Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately not. You see, all of this has come to light because of businesses (and individuals at said businesses) not wanting to provide services to gay couples for their weddings. So now we are creating laws to protect people who, because of religious beliefs, would like to discriminate against others.
This is not the world I want to live in, it's not the world I want to raise my children in. It is scary to me to think that we would legally protect discrimination because of a "strongly-held religious belief." It doesn't take much imagination to see how quickly this could go awry.
I get it if you believe the Bible condemns same-sex marriage. I understand that this can be a very deeply held belief. While I disagree, I do respect this perspective. However, no one is arguing what the Bible says or doesn't say here. We are talking about the rights of individuals in the United States of America; the freedom we have in our country to do business with one another regardless of any differences between us.
So here is why I believe all Christians should be against the RFRA: It broadcasts a strong message of hate. It sends out a message of "Us vs Them" and "We don't want them in our club." It confuses me when Christians place a desire to protect our own rights over a desire to love others. What I don't understand is this: there is still a Biblical mandate to love, to serve others, to "eat with sinners"as Jesus did. So even the most passionate anti-gay-marriage Christian should still want to have a gay couple over for dinner, bake their wedding cake, love them with the love of Christ. It baffles me that intentionally blocking the rights of another individual or just outright refusing to serve them could ever be considered a Christian family value. I simply can't believe that the message of hate that is sent by refusing to bake someone's wedding cake is what Jesus meant when he said, "they will know you by your love."
Refusing to do business with someone or provide a service for them because we disagree with some aspect of their lives (or worse, with WHO they are) will never provide an adequate picture of who Jesus is. And if we are truly "Christians" (the world means "little Christ")... we should try hard always to show others what it looks like to be loved by Jesus. As far as I can tell, Jesus never called us to become discriminators in his name. He never told us to seek legal protection to elevate our own faith above others in our governments. Because even if we have a right to refuse service to someone because something they've done is contrary to our beliefs... we shouldn't refuse to be involved in someone's life because we don't agree with them.
I'd love to see Christians try something new. What if Christians around the country stood up FOR the rights of our gay brothers and sisters? For some people, that might be uncomfortable. It might even hurt. But no matter where you stand on what the Bible says about gay marriage, we can still be protectors, fighters of oppression, soldiers for justice, lovers of the unloved. Imagine the message of love we could send: Jesus loves you, God is FOR you. We are FOR you. We want to protect your rights even if we don't agree with you. That's the kind of love Jesus shows me every day. And that, my friends, would be amazing. I can almost hear the angels singing.
**(side note: none of this affects pastors. The Constitution already protects pastors and churches - they do not have to perform gay, interfaith, interracial, inter-anything marriages if it isn't part of their faith. We're talking about businesses and individuals here).