• Source: YouTube
  • Almost Everything You've Been Told About The Idaho Wedding Chapel Story Is A Lie

    The religious right is spewing hate and lies, claiming that two ministers are being forced to marry same-sex couples--even claiming the ministers have been arrested. How is this possible?

    Two ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, own a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, but say they cannot marry same-sex couples because of their faith. Now that same-sex couples can legally marry in Idaho, the Knapps face a possible issue.

    Earlier this year, as you can see in this video, Donald Knapp (photo, above,) said he'd close the chapel rather than violate his faith. At the center of the controversy is their small town's anti-discrimination ordinance. 

    Bottom line, depending on how they've licensed their business, they likely would be exempt from the ordinance, but that hasn't stopped the maniacal anti-gay religious right who have hitched their wagons to the Hitching Post's story and are profiting from it -- because that's just what they do.

    The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a right-wing Christian law firm created by the same folks who brought you anti-gay groups like the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Coral Ridge Ministries, among others. It's headed by the guy who made his name investigating pornography during the Reagan years, under Attorney General Edwin Meese.

    The ADF claims an 80 percent winning record, although it has lost many high-profile cases, including Bostic v. Rainey, which brought same-sex marriage to Virginia, Bishop v. Oklahoma, which did the same for Oklahoma, the Elane Photography case, which found that photographers cannot refuse to do business with same-sex couples, and most infamously, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which ultimately brought same-sex marriage to California.

    Now, the ADF has filed suit in Idaho, claiming two ministers who own a wedding chapel have licensed it as a religious business and therefore should be exempt from their local anti-discrimination ordinance.

    The suit itself would appear to contain several incorrect statements, including the extent of the Knapp's liability, but we're not attorneys and can't speak to the merits of the case.

    The ADF claims that last Friday the Knapps "respectfully declined" to perform a same-sex wedding "and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony."

    Having read the City of Coeur d'Alene's anti-discrimination law, I am of the opinion that the fine is $100 to $1000 per instance, not per day, and only if the City chooses to impose a fine at all.

    UPDATE: Entire Hitching Post Controversy Is False: ACLU Finds Chapel Falls Under Religious Exemption

    Meanwhile, the religious right and the far right media have gone to town on this story over the past few days, and the lies they're telling are atrocious.

    A story Monday at the right-wing American News is titled: "City Arrests Pastors For Refusing To Perform Gay Weddings."

    That's a lie.

    A story at what appears to be Herman Cain's website, is titled, "Idaho city tells pastors: Celebrate gay weddings or face fines, jail time."

    That's a stretch.

    It has one word in its first sentence: "Fascism."

    Bakers, photographers and florists are being forced to shut down their businesses unless they accede to demands that they join in the celebration of gay "marriages," [sic] but so far no one has faced jail time for putting commitment to the Word of God ahead of the demands of homosexuals and their cultural champions.

    Until now. A couple in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho who own a wedding chapel there declined the request of a gay couple that they perform their "wedding." They [sic] couple did what gay couples seem to do a lot in these situations. They didn't just go find someone else. They complained to authorities, who are now threatening to throw the pastors in jail. 

    First, "being forced to shut down their businesses" is stretching the truth massively. If a business owner chooses to shut their business rather than follow the law of the state that licenses them to do business, that' not "being forced."

    Second, there has not been any complaint filed, as of this writing, against the wedding chapel, known as "The Hitching Post." 

    Even the Alliance Defending Freedom seems to be fibbing.

    "Two Ministers Ordered To Perform Same-Sex Wedding Face Jail, Fines," reads an article on the ADF's own website. That can only be true if indeed the Knapps were "ordered to perform [a] same-sex wedding." They have not been. Nor do they currently face jail time or fines.

    Meanwhile, on Sunday, super-sleuth blogger and LGBT activist Jeremy Hooper reported that recently, the Hitching Post's website was changed from reading:

    We also perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths as well as civil weddings.


    The Hitching Post specializes in small, short, intimate, and private weddings for couples who desire a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.

    But in an article published earlier today at none other than the Coeur d'Alene Press, the extent of the right wing's madness seems to have been exposed.

    "When contacted by The [Coeur d'Alene] Press for comment, Don Knapp said the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation."

    So, now they have a problem.

    Worse, so may the Alliance Defending Freedom.

    Donald Knapp also told the Coeur d'Alene Press he doesn't even know the ADF attorney who has been emailing with the City of Coeur d'Alene.

