What Christians in Indiana Should Do in Response to the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Current Events
Tags: , , , ,

You’ve all heard the hubbabaloo by now going on in Indiana where Governor Mike Pence signed-in private I might add-the9740026677_b5c818f328_o Religious Freedom Restoration Act which effectively allows businesses and vendors to not serve people if it violates their…<cough>…religious convictions.

Great.  Because we have so many examples in the Scriptures of Jesus not serving people because of their sexual orientation, occupation, reputation, and (insert favorite reason to dislike people here).

So many examples.

So many, that I’m not sure how to choose from the examples.

Like that woman at the well who had so many husb…oh wait, scratch that.

Like that woman about to get stoned because she was adulter…oh wait, not that one.

Like that man, the short tax collector who was cheating people, his name started with a Z…oh wait, nope.

Well, at least there is that traitor Judas, right?  At least Jesus puts him in his place, right?

Except that right before Judas betrays Jesus, Jesus kneels before him and washes his feet.  Right before he sells Jesus for profit, Jesus lovingly takes his heel, douses him with water, and scrubs the dirt right off his sole.

…see what I did there?

Lexicon it.  Jesus doesn’t refuse service.  Even the Gentile woman in Mark’s gospel gets a piece of Jesus’ love, despite Jesus’ initial protests.

So tell me, Indiana legislators, lobbyists, and general public who might support such drivel, where you get the idea that this somehow restores religious freedom.  Because I don’t think you’ve read your Bibles.

I really don’t.

Because if you read your Bibles, if you read the story of Jesus instead of the soundbites of crazy, profit-hungry, TV preachers, and bigoted, rapture-awaiting, crazy folks who pretend to be pastors/messiahs/prophets, but are nothing more than charlatans or hustlers, you might realize that to Jesus religious freedom actually means that you are not free to do whatever you want.

My patron saint (no, not Jimmy Buffett…he’s my muse), the Blessed Martin Luther says it this way, “A Christian is absolutely free; subject to no one.  A Christian is absolutely bound, servant of all.”

Another way to think about that is to recall Jesus’ call for us to be yoked to God.  That yoke is “light.”  When we bind ourselves to God, our yoked-ness is light.

How?

Because being yoked to God actually takes away your choice.

This was something that Christopher Hitchens actually got right in his books.  He took umbrage with the idea that we must, as Christ followers (and Torah followers), love our enemies.  It was the height of forced-abuse, he thought (for more on this read his God is Not Great).

So I call on all Christians in Indiana to actually do what this bill, in title at least, claims to do: restore your religious freedom.  Restore the yoke of God to yourself, because if you refuse service to someone for any reason that may be part of an “ism,” you’ve sloughed off the yoke.

But woe to you liberals, too (no one gets out of this one unmarked).

I hear your calls to boycott legislators from your businesses.  I hear your cries of anger, and your threats to not serve supporters of this act in your establishments.

To you, again, I encourage a close reading of Scripture.  Because Jesus actually has said something about this.  In Matthew 18 Jesus instructs Christians on how to deal with those who sin.

And I gotta tell you, I think this law is an example of sin in this world.

What do you do?  You talk to them.  I know many have done that already.

And if they don’t listen, you take another with you so there is a witness.

I think we’ve all witnessed this step…

And if they still don’t listen, you bring in the church leaders.  And for us in the ELCA, this has already happened, too.

And if they still won’t listen, you “treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”

And this is the moment when you think you’re given permission to stick it to The Man.

Except, when you look at how Jesus treated Gentiles and tax collectors (see references above), you realize that, unfortunately for our egos and sense of justice, we are servant here, too.  We do not boycott them from our eateries and services.  We do not block them off from our handshakes and welcome.  We may not re-elect some of the legislators, but we in no way get to marginalize them.

See, this following Jesus thing is pretty tough.  This yoke is light in that it takes away my choice.  But it is pretty heavy on my ego and my own sense of retaliation…

Ugh.  This mess in Indiana makes me a reluctant Christian.  And then Jesus’ own advice on what I’m supposed to do makes me reluctant, too, because it’s not what I want to do.

So, what should Christians in Indiana do in response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?  Speak out; yes.  Be active; sure.

But also eat with those who you consider your enemies.  Bless those who persecute, because in doing so you show them a love that they are unwilling to give and to receive.

Your anger is justified.  But your discrimination is not.  None is.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Judy says:

    Bravo, well said! There is still a huge disconnect between the folks who are convinced they’re Christians and the true followers of Jesus, willing to follow Him and take His words to heart.

  2. Sherry Driver says:

    Amen! Thank you for putting into words my thoughts and feelings on this subject.

  3. Stephanie says:

    We have the same thing trying to work it’s way through in Georgia. I’m a seminary student and just preached my first sermon on this very topic to my class. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Ron says:

      Brilliant use of Scripture to witness to WWJD and WJTUTD (What Jesus Tells Us To Do). Prophetic indignation at its best, Marla..

  4. Fred says:

    Thanks, Rev. Reluctant. Good thoughts about what with the most important kind of freedom–the freedom Christ gives.

  5. Fred says:

    . . .what we do with . . . (Never reply to blogs while watching tense basketball games.)

  6. […] example, I just came across this article earlier today.  You can use Google (or Bing if you’re a real weirdo) to see some other […]

  7. Anyone who can effectively allude to Luther, Jimmy Buffet, an iconic American Sports Team, Christopher Hitchens, Judas and Jesus in the same fresh and insightful post and blog bio has my attention. I like the anonymity as well.
    I enjoyed your “bio” as well. I hate to be a buzz kill….but (call me a discontent as you may): of course you’re arguing. You’re just doing a fabulous job of making it seem like you’re not. And it’s not contentious, but open and accepting. I like it.

  8. acory2014 says:

    I’m good with down to where you talk about not sticking it to The Man. I think I’m inclined to apply Luke 10:8-12 — “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” Thanks for the great contribution to the discussion! You made a lot of sense!

