Christian Post: Some reactions to marriage ruling 'overblown.' Jason Rapert, anyone? | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Christian Post: Some reactions to marriage ruling 'overblown.' Jason Rapert, anyone?

Posted By on Sat, Jul 4, 2015 at 7:26 AM

ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: One of Rapert's many quotes reminiscent of Faubus, Wallace, Maddox and Co.
  • ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS: One of Rapert's many quotes reminiscent of Faubus, Wallace, Maddox and Co.

A reader sends a link to an article
in the Christian Post about reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling. The beginning:

Christians should have some concerns about Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Some reactions, however, have been overblown. Here is what Christians should, and should not, be concerned about.

Seems fair. New issues will arise, particularly in debates over whether religious organizations that discriminate in hiring or accommodations on account of religious beliefs should, for example, receive taxpayer subsidies in the form of tax exemptions.

But, the article counsels, the decision is far from the end of the world as the churches know it.

Some of the reactions from Christian leaders and politicians have been overblown. Churches will not be required to host gay weddings and pastors will not be required to conduct gay wedding ceremonies. (There are a few simple steps churches can take to provide greater security for their religious freedom.)

There have been at least two op-ed's since the Court's gay marriage decision arguing for getting rid of the tax exemption for churches, here and here, but those opinion writers are on the fringe. There is neither the political will nor opportunity to make that happen.

Americans will continue to benefit from the strong protections for freedom of religion, speech and political action (assembly) in the First Amendment. Plus, while the Hobby Lobby decision was narrow (5-4), several of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent religious freedom decisions have been 9-0 in favor of religious freedom.

While there are some legitimate concerns for which Christians should be prepared, Christians should also be on the lookout for over-the-top fear mongering used for fundraising or political support.

Over-the-top fear-mongering naturally brings us to Sen.Jason Rapert, just yesterday reported here in high dudgeon over Gov. Asa Hutchinson's support for the rule of law (county clerks must issue marriage licenses to all qualified as the law and Constitution require).

Rapert is unhappy I printed his "private e-mail communication," and Tweeted erroneously that I had not identified it as a letter to senators. He suggests I paid for the letter. Only through 42 years of work for newspapers in Little Rock, an investment that sometimes produces the sharing of information from a variety of sources. Those who receive Rapert's communications are, of course, free to share as they choose.

AP followed up on Rapert's blast at Hutchinson. He wouldn't provide the news agency a copy of his letter, though he did confirm it. He did continue to insist there's a road to legislation to "protect" county clerks who want to cite religion to avoid performing statutory duties. Rapert has yet to provide  a supposed constitutional law expert to defend this theory of avoidance of public duty. He said: "In terms of further legislative action, I am not aware of any legislation that would protect county clerks from the requirements of the ruling. "

The AP article cast Hutchinson in something of a conciliatory posture relative to Rapert's criticism that the governor  "does not unilaterally decide what we do in this state when it comes to legislative remedies,." Quoting the governor:

“No offense was certainly intended to the prerogatives of the legislative branch,” he said. “The statement was in relation to if a special session is in question, I as governor have to determine what legislation is on the call for the Legislature to consider. I certainly recognize the role of the legislative branch.”

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