Sanctity of the Wedding Mill

Donald and Lynn Knapp are licensed ministers in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Which is great and all.

They also own a wedding business in City of Coeur D’Alene that illustrates how sacred marriage is by removing it from the church and putting it in a for-profit business called “The Hitching Post”.

They claim to have married “roughly 35,000 couples” which indicates how discerning they are in making sure the couples they marry are really ready to enter into this life long covenant. In the 25 years they’ve owned the Hitching Post, that’s around 1,400 weddings a year. When you’re officiating only 1,400 weddings a year, you have plenty of time to offer pre-marital counseling and have conversations with the couples who are entering into this sacred covenant of “biblical marriage”.

Because “biblical marriage” is what they believe in.

I’m guessing they are choosing to only believe in the relatively late biblical model of one man and one woman, as opposed to other biblical models of polygamy, or having children through slaves, or women becoming property of their husbands. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, but the Hitching Post could not accommodate a crowd of that size.

Now that the State of Idaho is recognizing same gender marriage, and because the Knapps live in Coeur D’Alene, which has a non-discrimination ordinance on the books, the Knapps have filed for a Temporary Restraining Order, claiming that forcing them to make equal accommodations to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, is unconstitutional.

Actually, that would be the facts of the case, which doesn’t seem to concern them much, because, well, Jesus. Their actual claim is the government is over-reaching and forcing ministers to violate their religious beliefs.

I hate to be the one to point this out to the Reverends Knapp, but they are not, in fact, pastors of a church. They own a wedding mill.

The government has not compelled, nor will it compel, ministers to officiate at any weddings. Clergy have great discretion about the marriages we participate in. I didn’t sign licenses for 3 years because of marriage inequality in Idaho. The government never once compelled me to sign a license.

I fully support the Knapps in their decision not to personally officiate at weddings that violate the sanctity of marriage. And clearly, by marrying only 35,000 couples, they have maintained a high scrutiny in their standards.

As business owners, however, they need to make accommodations equally for the couples who believe the faux Western façade of the Hitching Post is the venue where they want to celebrate their life long commitment.

Adding a faux facade to a building really makes it look more Biblical Marriage-y. Am I right?

Adding a faux facade to a building really makes it look more Biblical Marriage-y. Am I right?

So here’s an idea. You could easily find a minister who would be happy to participate in same gender weddings. There are plenty of us.

Or here’s another idea. You could also let go of the self-righteous indignation and moral outrage.

Because if you really cared about “Biblical Marriage”, you would want couples to celebrate their covenants in the presence of their faith communities, before God, and with some solemnity, and not across the street from the courthouse in a one stop shop wedding mill.

(This article was also published at Huffington Post.)

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28 thoughts on “Sanctity of the Wedding Mill

  1. Yay! Once we force these neanderthals to get with the times we can then target any minister who takes payment for services, based on this case’s precident!
    After that who knows? Maybe we will be able to force *any* church or person to give up their outdated beliefs and embrace our brave new world!

  2. Some facts regarding this issue: The city has received NO complaints and have filed no charges or made any threats or lawsuits toward this couple. Everything they claim appears to be unfounded. I guess lying for Jesus is still acceptable.

    • Correct. All of their interactions with CDA happened when they called the City to see what would happen.
      And, I’ve heard the Hitching Post has applied to be a nonprofit religious organization. My head might explode. Not sure what the religion is? Worship of the money made from doing 35,000 weddings?

      • LOVE ya, Marci!
        Hey, I’m all for them marrying couples according to their Biblical standards. So then they couldn’t marry non virgin couples, divorced and remarrying couples or those who have engaged in cohabiting, or using contraception. Or who masturbated or weren’t the same religion.
        They are WELL and good to test and vet ALL of their customers for sexual morality before marrying them, and to INFORM all the couples they do that, and then….actually commit to such questions and moral tests of their marriage fitness within the pastor’s religious review.
        A big sign out front would clear it up, and the couples could make up their own minds, or at least the pastor’s could too.
        But we all know that they are suddenly a LOT more religious where gay people are concerned, and they don’t want the entire PUBLIC to know their discrimination is selective at best.
        Inconsistent with religious teaching at worst.
        I’ve had a Christian education my whole life and own a Bible.
        There either has to be equal discrimination (that is their right), or equal accommodation (which is the law).
        Without a sign, or any way a gay person can AVOID a business, or anyone else for that matter, the Knapps should reconsider the claims they are making.

