MADISON, Wisc. (Christian Examiner) – The atheist Freedom from Religion Foundation is slamming Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for issuing a "superfluous and pointless executive order" assuring clergy in the state that the government will take no action against ministers or churches who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings.
As Christian Examiner reported July 8, Brownback issued the order prohibiting state officials from taking "discriminatory action" against ministers, churches, or religious organizations on the same day state employees were allowed to add same-sex spouses to state health insurance plans.
Like a similar statement made by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June, the order was meant to soothe the consciences of those who fear another government overreach in the area of marriage – as has been the pattern in every nation that has adopted same-sex marriage.
In Denmark, for instance, one of Europe's leading advocates for same-sex marriage, the practice was implemented and by 2012 churches were forced to host gay weddings. Ministers could opt out of the service, but were required to obtain the services of another minister for the wedding at the church's expense.
FFRF offered no criticism of Abbott's statement, but criticized Brownback's executive order as an act of "gratuitous" political theater because the U.S. Constitution, Kansas Constitution, and the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act already provide sufficient protections.
"But with the specter of two mature, consenting, loving adults marrying — regardless of their sex — Brownback is out to 'preserve and protect' religion. Again," the statement from the Wisconsin-based atheist group said.
"If clergy want to be a bigot or their religion dictates bigotry, they need not perform a gay marriage. Nobody has argued otherwise," FFRF said.
The statement from FFRF also managed viciously to attack the governor's religious beliefs, question his logic, impugn his motives and blaspheme God, all at the same time.
"Brownback tries to order the state government not to 'take any discriminatory action against a religious organization' that refuses to provide services for gay marriages. This appears to be directed at religious bakers and florists, giving them carte blanche to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. But no executive order can provide a license to discriminate. Brownback's self-deception is rather astounding here."
"Notice that he labels a state action that enforces anti-discrimination laws a 'discriminatory action.' Only in the religious mind of a man who thinks that we need to 'collectively repent of distancing ourselves from God' can such contradictions thrive. And only would someone who believes they are acting on behalf of an omnipotent dictator think they have the right to impose that 'mind forg'd manacle' on everyone else," the FFRF statement said.
FFRF argued in the statement Brownback's mention of religious organizations in the executive order was intended to communicate to religious adoption agencies that they have license to discriminate against gay couples who wished to adopt a child. But, the statement said, "the good news is that this executive order cannot add legal protections for religiously sanctioned prejudice."
"Just as the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment successfully trumped states' bans on gay marriage last month, no state law and certainly not this hollow executive order, can trump rights that belong to LGBTQ citizens," the FFRF statement said.
FFRF said the executive order "is really just Brownback proving to everyone that he cannot do anything to overturn marriage equality, no matter how many vows he makes to the contrary."
The group then called Brown "just a sore loser showing his impotence."