Will I Be Put in Prison for Preaching?


I’m wondering if the day is going to come in America when I will be arrested and imprisoned for preaching the gospel? Could I be put in jail for not performing a wedding ceremony?  Or could I be fined and even incarcerated  for publishing this blog?

You say, “That could never happen in America!”

Think not? Then consider the recent case of Donald and Evelyn Knapp. 

The Knapps operate the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in the resort town Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Their chapel is located across from the county clerk’s office, so couples can conveniently get their marriage license, cross the street and get married.

Don and Evelyn are both ordained ministers.  They’ve been performing religious wedding ceremonies in their chapel since 1989.  Their ceremony has a spiritual tone with references from the Bible about marriage.  In addition, each couple receives a CD set with two sermons about marriage.

However, voter-approved protections for marriage between and man and a woman were struck down by an  Idaho court ruling this year. Officials warned Don and Evelyn publicly and privately that if the law was ruled unconstitutional a city nondiscrimination ordinance would require them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. If they refused, the Knapps could be fined up to $1,000 a day for each day they refused to perform same-sex marriage and be jailed for 180 days.

Last Friday, October 17th, a man called the chapel asking them to perform a ceremony for him and his homosexual partner.  The Knapps respectfully declined.  In the meantime, the Alliance For Defending Freedom has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the Knapps to stop officials from enforcing the nondiscrimination ordinance.

“I don’t hate those people, Donald Knapp told KXLY-TV, “I don’t think anybody should ever be abusive or mistreat them or anything like that, but I cannot in clear conscience unite such a couple.” Knapp then added, “I think the Bible is pretty clear that homosexuality is not his way, and therefore I cannot unite people in a way that I believe would conflict with what the Bible teaches.

We are continuing to see a distributing trend in our country that is bent on persecuting Christians for their consciously held religious beliefs regarding marriage. Last week we cited the case of the lesbian Houston Mayor, Annise Parker,  and her city attorney, who issued subpoenas  to five preachers to turn over their sermons regarding homosexuality.

Our leaders have forgotten that our civilization was founded on the age-old Judeo-Christian ethic of marriage between and man and a woman. Jesus was clear when he proclaimed this in answer to the Pharisees.

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?   So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19:4-6)

Joined together a man and a woman in holy matrimony is what Don and Evelyn Knapp are doing. And that’s I what I have done for over 40 years. And will continue to do so.

The Knapps will not perform homosexual marriages. And neither will I.  The reason is not because we are haters.  Or because of some  archaic tradition.  Or a personal prejudice against a segment of society.  We sincerely believe that homosexuality is sin.  We believe that because the Bible says so!

In Romans 1:18-27 homosexuality is described as dishonorable. Unnatural. Vile. And shameful.  However, homosexuals, just like fornicators and adulterers can repent of their sin, come to Christ and be saved. (1Cor 6:9-11)

I stand with Don and Evelyn Knapp on this issue. I will go to jail before I perform homosexual marriages.  What do you think?

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under America, Culture, Homosexuality

11 responses to “Will I Be Put in Prison for Preaching?

  1. julie davidson

    Bro. Ken: I hope that you’ll never have to go to jail…but, I totally AGREE w/your stand (Bible-based) on NOT MARRYING to people of the same sex! Have a JOYOUS day! In His love, Julie 🙂


  2. Larry Harris

    God bless Ken for your stand for God and His Word! Also many congrats on those wonderful new additions to your family.


  3. Billie

    I am so concerned for all of our church of Christ preachers. I pray that none of them are challenged. My love and prayers to all.


  4. Judy Chapman

    I agree that a minister should not perform a ceremony which goes against his beliefs. However, since a wedding chapel is a business, not a church, that puts them in a difficult situation. You often see notices in businesses stating they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and I hope the Knapps win. But it sounds like a powerful group with plenty of financial backing is targeting them as a test case.


  5. A wedding chapel is not a church. It is a business. If they wish to be treated as a church – bypassing the laws of non-discrimination – they are welcome to start a church through proper channels. That’s not what this is. That’s not what Houston is about.

    A church has a specific status as a non-profit, tax-free entity. Part of that tax-free status requires them not be a political entity. Unfortunately, many Christian churches are venturing heavily into the political spectrum, trying to change the secular laws of the country to their religious ideals, and it’s often starting right from the pulpit. These churches have crossed the lines. They’re no longer about faith – they’re about control.

    We are a nation based on freedom of religion. Anyone is free to practice his/her own religion. That does not mean he/she has the right to impose that religion on a non-believer through the secular laws.

    Could you be put in prison for preaching? Yes, if you’re violating tax code laws and infringing on another’s freedom. Is your faith personal, or a business?

    There is nothing wrong with a minister within a church refusing to marry non-members, or against the tenets of the faith. There is something wrong with a *business owner* or an employee of the government (as what happened in North Carolina) doing so.


  6. Michael Crews

    If this is looked into from a legal standpoint, a lawyer ought to be able to tear many holes in the State’s attempt to force them to marry these two. A justice of the peace, sheriff or other civil office could legally be made to marry Bruce and Roger, but a biz can’t be made to do anything they don’t want to except pay tax…


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