Indiana has been all over the news lately with the passing and revision of the Indiana State Bill 101 better known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The aim of this bill was to protect Business Owners that practice a religion to be able to say “no” to request that would force them to do work against their faith and/or belief system.
Let me say, that I apllaud the idea. A tee shirt company in Kentucky was ordered to print a pro-homosexual tee shirt. The tee shirt owner stated, “We’ll work with anybody, but if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.” He stated that he would provide service for any person regardless of sex, race, orientation, but he could not print a message that went against his faith. How can a court order a person to go against his or her faith, whether you agree with that faith or not? Whether or not you agree with homosexuality, I find this order worrisome. A man was ordered to do something against his religion! That is scarey and not just for Christians, but for all peoples of faith, and LGBT community. It would be just as wrong to order a business owner from the LGBT community to perform a task against the LGBT community.
I wouldn’t expect a court to order a Muslim to print shirts for my Christian church. I wouldn’t expect a LGBT tee shirt company to have to print shirts for a pro-traditional marriage rally. That is not discrimination, that is freedom of religion. I want an America that respects religious freedom, and I want Americans to repect freedom of religion.
As I said, I applaud the idea, but the execution by some Christians have been absolutely appalling. Beyond appalling, it has been sinful and agianst all that which Jesus stood. A restaurant owner refusing service to all homosexuals is disgusting. Sharing a table with someone that believes differently or lives a differnt lifestyle is not a sin. In fact, it is encouraged. Jesus dined with many that had different views than himself. Mark 2:13-17 and Matthew 9:10, the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-9) who was a thief, the forgiveness shown to the thief on the cross (Luke 23:40-43), are just a few of the examples of Jesus spending time, showing compassion, and treating people with different views than him with respect.
Jesus did not compromise his beliefs, but he didn’t attack people who lived and believed differently than him either. The people Jesus did attack were the religious people that should know better!
I am very dissappointed that Christians were granted the freedom to practice their faith, and some of the first acts with that newly expanded freedom was to espouse hatred and bigotry. The Indiana government has quickly amended that bill. Is it because of public pressure from those that oppose the law, or was it because they saw how Christians would use it?
I hope that Christians will see this hate, and use their freedom of religion to spread love, compassion, and respect to others, esspecially to those that believe and live differently. I believe that is how the gospel will go forward. I have yet to see someone hated into a conversion.
Follow Jesus’ clear example, love those who believe different and do not compromise your faith. It can and must be done for the sake of the gospel.