    • Timothy Brown says:

      A good point, of course.

      Except not carrying something with you is about you, and treating people “like Gentiles and tax collectors” is about them…and I want to talk about how we treat the “thems” in our world. Stick it to the man by not spending vacation dollars in Indy if you want (though I think maybe we attach a little note to all our major expense reports in Indiana addressed to Governor Pence saying something like “Inclusive dolled brought you this revenue” rather than just not engaging ), but we’re not given license to keep those who disagree with us from our own grace and love…and I’ve been hearing the suggestion, joking or not, to post “legislators not welcome” in store fronts.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • What is the context of that command, though?

      It’s Jesus sending his disciples out into Jewish towns to call the Jews to repentance and belief in Christ. He went to them and presented himself to them so that they could be condemned in their rejection of him before he took the Gospel to the Gentiles. Luke 10 is Jesus passing judgement, by proxy, on God’s Chosen People for their unbelief, not an example of how we should treat unbelievers who reject the Gospel now.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        I think it’s more about hospitality, but it’s ok to disagree. Thanks for commenting!

      • I’m curious as to your reasoning there. Hospitality is definitely a big deal in scripture, but in this passage it seems to me that the reference to Sodom and Judgement Day speaks to an issue of salvation, not just hospitality. Especially considering that the context here is the sending of the 70 during Jesus’ earthly ministry.

        Not that you’re necessarily wrong, like you said, it’s okay to disagree, you’ve just intrigued me and I’d like to hear more.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        Hey Justin, thanks for the follow-up question! Actually, the mention of Sodom is exactly why I think it’s about hospitality…as their lack of hospitality was the sin of S and G.

      • Ricka Smith says:

        Justin, I think it is about the opportunity to receive and accept the Gospel of Christ – the allegory is hospitality … making it clear that to reject the visitors, to refuse hospitality is the one sin not forgiven … to deny the Holy Spirit.

  9. Janis says:

    >Because if you read your Bibles, if you read the story of Jesus instead of the soundbites of crazy, profit-hungry, TV preachers, and bigoted, rapture-awaiting, crazy folks who pretend to be pastors/messiahs/prophets, but are nothing more than charlatans or hustlers, you might realize that to Jesus religious freedom actually means that you are not free to do whatever you want.<

    Jesus didn't do snark, either.

    Not having kept up on the other 19 states who have religious freedom laws, what makes Indiana's law different from their's?

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Actually, I think there are tons of examples in the Gospel of Jesus being snarky. Take the “log in the eye” comment. That’s absolutely snark.

      Having been a resident of Indiana for my college years, and having many friends still in the state (and the fact that it was just enacted), it’s where my passion is at the moment. But I suppose it could have been written for any state hiding behind RFRA as a way to legalize discrimination.

    • Renee says:

      at least in illinois the law on religious objection is
      balanced by discrimination ban
      http://trib.in/1MedG4Y

    • Ricka Smith says:

      Indiana’s bill defines “personhood” and “religion” in ways which are so broad that almost any excuse can be used to claim an abridgement of one’s religious freedom … huge reach, and almost a mirror image of the intent of the ’93 Bill, which was intended to make it legal to use peyote in Native American religious ritual and the affirmation of the sanctity of sacred land on reservations.

  10. Janis says:

    I don’t think so. I think instead of being angry at your enemy, then pray for them instead of pointing fingers at them for the wrong things they do. I, as well as the rest of humanity, am the king of sinners. At any rate, from what I understand the law doesn’t go into effect until July 1. Maybe people otter see what happens after that and react accordingly then. Again, what’s the difference between Indiana and the other states and why there’s no outrage in those states? Just asking.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Actually, my friends in Arkansas and Georgia are pretty outraged as the potential passing of their forms right now, too.

      My use of snark comes from the philosophical understanding that mockery is actually the highest form of respectful disagreement. Paul Woodruff’s “Reverence” (a great book) makes this same argument.

  11. Bob Jones says:

    I’m a Hoosier and I love my state. The worst thing I see about this law, is the fact that there has to be a law. As a business owner, you should be allowed to refuse service to anyone for any reason. That is how it should be in a true capitalist society.

    As a customer, you vote with your dollars. If someone refuses you service, or serves you poorly, go somewhere else and tell everyone you know about what happened. People get up in arms about this, but most businesses will either ignore this or go out of business. Don’t be so angry about the legislation and vote with your dollars!

    • Will says:

      With all due respect, sir, you have clearly never experienced life in a minority status. A minority person (for example’s sake, let’s say a Muslim woman or openly gay man in a small town) is not part of a group that can “vote with dollars.” By very definition, this minority person is outnumbered by majority that sustains social norms. This law empowers said majority to use religion– and any broad, subjective, personal interpretation of that– as means to reject service to those in the minority from any goods or services– be it extravagant things like wedding cakes or basic necessities like groceries and clothing. How then the can a person who is refused service vote with their money? Their money is not even accepted. And they likely can’t rally the troops to boycott the business when they are clearly up against a vocal majority.

      In addition, you must know that we are not a “true capitalist society.” This nation was founded on the idea that all men are created equal. In fact, it is first tenet in that document in which we declared our independence. Some of our most essential American ideas invite the tired, poor, and huddled masses and put in places numerous protections to make sure that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are guaranteed to them all. We have numerous regulations in place that guide our business practices and support the rights of minority citizens. Such practices do not exist in a pure capitalist market that is unhindered by government inventions. America’s ideals have always trumped capitalism. In fact, no matter which side of RFRA law you are on, you are supporting regulation that intervenes in the market.

      Lastly, I think you missed the point of this article. You are fighting for your right to “refuse service to anyone for any reason.” This author and pastor is making the point he/she doesn’t feel Jesus would have refused service to anyone. The text goes on to say that as a Christian, the real calling is to humble yourself before all people– friend, foe, saint, sinner– and be the very face of unconditional love.

