Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arizona's Anti-Gay Bill Debacle

I think often about those with whom Jesus sat and ate. They were NOT the religious of the day-the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. They were those who the religious scoffed at, hated, and disparaged. He corrected them with mercy, grace, and love, and led them into truth. And he treated the religious with a righteous indignation and contempt saying they were going to hell and taking their followers with them. 

Aren't we to be like our Savior? Aren't we to love those who others consider "unlovely," offer lovingkindness to those who others scoff at, and lead them into truth with mercy, grace, and love? That being said, I must confess I am conflicted with this whole thing. Firstly, there's far too much government in everything. That which is meant to protect citizens has become an ever present bane, IMO. Our government which was established by the people, for the people, is becoming tyrannical and instead of a Republic, we are becoming a Democracy. 

But I digress. The issue I'm conflicted about is this. If I own a bakery and believe in God's definition of marriage, must I be forced by law to make a cake for a gay marriage or be sued and lose my business? If we say YES, then my beliefs are compromised...by law, and then where is my freedom? If we say NO, then where do we draw the line? If I own a bed and breakfast, must I, by law, take in gay couples? Unmarried couples? The same YES and NO scenario applies. If I own a gym, a restaurant, or any other establishment, can I, as a sincere Christian, turn away anyone? And then how do I know these folks are good friends or a gay couple? 

My dear friends own a sign shop. They are Christians who stand for justice and righteousness. They are some of the most uncompromised people I’ve ever met. They have a sign in their shop saying they have a right to refuse anyone. But do they really have that right by law and by conscience? If someone comes in wanting to have signs made for a Satanic church, what should they do?

I'm not asking these questions to debate, to condemn, or to state emphatically which is right and which is wrong. I’m just asking because they can be hard questions and I’m trying to understand. And I want us to think about this together. Should Arizona have the right to say that any business can refuse any service to a gay person for religious reasons? Not to be cliche, but is this what Jesus would do if he were walking on the planet? And are we not his representatives?

Remember the Colorado family that lost their bakery business because they refused to make a cake for a gay couple? Is that justice or injustice? I have lots of questions like this, and I don't know if there are any clear answers. However, I do know this. God is love. He is truth. He is justice. And no law can regulate that. We must love individuals, no matter who they are. We must be able to show them Christ by the love shed abroad in our hearts. If we claim to be Christians and do not do so, we are no better than that church in Westboro that declares our God as a god of hate. And we know better than that. Don't we?

15 comments:

  1. Right, Kathy....We KNOW why so many questions have unclear answers or no obvious solutions. We know the author of confusion and there are always folks on either side of an argument that fall prey to this counterfeit reasoning. I try real hard to remember this when debating an issue... we know the thief comes to kill and destroy but we sometimes forget that he also uses the more stealthy tactic of confusion. If we stick to your heart agenda we are more likely say or do the right things. Bob A.

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  2. I'm in the same boat as you. But I think that the people that think they're being discriminated against should just go somewhere else where they can get services. There are plenty of bakeries, for example, that will make cakes for gay weddings, why single out the ones who don't. I think it goes both ways. I stop doing business with places if they have bad customer service, not exactly discrimination. Sooooo...I think this is about people taking advantage of today's political condition that's creeped into or downgraded today's social condition. Businesses have the right to refuse anyone by law anyway. This bill is just more unnecessary paperwork. Annie V.

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  3. I was raised to care and love everyone the way that I want to be loved that will never change. I dont really understand the current events that have been going on around me but what I do understand is that history is only repeating. We as people don't really understand what good was teaching in his word.we hate those who are different in the name of the bible. I have not lived long enough to understand but from what my generation has shownme we have to work on how we love and treat each other. Emmely K. Love you mommy :-)

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  4. Great thoughts and questions Kathy! Thanks for sharing.

    YES, Jesus loved better than any other human ever could, but He also got righteously angry with people who knew what God's word said and chose to continue in sin anyway or to accept the sins around them as if they were no big deal. And again angry with others who defiled the temple with their own greed and lust. When He loved sinners-He told them they were forgiven and to "sin no more". Because pretending that the sins they were committing were not really sins, or that God would overlook their sins in 'love' would not be love at all. It would have been having a part in the lies of the enemy. That is actually- HATE. Telling someone the truth about what God's word says and that they need to 'sin no more' like Jesus did, is real love. I'm not talking casting stones, but TELLING THE TRUTH. Love always tells the truth. And Jesus got angry with people when they refused to accept the truth. I am sick of people calling any Christian that calls a sin a sin a 'HATER'. Jesus was not at all a hater-but He always, always told the truth.