  3. Little known fact: Rev. Marci Glass is the Idaho gem from whom the Gem State gets its nickname, and the treasure which lends the Treasure Valley its nickname. TRUE STORY!!! ❤

  4. I have to disagree with your support of “biblical models of polygamy, or having children through slaves, or women becoming property of their husbands.” You must support these things since you criticize the Knapps for not doing so.

    Your hypocrisy aside, the right of religious freedom is not limited just to clergy. All people have this right. Regardless of where the Knapps perform weddings, their right to act as they believe can not be stripped by any law.

    • Actually, yes “their right to act as they believe” can definitely “be stripped by the law” if that act infringes on the rights of others. For example: an individual who owns a for-profit thrift store and maybe does not believe black people should get to buy merchandise absolutely CANNOT say “I’m sorry I won’t sell to you because I don’t believe you should be allowed to be in here, it violates my religion.” IF the hitching-post was a non-for-profit religious organization (aka a true church), that is different. You’ll notice it is exceptionally rare to see a full functioning church marrying FOUR people a day. The hitching-post is a for profit business. No for-profit business, regardless of there beliefs, can discriminate. End of story.

    • Actually, yes “their right to act as they believe” can definitely “be stripped by the law” if that act infringes on the rights of others. For example: an individual who owns a for-profit thrift store and maybe does not believe black people should get to buy merchandise absolutely CANNOT say “I’m sorry I won’t sell to you because I don’t believe you should be allowed to be in here, it violates my religion.” IF the hitching-post was a non-for-profit religious organization (aka a true church), that is different. You’ll notice it is exceptionally rare to see a full functioning church marrying FOUR people a day. The hitching-post is a for profit business. No for-profit business, regardless of their beliefs, can discriminate. End of story.

    • You really have to get a civics lesson, or a pocket reference book on local ordinances and non discrimination.
      Do you understand why such laws are secular?
      It’s because our society is NOT a theocracy, nor is it ONE religion in this country. YOU must support non discrimination, secular civil law for this reason: to make the claim that it’s for religious reasons, must be CONSISTENT with other people besides gays.
      And others will be subjected to the same discrimination, because past precedents have shown people using that claim to deny WOMEN full protections and freedoms, or people of color, or the disabled.
      Religious people are not rational, fair or consistent, PRECISELY because our country does not require or enforce anyone be religious at all.
      The law of non discrimination on a religious basis, protects even the religious.
      Precisely because other religions have been in traditional conflict with many others.
      HUMAN and CIVIL rights do trump whatever your religious standards are laying claim to denying another citizen their ability to function fully in society with laws everyone is otherwise subjected to as well.

    • So if you believe that it is your ‘right’ to fornicate with children (and I am not saying it is, but hey, you never know), they you think that cannot be taken away by ‘the eveel gubmint’?

  5. The freedom of religion in the First Amendment of the US Constitution only guarantees to you, Mr. Maxon, your beliefs as they apply to YOURSELF. They are not the right to be a bigot, racist, misogynist or anything else that tries to deprive the rights of others. Just sayin’.

  6. This sounds a lot like the chapels in Las Vegas, where couples can be married by Elvis impersonators. It certainly isn’t in any way Biblical or religious or (I imagine) non-profit! I can hardly contain my disdain. When I recall what was required in the Presbyterian Church for CLP’s in training before we could perform weddings, I want to retch. Perhaps those of us in training could have accelerated our graduations by wearing buckskins and spurs! Yee haw.

  7. Pingback: Donald and Lynn Knapp, The 'Hitching Post' and the Sanctity of the Wedding Mill | CauseHub

  8. You fucking ROCK!!! I loved your writing so much that I read it twice and I am going to read it a third time, then I am going to Google your name to see if you have written any books that I can order! Thanks for using reality, logic, and wit to make your point.

  9. Pingback: Mutual Forbearance in an Age of Fear | RevGalBlogPals

  10. Your logic will escape that of the die hard believers in this state, and nation, but you have the attention of those of us who still retain sanity.

  11. Pingback: Acts of Religious Freedom | 50x100

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