    And even worse for the ADF's case:

    "We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind," said city spokesman Keith Erickson.

    So, from start to finish (or, til now, since the religious right sees this as a money-maker) this story has been built on one lie after another.


    Image: YouTube


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    • commented 2015-08-07 14:29:48 -0400
      “If a business owner chooses to shut their business rather than follow the law of the state that licenses them to do business, that’ not “being forced.”"

      If you choose to flee to Canada rather than submit to the draft, that is not “being forced.”

      If you choose not to ride the bus at all rather than sit in the back, that is not “being forced.”

      How can you claim to stand up for the rights of anyone if you don’t even understand the difference between freedom and coercion?

    • commented 2015-07-08 15:55:00 -0400
      Read the articles referenced in this POS article. They contain the truth

    • commented 2015-07-08 15:33:18 -0400
      Can Mr. Beahen be specific, and point out the lies and the half-truths in this article?

    • commented 2015-07-08 15:02:51 -0400
      This article is a crock of lies and half truths. It is a virtual cesspool.

    • commented 2015-06-30 11:37:10 -0400
      David Badash, your bias is very clear when you refer to Pro-Family groups as Anti-Gay. This is the same vitriol that Libs use to refer to Pro-Life groups as Anti-Abortion. I think you and others of your views are Anti-Family and Anti-Life.

    • commented 2015-06-30 08:11:32 -0400
      You avoid the issue that they are fined and the penalty can be jail time if they do not perform the same sex wedding.

    • commented 2015-05-31 13:45:20 -0400
      Van Martin: I am unaware of a religion that deputizes its followers to judge and penalize other people. If, as you say, you don’t get a say in determining truth, it means you don’t have the authority to identify sin in other people or to judge them.

      In my religion, Christianity, judgment is a prerogative of God, so judging others is blasphemy. We have to identify our own sins, confess them, and repent of them, but we are commanded not to do that for others. I am describing my religion. I won’t impose it on you.

    • commented 2015-05-31 13:39:32 -0400
      I live in the Washington metro area. The Washington Times is not a good source of information. It was founded by Sun Myung Moon to curry favor with conservative politicians. Several (conservative) editors quit over the lack of journalistic independence. The Unification Church (active but not in the US) subsidizes it.

    • commented 2015-05-31 11:09:34 -0400
      The argument is actually about the definition of sin and whether foolish human opinion and gov’t defending it makes one bit of diffence in Reality rather than our dim, pale view of earthly existence. Regardless of our and politicians’ foolish opinions, there is Truth. And we don’t get a say in determining it. It’s all about Worldview – from whence come your presuppositions? Show where one’s presupposition starts and the thinking behind it becomes clearer.

    • commented 2015-05-30 22:32:53 -0400
      Let’s add a little truth to these lies in this excuse for a piece of journalism…http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/20/idaho-citys-ordinance-tells-pastors-to-marry-gays-/

    • commented 2015-05-30 22:32:51 -0400
      Let’s add a little truth to these lies in this excuse for a piece of journalism…http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/20/idaho-citys-ordinance-tells-pastors-to-marry-gays-/

    • commented 2015-05-21 12:23:31 -0400
      P.S. It struck me in seeing an anti-gay poster recently who decried the sin of lust supposedly behind gay relationships (per Romans) that A) heterosexuals are not immune from lust, but more importantly B) IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY, WHO MARRIES, WHO COMMITS TO ANOTHER PERSON FOR LIFE, ON THE BASIS OF LUST? If you believe this to be true, then it’s on you and how you perceive the world and its inhabitants, and not a reflection of these other people’s lives..

    • commented 2015-05-21 12:19:16 -0400
      Thanks to Derek Williams for his thorough, insightful, and on-target remarks. Mr. Johnson, in the realm of facts, there is no pastor anywhere in this country who is or will be compelled to officiate a marriage between two people of the same sex if it against his/her religious doctrine. The bill in Texas is a gesture of animosity, as it is entirely unnecessary. Ask yourself that last time you heard of a Catholic priest or Baptist minister was asked to marry a Jewish couple. The fear-mongering you’ve heard is effective, obviously, but it rests on false information, false witness. .

    • commented 2015-05-20 18:37:11 -0400

      And for you information, pastors are NOT compelled by law to conduct same sex marriages. Please read the article above before commenting. Your comment shows you didn’t read it all the way through.