    I am not without sin by any stretch. But I am without denying my sin. If someone catches me lying and tells me what God's word says about lying and I tell them that I was born a liar so it must be okay, and they go on to tell me that God has a better plan for my life-I would be crazy to call them a hater and to continue with my stance that lying is no longer a sin. No matter how much a stood my ground-they would not be a hater for disagreeing with me. And if they got frustrated at me for calling them a hater-it would be justified. And if they got angry when God's perfect word was being defiled, ignored and pretty much spat upon in my lying circles, I would even go as far to say that that anger could be considered righteous if handled correctly.

    I know people HATE my stance on the truth regarding this matter, and most will never understand that my desire to share the truth with them, and my refusal to accept a sinful lifestyle-is as loving as humanly possible. It's my attempt, by the power of the Holy Spirit, at becoming more Christ-like for the sake of seeing more come to know Him. All of Him-even the part that hates sin. That's the goal.

    Sherri

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  5. Sherri, I was having just this conversation with a friend this afternoon. I was remembering the woman caught in adultery. The religious came to condemn and stone her to death. Jesus sat and wrote in the sand, looked up into her eyes with his, dealt a severe blow to her accusers, and then told her to go and sin no more. Again, he led those who needed redemption to truth with love, grace, and mercy while he shut down the self-righteous. And he is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Still wooing the lost. Still openly rebuking the religious, and saving those who have ears to hear the truth.

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    1. Yes but what if the adulterous woman then told Jesus that her adultery was not a sin? That she didn't need redeeming? That if he didn't condone her lifestyle as she looked for 'love' that He was a hater? To love doesn't mean to condone. To love means to share the saving grace of the gospel and rescue people from the path to hell! That's what Jesus did!

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    2. And not only that. You said it yourself. The religious came to stone her.... that is not what the Christians I know are doing in any way shape or form. Calling a sin what it is is not stoning a person! I can absolutely love people in compassion and grace while still calling a sin a sin. THAT is the problem. To say that it is unloving to stand on what the Bible says about sin is exactly the message the enemy wants people to spread and believe. And when fellow Christians say it about other Christians it grieves my heart to no end. It's a lie.
      :(

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    3. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Sherri! And I fully acknowledge the validity of what you're saying. We must never compromise and offer compassion, mercy, and grace without telling the whole truth. It is NOT unloving to stand firmly on that truth. On the contrary. If we don't share that truth, then WE are the liars and have not fully loved those we say we do. Confrontation about sin is hard, but fully necessary. And I believe each of us must realize our own means of sharing that truth. For me, it's in developing relationships. Those who know me also know that I will tell the truth in love, but they also know that while I don't condone the sin, I do not condemn them. In this way, those who know that I care deeply for them have had receptive hearts that are willing to hear and to receive the truth.

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    4. That is EXACTLY it. I am so relieved to read your response! For awhile I got the impression that you thought we must keep silent in order to be considered loving, and that if we spoke up about sin, that we were giving Christians a bad name and hating! Yay! So glad that is not the case <3

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  6. The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." I would like to discriminate against people who don't use blinkers. LOL. I have a long commute. But I think you can be opinionated and professional at the same time without it compromising your integrity. Advertising and marketing to a target audience is done by every business.... I guess what I am saying is that discrimination, in that sense, will always exist. More women buy laundry detergent then men hence ads are aimed at women. You can get your companies "vision" out there with out opening a door to discrimination. Many people steal, cheat on a spouse, focus on greed etc. while I may not like the way they live, I also don't have people fill out a morality questionnaire before they purchase from my etsy site. And if I did I would probably have 0 sales. Kate D

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  7. I wonder if the nuns will have to start allowing prostitutes to join the convent, or will kosher meat markets have to start carrying pork ? The questions and scenarios are endless. Where does it stop? It IS a heart issue, which is best answered with the question...will my behavior and my decisions lead someone to the loving heart of Jesus, who by the way died for these messed up individuals and does not want them to perish but have everlasting life? Isn't that the thing we've been called to show them as well?? Sharalee S.

