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  • Same-Sex Marriage Shuts Down Methodist Camp Ground

    A paper recently published by The Heritage Foundation outlined the threat to religious liberty posed by nondiscrimination laws that elevate sexual orientation to a “protected status” just like race or gender.

    One of the cases used to illustrate this point involved a Methodist campground ministry in New Jersey that refused to allow a lesbian couple to rent one of its facilities for their civil union ceremony because of the ministry’s religious beliefs about marriage. The lesbian couple filed a complaint against the ministry for allegedly violating a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. Because the ministry had opened its facilities to the general public, some argued that the ministry could not invoke its religious beliefs—“no matter how deeply held”—in limiting use of the facility for male–female weddings only.

    Recently, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights confirmed the threats outlined in Heritage’s paper by concluding that probable cause exists to pursue charges against the Methodist campground ministry. Although the decision does not end this particular case, it favors the view that legal recognition for same-sex unions and sexual orientation should trump religious liberties.

    Of note, the decision was authored by the same New Jersey official, J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, who headed a commission that recently recommended that New Jersey redefine marriage to include homosexual couples.

    Despite the set-back, Brian Raum, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, who represents the Methodist campground ministry, stated that his client would continue to fight for the right to honor its religious convictions. According to Raum, his client’s position remains unchanged: “A Christian organization has a Constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs”.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    37 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage Shuts Down Methodist Camp Ground

    1. Brian, San Diego says:

      “A Christian organization has a Constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs”.

      No they do not, if they are using state or federal funding OR they are allowing the public to use their resourses, they are OBLIGATED to follow the laws just like any other organization. Religion is NOT above the law. This is an open and shut case.

    2. Barb -mn says:

      Poor, poor homosexuals. You are hypocrites if you claim to be christian. How about using your own time and money and build yourselves a pagan house of immoral worship? Your immoral sexual preference is against God's will. Your selfish existence is so becoming of you. You're a victim of yourself. Pathetic. Don't redefine a sacrament God states.

    3. Paul, UK says:

      A Christian group doesn't have such a constitutional right, nor does any other religious group. It is possible for the adherents of most religions to argue (should they wish) that they are obliged by their religion to do distasteful things up to and including killing people. That does not mean they're allowed to do those things; they only have a constitutional right to practice their religion to the extent it does not beak the law.

      The law mentioned might not apply in this case, and even if it does it might be a bad law. But as long as it is the law this group must obey it.

    4. Marco, Palo Alto CA says:

      Whatever your position on the issue of same-sex marriage is, legalization of same-sex marriage does NOT hurt religious liberty.

      The article does NOT disclose part of the details. The methodist church declared one of its facility as "public" in order to not pay taxes on that property. The law is clear. If you decide to declare that property "public" you MUST allow everybody to use it. If you want to have the control of who can use it, then you have to pay taxes as private property.

      Moreover the case happened when there was NO same-sex marriage or civil union in the state. Infact the union was a "commitment cerimony" that had NO legal value. Whatever the union has legal value or not, by law private civitizen have the same rights to use public property.

      The church in question cannot declare a property "public" when it comes to taxes and "private" when it comes to its use.

      Whatever your position on same-sex marriage is, you should tell the truth and the truth is that religion freedom is NOT touched by same-sex marriages as it is NOT touched by divorce. Churches that do NOT like divorce, are NOT required to accept it. The same holds for same-sex marriages.

      And yes, if you decide to get tax exemptions declaring a property PUBLIC, then be aware that everybody would be able to use (this is what PUBLIC mean). Including people of other Faith.

      Even if you believe that same-sex marriage is wrong, lies are always wrong.

      Marco

    5. atty79, Louisiana says:

      Barb, your selfish existence is so becoming of YOU. You're like that child who takes away toys from other kids and then has the nerve to lie about it when caught. You take away same-sex marriage and then point to your religion, as if you can't think for yourself. Bad behavior is bad behavior, whatever your reason for it. You believe in YOUR religion. It's selfish. You practice YOUR religion because you believe it will help YOU out in the long run. You practice YOUR religion at the expense of others who don't believe in the hogwash. Keep your religion to yourself, and stand up for your OWN ideals. Stop hiding your bigotry behind the bible. And by all means, stop kidding yourself that you aren't the one being SELFISH.

