Do unto others

Column: What’s the price of equality if it comes at the cost of conscience?

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

Bill Scholl is the archdiocesan consultant for social justice. You can email him at:

by Bill Scholl

In America, we love equality. We rightly believe that all people have inherent dignity from God and should be treated equally under the law — no matter their race, creed or situation of birth.

This equality ethos of “live and let live” is also what makes many of us so susceptible to the appeals of those who seek to radically redefine the natural institution of marriage to include same-sex unions — or what they call “marriage equality.”However, recent statements by the Obama administration as it argues before the Supreme Court for making same-sex “marriage” a constitutional right, reveal that we as a nation may be trading in a real freedom for a false equality and that the real agenda is not a culture of tolerance but rather one of government-coerced conformity.

Recent remarks by the Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. raise concerns that our Catholic parishes and schools could lose their tax-exempt status if the court should rule that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. On April 28 during oral arguments, Justice Alito asked Verrilli whether a religious school that believed marriage was the union of husband and wife would lose its nonprofit tax status. The solicitor general replied: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

What does this mean? The Obama administration intends to set the stage for the government to eventually threaten the tax-exempt status of any religious institution that seeks to defend the church’s upholding of Christ’s teaching on marriage, as the faithful, exclusive union between one man and one woman that is open to life. Our parochial schools could soon have to close their doors to the myriads of communities they serve and the disadvantaged children they help; all because as Catholics we won’t endorse a sexual practice that we sincerely believe is harmful to its participants and the family.

Regarding same-sex “marriage,” many Catholics think it’s a values plurality situation; namely, if you don’t like gay “marriage,” don’t have one, but don’t stop others because of your values. However, we’ve had a peek behind Oz’s curtain and see that “marriage equality” moves us far beyond the live-and-let-live approach to having the government set itself up as the ultimate magisterium on morality.

If the Supreme Court makes same-sex “marriage” constitutional, there will
be no religious exemption. Such a ruling would come at great cost to every citizen’s God-given right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience. What good is equality if it comes at the cost of conscience?

If you or someone you know is struggling with same-sex attraction, there
is Catholic support in the quest for sexual integrity and the virtue of chastity. We have a Catholic Courage chapter in the archdiocese. Call (913) 428-9893 or go online to: CourageKC.

About the author

Deacon Bill Scholl

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