Religious Liberty: freedom of religious opinion and worship
Simply stated, I am free to believe what I choose and to worship without the government intervening.
This sounds like a wonderful thing. Actually it is a wonderful thing..until the government gets involved. Like so many other things the government, or shall I say the Governor of Mississippi, has decided that this needs to be clarified because apparently it is confusing.
I sit back in shock and disbelief at the behavior of fellow “Christians” and wonder how we have ended up where we are.
Our wonderful and considerate Governor feels that we need a Religious Liberty and Accommodations Act. Ok, he didn’t introduce it but, he signed it so same difference. You see, what had happened was…(That’s Mississippi talk for let me tell you what happened) Gay marriage was legalized. In order to protect all of the Christians from the “gays” we were in desperate need of a law making gay marriage extremely difficult in the state. Representative Gunn was kind enough to make this happen.
Cliff’s Notes version of HB 1523:
* Our religious freedoms need to be protected
*The government can recognize same-sex marriage without forcing us to conform
*Marriage is the union of a man and woman
*Sex is for only men and women that are in a heterosexual marriage (it does not specify that they must be married to each other. apparently cheating isn’t a violation of our “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions“)
*Your birth certificate determines your sex
It doesn’t sound too terribly bad so far..things quickly change.
The state government can not take any discriminatory action against a person who:
*Refuses to perform sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning services
*A person who refuses the services of accommodations, facilities, goods or privileges for a solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any same sex marriage
*This includes basically every possible wedding related service in existence.. photography, poetry, disc-jockey, wedding planning, printing, flowers, dress making, and the list goes on and on.
And then it goes even further..
Business are able to establish sex-specific standards concerning employee and student dress, grooming, and access to restrooms. (Looks like I won’t be rocking a bob since short hair is considered a “male” hair style. Heaven forbid a man have a man bun..that’s just a sin) To clarify: I never got on board with the Target boycott. It’s not a biggie. I’ll just pee before I leave the house. I do have concerns with boys and girls sharing locker rooms at school, that’s not where I am going with this so I will save that for a later time.
It goes on but these are the main points that concern me.
Why as a Christian would I be upset by shunning the gays and trans members of society? Why as a Christian would I oppose protecting my religious liberties?
Because as a Christian I don’t believe this to be the proper way for Christians to act. I believe our number 1 goal as Christians is to do our very best to represent Christ through our daily actions. I don’t believe that God condones hate and I view this as hate. Because I don’t believe your sexual orientation or gender reassignment has any impact on my ability to worship and follow my beliefs. Bluntly, I don’t care who you are attracted to or what gender you feel you are meant to be. That sounds rude, but it’s not intended to be. It’s your life. It’s your happiness. It’s not my business so why on Earth should I have an opinion about it?
Some like to argue “God hates gays” so we should too. Honestly, what God does is none of our concern. The Bible commands us to “..love thy neighbor as thyself..” It’s as simple as me telling my kids to do as I say, not as I do. God’s feelings toward homosexual and transgender people is none of our concern. He commands us to love everyone and to witness to everyone. It’s actually a very simple concept. Do as you are told.
Think about this situation,
A same sex male couple walk into your bakery to order a wedding cake. As a Christian, you believe that their marriage is a sin. You have 2 options. 1. You can be a mature adult. You can bake their cake. You can show them that you respect their rights as a person to make their own decisions. You can share with them the word of God. You can pray for them. You can show them that we do not worship a God of hate but a God of love and forgiveness. That all Christians do not believe we are “too good” to associate with the sinners. Your actions can directly result in them wanting to learn more about God. 2. You can be a child. You can tell them that you aren’t making their cake because they are sinners and are going to hell. You can tell them, by your actions, that our God doesn’t care about them. That they aren’t worthy of hearing about our God. That there is no chance of forgiveness for them and there is no chance of salvation.
It is your decision to make. Your actions may one day directly impact someone turning to God or turning from God forever. Personally, I would rather take the opportunity to serve these people, show them that a true Christian spirit isn’t filled with hate and pray for them. I would rather stand before God on judgement day and learn that I am wrong for living this way than to find out that my actions resulted in even a single person feeling that they aren’t worthy of God’s love. I refuse to have their blood on my hands.
As Christians, we are not tasked with judging others and I am thankful for that each day. I would hate to have that responsibility. We are also not placed on this earth to prevent others from sinning or to make it more inconvenient for someone to sin. Each and every one of us are sinners with no sin being “more sinful” than another.
Baking a cake, taking a photo or selling a wedding dress for a same-sex couple does not affect my ability to freely practice my religious beliefs. This is discrimination masked as religion. Anything else and the law would say you are allowed to refuse ALL sinners.
Think about this. How would you feel if someone declined to make your wedding cake based on their religious liberties because this is your second wedding, you are pregnant or you had premarital sex? Just because our sin is more socially acceptable doesn’t make it less wrong in the eyes of God.