Answers in Genesis CEO and President Ken Ham has said that intolerance toward conservative Christians in America is growing, pointing to the legalization of gay marriage, and argued that contrary to an opinion from the Supreme Court of Ohio, judges should be allowed to refuse to perform such marriages if they go against their beliefs.
"It is quickly becoming more and more obvious that religious freedom is declining (quite rapidly) in America," Ham wrote on his AiG blog on Tuesday.
"Christians are increasingly being punished by the government for acting on their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage that are based on the standard of Scripture. And we are hearing of more and more people being disciplined or fired from their jobs because they profess their Christian faith."
Ham pointed to a recent Ohio Supreme Court nonbinding opinion, which stated:
"A judge who exercises the authority to perform civil marriages may not refuse to perform same-sex marriages while continuing to perform opposite-sex marriages. A judge may not decline to perform all marriages in order to avoid marrying same-sex couples based on his or her personal, moral, or religious beliefs."
According to Ham, even though the opinion is nonbinding, it seems to suggest that "those who hold that marriage is for one man and one woman because of their 'personal, moral, or religious beliefs' are unfit to be judges."
He warned that it is possible that such an opinion becomes an actual law, which would "set up an anti-Christian litmus test for any judicial officer in the state."
The AiG CEO also criticized Christians who have backed gay marriage, claiming that they are "compromising God's Word with man's word."
"So, judge or otherwise, you are using your religious worldview — God's Word or man's ideas — to make your decisions. There is no neutrality! It all depends on your worldview, and Christians shouldn't be excluded from using their worldview to make decisions any more than a secular judge should be. Sadly, Christians are being increasingly marginalized and punished in this culture — yes, it's real persecution," he continued.
Some state officials, such as a county clerk in Kentucky, have made headline news by refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite the Supreme Court's ruling.
County clerk Kim Davis, for example, has said that she is acting "under God's authority" in her refusal to issue licenses to either gay or straight couples.
Lawyers for the gay couple in the center of the case have said that the federal district court should hold Davis in contempt and fine her, with a hearing on the motion set for Thursday.
Ham has also complained about discrimination against his own AiG Christian group. He has launched a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky, accusing the state of violating religious freedom rights by denying its Ark Encounter project participation in the state tax incentive program because of its insistence on religious preference in hiring workers.