Forget tax exemption, insurance may run churches out of operation? July 9, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, error, General Catholic, mortification, persecution, pr stunts, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare.
Liability insurance – insurance against lawsuits of various kinds – can be cripplingly expensive. It is a reason many doctors have left practice entirely (I myself lost my favorite doc ever back in about 1998 because he was sick of the bureaucratization of medicine and constant threat of lawsuits).
Churches, like all institutions that deal with the public, are well advised to have liability insurance. Of course virtually all Catholic entities do so. But what happens if government starts making noise about allowing lawsuits against churches over pseudo-sodo-marriage and other elements of the sexular pagan agenda? Could that cause insurance to skyrocket, and essentially bankrupt many parishes and sect houses?
Quite possibly so, says David French at National Review:
In the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges, pastors and church members are experiencing a wave of anxiety over what many of them deem the “nightmare scenario”: lawsuits or government action designed to force them to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. While there are — so far — no meaningful judicial precedents that would permit such dramatic interference with churches’ core First Amendment rights, lawsuits challenging church liberties are inevitable.
Indeed, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has declared that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity “sometimes” apply to churches and has stated that a “church service open to the public” is not a “bona fide religious purpose” that would limit application of the law. [Iowa, and indeed the whole upper Midwest, is strangely liberal. But this kind of legal sentiment would just ruin churches, because churches are always open to the public. It’s what we do! So what is the alternative to avoid government interference and sodomite lawsuits, turn churches into private clubs thus annihilating the Great Commission? This sure looks like a persecution getting started to me] In 2012 a New Jersey administrative-law judge ruled that a religious organization “closely associated with the United Methodist Church” wrongly denied access to its facilities for a same-sex wedding.
Churches, like virtually every functioning corporation, protect against liability risks and the potentially ruinous costs of litigation through liability insurance. With same-sex marriage now recognized as a constitutional right — and with news of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries awarding a lesbian couple $135,000 in damages for “emotional, mental and physical suffering” after a Christian bakery refused to bake their wedding cake — pastors are reaching out to insurance companies to make sure they’re covered. And at least one insurer has responded with a preemptory denial: no coverage if a church is sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding.
On July 1, David Karns, vice president of underwriting at Southern Mutual Church Insurance Company (which “serve[s] more than 8,400 churches”), wrote an “all states” agents’ bulletin addressing same-sex marriage. It begins: “We have received numerous calls and emails regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriages. The main concern is whether or not liability coverage applies in the event a church gets sued for declining to perform a same-sex marriage.” Karns continues:
The general liability form does not provide any coverage for this type of situation, since there is no bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, or advertising injury. If a church is concerned about the possibility of a suit, we do offer Miscellaneous Legal Defense Coverage. This is not liability coverage, but rather expense reimbursement for defense costs. There is no coverage for any judgments against an insured.
In other words: Churches, you’re on your own. (National Review has tried to reach Mr. Karns and Southern Mutual’s corporate office, and they have not yet returned our calls.)……..
[Interregnum follows where author notes that most insurers will not issue such blanket refusals to cover, instead reviewing claims on a case by case basis. Southern Mutual’s action was unusually aggressive and public. I agree that the basic statement was, thanks for your years of paying premiums, but now you’re on your own, sucker]
……….Moreover, if past practice is any guide, litigants are very likely to allege that they suffered “personal injury” if a church refuses to perform or host their wedding ceremony. Indeed, in the Oregon bakery case, the lesbian couple alleged an array of injuries, including “impaired digestion,” “high blood pressure,” “excessive sleep,” “migraine headaches,” and “anxiety.” And those allegations were over a mere cake (a cake they were able to immediately replace), not the entire wedding.
……..as of July 1, it appears that thousands of American churches are more exposed than they imagined. And what’s the real-world result of Southern Mutual’s decision? Stanley, who focuses much of his practice on defending the religious-liberty rights of pastors and churches, was blunt: “More fear.” And fear can mean that the battle for religious freedom is lost even before it’s fully joined.
Which might be the whole point.
One thing I’ve learned from working in corporate America, is that they have a thousand ways to make you comply. If they can’t get you one way, they’ll get you another, or wear you down by the death of a thousand cuts. I really pray our Church leadership, from the parish level to the very top, becomes much more vigilant to the threats facing the Church. They are more grave than they’ve been since Julian the Apostate.
Always. Be. Praying.