Anyone recall seeing my post last year on deeply held religious beliefs? Today, I have a follow-up post on Unfundamentalist Christians.
Dear Christian Business Owner,
I don’t usually do open letters (it’s against my policy), but today I feel compelled to make an exception. I’m writing to you because I’m genuinely concerned and confused about your objections to serving LGBT folks.
See, when I was growing up in church, my leaders talked about how important it was to seek out opportunities to share the gospel with others. Jesus could return at any time, and people needed to be ready to meet him. For them, this wasn’t just some pretty idea; Christians had a scriptural obligation to win souls, and everyone took it seriously. I knew people who rejoiced when sinners entered their workplace, because it allowed them to plant and water the seeds of salvation through their service.
I don’t know what has happened in the past 25 years to change all of that, but it’s saddening. If you truly believe the LGBT community is most in need of Jesus, why on earth would you advocate for laws to keep them away?
Continue reading at Unfundamentalist Christians
There’s more than just this one issue here.
1. Is it right to deny service to someone based on beliefs or sex orientation?
2. Is it right to force a business owner to act against concience and deny them choice?
Most business owners who object to serving LBGT weddings, etc, are not advocating for laws to force business owners to deny service, rather they are for removing laws which would force them to serve against their concious.
If God sacrificed all to allow us the agency to choose, then it is antichrist to use force to make someone act against their concious. It denies the existence of the individual when you deny them the right make choices, even if you, or the Gospel disagree with those choices. Just as you desire LBGT to have their choice, allow all the same privilege.
Micah. Your post reminds me of a partial quotation by Abraham Lincoln on the famous American Credo postage stamp series in the late 1950s. The entire quote says:
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.”
You are asking for the freedom not to bake a cake for an LGBTQ wedding. The LGBTQ person is asking for the freedom to buy a cake from you for his wedding.
I have to ask where this will end Micah?. Should a grocery store owner refuse the sale of milk to a pregnant teen because he does not believe in fornication? Should a Christian who owns a construction company refuse to build a new house for an unmarried heterosexual couple because it violates his beliefs about marriage? The list you can make is nearly endless Micah—and do you know what comes out of it if every Christian starts behaving this way? It will drive people apart. The people who claim to follow Jesus will be seen as being nothing like Jesus, and eventually if this keeps up and people cannot acquire the things they need to live, a whole society will descend into anger and a shooting revolution of some sort. Is that what Jesus would want? I seriously doubt it.
Dover1952, for me the question ends at the use of force. We have the right to pursue happiness, but that doesn’t mean someone else owes happiness to us.
If I feel that your religion is wrong, I don’t have the right to call the police and say “Make them conform to my idea of religion or shut them down.” But I do have the right to start my own religion and invite whomever I want, including those I believe to be error.
Christ didn’t come and force people to believe as he did. He only offered them something better. He started something new, and allowed others to continue as they may. There were some who decided to use force against him because His ideas didn’t conform to what they wanted.
You do realize that laws like these apply to everyone, right? So now the Muslim cashier could refuse to sell you a ham, and your Jehovah’s Witness boss could refuse to give you insurance that would cover a blood transfusion. I mean, we wouldn’t want to force ANY religious person to show approval for something they believe to be sinful. It will be interesting to see what the Scientologists come up with in a few years.
In the meantime, prepare to enjoy your eggs without bacon.
Oh, and I do believe Jesus addressed the issue of force. What did he say?
“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” ~ Matthew 5:41
By that logic, LGBT couples should get two cakes. Better stock up on the flour.
I do believe that should be the standard of conduct April, but it is personal. Jesus was teaching us how to get our own heart right so that we could be like our Father. He was not teaching a group of people to go implement laws to force other people to keep his teachings.
I would love it, if a Muslim was free to not sell me a ham. I would rejoice that they were free to practice their beliefs.
I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone, I just thought I would offer my thoughts. I do appreciate your blog April. I’ve followed it for a couple years now and it has improved my perspective on many things.
Micah. No one is asking you to quit believing whatever you believe. People are asking you to avoid using what you believe as a weapon to hurt other people.
Are you aware that this “Cake Bake Conundrum” and any other situation like it are part of a newly formulated national strategy by the Religious Right? Some journalists are now characterizing this strategy as (roughly paraphrased): “We are going to use our conservative demand for religious freedom as a weapon to take away the freedoms of the enemies of God.” This is a consciously formulated and implemented strategy like the famous “Wedge Strategy” Phillip Johnson, a Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, designed for The Discovery Institute to fight the teaching of evolution in public schools under the guise of so-called “Intelligent Design.”
The problem Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are faced with now is the same problem the Wedge Strategy faced in the Kitzmiller vs.Dover case in 2005. The “use-my-religious-freedom-to-take-away- your-freedoms” strategy is out of the bag; its opponents like me know about it; and it is being fought against like anyone would fight against a devious plan designed to hurt other people.
In addition, this new national strategy will ultimately never survive a significant court challenge because the U.S. Supreme Court has set a very high bar for challenges involving religious freedom, and the high court guards religious freedom zealously. In the 1960s, one major southern racist strategy was quite similar to this one. Owners of businesses tried to claim that close interaction with African-Americans violated their Christian beliefs that God separated the races in Genesis and to allow black people to eat in their restaurants (etc.) violated their religious freedom. The federal courts invited all of them to take a hike because they were trying to use their religious freedom demands as a tool to deny other people their legitimate freedoms. They recognized that it is not right for a person to use their religious freedom as a tool to take away the rights of other people.
This new strategy will ultimately fail in the federal courts because of this. In addition, it may also fail because of who sits on the high court. A majority of the judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are Roman Catholic. Members of the high court rarely give interviews to journalists, but I saw or read one of those rare interviews sometime in the past two years. The one surprising thing I heard in that interview was how the justice, as a Catholic child, had been persecuted by the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical children in his neighborhood—and he remembered it well. All Roman Catholics are quite familiar with such persecution, and the members of the high court are likely to remember that when a case involving this new strategy comes before them.
You can read about this new strategy in a link to an article that is posted on my blog. I will give you that link in another post below this one. I cannot get there with the current screen combinations up on my monitor without losing what I have posted here.
Great post April and dead on target.
Micah. The link I promised you above is here. When you get there, click on the link to the article in Salon. All of these are safe links. Here it is:
I would add one last thing you might not know. I am not absolutely sure, but I think this case may have come up on the U.S. Supreme Court when Charles Evans Hughs was Chief Justice in the early 20th century. The court ruled that the rights set forth in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution “are not absolute.” This is why a person can be put in jail for yelling “Fire!!!” when there is no fire in a crowded theater. A right to free speech under the First Amendment “is not absolute” when it puts other people in danger or violates the legitimate rights of other people. This principle would apply equally to frivolous demands for religious freedom that are designed to take away the rights of others.