It is always interesting to see the arguments against Religious freedom masked in the promotion of equal rights. This is a pretty good opportunity to show a few things that is either willfully or otherwise ignorant about the arguments made about Christianity when talking about religious freedom with those who fail to understand what rights are and what the first amendment means and has always meant.
So we will go one by one. “Christians are seeking the ability to deny service to anyone with whom they disagree on morality issues”. Wrong. I will give an example of protected denial and an example of a not protected denial.
A denial that is not protected: A customer comes into your store to eat a meal. He has his homosexual partner with him and just sits down and orders his dinner and eats it. You cannot refuse to serve this individual no matter what the law in the state is, this is not an example of where freedom of religion would apply. You are not in any way participating in anything you do not agree with you merely are serving food to an individual.
A denial that is protected only if it is consistently applied to all: A customer comes into your store to eat a meal. He has his homosexual partner with him and proceeds to act in PDA that you find offensive. Otherwise is just there to eat and orders his food. The only way that this can be an example of a protection is if all excessive pda is handled in the same matter.
A denial that is protected: That restaurant has a program for having receptions after weddings and rents out a whole room and caters the event and allows decorations for the party to exist inside of its establishment. The denial in this situation is protected because of its inherent sponsorship/participation in the event. This is in the vein of a reasonably applied sincerely held religious belief and is as thus protected by the first amendment and related laws (which to be honest with an appropriate judge the extra legislation should not be necessary at all).
Some Christians may be out there saying they want to deny simple services to those they don’t agree with, but I have not encountered one. The participation or perceived promotion of the lifestyle is where the problem lies, not merely serving a customer.
It never fails when these conversations happen about anything in the public sphere and Christianity. There is almost always someone who comes in and calls all Christians hypocrites. Well, I am here to say, those people are correct. We are called to live a lifestyle we simply cannot live up to on our own. If it were not for the blood of Christ covering our sins, not just before, but also after our Christian walk begins none of us would be viewed as righteous from the judgment seat at the end of days. My name is Joshua, I am a Christian therefore I am a hypocrite. I will never reach that moral responsibility I believe is right. I will always fail. My salvation is through the perfection of Jesus and not through any work of my own.
The next thing that is important is to understand how the definition of love is different for those who are truly Christian compared to what that definition is for someone who believes in a world with no god. There are clear consequences for believing that there is a heaven and a hell.
To the world, love might be just accepting everyone for exactly who they are no matter how much they accept their own human nature. Without a God that definition is perfectly reasonable. After all, if we are not created, and there is no heaven and hell then all we are is animals that have more cognitive abilities then other animals and to deny our human nature is pointless in the long run even if it does have consequences for us in this life. After all, there would then be nothing after this life. At this point, even those who believe in medical consequences for homosexuality are limited just to a self imposed punishment of potential health harm that is not a sure thing and could be escaped by some who choose that lifestyle statistically, and many do not believe these things are health risks.
To a Christian, however, love has a very different meaning and a very different set of prescribed actions in different circumstances. If the God of the Bible exists and the Bible is his word then love is more then just our earthly minds would reason it to be. No individual sin hold any more consequence then another sin. Salvation, after all, is not about being perfect. Its about repenting from your sin and asking Jesus to wash you clean as a sacrificial lamb that covers our sins. With that said, why is it such a big deal that we identify what a sin is and why is it a big deal that we are not seen as promoting said sin?
“She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Many people know the story of the adulteress who found grace from Jesus, but not as many know how it applies. Jesus is pointing out that the law was never intended to be the judge in itself. The law was meant to point to the need for a savior. This is why its important that people call the old testament the law and the prophets, because both are needed in order to interpret the law, and in the times of the laws exact actions Israel was under a theocracy with judges appointed as intercessors between the Israelites and God. Without the prophets, the law is just a long list of prescribed punishments where no exceptions or grace could be found in the law.
Many Christians will, of course, disagree with me. They are proponents of the concept that is the old covenant and the new covenant. In the end I believe a complete study of the Bible, even inside of the old testament, points to one single covenant throughout. The sin that prescribes your punishment to hell is being born of Adam (born human). The only way to eternal life has always been the belief in the need for a savior and that God in His wisdom would send that savior to act as the sacrificial lamb as pointed to in exodus and in the prophets.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.” This is a verse that many people pretend does not exist. Its 1 Corinthians 6. Does that mean that any who ever commit sexual immorality will not inherit the Kingdom of God? No. It doesn’t. After all, “‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart.” Not only was David welcomed into the Kingdom of God, he was the only person found in the Bible with the honor of being called a man after God’s own heart.
How can that be? This is the same david that committed adultery, murder, even went through periods of time with idolatry. Because the purpose of the relationship with God is not its results, its in the heart and its in what its intent is. What that person identifies with and strives to be not who that person is. Its an interesting juxtaposition isn’t it? The same Bible, both in the new testament says both that adulterers will not inherit the Kingdom of God also says that David who committed murder to cover up his adulteress affair was a man after God’s own heart. There are two things that you can do with this dichotomy. You can either throw the Bible out as a guide to God’s will, or you can accept that its an individuals identity as a Christ/God-follower that saves them with Jesus’s sacrifice allowing for that to be enough. What you cannot do is identify yourself as pursuing sin instead of Christ and then claim to be a Christ-follower.
To love the sinner, you must hate the sin. To embrace sin is to reject Christ over that area of your life. Its akin to seeing a car go up a hill you’ve walked up and saw a bridge out that cannot be seen over the hill to continue on its journey with no warning. To not warn of the danger of embracing sin, much less promoting that sin as normal and acceptable through business actions is not love it is hate on a level that is repugnant. In the end, we are not of the world and we were told that we would be persecuted for our love. Mainly because without God, the definition of love is the closer to the Christians definition of hate then its definition of love.