      Finally you refer to same sex relationships as “a sin”, but sins always harm other people. For example, lying, stealing, cheating and killing all harm others. When two gay people fall in love and form a relationship, no-one is harmed. This does not affect your marriage or anyone else’s in any way. You are just as free to marry as you always were.

    • commented 2015-05-20 18:32:51 -0400

      That’s according to your religion, but I am not a member of your religion, so your religion’s rules do not apply to me.

      You cannot speak on behalf of “Christians” as though there is unified view on almost anything at all.

      Why does God condemn Catholics who divorce but not Anglicans who divorce?

      Why does God ordain Anglican women priests but not Catholic women priests?

      Why does he condemn Catholics who practise birth control but not Presbyterians who practise birth control?

      Why does God condemn Westboro Baptists who are gay but not Episcopalians who are gay?

      Why does he condemn Jews and Muslims who eat pork, but not Christians who eat pork?

      There is no single “God”, there are tens of thousands of gods. When it comes to a person’s particular religious bias, there is no single, authoritative world religious view. There are over 45,000 denominations of Christianity alone, to say nothing of the over 70 sects of Islam, Orthodox and Reform Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. As an example, let’s take just two denominations of Christianity: Catholic and Anglican. The Catholic God condemns Birth Control, Women’s Ordination and Divorce, whereas the Anglican God was created by divorcee King Henry VIII and has no problem at all with female clergy or family planning. There is no rational way these two diametrically oppositional gods can be one and the same entity.

      Moreover, I can name at least 35 denominations of Christianity who welcome LGBT with open arms, hearts and minds, with full sacraments including communion, ordination to the clergy and same sex marriage. For example, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Quakers and Episcopalians, alongside quite a few Jewish synagogues as well. Why should THEIR religious belief not be respected too?

      Then there’s the Bible, translated into over 1,000 conflicting versions, including 450 in English alone. The word ‘homosexual’ did not exist in either the Ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament or the Ancient Greek of the new, as it was not invented until the 19th Century by the Austrian
      novelist Karl Maria Von Kertbeny and was defined along with heterosexuality by the German psychiatrist, Krafft-Ebbing. If it’s in your bible, it’s a false translation. Jesus Christ never mentioned homosexuality, nor is it listed in Moses Ten Commandments, but he spoke against divorce which is condemned in both testaments.

      Religion is designer product, that can be purchased by tithing to the megastore that is superstition. People can just choose one that fits their animus against gay people. Religion invades people’s lives and spreads unhappiness, robbing LGBT people people of worth and dignity. Religion is the scourge of the homosexual, and looking at the damage done in its name in religious wars in Ireland, Syria, Iraq and Africa, I consider it is the scourge of humanity itself.

      “You can safely assume you’ve created God out of your own image when it turns out God hates all the same people you do.” (Anne Lamott)

    • commented 2015-05-20 18:10:39 -0400
      homosexual behavior is sin. To force a pastor to perform a gay marriage is to force them to enter into that sin. Homosexual behavior can not be legitimized by performing a wedding ceremony. God will not bless a union between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, neither should a pastor be required to. Passing ordinances that fine pastors for non-compliance is financial force. Go find a reprobate minister to perform the abominable marriage.

    • commented 2015-05-19 21:23:55 -0400
      There are no maniacs on the right, the left took all the maniacs long ago. Goats on the left and sheep on the right.

    • commented 2015-05-19 11:11:01 -0400
      Derek Williams, thank you for your response to EFM. I’m a member of the United Church of Christ and was married at St Pauls last Father’s Day.

      Ken Collins, THANK YOU for your thoughtful analysis. A keeper.

    • commented 2015-05-19 09:36:19 -0400
      Erin Flanigan Manderschied

      Many gay people are Christian so that’s not true at all. Moreover, many Christian religions perform same sex marriage, for example Presbyterian, Unitarian, Quaker, Episcopalian, Metropolitan and quite a few Jewish synagogues as well.

      Our “only goal” is to have equal access to the same goods and services we work to pay for, and that you take for granted.

    • commented 2015-05-19 09:23:24 -0400

    • commented 2015-05-09 17:07:19 -0400

      Excellent posts, thank you.

    • commented 2015-05-09 14:39:20 -0400
      Some advocates of marriage bans say that requiring a Christian baker to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple is like requiring an Orthodox Jew to sell bacon-wrapped shrimp in his delicatessen.

      This is an invalid comparison, because it equates customers with merchandise.

      You can make the comparison valid by comparing merchandise to merchandise: “Requiring a Christian baker to sell wedding cakes is like requiring a Jewish delicatessen owner to sell bacon-wrapped shrimp.” There is no legal requirement for anyone to sell wedding cakes or bacon-wrapped shrimp; hence no one has a problem.

