Monday, January 16, 2012

Hawaiian churches denied exemption from same-sex civil unions

While the State and the Church of England engage themselves in the cat-and-mouse game described in the previous article , The shape of things to come can be gleaned from new developments in the US state of Hawaii. There, a court has refused to exempt churches from being compelled to allow their property to be used for civil union ceremonies.

As in England, the State is still willing, at least for the time being, to exempt the clergy from taking part in same-sex rites; but no such exemption is provided for Church properties. The Emmanuel Temple and the Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God have therefore requested a restraining order to block the law (effective Jan 1, 2012) from requiring them to hire out their Church halls for the conduct of same-sex civil unions. But U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright denied the request.

Things are therefore coming full circle in the US. Before, the clamour was for the separation of State and Church – such as no prayers allowed in public schools. The US government even recently attempted to ban Bibles or other religious reading materials from being given away or used during any visit to patients at Walter Reed, the country’s largest Military hospital – if not for a prompt expression of outrage by Christians (see And as we can see from the next story below, the same principle is being used to evict Churches from using public school halls for worship in New York - even when the schools were not in session (Sunday mornings) and there were considerable financial and other benefits in kind being enjoyed by the schools under the arrangements. Now, in the same God’s own country, godless advocates are insisting that Church halls must be made available for utter desecration in homosexual unions. Whither the right to free exercise of religious conviction in the famed Land of the Brave?

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