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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Why Christians Should be AGAINST the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

In case you aren't hearing any news these days (happens to me sometimes): many states are enacting laws to protect the religious freedoms of individuals and/or businesses. My own state has one coming through right now. It's called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

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.

Jesus loves me. He loves me when I'm awesome: when I'm volunteering, when I'm loving my kids, and when I'm being a sweet wife. He loves me when I mess up: when I yell at my kids, when I cuss, when I'm selfish.  He loves me because of who he is, not what I do or who I am.  And he told us that if we were to follow Him and love others the same way that it would be hard. That we might be uncomfortable sometimes.  It might hurt. Scratch that: it WILL hurt. He loved us so much he died for us. Kind of a hard act to follow but folks...that's our example. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

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).

5 comments:

  1. Kirsten,
    Again, my heart hurts when I read your blog. I suppose my first question is why do you think Christians should be forced to participate in something that is sin? It is not discrimination….it is refusing to take part in or support someone’s lifestyle of sin. And the RFRA does not discriminate. They can still eat at their preferred restaurant, shop where they like, etc., for example Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby. Just don’t ask them (or any Christian business) to take part in their sin. That’s what this law is about – protecting us from being forced to participate or have any part in their sin. Why do you think Christians should not be afforded this? It is not just our religious beliefs; it’s adhering to what God’s Word says and being obedient to Him. And you seem to be saying that doesn’t deserve the time of day?
    You say it’s scary to protect discrimination because of ‘strongly held religious belief’. First it’s not strongly held religious belief. It is a strong fact of God’s Word that homosexuality is sin….Leviticus and Romans 1. You say it’s scary to think of protecting these beliefs. It’s scary to protect adhering to God’s Word??? What’s scary to me is living in a world that thinks only the gays have rights. What about Christian’s rights? I haven’t heard those mentioned. We have a ‘right’ to serve our God and obey Him.
    And refusing to participate in someone’s lifestyle of sin does not send a message of hate. It is only perceived that way by gays and those who support them) in order to point the finger in another direction and away from themselves and their sin. Yes, Jesus loves us with a love we cannot fully fathom, but I can assure you He would not participate in nor support our sin. In that love, He called a spade a spade…..calling them hypocrites, fools, blind, and blind guides (Matthew 23). He did not condone sin, even though He provided a way for us to be forgiven through His death and resurrection. Love does not condone sin; love confronts it; praying for repentance of it. We are not helping anyone when we allow them to think they are okay in their sin. He will never condone sin, because He is a Holy God. Also, when He said, “..they will know you by your love for one another”, He was talking to His disciples. Not that we shouldn’t love everyone, but that doesn’t mean we always love what they do and we are certainly not to love their sin. God doesn’t love our sin…He hates sin. He tells us in 1 Cor.6 “What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteous, and what communion has light with darkness”….to come out from among them, and be separate....touch not the unclean thing…

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    1. Barbara, thanks for taking the time to comment. I know that you and I see this very differently and I'd be surprised if either of us can change the other's mind. But I wish to point out your words to you:
      "Refusing to participate in someone’s lifestyle of sin does not send a message of hate. It is only perceived that way by gays and those who support them." Exactly. Maybe it is inadvertent and unintended... but it breaks my heart that gay people and those who support them are perceiving a message of hate from Christians.

      If Jesus' message was to stay away from anyone who sins, none of us could interact with each other at all. I agree with you - when we love someone, we can confront them when they are doing something harmful or dangerous. But the key is that we have to love them first. Pointing out someone's sin when you have no relationship with them never brings them closer to Jesus. I think this is exactly why gay people feel like Christians hate them. No one has bothered to love them first. :( I am so thankful Jesus chose to love me first, then work on my heart second.

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    2. Sorry just saw it didn't print all my comments....

      Yes, Jesus loves us even when we sin. But, He doesn’t love our sin. Sin breaks our fellowship with Him. And He makes it clear in His Word that He chastises us (his children) for our sin. And even though forgiven, that is not a license to continue practicing it. In fact, if we truly love Him, we seek to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to Him. And, as far as showing love to the gays by participating in their sin, that is so far away from the truths of the Bible. We are even told to withdraw from a brother-in-Christ that is not walking in obedience- 2 Thess. 3:6, and V. 14-15 and we’re told to have no company with him, that he may be ashamed (implication and hopefully repent). ! Tim. 5: 22b “…neither be partaker of other men’s sins; keep yourself pure.” So, your saying we should cater to them and their lifestyle is far, far from God’s teaching. Also, you say refusing to serve gays in this way will never provide an adequate picture of who Jesus is. That is so wrong. Going along with and participating in their sin is what gives a wrong picture of Christ, Who would never do such a thing. Surely, in your heart, you must know this.
      I do not understand why gays would go to a Christian business and ask for this service anyway when there are plenty of other non-Christian businesses who would gladly do this. Is it just so they can take us to court? Where is the love in that?
      If one of your children was practicing a lifestyle of sin (drugs, sex, etc.) and invited you to provide refreshments for a party where all this immorality would be happening, do you think you should do it – give credence to what they were doing by taking part and helping them? God forbid. Yet, that’s what you’re saying when you say we should serve gays at their ‘wedding’, etc. Love (in the true meaning of love) does not do that. Love does not condone nor participate, but it does pray for them.
      When you speak of us standing up for ‘gay rights’ and hearing the angels singing, I pray you will listen more closely. I’m sure it isn’t angels.
      In His love and with much prayer….Bobbie



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    3. Quote: I am so thankful Jesus chose to love me first, then work on my heart second. End quote. I certainly agree with this statement - that he loved me first. Even so, He had no relationship with us until we were confronted with out sin and had repented.

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  2. I think a lot of Christians need to hear this message. In today's day and age, our selfishness and self righteousness makes it very easy for us to have a "holier than thou" perspective on life. A lot of Christians forget that Jesus called his followers to love others, above all else. I'm not sure about you, but I never convinced someone to love Jesus by rejecting them. Would these Christian business people also reject making a cake for a Christian who has received a business promotion while placing their job above their relationship with God? It becomes an uncomfortable topic when we realize that one sin is not worse than another. "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'" John 8:7

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