      • therealjohnc says:

        To me, the implication of “Bob Jones’s” posting was that s/he is a “capitalist” before being a Christian. There is nothing about the theological question at the center of this blog posting at all, merely an assertion of perceived rights as a capitalist.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        For some Capitalism is a religion.

      • denny says:

        Will – excellent mini-exposition on the theme of marginalization.

      • uncfsu133 says:

        Unconditional love is speaking the truth of gospel in love not participating in and condoning sin.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        I think I condone sin every time I pay my taxes. The military industrial complex has killed more people then my gay neighbors…and the military industrial complex has never called me at the birth of my son, never brought me food, and never celebrated my birthday.

        We all choose which sins to condone and which to protest…and protesting this sin, passing these laws, all it does is distract from the real vulnerable people in Indiana who could use the law on their side.

    • usa_aok says:

      This ^

  12. Janis says:

    I went and studied up on what we’re discussing. The law doesn’t have any discernible differences from the federal law presented by Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993. This is from The Weekly Standard :
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/indianas-religious-freedom-restoration-act-explained_900641.html?page=1

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Janis, the vague nature of the law has allowed it to be used in such a way that those who needed it as defense for discrimination. It was a bad idea then and now. It’s being abused.

    • Ricka Smith says:

      You are absolutely wrong in your understanding of the Indiana law … it is the mirror opposite of the Federal RFRA signed in ’93. Legal and Constitutional experts have said that the Indiana Law is the most far reaching and dangerous of any of the so-called RFRA which have been proposed or passed.

    • Pat says:

      Actually – the difference between Indiana’s and the Fed law and the other states’ laws is that Indiana has no discrimination law against LGBT people. The other states and Fed law does. THAT, in itself, makes Indiana’s law more likely to allow discrimination against gay groups.

  13. Smokey bob says:

    It’s not my job to judge my customers, only to serve them as best I can. I can’t see this law effecting my business in any way

  14. Joe says:

    “rapture-awaiting, crazy folks” isn’t that statement a little bigoted? You don’t believe in the rapture of the church? Yes, I know the word rapture isn’t in the Bible.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks for commenting Joe!

      I don’t think it was a bigoted comment, no. But it was snarky.

      As for the “rapture,” it is a theological construct created in the 1800’s by Darby, and not only is not in the ancient church understanding, but requires so many theological and mental gymnastics to put together, that I find it a destructive and escapist dogma.

      So, no, I don’t believe in the idea of a rapture. For more on this read Exposing The Rapture by Barbara Rossing-a great book!

      While we don’t agree, I do appreciate the comment and reading!

  15. Rhonda says:

    As a Christian I agree Jesus served all; however, these claims Christians are bigots greatly offends me and I’m very saddened Christians are not defending themselves. Nowhere in this law does it allow for discrimination. This law it to protect a Christian’s right to practice their faith. Jesus served all, but did he aid them to sin. Did he help the tax collector take in the tax? Did he say it was okay to hire a prostitute? Did he say it was okay to assist someone who murders? No. He did say accept and love all. I believe Christians do that. True discrimination is farther from religious institutions and Christians then any place in America, in my opinion. Who takes in the highest number of homeless? Who provides free health care to the poor no matter race, sexual orientation, etc? Who gives prenatal services to an unwed women who has nowhere else to go? Providing her with a crib, clothes, formula, etc. Who provides free meals to the hungry? Who visits prisoners? Who purchases toys, clothing, etc. for children of people in prison? Who started the hospitals? Who started the schools in America? Who has taken in the ill around the world including those shunned due to leprosy? No the history of Christians prove anything but discrimination. Religious people and institutions should have rights which protect them against providing a service which goes against their beliefs and assisting in what they believe is a sin Beliefs which have been around for centuries. These law suits have stood up in court. For example Hobby Lobby not providing birth control. They aren’t saying someone can’t take it they are just not providing it. It gravely goes against their beliefs. I know of no Christian faith which allows for discrimination of people. Shame on Christians for not defending our true beliefs and what we really stand for.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks for responding, Rhonda. In fact, that’s my wife’s name!

      It’s clear that we only don’t agree on the use of the law, but also what a Christian’s role in society is. That’s OK, though. We don’t have to agree.

      Funny thing about Hobby Lobby, while they won’t provide BC coverage, they’ll invest in the companies that make it. The rabbit hole is shallow but wide in these things.

      Suffice to say, Christ said “Sin no more…” after serving. And while I don’t find homosexuality a sin (not do I see that discrimination as the only kind now possible under this vague law), I affirm that we are servant of all and in that, absolutely free.

    • Will says:

      Rhonda–

      I confidently believe that every one of Jesus’s actions reflected his love and his mission. I believe– as I understand this author does– that we are all called to live in similar manner. I just don’t understand your rationale, so let me ask you this: How does a restaurant owner refusing to serve food to a lesbian couple somehow promotes the message of Christianity or shows Christ’s love? How would doing so go against the beliefs of that business owner? How would it aid in these people’s sins, as you say?

      Jesus was not a business owner, so we have no idea how he would act as such. We know he was a carpenter, but we are never told if he owned that business or how he operated in such a role. We can not and will not ever know if he would have provided business services to those he believed were sinners. But here is what we do know: outside of his carpentry work, he loved those that were in need and provided care to those that had been treated with little to no dignity. Do you believe that if money we have come into these interactions, he would have all-of-sudden started practicing harsh judgement on all those around him? That he would have demanded law to allow him to exclude certain types of people from his world? I certainly don’t.

      I just feel like the rationale you are using and the need for Christians to “defend themselves” is so unlike the life of Christ. And when that is hurting and alienating people, we must question our actions.

      I brought up the example of the lesbian couple being refused service, because I am from Mississippi, and we passed a religion freedom law less than a year ago. That example is very real instance that happened to friends of mine recently in the name of Jesus, and it was fully supported by my state and applauded (literally) by others in the restaurant, causing my friends to leave the business in complete shame. How, I beg, was Jesus’s unconditional love communicated?