    6. Theo, Virginia says:

      America was founded on Christian principles and rebellion against tyranny. Trying to rewrite history will not change these truths.

      As far as the leftist statement that religion is not above the law, one must then ask why sodomites and other leftists think that their religions—atheism, humanism, secularism, etceteras—are above the law. (Or one might even ask the AHS why they think that their religions ARE the law.)

      And the idea that a Christian organization does not have a constitutional right to stand up for morality . . . well, that is just plain absurd. Furthermore, it is asinine to posit that “religions” should not be allowed to murder people if they so chose to do so. After all, “religions” (code word for “Christians”) do not even conceive of such things while the truly religious—leftists—actually do murder people (and do so legally since they control society) through abortion, “assisted suicide,” euthanasia, and other ways, even as they deny that they are murdering through these acts.

      But this whole “debate” with leftists over this story is, like every other issue, moot. After all, when leftists do not like the law, they break it and make no apologies for it. In fact, they brag that they have a moral right—a moral obligation to break the law and then they go about changing the law so that their immorality is legal (see the above paragraph). So leftists should not even start trying to argue any “moral” position against the Christians being persecuted in this story.

      Yet I do not blame leftists for trying to muddy the waters. Society rewards leftists for their complete lack of morality; their scheming; their sinning. After all, when they assault military recruiting installations; riot, assault, and murder Christians after Christians vote to protect marriage and the family; call for the death of Israel and Jews when muslims or others repeatedly attempt to murder them (the Jews); actively work to defeat their own nation in war; murder the unborn and other “unwanted”; commit sodomy and promote the death-dealing sin to others; call for the death of perceived conservatives (such as President George W. Bush); preach and practice anarchy in the “educational” system and the streets; and commit and promote other acts of hatred and violence, they are rewarded for doing so either directly or indirectly (by the passive Right, which never does anything to stop them other than whine and cluck their tongues even while the leftists drive us ever quicker to destruction). So I certainly do not blame the leftist trolls for taking the time to come to this site in order that they might get “revenge” on the Christians who had the AUDACITY to offer the slightest resistance to their perpetual campaign of spreading hatred, misery, disinformation, and just plain wickedness.

    7. Mark, Spokane,WA. says:

      I agree with Brian, even if it isn't the letter of the law.What ever happened to the belief of separation of church and state? This is a moral, not legal issue in my book.

    8. atty79, Louisiana says:

      Theo, I can't imagine what it's like to group people together and attribute to them such heinousness. "Leftist trolls" make it so much easier to excuse your own behavior.

      This post can apply to ANY organization that seeks to escape taxation by claiming they are non-profit. If the science-society has tax-free property open to the public and prohibits a gathering of religious people–THAT TOO WOULD GET CALLED OUT BY THE GOVERNMENT. Churches are not special in this. You are just making them special. If they have tax-free, open to the public property, they have to abide by the law. If they want to give up their special, tax-free status, then they can be as bigoted and exclusive as they want to. Churches are trying to get their cake and eat it too–be tax exempt and discriminate. They can't do that. Just like everyone other tax-exempt organization, they have to pick one or the other, not both.

    9. Stephen says:

      The campground folks can do whatever they want, prohibit whatever they want. But if they don't follow state law, they are not eligible for tax breaks, etc, that they would otherwise be eligible for. There is NO attempt here to make them do anything against their beliefs. NONE! It's just that they can't discriminate like this AND ALSO RECEIVE STATE TAX BENEFITS at the same time. They have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

    10. NANCY RUSSELL PA says:

      IF THE LAW PROVIDES FOR TAX EXEMPT CHURCHES TO EXERCISE THEIR BELIEFS AND HAVE THEM PROTECTED BY LAW THEN THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE. IF THE LAW DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THIS THEN THE CHURCHES MUST EITHER ABIDE BY THE LAW OR REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM TAX EXEMPT STATUS. IN THE LONG RUN, IT IS BETTER FOR CHURCHES NOT TO BENEFIT FROM BEING TAXED SO THAT THEY CAN PROMULGATE THEIR BELIEFS WITH NO APOLOGY. HOMOSEXUALS WHO WANT TO MARRY AMOUNT TO 10% SO THAT IS NOT THEIR PURPOSE. THEIR PURPOSE IS TO HAVE SOCIETY CONDONE THEIR SIN IN ORDER TO SOMEHOW FREE THEMSELVES OF THE GUILT WHICH THEY CORRECTLY HAVE.

