A Kentucky clerk claimed “God’s authority” this week when she refused to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. As I read her story, I was reminded of Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, who had a vision about God’s authority.
This story is told in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10. The story about God’s authority comes down to this verse:
"God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean."
This verse was an absolute game changer for Peter and the early church. And it should be a game changer for us today.
This week, North Carolina’s legislature overrode its Republican governor’s veto to allow magistrates and clerks to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
This unprecedented move — never before have state employees been allowed to simply stop doing their jobs — comes at a time of profound debate regarding same-sex marriage. It is exactly the wrong move.
The Obama administration’s policy requiring most employers to provide free birth control coverage in their health insurance policies takes effect on Aug. 1 — a deadline that has sparked apocalyptic warnings from conservative activists and some faith groups.
“August 1st is a day that will live in infamy for the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms and rights we as a people have enjoyed since the founding of our nation,” said Brent Bozell, head of ForAmerica. “With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration has shredded the First Amendment and the Constitution right before our eyes.”
“August 1st will be remembered as the day our most cherished liberty was thrown in a government dumpster and hauled away,” echoed Matt Smith, head of Catholic Advocate. And that’s just a sampling of the outrage.
Are the claims legitimate? As with most federal regulations, it’s complicated, and the supercharged politics of the issue, in the midst of a presidential campaign, don’t help.
Moreover, religious freedom is by its nature a topic that prompts heated debates — without always providing a clear answer.