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The Courage Fund
October 7, 2011 - John Stack
The Courage Fund is the name a group is using to defend town clerks who claim they have a religious right to not do their jobs.
When Same Sex Marriage was approved by the legislature this year it had the added problem of a number of town clerks claiming signing a marriage license violated their freedom of religion. Maybe the clerks don’t WANT to sign SSM licenses, but this law does not restrict anyone’s religious rights. I don’t think any marriage license has a small codicil saying ‘and the town clerk who issued this license also believes that by signing this, foresaid clerk also agrees that SSM marriage is OK and the clerk agrees with SSM’. No it doesn’t. It is just a small application that the clerk attests that the rules for obtaining a license were followed. (Such as not being underage). What if the clerk belonged to a religion that believed 12 year olds could marry? Should she keep her job if she wrote marriage licenses for 12 year olds?
The clerks also signed a paper saying they would uphold all laws of New York State. There is no place on these documents where it says ‘unless I don’t agree with the law because of my religion’. I've included a couple links to videos for The Courage Fund. . It has stories of clerks resigning, and thise afraid of being let go because they refused to do their paid duty. Laura Fotusky, town of Barker resigned because she said she believed in a higher law,” I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible” (Acts 5:29 – We ought to obey God rather than man). Ironically, she had to take an oath to become a town clerk, and that oath that she swore to (on a bible possibly?) that she would uphold the laws of New York State. So, she believes that there is a higher law, and that man’s laws are not worth following. BUT, she swore an oath to follow man’s law. Was she lying to one or the other? Does God say its OK to lie if that lie obtains you employment?
This argument over personal freedoms which conflict with mans laws has been settled long ago. If someone signs up for the military, then goes through boot camp, classes They may then be sent to a combat zone. If upon arriving, the soldier is told to go in a convoy and protect the other soldiers, The soldier does have options. The soldier can follow orders. Or they can choose NOT to follow orders because of a religious reason. That soldier would then be permanently dischaged with a dishonorable discharge. We all expect this, and most of would say ‘you don’t join the service if you have no intent to follow rules, orders and laws’. We may say this soldier has the right to not fight, but he does not have the right to continue in the army. What if we told our fighting men and women they had the right to disobey any order or law, if they thought, in their mind, it would be against their religious beliefs, with no punitive or disciplinary action? I tell what would happen. We’d probably be speaking German or Russian right now!
Even more perplexing is why thes epeople have chose that THIS is their reason to follow God. There are probably a hundred laws on the books that are in some type of opposition to the Bible. What if the clerk signed a parade permit knowing people would be mixing fabrics? How about if she gave a driving permit to a farmer who she knew had planted different type of seeds in his fields? What about if the clerk notarized an application to someone she knew was an unmarried mother? She should know that in Leviticus the least she should do is stone the woman to death?
Also, in reality, the bible is quite silent on the issue of same sex marriage. One reason is that at the time, the Church wasn’t even involved in marriages! Marriages pre-date Christianity by about a thousand years, and was mostly just a civil contract. Mostly (as it does today) concerning the rights of each person were one to die or leave the patnership. The church co-opted this as a means to obtain power over the laity (or however you choose to view the church demanding a non-church wedding was not lawful).
The right to free expression of your religion does not extend to forcing other people to accept your religious traditions or beliefs. If you don’t want to uphold the laws of NY or of The US, then don’t put yourself in the position where this conflicts with your religion! Pretty simple!
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