Elizabeth Scalia comments in passing on Bob Jones University here.
Yeah, yeah, we all hate Bob Jones University because they’re a bunch of bigots so they got what they deserved and made their decision accordingly, right?
Well, late last week the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to redefine marriage as involving “two persons”. With this vote they join six other churches or religious movements willing to perform same-sex marriages. The Episcopals will not be very far behind, I don’t think.
Since the IRS can determine tax-exemptions based on whether organizations are “contrary to established public policy”, I suspect it will not be long before those churches determined to heed Jesus’ words over the times and trends will find their obstinate traditions deemed so contrary and will start paying through the nose for the privilege of exercising their first amendment right to be themselves.
“Be yourself” is still a thing, right?
Elizabeth is referring to Bob Jones University’s famous fight with the federal government thirty years ago over their policy banning inter racial dating. I was a student there from 1974 – 1978 and remember the fuss quite well.
You can learn about the case here. In the early 1970s the IRS began a process to withhold the university’s tax exempt status because the university banned inter racial dating. BJU fought it, and it went to the Supreme Court and in 1983 the court decided,
the “Government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education . . . which substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on [the University’s] exercise of their religious beliefs.” The Court made clear, however, that its holding dealt “only with religious schools—not with churches or other purely religious institutions.”
The ruling set a precedent which will probably be used in the future to enforce laws that seek to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference.
In other words, in the battle between religious institutions and the LBGTQ army the BJU case will be cited.
The Supreme Court ruling did seem to focus on schools not churches, but certainly religious schools will come within the sights, and is it really possible to imagine that other church institutions and finally churches themselves will not be in the firing lines?