      Another question I have to ask: How did this business owner decide that this was the righteous thing to do? It is not at all Biblically based, so I honestly think contemporary Christianity has made up this idea that by providing business services to non-believers, we are somehow contributing to or condoning their sin. If we don’t know how Jesus operated a business, why did we err to the side of judgement and exclusion, instead of love and inclusion, which is what the rest of His life exemplified? How are we not exhibiting the grace that was shown to us? I think Jesus would be stupefied to hear you say that, by Christian standards, providing food to a hungry lesbian couple is the same thing as assisting someone with murder. I know the idea certainly confounds me.

      I mean, Jesus doesn’t get really pissed off much, but when He did, most of His anger was reserved for the Pharisees, who he continually called out for their hypocrisy and what other thing, you might ask? Legalism. Now here we are as modern Christians trying to use scriptures to pass a judgement on people we have never met and to use laws to maintain our ability to keep them out of our lives, never offering help in any way and somehow believing that we can then wash our hands of their sins. I’m pretty sure Jesus would say that the blood is in fact on our hands because of our own closed-minded actions. “Woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

      And this very type of action– treating certain people differently based on our own personal standards, standards which those people don’t share– is the very definition of discrimination, so your assertion that Christianity doesn’t involve discrimination couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, we talk about God’s standards as righteous judgment, but in the objective eyes of our nation’s laws, when we practice that same judgement (which Jesus told us not to do) and act accordingly, it is discrimination.

      My final thought: We were told that we were going to be persecuted when we signed up. We were never promised that we were going to be right, that we were going to get our way, that we were going to be in the majority, that we were going to have the protection of our nation. Our time on this Earth is not some kind of “us versus them” battle, where we have to fight to get our way, but I think that is all that non-believers see of us these days, and the contention just pushes them farther and farther away.

      You close by saying: “Shame on Christians for not defending our true beliefs and what we really stand for.” I couldn’t agree more. We should be ashamed of our selfish ways and for not reflecting Jesus’s inclusionary actions and unconditional love and with everything that we do.

      • Rhonda says:

        I don’t think you understand my point. I agree with you. I am against discrimination. It is not something allowed in Christisn faith. That is not what is being portrayed on social media and Chridtians are not correcting those who are spreading these non-truths. My examples are of how Christians do serve all people without discrimination with the charity work they do. Let me give you another example. We have a food bank in our town run by a Catholic church. They don’t ask when you come in the door if you are gay, divorced, Muslim, do you use birth control, etc. They serve all as Christ would. Now if a dr. who is Catholic does not prescribe birth control because of his religious views this law should protect him from the government forcing him/her to do so. His/her religion is not preventing someone who doesn’t have the same views from going to another dr. and getting birth control. This law will not protect someone from civil laws against discrimination. For example if a dr. only wrote birth control prescriptions for black people. The gray area right now seems to be with gay weddings. Bakers and florest feeling they are aiding in sin if they support a wedding. I think this issue will have to be worked out in the courts. Gay discrimination is very close to me. I have a gay brother and I would not want him to be discriminated against, and it is something I will defend. I read the state of Indiana had many law scholars from a lot of different states read and inform them on this law and they stated it did not discriminate. I tend to believe law scholars. Will some try to push the envelope – of course; however, I can guarantee in the state of Indiana the majority will not let those who discriminate get away with it.

      • Will says:

        Rhonda– Thanks for your clarification. And yes, I think we are agreeing on many things. But I still wish that we as Christians should ask if there is any validity to the fact that “Bakers and florists feel they are aiding in sin if they support a [gay] wedding.” It just seems like such cherry picking to me. We chose a random issue to fight against, and now have no grace for it. The incident in Oregon where the bakery refused to bake the gay wedding cake was one of the first prominent cases, and the owner cited an adherence to strict Christian teachings as her reason for such refusal. After the incident, numerous individuals called the business pretending to be getting quotes for cakes– requesting services for occasions ranging from out-of-wedlock baby cakes, divorce cakes, stem cell research cakes, non-kosher barbeques cakes, pagan solstice cakes, etc. Without question, the bakery agreed to make every single one of these other cakes. To many, that very strongly suggested that the owner’s decision-making had little to do with being pro-Christian and much to do with being anti-gay. The different treatment of a particular group is the textbook definition of discrimination. The secret tests have now continued with almost every business around that country that has come to prominence in its refusal of gay weddings. And almost every time, their only hesitation has been with gay weddings. (By the way, the other two issues commonly refused: Nazi cakes and KKK cakes. How are our gay friends and neighbors expected to interpret being lumped in with these groups?)

        Looking at the way we treat other issues, the Bible has much more to say and much stronger words against divorce and remarriage after divorce. And as compared to homosexuality, a much higher percentage of these teachings are in the New Testament. Yet if one of your friends has decided to start the divorce process, who among your congregation is going to choose to cut themselves off from that person and refuse to deal with them? Who is going to refuse to help this friend move out of the house she shares with her husband? This is just not a practice I see exercised by Christians.So why would homosexuality be different? It just feels like cherry picking to me, and I can only imagine that our gay friends and neighborhoods feel that much more alienation because of it.

        “Yet while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” That is the definition of grace, and have been called to pass that on. I don’t think we have been called to just refuse to deal with people. Sure, truth will have to be dealt with it at some point, but we told to speak the truth in love. That requires love first. I am no wedding photographer, but I think I would be much better suited to share the love of Jesus by agreeing to photograph a gay wedding, and then building a relationship with those people. The other option: judging the couple without knowing their hearts, refusing to do the wedding, hurting their feelings, and likely never speaking to them again. Can you honestly look at the latter and suggest it as a better option, when there is basically no Biblical model of Jesus refusing people in such way?

