Friday, April 3, 2015

The top story this past week was the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana. The ink on the new law literally wasn’t dry before the outcry from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community began. This is discrimination! This is an anti-gay law! Their outrage was palpable. And misplaced.

The “new” law is hardly new. Congress passed it in 1993 with virtually no opposition and the full praise of President Clinton. Since that time, 19 other states have passed their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, other states are considering legislation and there has been no meaningful objection. There also have been no recorded incidents of discrimination that can be tied to the federal act or to the 19 other states. The gay lobby, however, in its never-ending quest to be painted as a victim of injustice, decided Indiana was different.

Boycotts were organized, celebrities enlisted and the media, smelling the blood of controversy, jumped right in. One important element was forgotten, however — the actual wording of the law. Neither the intent nor the wording were discriminatory in any way, but that didn’t impact the debate whatsoever.

Should a Catholic doctor be forced to perform abortions despite of his religious beliefs? Clearly the answer is no. Should a Christian baker be forced to participate in the matrimonial coupling of a gay couple if his Bible tells him it’s wrong? The answer is also no. Neither, however, can decline to serve gay individuals as clients for generic services. The law doesn’t allow for that. Not only is this important difference seemingly lost on the gay community, but they have gone so far as to enlist Jesus in an effort to support their cause.

What would Jesus do? Would he refuse to provide a cake to a gay wedding? I’ve been asked this question by more than one activist lately with the implied answer being that of course Jesus would go along with the couple’s wishes. After all, we’re told, Jesus spent time with prostitutes and tax collectors. Again, they miss the nuance.

Jesus loved everyone (indeed he still does). We shouldn’t mistake that, however, with loving all their actions. He didn’t provide the prostitutes with safe passage to their next john and he didn’t assist the tax collector in his theft of funds. The Bible leaves no doubt that Jesus didn’t approve of their actions, but through love He inspired change. With that in mind, let’s return to the gay activists’ question.

What would Jesus do? He would love the individuals that approached him to provide services for their gay wedding. But he would not compromise his own beliefs in order to placate them. Rather, through his love and understanding, He would hope to inspire a change in lifestyle and in choices, just the way he did with prostitutes and tax collectors.

So if someone asks you, “What would Jesus do? Would he refuse to provide a cake to a gay wedding?” You can safely answer yes. It wouldn’t make Jesus a hater. It wouldn’t make him homophobic. It would simply mean he was staying true to himself, his God and his belief.

As Americans, we should be afforded that same choice.

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