Essay on Nonprofit Religious Organizations Of The United States

Essay on Nonprofit Religious Organizations Of The United States

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Nonprofit religious organizations held out as Christian churches in the U.S. have been amending their bylaws and governing policies in droves over the past several years in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same sex marriage, and with even greater urgency in the months since the ruling was published. Statements have generally been added for purposes of defining marriage and gender and to codify positions on homosexuality and similar issues. The central matter in these amendments is the inclusion of language clarifying prohibitions against the organizations’ involvement with civil unions that offend their moral convictions.
Driving the changes is the widespread perception that such clarifying language is necessary to protect the organizations’ legal interests and tax-exempt status. Financial and legal professionals affirm and encourage the movement and that seems to be reason enough for many flag-waving church folks and administrators to approve amendments to their bylaws and, in some cases, even their statements of doctrine often with little deliberation. The sentiment seems to be that whatever there is to discuss or grumble about can be sufficiently covered over Sunday lunch before the game starts.
Maybe. But if we set aside the whole gay rights thing for a minute, along with the total absence of biblical evidence that Jesus Christ ever presided over any wedding ceremony (or ever commissioned his followers to do so), what are we left with? Exactly what is the issue here? Might there be a bigger picture obscured beneath the dark morass of legal and ethical hysteria?
Isn’t there always?

A wise approach to these questions begins with an acknowledgment of first things first. The first verse of the first chapter of the Bo...


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... when things get too sordid for their sensibilities, they whimper and whine as though it were an affront to their virtue.
And then they change their bylaws and go to lunch, believing they have made some sort of stand to keep themselves aloof and unsullied by the perversions of the state.

Things were different a couple hundred years ago. On the other hand, there really is nothing new under the sun. In 1811, a mere twenty years after the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights was ratified, the Protestant Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA for some reason sought and received the approval of Congress for a corporate charter. But President James Madison wisely vetoed the bill to incorporate the church, objecting that it would have created “a religious establishment by law, a legal force and sanction being given to certain articles in its constitution and administration.”

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