    • uncfsu133 says:

      This was perfectly said Rhonda. The thing is most on this on this board will not be persuaded. Only the regenerating work of the holy spirit can change the hearts and minds of those who dont believe. The act of homosexuality is clearly a sin as well as any other sexual relationship outside the marriage between one man and one woman. Genuine christians love gays and that is why we will not participate in their sin.

      • uncfsu133 says:

        How is not participating in a gay wedding cherry picking. The act of homosexuality is clearly a sin. To be clear Christians should love, help, and serve those who live a homexual lifestyle (or any other lifestyle) but a christians top priority is to preach the gospel in love. Condoning sin and aiding in sending people to hell is hate not love. Christ died and rose to snatch us out of hell so anyone reading this who is living in sin , repent and trust in the saviour Jesus Christ.

  16. Doc David says:

    I think your argument needs to be a bit more nuanaced. I agree with you Jesus served, but can you point me to a place where he joined in on the sin going on around him? Do you think there is a difference in loving someone like Jesus did and not participating in something because of one’s view of scripture? Side note Hobby Lobby does provide 14 types of BC to it’s employees. You spread misinformation when you claim that they don’t provide it. They went to court because they didn’t want to provide 4 certain types of it.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hi David, thanks for responding.

      As for the BC question, my response was not technical because the statement I was responding to wasnt.

      Plus, people stop reading after two lines anyway.

      But for you, I’ll be a bit more technical. It’s true, Hobby Lobby protested very specific kinds of BC coverage…and then they invested in exactly those categories of BC (in investing in those creating entities) in their portfolio. Not trying to spread misinformation by any means.

      Now: on to Jesus! The problem with this law is its vagueness. Perhaps if a Muslim patrons my store, I might suggest that is encouraging sin because I might (wrongly) believe Islam is sinful. Perhaps you, doctor, withhold your services to someone because they are black, and your “religion” (again, not defined well in the law or in past practice) believes dark skin is a mark of the devil.

      That’s the issue. Extreme cases? Sure.

      But my gay friends who are denied breakfast at the local coffee house because they’re openly gay is what I’m most concerned about. And this law could make that a regular practice.

      Here’s the thing. Laws need to protect all, but I, in my Christian convictions, feel the marginalized and “least of these” need the most protection. Sometimes the law needs to protect you from me and my ability to trample on your basic human right to eat breakfast.

      And have health care.

      And wear a hijab in my store.

      And wear a cross around your neck in public.

      Did Christ aid in sin? I don’t think anyone is suggesting that here. I think, by and large, people just don’t want to serve or associate with people they don’t like or disagree with. And sometimes the law should protect humanity against that tendency in us…not perpetuate it.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        One final word: the examples I give above would be quickly thrown out of court, of course…save one.

        Race and religion are protected minorities in Indiana. LGBTQ persons are not.

        Hence the main danger…

      • Doc David says:

        I really think there needs to be a middle ground of some sort. The more government gets involved the more people on either side of the issue get upset. If the government sues people of faith then Christians say they are under attack. If the government doesn’t do anything then you have others saying they are under attack. The most vocal seems to get things their way…so what do you suggest? While your convictions may be different than others it doesn’t seem like a solution is for government to simply say you are wrong and these people are right. They do that in other arenas, but should they do that in the faith arena? Don’t go to extreme examples, because those won’t really happen. Something as simple in my neck of the woods where a florist who sold flowers for years to straight and gay couples drew the line at participating in a gay wedding because of faith convictions. She now is facing a lawsuit. I tend to think Free market weeds out bad businesses and bad business owners.

      • Will says:

        David– I wrote this on another reply, but I wanted to say it here too. My real question these days is where we got the idea that if we do business with sinners, we are somehow condoning their actions. It is such a strange idea, and from my reading, it not at all Biblical. We do not have a model of whether or not Jesus did business with sinners, so it is strange to me that in determining how to navigate the issue, we erred to the side of exclusion and judgement instead of inclusion and love. Why would business transactions be the only things off limit? I mean, Jesus dined with sinners, and it was considered an act of love. He washed their feet, he went to their homes– all as he was building relationships and showing love. If you were going to debate if any actions somehow condoned the lifestyle of the sinners, I would start with these interpersonal, relationship-based activities way before I would consider a simple, impersonal business transaction. And then too, why couldn’t a business exchange be a personal experience that could serve as an outlet for love? It is just another daily action in which we take part, which Christians could use an an opportunity for getting to know and minister to people. My job requires that I regularly deal with the same tellers at the my business’s bank, and I very much consider it a fun place to be light and love. I am not trying to pat myself on the back here, but this just seems so obvious to me as the way that we are supposed to be dealing with other humans. Why couldn’t the florist in your neighborhood design the flowers for the gay wedding and treat it as a wonderful chance to get to know new people, spending time with them, inviting them to dinner, and trying to be the love of God? Instead now, she is tied up in a lawsuit, where she or the gay couple stands to lose significant sums of money, and I can guarantee that she has lost any chance to positively represent Christianity to this couple.

  17. Kim Luppino says:

    Shares in my own page…
    Now this I will share… Luther says it this way, “A Christian is absolutely free; subject to no one. A Christian is absolutely bound, servant of all.” (We should ask WWJD?, that goes for all… That is the side I want to be on.). Agree or disagree we are to do unto others, as we would have done unto ourselves…love one another as we love Him. All others whether we think the same way, act the same way, or believe the same way. (HATE does nothing but evil.). A friend reminded me of one point I didn’t agree with imbedded in this piece…Jesus would not have made the remark about the rapture believers/crazy folks.

