Exempt from Contempt?

, Tony Perkins, Leave a comment

There aren’t many instances when the New York Times agrees with Christian conservatives — but the fallout over same-sex “marriage” is one. In yesterday’s edition, the paper gives legs to the growing fear that the church and faith-based groups are in for a rocky ride if the Supreme Court redefines marriage in America. Like us, they take the threat of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli very seriously that the tax exemptions of religious schools, charities, colleges, and other nonprofits are almost certainly on the line with the Court’s ruling.

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“If I were a conservative Christian,” said law professor Eugene Volokh, “(which I most certainly am not), I would be very reasonably fearful, not just as to tax exemptions but as to a wide range of other programs — fearful that within a generation or so, my religious beliefs would be treated the same way as racist religious beliefs are.” With surprising concern, the Times tackled a laundry list of threats to colleges, like married housing, dating, and spousal benefits policies — highlighting the letter FRC sent to Congress from more than 70 religious schools, asking for a legislative shield from a post-marriage government.

Last week, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered such a shield in the form of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). Under his measure, the government would be barred from retaliating against individuals, organizations, and small business owners who believe in natural marriage. No person or nonprofit should lose tax exempt status, face disqualification, lose a professional license or be punished by the federal government simply for believing what President Obama believed just three years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

Whether it’s religious institutions competing for federal research grants or partnerships with development service providers like the Salvation Army, the federal government shouldn’t push these organizations out of the public square simply because they believe in marriage between a man and a woman.

Tony Perkins heads the Family Research Council. This article is excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.