I actually don’t even know what to write about this. I’m jaw-drop dumbfounded by the support that this bill garnered from people that claim to follow Jesus. I’m not naïve or stupid, so I knew it would, but I’m still in awe by it. If you’ve followed #ApproachGod over the last couple years you know that I’ve written articles related to Christianity and the LBGT community on a number of occasions. You can read those articles HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. I almost feel like writing anything, at this point, is useless, but I’m going to anyway.
If you can’t tell, I’m not actually glad that Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed that bill into law. I’m actually saddened and angered by it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Gov. Pence just signed state Senate Bill 101, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. To be fair, I couldn’t find anything in the law that outright says a person can be denied service based on the business owner’s religious belief. The issue with the bill is that it uses such vague language, that business owner’s will be able to use the law to refuse service and discriminate, lets call it what it is, against people based on their sexual orientation (because regardless of what you want to pretend this is about, it’s really about not baking cakes for gay couples).
This isn’t the same issue as the same gender marriage debate. I understand why people, on both sides, are so passionate about that issue. Quick tangent: Although I understand why Christians felt the need to rally against same gender marriage, and I do (full disclosure) believe that marriage is one man and one woman, I disagree that there should be laws banning it. Other people redefining marriage ultimately doesn’t effect the definition of marriage for Christians. Banning same gender marriage isn’t going to stop people from being gay and it definitely does NOT communicate the love of Jesus. Also, and I’ve said this before, the standard of living laid out in the bible and by Jesus wasn’t intended for unbelievers anymore than the laws in the UK are intended to govern people living in America. That standard of living is given to The Church, not the world.
I know some will argue that these types of laws are necessary because of the Hobby Lobby case. This isn’t even that issue and I’m not even going to touch that. But, can we all agree that if this was about protecting companies from having to fork out money to pay for certain kinds of contraception then the bill could have used language that addressed that issue, but it doesn’t. Even if those were the main driving ideas behind this law, that isn’t the only way people are going to use it.
My issue is that Christians supported this law because they want to legally have the right to refuse service to people based on their religious beliefs. Let me say that again, to refuse SERVICE to people. SERVICE. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” So I’m curious where Christians are let off the hook here. Nowhere in the bible do I see Jesus saying, “I came to serve, unless you’re a prostitute, thief, leper, gay. If you’re any of those, I have the right to refuse service.” It’s ludicrous that Christians, in the name of “religious freedom” are trying to shirk their responsibility to serve others. At no point did Jesus make a distinction for who got to experience or benefit from His love and service. We, as a church, ought to be ashamed and saddened by such a law. The worse part is that if you’re a shop owner and some one wants to purchase a service from you, you aren’t doing them some big favor; they’re paying for it. But, providing flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, although they’re paying for it, can still be a great way to love them. Refusing to treat a gay couple’s child is a great way to show them exactly the opposite of what Jesus would have done and actually did do. He was a healer and served the needs of those who needed healing.
What has happened to The Church that it would demand and supports a law that gets us off the hook for doing what Jesus told us to do? How did we get it so wrong? You wanna talk about the twisted Gospel? It isn’t “the left” that’s doing it; it’s laws like this that run straight past twisting the Gospel and shred it to pieces. Laws like this go against the very fiber of Jesus’ command to “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” The intention of this law might have been meant to protect certain religious convictions, but I’m afraid that it’ll be Christians that use it to ignore Christ’s call.
It doesn’t matter what other religions will use it for, we’re not them and they aren’t called to what we are, which is loving and serving others, even loving our enemies. Following Jesus isn’t easy; He said it wasn’t. It demands us stepping out into areas that we may not agree with and even those that scare us. Unfortunately this type of law is one more layer that western culture will use to mold Christianity into the “about me” religion it was never meant to be. Our main religious conviction ought to be to love and serve others, not finding a way to refuse and turn them away. We’re called to better. We’re called to Jesus and to be like Him.
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