The Constitution vs. the Bible?

by Dan Quinn

A March 4 e-mail from the Houston Area Pastor Council demonstrates the religious right’s insistence that our nation’s laws be based on narrow religious beliefs. The e-mail features an essay by a pastor who argues that President Obama is guilty of pitting “the Constitution against the bible on a matter of fundamental human morality.”

Specifically, Pastor John Crimmins of Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Houston criticizes the Obama administration for asserting last month that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The administration will not defend in court the part of DOMA that bars federal marriage benefits even for same-sex couples legally married in states that now recognize such unions. The administration will continue to enforce the full law unless federal courts strike it down.

Crimmins essentially argues that the administration is doing something that simply shouldn’t be permitted: opposing a law that, he says, only God can change. Says Crimmins:

“God, not the Constitution, instituted and defined marriage. . . . Marriage is a creation ordinance. It cannot be modified by the laws of man. It comes to us from Nature’s God. As such the definition of marriage must be affirmed by any Constitution and any people seeking to be governed by the Law of Nature and its God.”

Truth is, the person pitting the Constitution against the Bible here is Crimmins. The Constitution absolutely protects the right to live his life according to his own religious beliefs. But it also protects the fundamental right of others not to share Crimmins’ particular religious beliefs nor to be bound by them. If Crimmins is looking for a constitutional conflict, he need only read his own words.

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