      You can make the comparison valid by comparing customers to customers: “Requiring a Christian baker to sell to gay couples is like requiring a Jewish delicatessen owner to sell to gentiles.” There is a legal requirement for public accommodations to accommodate the public. In fact, Jewish delicatessen owners have no problem selling to gentiles, so only the evangelical Christian has a quandary.

      Let’s say that a Christian baker suddenly develops a sincerely held religious belief that he cannot sell croissants to Swedes, but he has Swedish cutomers and the law requires him to treat everyone the same. The remedy is simple. He can meet his obligation to treat everyone the same by exercising his right to control his product line.

      The solution is simple for the Christian baker. Do what other merchants do. If a customer wants to buy a piano in a sporting goods store, they refer him to a music store. In other words, just stop selling wedding cakes and refer the customers out.

    • commented 2015-05-09 14:13:10 -0400
      The “evangelical” position on this is seriously messed up.

      1. There are no weddings in the Bible. The wedding feasts in John 2, Jeskus’ parables, and the wedding feast of the Lamb are not weddings, they are wedding receptions that take place after the wedding itself.

      2. The Bible contains words that we can say during Communion (1 Corinthians 11) and at Baptisms (Matthew 28:19) but nothing that we should say at a wedding.

      3. Jesus said a lot about divorce, and in one case explained marriage between a man and a woman, but it is an explanation, not a prescription. In Luke 6, Jesus said that anyone who obeys His words is like a man building a house. That does not require all men to build houses, nor does it prohibit buying an existing house. Saying “A is like B” is not the same as saying “A must always be like B” or “B is required.”

      4. Ruth 1:16 is commonly quoted in a wedding ceremony, but it is a pledge betweeen two women, not in the context of a wedding.

      5. The Catholic Council of Trent settled the issue about sacraments for the Cathollic Church. Before then, different things were considered sacraments in different places. In some places a funeral was a sacrament. There was a Sacramaent of Salt that took place immediately after baptism. Martin Luther, at the time a Catholic, participated in the pre-Trent debate. He said that marriage is not a sacrament because 1) it is not peculiar to Christianity. 2) Jesus never commanded marriage. 3) It does not apply to all people anyway (Matthew 19). Calvin agreed in different words. For the Reformers, a marriage is a private covenant within the context of society, and it can be blessed in a church.

      6. There has never been a Sacrament of Cake Baking or a Sacrament of Flower Arranging. Since they are not sacraments, there is no reason to withhold them from non church members.

      7. Marriage has never been a central tenet of the Christian faith. It is not in any of the canons of the seven ecumenical councils, it is not in the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed, or the Athanasian Creed, If it appears in an article of faith in an unaligned church, it was added after 1980 at the earliest.

      8. There is no commandment to judge people and withhold good things from people who are not worthy according to your personal appraisal.

      9. The often-invoked principle of “love the sinner but hate the sin” is Hindu, not Christian. It comes from Gandhi, not Jesus. In order to hate someone else’s sin, you have to judge the person a sinner, then identify the sin. This breaks the commandment not to judge. The only sin the NT authorizes you to hate is your own sin.

    • commented 2015-05-09 13:15:24 -0400
      In my opinion the cake baker is Wrong in both cases ,who is the Baker to Judge who should get married and who shouldn’t .In my opinion the baker should have kept their personal opinion to themselves and sold a cake in both cases . This situation is getting to far out of hand over a damn cake , I have never in my life heard of a cake in the Bible being a Religious Item or making one for two people getting married being against someone’s religion .It would be a different story if in Both cases they were asking the Baker for His/Her Blessing /Permission to get Married and they are not .

    • commented 2015-05-09 07:39:04 -0400

      No, I got all that. My case study is as follows and I’ll thank you not to evade my obvious point any longer:

      Case 1:
      Two homosexuals, Bill and Ben, have been buying from a cakestore for years and the store owner happily sells them cakes., despite knowing separately they are gay. One day these homosexuals turn up to order a cake for their upcoming wedding iced with the message “Bill and Ben on your happy marriage for life”. The baker refuses because he doesn’t think Bill should marry Ben on the basis of his own deeply held religious belief there should be no marriage between people of the same sex.

