Support teh gheyz, render yourself uninsurable.

At least in the eyes of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.

From WSJ Online:

The West Adrian United Church of Christ in Adrian, Michigan has been around since 1836. Last summer a member of the small congregation told the pastor about Brotherhood Mutual, an insurer that specializes in insuring churches and other religious organizations. Hoping to get a better rate on the church’s property damage coverage, the pastor met with a Brotherhood Mutual agent and filled out an application.

Brotherhood wouldn’t sell the church a policy at any price. Why? The national governing body of the United Church of Christ supports gay marriage and allowing gays to become clergy members, that’s why. Brotherhood’s coverage denial letter reads, in relevant part:

Based on national media reports, controversial stances such as those indicated in your application responses have resulted in property damage and the potential for increased litigation among churches that have chosen to publicly endorse these positions[.]

Never mind that the West Adrian church hasn’t formally endorsed the national church’s position on gay rights. Never mind that there’s no evidence of actual or threatened vandalism or other violence against any UCC churches based on the gay rights stance. It’s enough that bad things might happen.

The insurance regulators in Michigan and Indiana, Brotherhood’s principal place of business, say there’s no legal problems with the company’s position. Insurers can do pretty much whatever they please when it comes to underwriting decisions.

Not to worry, though. West Adrian isn’t going commando. The church ultimately renewed its existing policy with Safeco.  Church Mutual and GuideOne, two other major players in the church insurance biz, don’t even ask about support for gay rights.

But it’s only a matter of time. Private insurance companies’ underwriting practices historically favor the social status quo in a big way, and it’ll be no different here. This particular bandwagon will be mighty large by the time it’s all said and done.

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