  18. thequestion says:

    I am an atheist. But my parents are Christian, and I was (more or less) raised in a Christian home.
    So when people bend Christianity to their own personal agendas it offends me.
    Also when you’re an atheist you get to know the Bible. Which sounds counter intuitive but when one tells someone they are an atheist the theist tends to hear, “You are an idiot for believing in your religion, I think I am smarter than you thanks to my inherent mastery of science.” instead of “I disagree, did you see last night’s Scandal?” So when people find out about my beliefs it inevitably leads to a religious discussion/argument. And the thing that strikes me most is that many Christians, seemingly the most vocal ones, don’t follow their own religion. Somehow the majority of Christians have become pro-war, capitalists that want nothing more than to deprive the poor of health-care while discriminating against seemingly everyone.
    I say all this because it is heartening to find that some Christians still follow Jesus. It may seem weird, but as an atheist it is good to hear that some people still know what it means to be a Christian.

  19. Laura says:

    i have always been taught that a sin is a sin. None are worse than another. If this is correct, why are so many people have their panties in a wad? Why don’t preachers, etc., get in an uproar over every other sin. For an example, divorce. All divorces are not “legal” in God’s eyes? Why don’t we get upset about so many divorces? I wonder if the reason that soooo many people get so upset about gays is that they find it disgusting. I don’t necessarily like it, but I will support them.

  20. mulfordep@yahoo.com says:

    Did you read the law? It protects us from what the government can do to us. It’s the same law as the federal law passed in ’93 and signed by President Clinton. It’s also the same law that President Obama voted for when he was an IL state senator.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hey Mulford, thanks for commenting. The law is simple and vague and not the same as the federal law. The difference, as I mention above, is that there are no legal protections in Indiana for LGBTQ folks from discrimination…but there are federally, and there are in Illinois. That’s the big issue.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • MIchelle Foster says:

      The law is not the same at all ! I challenge you to read both of them, side by side. They are different in intent, language, and the resulting discrimination that will be protected in my state. Mike Pence said on either local or national news (not sure which) that he would not support adding a non-discrimination clause to protect LGBT.

  21. Jack says:

    Having spent a number of years examining myself and trying to lead a Christian life I find it difficult to wake up and find myself labeled as a bigot and a hater. I hear everyone talk of the love of Jesus and I have no doubt that it is true. The one thing I don’t hear is the rest of the scripture. The woman that is accused of adultery is told she is forgiven and to go and sin no more. He always, thankfully, forgives us of our sin and calls us to repentance. He clearly stated that he was not there to remove or replace the law. It is true that if a brother is a sinner you should approach him in a brotherly manner and ask him to repent. If he refuses you should get others to come with you and in a brotherly manner ask him to repent and if he still refuses you are to shun him. We are all sinners, we all need the salvation offered by Christ. We all need to hear the word of God, receive the body and blood of Christ, And admit our sinful nature. So I guess it comes down to what we feel is sinful. we need to read ALL the scripture and quit cherry picking what we feel backs up whatever side of the argument we find ourselves on. We need to find a balance of the LAW and the Gospel. They cannot exist without each other. Without the law we would not know our sin, and without the gospel we would be doomed to despair. Grace and Peace to all. A sinner but not a bigot.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for commenting.

      My words are not meant to offend. I ask forbearance where they do. But please read your scriptures carefully: you do not shun a brother or sister if they don’t repent. You treat them “as a Gentile or a tax collector.” And how did Jesus treat them?

      He loved and served them.

      I am Lutheran. Law and Gospel is my habitus. The Law convicts, the Gospel saves. But the law often convicts me in my prejudices…as it does yours. Thank God for the Christ, yes?

      This law is not a hand or measure of the Law. It is a piece of legislation that is intentionally vague and prepared to let people live in their hateful convictions, no matter how sincerely held. That is a problem. The problem.

      “I have come that you might have life, and life abundantly.” That “you” is for all people…including that couple you God a prejudice against, or that I hold a prejudice against.

      Sometimes the laws of our land must protect others from my prejudice.

  22. Laurie A. Sanderson says:

    Thank you for. articulating so well,what I have been thinking about so much today. Thank you especially for your words to us liberals. It is so challenging. I have a story about myself that I share with some embarrassment. At dinner with good friends one made reference to someone, I replied “Oh yeah,her,she sings in that fundy choir. Forgetting my friend was an evangelical. He asked me when was I ever hurt by fundamentalists. I replied,”I haven’t been hurt by them,I just can’t tolerate their intolerance!” Then I gasped, we all laughed, I apologized and we went on to have a discussion about being hurt by fundamentalists, which I pointed out as a woman and one who has experienced childhood abuse,I was a victim. He understood. Again thank you for expressing this so well. Laurie

  23. Monty Fox says:

    Well written and I love the writing style. However, the thought process and some content we will just have to agree to disagree.

    The law doesn’t call out any specific group for anything, discrimination or otherwise. So why is mainly the gay community pushing so hard on this? If any group represents the patron saints of being hypersensitive about discrimination it’s the black community.

    So where is their outrage and feeling vulnerable? Where are their protests? Where are their inflammatory statements? Why hasn’t Black Expo threatened to leave Indy? Not one word! Why?

    Could it be that they don’t feel like that they’re marginalized by this law? Or that the federal anti-discrimination laws cover them. (And it does cover them along with any other group that you could think of including gays.)

    So what’s left as a possibility? Could it be that the gay community is pushing a big agenda? It could be reasonably argued that the states are initiating these laws in response to the aggressive gay activist that have targeted Christian businesses on purpose to set an example and push an agenda. Be careful what you wish for, maybe?

    Why haven’t muslims offered any rebuff to the bill? Why haven’t they threatened to move their large Plainfield facility out of state?

    Why hasn’t the Jewish community complained, especially the Hasidic Jews? Or the Hispanic community? Nope, just the gay community. There has to be a reason. Follow the money?!

    A few examples that aren’t so extreme: A person comes into a gay-owned bakery and wants a cake decorated that says “Adam and Eve…not Adam and Steve”. In your world the baker has to provide the cake as requested and if not are they considered bigots?

    A white man goes into a black owned tailor shop and asks the owner to make 25 white hooded robes and matching confederate flags to go with them. Does the tailor have to make them? If he doesn’t is he discriminating?