      Case 2
      Two heterosexuals, Bill and Benita, have been buying from a cakestore for years and the store owner happily sells them cakes.,despite knowing separately that Bill is black and Benita is white. One day these heterosexuals turn up to order a cake for their upcoming wedding iced with the message “Bill and Benita on your happy marriage for life”. The baker refuses because he doesn’t think Bill should marry Benita on the basis of his deeply held religious belief there should be no marriage between different races.

      Why is the baker right in Case 1 but not right in Case 2?

    • commented 2015-05-09 01:51:35 -0400

      Re: “I take it from your comment”

      Based on your response I cannot tell if you’ve even read my comment.

      “Baker … would not sell…’ /what?/ Donuts? Pastries? Anything and everything? Deny all service? Get to the point.

      The real-life parallel here is to actual business owners happily selling (for years) anything and everything in their store to customers known to be homosexual (all items that are not a work of art made to celebrate and promote marriage) — yet declining to sell a handmade work of art to avoid being coerced into expressing a message they don’t want to express, in violation of their freedom of expression and in violation of their religious conviction. You’re still doing the same muddying, while at the same moment claiming you’re not.

      Thanks for dialoguing. :-/

    • commented 2015-05-09 00:18:03 -0400

      No muddying involved at all. This is an EXACT parallel. The baker in my example would happly sell to a couple where both were black or both where white, but not to a couple where one was white and the other black on the basis of his deeply held religious belief that such marriages are wrong. In fact they were ILLEGAL in the USA until the Civil Rights Act overturned the Jim Crow anti-miscegenation law.

      This was in force until 1968, so there’s every reason to expect that many religious bakers would continue to refuse service to mixed race couples on a religious basis that had previousy been a legal basis.

      I take it from your comment that you believe this baker has the right to refuse service to a mixed race couple.

    • commented 2015-05-09 00:04:05 -0400

      Re: Your question about mixed-race marriage.

      That argument seems to contain (although perhaps unintentionally) a mental sleight of hand, which should be discussed to consider the argument’s real weight more accurately.

      For an intellectually honest hypothetical (an “apples to apples” comparison) we’d need to be talking about a bakery that is willing to (and does) happily sell to the mixed-race couple anything and everything else in their store (donuts, birthday cakes, truffles, pastries) for years, all without any racial discrimination at all — selling anything that is /not/ a custom-made work of art that constitutes a creative expression as an artistic affirmation of mixed-race marriage.

      If your hypothetical does not parse fact this out, it muddles the matter by implying a wrongful racist discrimination in refusal of all service, instead of a religious conviction about mixed-race marriage, and thus the sleight of hand; it mentally “equates” the two, implying that a religious conviction about mixed-race marriage is “part and parcel” with racist refusal of any service at all “period.”

      I am certainly not against mixed-race marriage, and I don’t know of a single active case in which that belief is being used by someone to deny artistic, creative expression in support of something they believe is wrong. I do personally know people who are not racist, sincerely loving people of other races, best friends even, and yet their faith is characterized (in a small part) by a sincere religious conviction against inter-racial marriage.

      I would have no desire to force them to violate their faith. I might stimulate thought by asking them to defend it. I certainly would not want to see them put in jail because of it, or lose their business, or lose their home or life savings.

      Again, this is a decent hypothetical (though complex to consider) that is not a real current argument in a single pending case I’m aware of. No one is actually currently making that argument in a current case, correct?

    • commented 2015-05-08 23:56:16 -0400

      You didn’t respond to my question about the baker’s religious freedom to refuse a mixed race couple. Does the Christian baker who believes miscegenation is against biblical teaching (which is stated in the Bible), have the right to refuse service to a mixed race couple wishing to get married?

    • commented 2015-05-08 23:36:24 -0400
      Any creative effort is intrinsically about freedom of expression. You can attempt to hire an artist, but if the artist does not want his art to convey the message you want him to express, you cannot force him to use his creativity to affirm, promote, celebrate, or endorse your message.

      This is true whether the work of art is a painting, or creating amazingly decorated cakes, or photography, or floral arrangements — and it even includes the message the artist designs/prints on a T-shirt, as a court case recently upheld.

      When the artistic message “demanded” by a customer would require the artist/creative person to express a message they don’t agree with, they don’t have to comply. When the message violates their religious convictions, then freedom of expression and free exercise of religion are both involved.

      You don’t have to agree with my convictions for me to be free to withhold my creative skill. And the notion that I am not free to withhold my skill when I don’t wish to express your desired message, leads to slavery or untenable manipulations, such as Baronelle S. being sued and threatened with loss of home and more.

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