If A Church Refuses Gay Marriage

While some religions and denominations are open to sexuality and gender identities, other churches and denominations continue to adhere to their beliefs regarding the stance of their faith on homosexuality. These churches believe it should be within their rights to refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies.

Unfortunately, public opinion does not seem to be on their side. In the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges, many churches and pastors now find themselves having to consider one of two possibilities:

  1. Conform to the pressure from forces outside said church to perform gay marriages, which would fly directly in the face of their beliefs.
  2. Suffer a variety of substantial, destructive legal consequences.

If a church does refuse to perform a wedding, and they are sued, there are a few things that can happen in the aftermath of this scenario.

Will Church Insurance Defend Churches Who Refuse To Perform Gay Marriages?

Like any other corporation, churches must consider liability threats. At the same time, they must also keep in mind the potential destruction that can befall any church who is forced to pay the sometimes-heavy costs that are associated with litigation.

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As same-sex marriage is now recognized as a constitutional right, many churches are understandably concerned about where this leaves them, in terms of liability. Indeed, the subject of liability insurance in this arena seems to be quite confusing. Many known insurers of churches have made either blanket statements regarding the issue, or they have refused to address it altogether. In the case of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, suggestions were offered to churches that were eager to avoid litigation.

In terms of liability insurance for churches sued for refusing gay marriage ceremonies, the answer seems to vary from one carrier to the next.  One of the main concerns of these churches revolves around the notion of not receiving legal protection, in the event of lawsuit, since no actual injury or damage has been alleged.  To that end, Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company has an intriguing alternative to offer churches.

Miscellaneous Legal Defense Coverage

Churches who are concerned over the prospect of being sued for refusing to accept a gay marriage ceremony within their walls may want to consider Miscellaneous Legal Defense Coverage. While this can provide some relief to churches who feel that their religious freedom liberties are under attack, there are several components to this avenue that one is going to want to keep in mind.

For example, Miscellaneous Legal Defense Coverage is not the same as liability insurance. This is because in the scenario we are describing, bodily injuries, property damages, or advertising injuries do not apply. The main benefit to opting for Miscellaneous Legal Defense Coverage is that it is an expense reimbursement for defense expenses.

 

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Southern Mutual remains the main champion of this alternative to liability insurance. The insurer made it abundantly clear that they had no intentions of abandoning the churches that rely on them for various forms of legal protection. Taking things a step further, Southern Mutual offered the add-on to interested churches at a considerable discount of fifty percent. However, it is worth noting that the add-on would not extend to fines and payments handed down by courts.

Southern Mutual is just one insurer of churches and religious organizations, but there is no question that they are one of the heavyweights in the insurance industry. While still providing protection for the first church Southern Mutual extended itself to in the year of 1928, the company currently offers legal assistance to approximately 8400 churches, synagogues, and mosques.  In the end, this is a situation that is going to be well worth paying attention to, over the coming months.

All About The Disciples Of Christ

The Disciples of Christ represents a mainline Protestant denomination within the larger Christian faith. With a polity that is decidedly Congregationalist, the Disciples of Christ continues to maintain a notable presence within the subject of modern examples of Christianity.

The history and current beliefs of this church can make for compelling reading, even if you are not a member. While the current incarnation of this church can be traced back to Kansas City in 1968, the true history of this denomination goes back a good deal further than that.

 The History Of The Disciples Of Christ

By the dawn of the 1800s, denominationalism was in rough shape. Many leaders and members within the larger Christian faith felt that denominationalism had become too rigid. Through two distinct movements that nonetheless sought to establish and nurture Christian unity, the Disciples of Christ was born.

Thomas and Alexander Campbell represented the first group. They were furious with the limitations imposed by dogmatic sectarianism, particularly in regards to the Lord’s Supper.  Barton W. Stone represented the second group. Utilizing creeds as fellowship tests within the church was a particular sore point with the fifth-generation American and Presbyterian.

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The aims and ideals of these two groups, which sprung up in Kentucky (Stone) and Western Pennsylvania (the Campbell’s) were quite similar. It was only a matter of time before the two groups decided to come together for a greater good. They did this in 1832 in Lexington KY. Unfortunately, the desire to build a faith out of the teachings of the New Testament proved to be problematic. Differences of opinion created divisions and chaos. However, towards the end of the Second World War, reformation and restructuring seemed within reach. However, it wasn’t until 1968 that the Disciples of Christ took the form it largely continues to hold to this day.

Beliefs, Practices, And Current Status

The Lord’s Supper is a crucial component to the beliefs and practices of most members of the Disciples of Christ. Within most congregations, you can find members singing hymns, reading from both the Old Testament and New Testament that are found within Christian scripture, and listening to the word of God through sermons and other mediums.

Each congregation is given the ability to chart its own course, in regards to worshipping, studying, performing Christian services, and witnessing to the world. An interesting component to the Disciples of Christ involves the element of inclusion. Regardless of denomination, communion is granted to anyone. The only requirement that is consistent across virtually all congregations is that the individual must recognize Christ as Lord. The church has long since established itself as a branch of Christianity that wants to make itself available to all interested parties. This is regardless of their denomination, their race, their age, their economic background, or even their sexuality. It was in 2013 that the Disciples of Christ voted on a resolution to embrace sexual orientations and gender identities, a very progressive step for any organized religion.

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Acceptance of Jesus Christ is essential, as is obedience to him in baptism. There is also no “official” interpretation of the Bible. Furthermore, the Disciples of Christ do not believe that creeds should be used as “tests”, in terms of determining whether or not someone is a true follower of Jesus.

In the present, the Disciples of Christ is home to over 3600 congregations. As of 2014, the number of members formally registered with the church is 497,423. While this number remains considerable, it is important to note that membership within the church has been on a significant downturn, going back to approximately the middle of the 20th century. Membership peaked in the 1950s with a little under two million members.