    11. Michael, Florida says:

      Hi Marco! You stated:

      "Whatever your position on the issue of same-sex marriage is, legalization of same-sex marriage does NOT hurt religious liberty."

      You are either ignorant or new to this issue. The ENTIRE issue of this is the First Amendment right to practise religion and free speech. Both elements. You might try to point out subtle legal details, which could be relevant in this case actually, but you are missing the bigger issue.

      If I wanted to get married to a girl and wanted to have baked pig as the main entree, who I go to a Muslim or Jewish insitituion? No, that would be absurd. Then why go to a Christian denomination camp ground that is against the thought of "same sex marriage" (or whatever term you want to use)? Rather odd isn't it? I mean, I am certain that not all campgrounds in New Jersey are christian run and run by either the same owners or the same denomination. So there was a choice. Maybe these 2 people just had to have the unprecedented vista from this camp ground? I don't know for certain but I think not.

      When a christian photographer who runs a business in New Mexico gets FINED thousands of dollars for not wanting to photograph a "coupling" or same-sex ceremony, how is this not a first amendment right issue? The kicker is that New Mexico doesn't recognise same-sex marriages either! I could give many examples of this all over the place including the erroneous thought of the "separation of church and state" which people often quote but no nothing about the fact that this was in a letter by a President, and not a legal document.

      The principle difference today in the US is that Christians are increasingly sued for their beliefs that do not fit with the secular/moral relativist society thought, despite our heritage. We are rewriting our own heritage and history regardless of your belief in God or a God. It could be worse I suppose: in other countries around the world, Christians are jailed or killed for their actions/beliefs/thoughts. Or is that the future of Christians here too?

    12. Sarah-CA says:

      I don't know how someone from the UK understands anything going on here in America if you don't live here. Whatever you do in Britain is up to the British people. We here in the USA are still a very traditional right leaning country.

      Gay marriage is illegal in 24 states. Only two states allow it and that is Massachusetts and Connecticut; the rest have civil unions. It seems to me that Gay couples want to punish Christians because of their belief just for the fun of it. The Beauty of America is that you have choice. You can choose NOT to go to a Christian owned anything and still be fine. There are many beautiful venues to have a "promise ceremony" across the country that allow anybody to come.

      I believe it all comes down to this one thought. As long as there are any truly traditional Christian organizations in the country then the Militant Gay community is going to sue, sue, sue! They are going to bring asinine laws out of the books and use discrimination laws against us who believe in Traditional Marriage. In fact it can be summed up into a very simple sentence: "No more Christians."

      Excuse me if I seem too radical in my traditional belief for any one of you "trolls" but I see constant law suits against Christians as an act of Warfare. Not a war of Guns but a war of words and a war nonetheless!

    13. Paul, UK says:

      Sarah – I assume you're addressing at least some of your remark to me, as I'm the only Brit. I lived in Minnesota for 7 years, and visited a dozen other states, and while I don't claim to be an expert on America, I do think I have a fair understanding. In particular I know that Americans in general (to the extent that you can generalize about 300 million people) do hold many views that the average Brit would consider conservative, not to say odd at times.

      I also know that America is a country of laws, and that its citizens have a profound respect for that system even if they disagree with the individual laws. One of the responsibilities that system demands is that people obey the law, and it appears that the campground didn't do that. The right that goes along with that is to fight the law, both directly in court and by pressing for changes in the legislature. I'm glad that the campground is doing so, though I hope they fail.

      One other thing I know is that America has long struggled with issues of equality, and continues that struggle today. Christians made a clear case for the institution of slavery for many decades, but today we consider their reasoning to be false (thanks in great part to other Christians) and wouldn't allow a campground to turn people away based on ethnicity. I trust that the same flawed reasoning regarding gay marriage will be overturned within the Church and society at large in due course.

    14. Brent, Orange County says:

      You don't see me demanding a hamburger at a Indian restaurant, nor do I go storming into an Amish community blasting Rob Zombie on my iPod.

