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Supreme Court Same Sex Ruling May Have Huge Ramifications

WASHINGTON-  Republican (Utah) Senator, Mike Lee, addressed concerns that faith-based schools and institutions would be at risk of losing tax-exempt status for upholding traditional marriage beliefs should the U.S. Supreme Court deliver a pro-gay marriage ruling this month.  At Wednesday press conference held in the senator’s Capitol Hill Office, Lee and other members of the evangelical higher education community voiced concern over comments made in the Supreme Court’s oral argument by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

Verrilli, who testified as a friend of the court on April 28 was in favor of making same-sex marriage a national right.  When asked by Justice Samuel Alito whether making it a constitutional right would allow for the IRS to revoke tax-exempt status of faith-based schools/universities that supports traditional marriage, Verrilli claimed that it may be an issue.

Lee commented that he reiterated the response four times that it would be an issue, and doesn’t deny that is is a very real possibility, if not a probability for these institutions.  This poses a challenge for the schools because tax-exempt status for religious institutions has been granted because they want to keep government out of interfering with religion.

Lee very poignantly proclaimed, “It (government) really ought not to be in the business of disrupting the business of a church or religious institution.”

Lee plans to introduce the Government Nondiscrimination Act which would prevent the federal government from taking action against any institution based on their belief of the biblical definition of marriage.

Lee didn’t comment on when he plans to introduce this bill into legislation, but may after the Supreme Court ruling in June.

“When the government itself is retaliating against someone based on their religious beliefs, that is a problem and that is what we are trying to protect here,” Lee claimed. ” We expect that in part because the Obama administration’s chief advocate, before the Supreme Court, acknowledged that it is going to be an issue, that is that you are going to have some religious institutions losing certain status, perhaps tax-exempt status, perhaps some other type of status and that’s why we feel like we need this law. We need something in the United States code that protects Americans against that type of discrimination by government.”

Dr. Keith Wiebe, who is the president of the American Association of Christian Schools, also spoke at the press conference.  He commented that if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of constitutionally making same-sex marriage legal, and religiously affiliated universities began losing their tax-exempt status, it would cause great financial ramifications which may result in institutions closings.
Wiebe says that some religious schools receive hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in tuition.  He commented that their schools, which are private and Christian schools, would now receive money for tuition that would become taxable.  Weibe further stated that accreditation of Christian institutions and teacher certification would also likely be rejected should Lee’s legislation not be able to protect them from changes in legislation.

In the U.S., there are 29,000 faith-based preschools, elementary schools and high schools.  There are 1,700 faith-based colleges.  If they lost their tax-exempt status, Dr. Samuel Oliver (evangelical Union University of Tennessee) says that it would create a burden on taxpayers.  He further elaborated to say that even if 100 institutions closed, 400,000 students would be put in the education system.

“If faith-based education ceases to exist, the state educational system will not be able to accommodate the number of students who are dumped into the pool,” he added. “To force students, by default, to attend secular schools is a form of mind control.”Religious institutions weren’t the main concern, however.  Even religious broadcasters are concerned that they would be in jeopardy of losing their license.

Our Two Cents:

While no one should have their rights violated or be subject to discrimination, one has to wonder how all of these changes in legislation really promote a sense of equality when one side has to give up their beliefs entirely to compensate for another.  Wouldn’t the true definition of equality be a blend of rights so that neither side is infringed on?  It should be a meeting in the middle, but in protecting the rights of 5% of the population, 95% of people are affected in some way, shape or form.
  • Faith based institutions may lose their tax-exempt status, which may result in school closings.
  • An overly packed education system would experience greater strain by this, and MORE children would enter into public schools thereby increasing class sizes.
  • Teachers would be even more stressed out because not only have they been subject to tax cuts in education, and experience high degrees of stress due to large classroom sizes, they would have an even greater burden being placed on them due to closures.
  • Taxpayers will feel the burden of financing more children being put through public education.  Someone has to fund the system, right?  Tax hikes would also be expected to compensate for this decision.

It seems as if EVERYONE is being penalized for one decision and a lack of compensation for those that uphold the traditional definition of marriage.  Why are Christians being penalized for upholding their beliefs?  In a “free society”, ideally shouldn’t our rights be protected as well?  Why are we continually being forced to give up what we stand for?  How is that “American”?

Really, it isn’t.  What we run the risk of is silencing our Christian voices because licenses may be revoked.  We stand the risk of seeing secular radio and television solely on the airwaves, or they may have to compromise in order to stay on the air.  Is this the world YOU want to see, and that you want to expose  your children to?

Christians, I urge you to use your voice and make sure your fundamental rights are protected!  Canadians, be wary as well because what is passed in the U.S. often occurs here as well.

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About Michelle C. Danko

Michelle has spent over fifteen years in the media industry ranging from print to broadcast journalism. She has also consistently ranked in the top three percent in terms of readership.
Michelle is currently the publisher/owner for Faith Filled Family magazine and has seen it rise from 7,000 readers five years ago to 130,000 globally. She loves what she does, and does it with passion.
Michelle has been happily married for 12 years, and has been blessed with 4 beautiful boys.

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