|Faux Christian martyrs Donald and Evelyn Knapp|
Facts and objective reality never matters to the Christofascists who mix the truth and fantasy - and a huge dose of lies - into the story lines needed to promote the myth of Christian persecution. In courts of law, however, facts and objective reality do matter. What am I talking about? The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wedding business that has become the latest supposed Christian martyr to homo-fascists out to destroy Christianity. Waiting to have an outpatient procedure this morning - the clinic, by the way did not have to meet hospital standards like Virginia abortion clinics even though the procedures performed are more dangerous than abortion procedures - I had to listen to Fox News talking heads hyperventilate about "Christian pastors" being forced to perform gay marriages or else face criminal charges under the local public accommodations law. The truth, however, is something quite different. The Hitching Post has never been a "Christian chapel." No, it been a for profit business with no restriction of only performing Christian marriages. Blogger friend Jeremy Hooper has the goods on the lies and hypocrisy of the folks at The Hitching Post and its legal counsel, the lunatics at Alliance Defending Freedom. Here excerpts from Jeremy's first post:
Back in May, I wrote about a place called The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, business that marries couples for profit. At the time, I opined about how the ordained minister who owns the business has every right to not perform same-sex marriages, if he so chooses. However, if he is going to make that choice, then he is going to lose that right to run a for-profit, "all comers welcome" business that says it marries opposite-sex couples in civil ceremonies, regardless of faith.
And in May, when that business owner, Donald Knapp, first started going to the press with this vow, that's exactly what his business claimed to do. These are the screen caps I used in my initial post:
But get this. In the wake of marriage equality coming to Idaho, the Alliance Defending Freedom is attempting to turn Mr. Knapp and his business into the latest "victims" of the marriage equality push. The ADF is championing a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Alene, and to make the case, all involved are claiming that the business is made up of "ordained ministers" who are being told "to act contrary to their faith." They are making it sound like this is an instance of a pastor being forced to perform a religious ceremony in a church, which is a fear they would love to play up as a reality. Several other conservative groups and outlets have run with that spin.
Now here's where it gets interesting. In order to make this case of supposed religious persecution, someone has gone into the very website that I used as basis for my spring commentary and changed the text so that all the mentions of civil weddings no longer appear. Here is how the very same screens that I showed you above look today:
"Ordained ministers" who perform a "traditional, religious ceremony"? And only "for couples who desire a traditional wedding ceremony"? This is revisionist history of the highest order! Now that this business needs to make a case for "religious persecution," they are pretending like they didn't operate in the way that they totally used to operate. They are pretending like civil ceremonies and ceremonies outside of their own deeply held faith were never on the table so that they can make it seem like they have always been convicted in and committed to one specific kind of religious wedding. They have up and changed the rules that they themselves had laid out (i.e. no church, no faith, no problem) so that they can now make the case that they and their far-right spinmeisters are itching to make (i.e. only church, always church; we're the victims). It's gross! And I caught ya.
The real shocker? The Hitching Post's promotion of its "civil marriage" services was unchanged online as recently as October 9, 2014. That's right, it changed just in time for the ADF' disingenuous and ridiculous lawsuit. Jeremy notes as follows in a follow up post:
This whole faux persecution stunt underscores why I hold utter contempt for so many "godly Christians." They are liars and hypocrites and make the biblical Pharisees seem like nice upstanding people. I hope the court issues sanctions against ADF for this fraudulent lawsuit.The fact is that this business was, according to its own website, fully willing to move forward with civil weddings that they themselves may not have supported, but now—suddenly and seemingly without any announced change in business plan—they are not. They have always operated as a public accommodation with an "all comers welcome" position statement, and now they are trying to act like a de facto church that could not conceive diverging from their faith. And that is the issue.The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the couple at the center of this controversy, is claiming that the business owners are now being asked to "violate their religious convictions and ministerial vows." If this business, up until two weeks ago, was perfectly willing to marry atheists, the previously divorced, and a whole host of couples that they might not personally condone, then their current claims to be wholly faith-driven are at least lessened, and more likely demolished.