      So what's the intent of this lesbian couple? They know it's going to cause problems with that church facility, but they still press the issue. Seems a bit disrespectful and selfish to me.

    15. Darrel Baird, Kent says:

      A national sales tax with NO income tax is the answer. Almost any establishment (religous or otherwise) can be attacked because the use of tax incentives or deductions.Kill the income tax and you take away a lot of the power that allows government to meddle.

    16. Barb -mn says:

      My, my, my, atty79. Assuming makes you ignorant. I am referring to your writing of the word religion. And me hiding behind it? What religion are you referring to?

      Homosexuality has been around since the beginning of time. So has marriage. Why is it so important to demand things change to suit gay people as they want attention and change to suit their sexual preference? And go out of their way to demand it at institutions that don't commend it? Every tax exempt public facility has rules, requirements, standards. I don't go out of my way to demand rules change for my benefit or lifestyle. Accept it or build your own…and look up the word SELFISH.

    17. REV JOE says:

      As a UM Minister I am under the Book Of Discipline to not perform same sex unions in my church or any Methodist facility or elsewhere. If I choose to do so I will loose my credentials. Before the ministry I have ran restaurants and hotels. Each have guidelines before people enter into an agreement and we always had the right to serve or not to serve if one is not going to comply with our guidelines. As the campground is open to the public for use, there, I am most certain, would be guidelines to abide by. This is not a free for all world in which we live. If you can't get married there, then go some place else.

    18. Paul, UK says:

      Barb and REV JOE – the difference here is that those rules changes have, effectively, already been achieved. The campground can deny entrance to anyone they wish if they feel that person won't pay, or will cause a disturbance, or for pretty much any other reason, except those reasons defined in anti-discrimination law. These include race, sexual orientation and, I believe, religious belief.

      The point is that the complainants aren't trying to put their personal preferences above the religious beliefs of the campground owners, but that they're trying to put *the law* above those beliefs. I could have the most profound religous belief imaginable that I'm allowed to take your property without your consent, but it would still legally be theft and I still wouldn't have the right to do it.

      REV JOE – I'd be interested in whether your ceremonies in themselves carry the weight of law, or whether the couple involved would have to complete a civil marriage process as well.

    19. Barb -mn says:

      But they've only been achieved by government appeasement of individuals whose complaints of demands is change made by force of government. So why is it homosexuals want to cause trouble with Christianity when they are aware it is against Christian belief? Christian churches aren't the only tax exempt facilities. Get married in a tax exempt Mosque.

    20. Paul, UK says:

      Marriage in Christian churches? I thought this was a civil union in a campground? The two are very different, aren't they?

    21. Barb -mn says:

      The word "church" is also defined as a gathering of people of the same beliefs.

      Methodist is a name of a Christian religion. Methodist campground means it's for people of the same beliefs. Obviously the Methodist campground does not believe in civil union. Why cause trouble? Accept it and move on.

    22. atty79, Louisiana says:

      @Barb, what are you talking about? I didn't make any assumptions. The religion I'm talking about is the one that binds you to your God-proselytizing existence. I encouraged you to stand up for ideals separate from that religion.

      Tax-exempt churches have to act like all other public places. And with your "I don't go around trying to change rules" comment, you show your ignorance. Of course you don't go around trying to change the rules. Why would you? They suit yourself. If you were gay, you'd sing a different tune.

      BTW, homosexuality IS NOT a preference.

      I stand by my comment on your SELFISH existence. I'm more than comfortable throwing that at you when you insinuate that the fight for equal treatment is selfish. Selfish means putting one's own welfare above another's. You've chosen to put your belief in an afterlife and a God above the welfare of your neighbors. That's your choice. But it's still a selfish one.

    23. Barb -mn says:

      @atty79

      It is a preference! The act of SEX is a choice. The only act of sex to survive humanity is sexual intercourse. Otherwise it is all about self gratification. And if MANKIND didn't have control, RAPE would be legal. Which may be on the presidents agenda as he wants kindergartners to have SEX education. But If you believe people are born gay and are Christian, maybe their test is to avoid the temptation. The act of sex is not a necessity of survival.

    24. Barb -mn says:

      Oh, one more thing. God does not and is not a reference to any religion. Jesus did not preach or teach any religion. It is the people that are ignorant to assume that any writing or spoken word of God or Jesus resembles religion. The bible is open to all. No religion necessary. And if you could think openly you would understand.