    A German goes into a Jewish owned t-shirt shop and wants the owner to make 100 t-shirts with Hitler’s likeness on the front and a swatstika on the back. Does he have to supply those in love and harmony and if he doesn’t is he supposed to be boycotted and sued?

    My take is that ALL of these businesses can and should be able to refuse to provide all of those products and services. And without the benefit of this law, the state courts have very little guidelines to help them decide if this is a true case of legal discrimination or not because that’s exactly what this law does, provide the state courts guidelines to decide these kinds of cases.

    I don’t recall reading that Jesus participated, condoned, assisted or encouraged prostitutes, thieves/tax collectors or murders. In fact He didn’t let any of them off without some level of rebuke for their life choices and then an offer of helping them change.

    So, yes Jesus took a cup of water from a prostitute but I don’t think He agreed to print business cards for her to help her promote her business.

    Yes Jesus broke bread with the tax collector but I don’t see Him agreeing to helping him with his accounting books.

    It’s not that Jesus didn’t love all of them and offer them a way to Christ, but He didn’t participate in their endeavors by providing services or products to help enable their current decisions that Jesus found to be against God’s teachings.

    One other thing: There hasn’t been a court case yet that has included the RFRA since this law was enacted in 1983 in any state or at the federal level that has included a Christian discriminating against a gay person, business or organization because they were gay. So again, why all of the aggression trying to put Christians against gays? Again, push an agenda? I say absolutely!!

    Bottom line is that this law is more than constitutionally sound. There is no legal court history of the RFRA being used to condone discrimination especially between a Christian and a member of the gay community. No other “group” is pushing this narrative. And the companies and organizations making statements have an agenda like Salesforce. They’re based in San Francisco and have gay employees there as well as the city to passify. Let’s see if their business practices here actually change. And do I even need to mention the pathetic example of Angie’s List saying they won’t build their headquarters expansion now? Could it be that the city/state turned them down for the money to actually build it because they’re bankrupt and don’t have the money themselves, so this is a way to sorta try and save face?

    And where are all of these organizations Al
    going to move to? There are currently 33 states that have this law in place through either legislation or due to court decisions there. Another 7 have it on their legislative docket to decide this year. That’s a total of 40 states plus the federal version that covers the nation. It sounds like the Super Bowl is moving to Mexico and Gen Con to Montreal. Not many other choices left.

    Thanks for listening.
    Monty Fox

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hi Monty, thanks for commenting. LGBTQ folks are not protected as a minirity against discrimination in Indiana. This is why they’re (rightfully) worried. RFRA is in effect even in Illinois, but LGBTQ folks are protected here.

      There’s the big rub.

      Finally, why would Christians ever want this law? It’s an excuse to be discriminatory.

      • Ricka Smith says:

        You are absolutely right in your interpretation of the situation with the Indiana RFRA … Indiana does not have minority protection on the books for the LBGT community, and Pence says that it is “not on his agenda.” In addition, though the Republican administration in Indiana has touted this as “the same” as the ’93 Federal Act, nothing could be further from the truth … that law was basically written to ensure the right of Native Americans to practice native spirituality without impediment – as in the use of peyote in native ritual, and their right to be secure in these rituals practiced on sacred ground. In the reading, and I’ve worked on this with constitutional lawyers and scholars, the two laws are almost mirror images in the approach … the nuances are there, and even CNN calls them “very dangerous.”

        Finally, can we simply remember the Gospel which we’ve been set free to follow and share …

        Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares

        Blessings to you as we enter Holy Week.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        Thanks, Ricka, for making that clearer for everyone and for ending it with a rockstar verse from Hebrews that should be a reminder for all!

  24. David Espenlaub says:

    Jeff, you have a good point; real Christians should be focusing on purity within the body of Christ. All this controversy is unnecessary.
    I COR 5:9
    I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders *? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES *.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hi David, thable for commenting.

      We’re not going to agree on this. Suffice to say we view scripture differently, and would probably not see eye to eye at all on the interpretation of Paul’s words here.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Ricka Smith says:

      Your verses refer to the fellowshiping of fellow Christians within the Christian community or Church. I do not believe that this can be stretched to include businesses which are open to serve the public – that is not a religious practice … “Those who are outside, God judges.”

  25. Ricka Smith says:

    I love that Martin Luther is your patron saint 🙂 Mine too … and perhaps my favorite Luther quote (I believe from Freedom of the Christian Man) is this:

    “A Man, living in this faith, has no need of a teacher of the law; he simply does what the occasion calls for, and all is well done.”

    I’ve always understood this to mean that “living in this faith” meant that the indwelling Holy Spirit had imparted a Christian conscience … the Christian is the most free of all human beings, and his conscience will guide him … follow the example of Christ and your conscience … don’t be bound by the “Law” for the Law is dead.

  26. Becky says:

    Easy enough , all store or buisness owners place a poster on the door saying who is welcome who is not .. problem solved .

  27. Patricia says:

    We cannot diminish the work of the cross where Jesus died for all sinners. He loved all by giving his blood as the atonement for all sin. He was the Only One qualified to do so as He is the only one who has ever lived without sin. SIN brought judgment on all humans. in a perfect world, all would be blameless. We don’t live in a perfect world because sin does exist. Jesus warned about judging others. I have to say, this is perplexing to me. I looked up Scripture in the Book of James with the intent to use it support this RFRA law. I’ve changed my thinking, and that shocks me….
    I’m reminded in James 3:13-14 of The Two Kinds of Wisdom… “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice, but the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 4 goes on to say, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord , and He will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or a sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it. THERE IS ONLY ONE LAWGIVER AND JUDGE, the One who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?” I share this with those who believe in Christ. Let’s trust God to take care of us when and if we are put in a position that goes against our beliefs. Let’s exercise the LAW of LOVE and trust God to take care of how and who we serve. Where I struggle is how to show support to those we elected to make and enforce the law of the land. I still support Mike Pence and those who protect our religious freedoms, but maybe this RFRA is more restrictive than protective of our religious freedom to love others.

