As debate continues to rage over the viability of religious freedom laws, the Rev. C.J. Conner of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Dodge City, Kansas, has detailed a plan that he says would help both congregations and business owners be a "bit smarter" about protecting their right to refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples.
Conner, who recently published his thoughts on the matter, told TheBlaze that Christian business owners who wish to stay true to their values by not taking part in gay nuptials are currently "on the losing end" of the current social and political debate.
"We can't trust our government anymore to uphold the Constitution," he said. "We can't trust our government to protect the rights of Christians, or just the right of any individual not to be forced to violate their deeply held convictions, and so we have to be a little bit smarter."
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The pastor, who said that he has been helping churches navigate these issues for decades, recommended that Christians and houses of worship alike take ownership and get back to the "basic Christian understanding of marriage."
In doing so, he suggested that bakers, photographers and others who provide wedding-related services should engage in exclusive and direct contracts with Bible-believing churches.
While these business owners could still serve the general public — gays and lesbians included — for other occasions related to their services, weddings would only be afforded to contracted houses of worship and their affiliated church members.
"To have them engage in contractual obligations within their faith communities and not offer those services to the general public," Conner said. "To kind of reclaim the sanctity of marriage, which the church has lost. We've done some things to lose some ground on some of these issues by not holding marriage in high enough value."
Conner expanded on this work-around in a post published on Charisma News, in which he emphasized that these contracts between wedding-related businesses and churches would need to be "exclusive and binding," claiming that the Supreme Court would have a hard time undoing contract laws that have been established.
"Christian merchants who serve weddings can protect their religious liberty by only offering their services to Christian Churches in exclusive, binding contracts," he wrote. "Merchants can continue to provide all other services as usual, but protect the free practice of their faith by contracting exclusively and specifically with Bible believing congregations to provide wedding services for their members."
Conner continued, "Merchants would not be limited to only one faith community, but would be free from offering wedding services to the general public."
The pastor also offered up some advice to protect churches in general, saying congregations would be smart to change their regulations so that only confirmed members would be able to rent space for weddings.
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"As the gay lobby expands its agenda to target Christians and houses of worship directly, congregations that rent their space to any couple are at risk for costly legal action if they do not also rent to gay couples," he wrote.
Conner said he believes that Christian liberty and freedom are under attack in America, and that there's a push toward a government that further controls the masses.
"The gay lobby as it stands has become probably the most organized and powerful way to force America down this kind of destructive path," he told TheBlaze.
Read Conner's full write-up on the matter here and let us know what you think of his theory below.
The pastor's comments come at a time when the nation is fiercely debating religious freedom laws that critics claim will usher in discrimination, while supporters say that these regulations will protect individuals from government burdens on their faith.
(H/T: Charisma News)
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