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  8. I have a few thoughts about this topic. Note that I have read the bill, but due to the fact that it was to amend an existing law which I did not read, I can’t say for sure what all the text intended.

    Here’s a link to the bill

    http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/sb1062p.pdf

    Here’s a link to one article that claims that the bill wouldn’t have caused the problems described in the media. I don’t know if they were right.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/top-law-professors-arizona-religious-freedom-bill-has-been-egregiously-misrepresented_783466.html


    1. I think that lately there has been an issue of business and people getting conflated. IMO, businesses and corporations are NOT people and don’t have the same rights, despite recent Supreme Court decisions. Each of us as individuals should have religious freedom, absolutely. But should the businesses we own have the exact same rights? Should a business have religious freedom? How so? Can a business go to church on Sundays?

    By the same token, I have a problem when the CEO of a company supports a cause that people disagree with and those people want to boycott the business *even though the business itself doesn’t support the cause.* I realize that is a way of getting to the CEO, but it seems unfair to me.

    2. From what I understand, the bill didn’t explicitly mention homosexuality, which could have left it open to other issues such as this. What if a business owner’s religion prevented him from selling to women? Or people of another religion? The fact is that those types of discrimination have already been ruled out in our history so they wouldn’t be able to do that. I think we would agree today that it would not be right if they could.

    3. Look at the issue from another side. Assume that you were a business owner that didn’t have a problem serving anyone. Then you hired an employee that started to refuse to serve a certain group because of their religious beliefs. While I’m sure you would not have a problem with that employee’s religion, you probably would have an issue with the disruption and lost business it would cause.

    Signed,
    Big Brother Joe

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  9. Love your posts, Kathy. It's like we are always thinking the same things! :-) I am like you, conflicted yet not. Your friends bring up great points, and Joe is right...other laws protect against discrimination in most of those other common senarios. Jim and I were talking about this last night, and I can't imagine, being FORCED to preform questionable services; like you said: having to create a "satanic sign". Jim painted the picture, what if we owned a cake shop, and a customer came in and wanted a "pedophile" cake! Or if I owned a B & B and a pedophile and some of his buddies wanted to room there. Um....yeah, what if! Where do we draw the line....we can't if our rights are taken away. Love you! Kim Murray

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  10. Earlier today I posted to Facebook the following:
    Homosexuality has been a part of human existence since the beginning, whether that was when homo sapiens first appeared in the evolutionary path, or at the creation, or after Noah and family exited the ark.
    No amount of persecution and discrimination has been able to extinguish or suppress it.
    Evidently it is somehow a part of the diversity of the human species.
    If we fail to accept this we condemn those created that way to live with a diminished sense of joy and satisfaction. We force them to suppress their feelings. We force them to accept a way of life that amounts to imprisonment.
    Hiding behind Bible verses to perpetuate this injustice is no more admirable or justified than doing the same during the slavery debates.
    We eventually made the right choice then, religion survived, and I hope that we can do it this time without the death and destruction we went through then.
    The same bible verses used to justify slavery exist in the bible today, we simply chose to alter our view concerning them, they are relegated to a different time, different circumstances.
    This post by Kathy L is one of the most thought provoking posts I have come across, it and others have lead me to think that this issue is even deeper than I have realized.
    Being a nonbeliever it is not threatening to my core beliefs to arrive at the conclusion that homosexuality is a human condition, homosexuals are just another example of the great diversity of human beings.
    For believers it means a great deal more, accepting that premise implies that either God makes imperfect beings, or the authors of the Bible have misrepresented God's word.
    Neither choice will satisfy the traditional views that the Bible is the unquestionable word of God, or that God is the omnipotent creator.
    I am not sure how, but I do hope that a way can be found to solve this dilemma, I am certain we cannot continue to deny basic human rights to another group of humans.

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  11. I appreciate all the comments here. If this blog had made you think, especially how we treat one another, then I guess it has done its work. I maintain firmly my stand according to the Word of God. What I believe comes from its pages. How I behave also comes from its pages, and as imperfect as I am, I try my best to follow the perfect model whose words are in red letters...

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