      God and Jesus could be taught in public schools without violation as they reference no religion. Religion is man-made

    25. atty79 says:

      @barb, you're right. Sex is a choice. But you fail to see that same-gender relationships are not necessarily about sex. I LOVE my spouse in such a complete and fulfilling way. True love and the concept of soul mates are lost, apparently, among most. All people think about now is sex, children, financial security, retirement, and death. Marriage is just "one of those things you gotta do." Like a checklist.

      Everywhere you look–sitcoms, movies, even most parents, you see no love; you see constant struggle between convenience and lust. There's no "spark"; no sense of connection. We don't even teach our kids to find true love anymore. Instead, "find yourself a good doctor, lawyer, or millionaire". "Get married and settle down."

      This whole same-sex marriage debate shows me one thing consistently. We don't care about love anymore. I'm not trying to be sappy; but isn't that the cornerstone of the type of relationship we WANT to see in a marriage. Isn't that the best environment to raise kids?

    26. atty79 says:

      @barb, and as for religion, God and Jesus are defined concepts. They don't exist in a vacuum. You speak of them; religion, whether yours or someone else's, is in tow. It's disingenuous to say otherwise.

    27. Barb -mn says:

      defined by man, creating various religions. I am not of religion atty. That is why slight irritation results by your constant implication.

      Regarding the above the above, marriage is defined according to the Christian bible. This country was established by Christian values. Marriage is defined between a man and woman. But people won't accept it or respect it today because they don't have to and it brings on alot of attention.

      And because of the intolerance to the meaning of marriage today, and the will of people to change the beliefs of others, people will go as far as crying to the government to have it their way. BEGGING for acceptance and attention.

      I have a high level of tolerance, but acceptance is a whole different word.

      Early you wrote, if I were gay I would be singing a different tune. That's not me at all, atty. I have sacrificed much for the better good of others. I believe in the common good of all and in a civil society there has to be civil rules and civil laws that people follow. I also believe in the strength of mankind and the ability to endure. Thanks for writing, I'll check back again to see if you may respond. barb

    28. atty79 says:

      @barb, let's step aside from the meaning of "marriage" for a minute. I just read an argument that focuses on the civil rules and laws. I'd like to hear your response to it.

      The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits disparate treatment between the genders. It says that "no state … shall deny to any person … the equal protection of the laws."

      Now if women and men are to be treated equally, this statement (which grabs the gist of the same-sex marriage ban laws) proves troublesome: "Men can marry women, but women cannot marry women."

      Step back and think about that statement. Get rid of notions of tradition and religion and whatever other biases may exist, and study just the LAW on equality, how can women be equal to men if men have this special right to marry a woman, but no such right is given to a woman?

      You could respond by saying that women and men have an equal number of rights–men can't marry men, and women can't marry women, but both can marry their opposite gender. But that does not do because it still leaves each gender with a SPECIAL right that the other does not have.

      I'm hoping that your belief in the common good and civil laws changes to include this obvious disparity created in marriage laws. There's nothing to explain away in this concept–the law is the law. So we can get rid of concepts of love, religion, tradition, and stick with reality…what the laws says. It says each gender must be able to marry whatever gender the other gender can marry. To do otherwise is to facially discriminate against each gender on this matter. And that is wrong.

    29. Barb -mn says:

      @atty,

      The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits disparate treatment between the genders. It says that “no state … shall deny to any person … the equal protection of the laws.” response: Unless it specifies equal protection of all laws of all religions, of all beliefs, the amendment does not apply to marriage and we would all be one in the same.

      Now if women and men are to be treated equally, this statement (which grabs the gist of the same-sex marriage ban laws) proves troublesome: “Men can marry women, but women cannot marry women.” response: According to the compliance of the definition of marriage there is no argument.

      Step back and think about that statement. Get rid of notions of tradition and religion and whatever other biases may exist, and study just the LAW on equality, how can women be equal to men if men have this special right to marry a woman, but no such right is given to a woman? response: It is not a special right, it is compliant with the definition of the word.

