Saturday, June 27, 2015

It’s Not about Love....It’s about MONEY

With yesterday’s SCOTUS (that’s the Supreme Court of The United States for those like myself still behind in the acronym game) decision that same-sex marriage will now be completely legal in all 50 states, it occurs to me to share a few words. I offer my words, simple and few, to the many and complex of others in responding to the court decision.

It isn’t about love. When I turned to social media yesterday, it seemed my screen had been taken over by rainbows – rainbow flags, rainbow corporate logos, rainbow pictures of The White House; there’s even a Facebook app to shade your profile picture rainbow. Just short of the rainbows was the slogan “Love Wins” running a close second. I’ve got news for isn’t about love. The LGBT community has been allowed to love anyone they wish since the beginning of time. No law legalizing marriage changes that fact. The LGBT community had been celebrating “non-legal” marriage for quite some time in several mainline Christian Churches. No law legalizing marriage changes that fact. The ONLY thing that really changed yesterday was the money.

It’s all about the MONEY. I have several friends who have been fighting for LGBT rights since I knew them in college, and I can remember quite vividly being told, “We don’t want to be allowed to marry, we just want to visit our friends in the hospital.” This mantra ended shortly as the demand for inheritance rights and other “end of life” issues seemed (to my perception) to consume the LGBT community which at the time understandably was falling victim to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But then things changed...

Our society began to respond to the call of LGBT community activists by changing various laws which previously had limited financial equality among the LGBT community. A term had been coined, “Civil Unions” which allowed for insurance companies and the like to extend health care and survivor rights etc to LGBT partners. But it still didn’t end with civil unions. Very quickly it became about the legal status surrounding the term marriage and it’s privilege in the tax code. Those who were married, and therefore only heterosexual couples, could take advantage of various deductions and other tax benefits. Something had to change! And change it did yesterday.

But the money doesn’t stop with the LGBT victory at the Supreme Court. The pendulum is always moving. Already yesterday various high profile columnists within the LGBT community had already pushed ahead with posts warning others that the fight was not over. There have been, and I expect will continue to be, calls for Churches which refuse to support the new law to be stripped of their tax exempt status. See.....? It’s all about the money.

Because I don’t recall reading ANYWHERE that those who support traditional marriage offering to give up their various tax benefits. I don’t recall hearing of a single Church offering to pay property taxes in order to be allowed to not support same-sex marriage. It’s ALWAYS about the money. Well, maybe not always, but I haven’t witnessed many times when it has not been about the money. Let’s face it. How many Christians in 2015 love God enough to continue financially supporting their Church if their donation wasn’t tax deductible? How many Christians who, WITHOUT COMPLAINT, would forgo their vacations, beach houses, flat screen TVs, and other luxuries, in order to logarithmically increase their donations to the Church in order for the Church to pay property taxes? If the lack of financial support for Orthodox Churches today, and that is WITH all our tax benefits, is any indication, I believe we have our answer.

I wonder.......if there was no money on the table, if we would even be having this debate... 


Susan Schneider said...

Thank you Fr. Arthenasios for posting this it was very helpful. You had said one time in your Acts Bible Study that there will come a time that they will tax the church. I can deal with gays getting married for whatever reason, it doesn't harm anyone, then I consider the license just a legal paper. However, I will have a big problem if priests will be forced to administer gay marriages in a church or elsewhere, then this so wrong in God's eyes. I would like to support an Orthodox church that has lost their tax exempt status, then we need the Orthodox church and we need to be stronger than ever!

Susan Schneider said...

Thank you for posting this Fr.Athansios it was very helpful. You had said once in your bible study that there will come a time when churches will have to pay taxes and it seems just around the corner. I feel like these are the most difficult times we are living in. I can live with gays getting married for whatever reason because it isn't hurting anyone. However, I will be so against and appalled if priests will be forced to administer a gay marriage in a church or outside a church. I would like to support an Orthodox church that looses their tax exempt status because of this, then we need the Orthodox church and we need to become stronger than ever in these times!