine how that goes on steroids.
GLENN: Then it's done. Let me ask about the pastor that was fired from I think his second job because somebody went back and looked at sermons that he had online. Can you tell me that story?
KELLY: Yeah, this is a wonderful guy. Eric Walsh. He was the director of public health for the city of Pasadena, California. And the state of Georgia said, hey, we'd like you to come be our director of public health for about a third of the state, an area director. He accepted. Then the next thing he knew, some activist from California called the state of Georgia, said, hey, you need to check out what this guy believes about marriage. And he goes to a church where he's allowed to preach. You need to review his sermons.
We now have the copies of the emails from the Georgia government officials, back and forth, divvying up his sermons to decide which government official is going to review which sermon. The next day they fired him. Again, not for anything he ever did at work, but because of what he said at his own church on a Sunday on issues. So that's an example.
Unfortunately we're having a number of these kind of cases now where people are losing their jobs, not because of what they do at work, but because of what they believe and the intolerance, like you mentioned, that's now coming out against those of faith and not want allowing them to hold their own beliefs.
PAT: That's a lot like the Firefox CEO. Right? The web browser CEO because he contributed to --
GLENN: But that is political pressure being applied. Those are these people -- yeah, this actually will be enforced by law. So, in other words, you want to be a firefighter, you want to be a police officer, you want to be a lawyer, you want to be a doctor, a psychiatrist, any of these things. You're not going to be allowed because you will be defined as somebody who is a bigot. And so you will not -- how are you going to be a doctor if you believe in traditional marriage? You're a bigot. How could you possibly be a -- a lawyer? You're a bigot.
So you will start -- you will see people lose their jobs because of what they believe. The right of conscience is about to go away. Am I overstating this, Kelly?
KELLY: No. This has not only started -- it will happen if what we think the Supreme Court does -- if they do.
But this is the battle line that is opening. I mean, currently what should happen if you lose your job, there are federal laws and state laws that protect religious freedom in the workplace. And those corporations, those entities should not only lose. But they should pay a painful penalty for engaging in that type of religious discrimination. This will be an attempt to now change that.
So what I'm saying, not that we'll lose all these religious freedoms and First Amendment rights overnight, but there will now be a weapon to attempt to lose -- there will be lawsuits in all these things I mentioned. I can guarantee you. It's just a matter of us winning. We have to win these cases. We have to preserve how this country was founded. Which is on the right to dissent. The right to disagree with the government and hold your own conscience and religious beliefs
GLENN: If we -- I'm a Libertarian so I believe you have a right to be married, but you also do not have a right to tell another person how they have to live their life or how they need to worship or what can be done in their church. Libertarians slowly take over the world and then leave everyone alone. But I believe that there is so much hatred out there that people even like me, people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, all of us will be off the air because we're on federally held license. Our radio stations, they will lose their license if you have a -- a hatemonger or a bigot that is defined now by the Supreme Court as bigotry. We won't be able to broadcast. Would you agree with that?
KELLY: There's no doubt in my mind that that attack will come. That there will be an attempt to get Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh off the air. This is the exact argument they will try to make. These are the kinds of battles that I talk about are coming. I certainly hope and pray for our country that we will win those battles. But nobody can say because, again, this whole group of attacks is about to come into existence. So we haven't all these battles yet, but we're about to. We've seen the rumblings. We've seen the bakers and the florist and all those cases where the government is punishing people because they won't do something that's against their faith with regard to same-sex marriage. We've seen it with chaplains. We've seen it in a lot of different ways. I can give you examples of almost all these things where certain things have happened, certain cases. But this is about to be on a whole new level, and it will be across the country.
GLENN: Kelly Shackelford, he is the president of the Liberty Institute. LibertyInstitute.org. They take on religious freedom cases, pro bono, to try to set things right. I appreciate all of your hard work. We pray for you, Kelly. And we'll talk to you again soon with all these rulings coming down, I'd like to get some more advice from you and insight from you.
KELLY: Glenn, thank you for having me on. I did neglect to mention. Anyone who is a church or nonprofit, we have online things they can put in their policies if they have those beliefs to put themself in a position to be better protected if they are attacked. So I want to make sure that people know about that as well. That many churches are getting calls. They're getting the setup calls, where they'll probably be sued for not marrying two men or two women. They need to have those things about their beliefs and their doctrine in their legal documents that will help them out, if that ever happens.
GLENN: And you can get that at LibertyInstitute.org?
KELLY: Yes. Yes.
GLENN: Thank you very much, Kelly. I appreciate it. I talked to him yesterday for quite some time. We had him on TV for an hour and talked to him about these things. I highly recommend that your church prepares. And I highly recommend that you prepare. We'll have more on that coming up in just a second.