      You could respond by saying that women and men have an equal number of rights–men can’t marry men, and women can’t marry women, but both can marry their opposite gender. But that does not do because it still leaves each gender with a SPECIAL right that the other does not have. response: It's not SPECIAL. It's compliant with the definition of marriage. On one hand there are many people of the opposite gender that love each other that live together that remain unmarried on the other, adamant demand from people who defy and deny the principles and of the meaning of the word who insist on becoming a part of it. How do you explain that?

      I’m hoping that your belief in the common good and civil laws changes to include this obvious disparity created in marriage laws. response: this "obvious disparity" was not created in marriage laws, it's created by people who's desire it is to be accepted where they are in opposition of a definition of a word. They ceased the opportunity and went with it pointing fingers everywhere but at themselves.

      There’s nothing to explain away in this concept–the law is the law. So we can get rid of concepts of love, religion, tradition, and stick with reality…what the laws says. It says each gender must be able to marry whatever gender the other gender can marry. To do otherwise is to facially discriminate against each gender on this matter. And that is wrong. REsponse: We can get rid of the concepts of what you mention yet we should accept a concept that doesn't apply? There is no discrimination. The definition is the definition. Marriage laws apply to the definition. The law is the law. Marriage laws are marriage laws which are you talking about? Marriage laws are applied according to the definition of marriage!

      First of all, I don't allow my mind to think like yours. Marriage is an act and a choice not a right. Any marriage laws pertaining to marriage were implemented according to the definition. Laws are conducted according to the definition of the word. Not to change the definition of the word.

      I'm really not sure what benefits or rights marriage get that gay people are so desperate to get married over. What is the reason for this intrusion? The ability to procreate by the procreators having the dignity to carry on their parental responsibility to provide and all the responsibilities after immediately improves the economy. Lines have to be drawn to sustain and maintain a civil society. Gays do not reflect the definition of the word for a reason. Homosexuality is total opposition of the definition of marriage. Why people are so driven to change the meaning of a word to fit their personal agenda is wrong.

    30. atty79 says:

      @barb, definitions are created by man. Your responses tend toward this staunch concept that definitions are set in stone and cannot be applicable to necessarily evolving circumstances.

      Take, for example, the word "man". Historically, this word, used in many, many legal documents before women had equality, was meant to say, "male person". With women's equality, laws were passed to say that wherever "man" is mentioned, it means both men and women. You can't deny that this simple understanding of "man" to mean "person" should have been denied because it was abhorrent to broaden the word.

      Words mean things–and they mean the things that man applies to them. Deciding for yourself that words shouldn't include concepts repulsive to your ideal meaning does not change the fact that the word has a broader meaning. Marriage IS a union between two consenting adults. How do I know this? Because I am a man, and my spouse, legally married to me, is also a man. You cannot deny that this is the case. The word IS changed. You're crying over spilled milk.

      If you have a problem with my unchosen sexual orientation, that is your prerogative. You shouldn't use semantics though to hide your personal agenda. The word is changed. It's time for you to either admit it, or attack me for who I am–a married man, married to my husband.

    31. Barb -mn says:

      Atty, yes words have meaning that are defined to the meaning understood and not changed due to the intolerance of the meaning. Like I've previously mentioned, homosexuality has been around since the beginning of man. It hasn't been until the 20th century people wanted same sex marriage recognized. That I know of.

      It is the selfishness behind the "change" of the meaning and the unacceptance to admit total opposition. It is insulting to have a meaning of a word changed to the opposition of it.

      I apologize for my condescending choice of words in earlier posts.

      I wish you know harm.

    32. atty79 says:

      @barb, I wish you no harm either. You must understand that from my perspective this is not an academic debate. I live the reality of people holding onto the word marriage as a shield against my family. I am married. The word is changed. No harmful effects occurred because of my marriage or the inclusion of my marriage with yours. Actually, good things happened. My kids won't grow up in a country where people look down on them for being raised in a loving family with married same-gender parents.

    33. Chairm says:

      The Pavilion has specific religious-based purposes and is privately owned by the Methodist organization.

      Open acess to the beach, the boardwalk, the waterfront, and so forth, does not equate to "equal access" to the privately owned buildings.

      The government program, Green Acres, is about conservation and recreation uses. A civil union ceremony is not such a use.

      On the other hand, a wedding ceremony fits the religious-affiliated use of the Pavilion.

      The property owners did not object to the lesbian couple finding a different venue there. The couple say they did not seek to use the pavilion to make some grande political point. They used a building on the pier for their commitment ceremony, a ceremony which has no legal effect.

      Meanwhile the gay activists have been misrepresenting all over the place. They claim that open access means the property is now public property and they say, absurdly, that the Methodist organization must be penalized to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      The property owners have cooperated very well with the Green Acres program, the program at issue with the state government. That program is about conservation and recreation uses.

      The tax exempt kerfuffle is really stupid.

    34. Chairm says:

      Also note that marriage in New Jersey is the union of a man and a woman. That's constitutional, according to that state's highest court.

      Civil union is one-sexed according to the enabling legislation.

      Confusing the two is purely a matter of pressing gay identity politics into the regulations that touch the Green Acres program.

      The Green Acres program is about encouragement of public uses for conservation and recreation purposes. A civil union ceremony does not qualify as such a use.

      The tax exemption part of this dispute is more fluff than substance.

      Access does not mean that the property is "public property" as per the gay activist group that has been demonstrating and zealously call for the government to punish those with whom they (the activists) disagree. Their comments to the newsmedia on this score are clearly mistaken.

      On the other hand, marriage in New Jersey is both-sexed, and constitutionally so. Civil union is one-sexed, as per the enabling legislation.

      The Methodist organization has been tolerant in that it has accomodated civil union ceremonies on its property (for example the couple who sparked the dispute had a ceremony on the pier) but the organization has a policy about the use of its pavilion and the other edifices there which are directly related to its Methodist affiliation.

      It is important to distinguish between the organization's Christian purpose — both in owning the property and in governing its uses — and its role in working with the government, and other property owners, for the purpose of conservation and recreation uses by the public. Equal access for these uses is different than access for uses that contradict the Methodist organization's First Amendment liberties.

      Civil union ceremonies are not public uses as per the Green Acre program's conservation and recreation purpose. Sure, they are uses of a different kind. The Methodist organization did not trade-off First Amendment liberties when it cooperated with such a governmental program. They did not exchange their teachings on marriage, nor on civil union, when they permitted weddings to be performed at the pavilion.

    35. Keith, Fort Worth says:

      So, the fallacious leftist argument continues, that Churches are "given" tax breaks by the government and are therefore beholden to the governments dictates. No, the Church is NOT subsidized by government simply because they are not taxable entities. Otherwise, churches COULD be made to "marry" homosexuals and comply with all kinds of government mandates that a religious group's doctrine deems reprehensible. But I guess these are the same leftists that deem all personal income the government's and that the government "lets" us keep a portion of it out of it's beneficent goodness. Thus, tax cuts become an "expenses" for the new-world socialists.

      The argument that the Methodist campground made the facility "public" to avoid taxation is even more asinine. Being part of a church's ministry, it is exempt from taxation just like any other part of a church's ministry.

    36. Wayne Johnson says:

      Amendment I.

      Ratified December 15, 1791

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . . . . "

      “Same-Sex Marriage Shuts Down Methodist Camp Ground” is a direct violation of the 1st Amendment of our Constitution in that it prohibits the free exercise of the Methodist's Camps right of expressing their religious freedom which, by a command of God Almighty, they are not to open their doors to apostate God-hating people or groups.

    37. CG, NJ says:

      –After all, when they assault military recruiting installations; riot, assault, and murder Christians after Christians vote to protect marriage and the family; call for the death of Israel and Jews when muslims or others repeatedly attempt to murder them (the Jews); actively work to defeat their own nation in war; murder the unborn and other “unwanted”; commit sodomy and promote the death-dealing sin to others; call for the death of perceived conservatives (such as President George W. Bush); preach and practice anarchy in the “educational” system and the streets; and commit and promote other acts of hatred and violence, they are rewarded for doing so either directly or indirectly (by the passive Right, which never does anything to stop them other than whine and cluck their tongues even while the leftists drive us ever quicker to destruction). So I certainly do not blame the leftist trolls for taking the time to come to this site in order that they might get “revenge” on the Christians who had the AUDACITY to offer the slightest resistance to their perpetual campaign of spreading hatred, misery, disinformation, and just plain wickedness– Come again??

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