  28. Joanna Busch says:

    I’ve read some of the comments posted here and agree with almost all of them. But I wonder why the LGBT community is attacking Christians? So why did the LGBT couples that went directly to Christian businesses) baker, photography, private home etc..), not go to another business that they knew would have no problem with taking their business? My husband was basically thrown out of a business just because he had a Prop. 8 sticker on his truck. We lost the job to help another contractor and lost money for our family. My husband was discriminated against and we had no recourse because the job was not his, but a friends job. He was verbally abused by the business owner. My husband before and after that incident has worked at homes we know that are LGBT and they had no issues with his sticker. Yes, we need to show love to everyone, but what do we do with those that are purposely attacking Christians and their businesses?

    • Timothy Brown says:

      I am all for not discriminating against anyone, even those who we disagree with. That being said, why did you need a “Prop 8” bumper sticker in the first place?

      • Joanna Busch says:

        Because we were voting (again) in California for one man, one woman for our states constitution. Both times the majority of California’s voted for one man, one woman for marriage.

        This question popped into my mind and I posted it on my FB page:
        Question!
        We have a silk-screen printing company that is Creation/Bible based. If someone called and asked us to custom design (We are not a custom designed silk screen company, we design our own shirts etc.) some t-shirts that are completely opposite of our companies values. Should we be forced to make the shirts, or do we have the right to say no?

      • Timothy Brown says:

        Hey Joanna, thanks for the reply. What I’m getting at is that having a Prop 8 bumper sticker is free speech protected…but not everyone will like what you are say, right? But it’s protected speech. You may lose business because of it, but you chose to say it, to put it on your car, etc. Do I think it’s right that you lost business? I wouldn’t excuse someone from a job just because they thought differently than me. But I also probably wouldn’t let them post a sign out front of the work site that I didn’t think was helpful.

        As for your other question, any business owner has the right to not take business. That’s not the question. The question is *why* they wouldn’t take the business. And if it is based off of something like race, religion, or sexual orientation, then legally they are being discriminatory. And we need protections on that, just like your free speech is protected.

        Finally, I’m not sure what “creation/Bible based” screen printing means. The Bible is not good at science, and certainly not in the screen printing business. But my hunch is that you mean that you won’t take business that doesn’t align with your idea of what “good” is. The problem with that, of course, is that it is impossible to keep that standard. If you only do business with people/corporations (apparently they’re interchangeable) that line up with what you think is “good,” you’re probably going to be in for a rude awakening when you see the pharm/weapons/banking investments of most any corporation. And unless you have an interview…and assume people are telling the truth…before you do business, you probably already have not done business with folks who lead a lifestyle that you’d approve of.

        Do you support a divorced lifestyle? The Bible has more to say on that then it does on same-sex relationships. Do you practice usury (as in, do you support interest on loans/savings?) If so, you’re already in violation of your principles.

        What I’m getting at is this: this law is vaguely worded, and therefore open to many interpretations. And because of that, it actually causes more harm than good. You already have all the legal right you need to deny service to someone. What this law does, though, is legalize prejudice.

        And that’s not OK.

  29. Aiden says:

    What about free will? While I don’t disagree with the writer’s essential premise that Christians should want to serve others, even if they don’t agree with their lifestyle, they should have the opportunity to do so out of their own free will. Jesus did the things he did out of His own free will, not because he was forced to do them.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Hey Aiden, great question and great thought. The thing is: when we yoke ourselves to God, we certainly still retain free will. And yet, the love of Christ compels us to choose service over ego. This is exactly what Luther means when he notes that we are “servant of all.” The yoke of Christ makes us so…a yoke we are invited by God to wear.

  30. Valoth says:

    I will serve my fellow humans spiritually (prayer and encouragement) as I can and physically(food, money, shelter), but I WILL NOT provide service in a manner I feel to be a PROMOTION of a lifestyle the bible speaks very clearly about. I do not believe Christ would either.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks for commenting Valoth. As a Biblical scholar, I don’t believe the Bible speaks clearly about a “lifestyle,” but we’re probably not going to agree on that.

      But I’m really glad that you’ll help spiritually and physically, because that is exactly what this bill may allow people to deny. Like the baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Really, the wedding wasn’t about the cake…the cake was only going to feed people.

      • Valoth says:

        Firstly, Christ’s “business” with the people you mentioned in your article, he did out of love and charity. It was not his livelihood and it could not reasonably be compared with which. Also, he did not EVER serve someone in a way that promoted sin. A number of the people he ‘served’ he literally told, “go and sin no more.” I’d love to see how that was responded to at a wedding of such a nature. (In retrospect, they’d be standing right next to the cake they baked for the wedding, so it would probably be taken as a mockery of scripture and hailed as the ‘best joke of the evening.’)

        Any job requiring an artist’s touch is going to require a bit more “purpose” behind the service. A baker is going to be expected to decorate that cake so as to be attractive to those who eat it, and the bakers’ names (or at least their business will be indelibly attached to that cake. It might be edible, but it is not a purely life-sustaining meal unless you wish to join the ranks of Marie Antoinette. It is a decorative object and a celebratory object; a work promoting the union of the couple.

        Also, a photographer will have to take photos of the couple, and will be expected to do what they can to make it look good. This is an obvious act of promotion.

        In closing, neither of these are serving the physical needs of the people there, and, in fact, could be argued as a spiritual disservice to those present for adding to the pageantry thereof.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        It’s clear we’re not going to agree. Thank you for reding and commenting.

      • Valoth says:

        Also, as a ‘Biblical scholar’, (Just because I don’t put my pedigree up here doesn’t mean I’m not well-versed in scripture.) as far as the term “lifestyle” is concerned, I was trying to put it diplomatically for those with thinner skin. There’s enough rampant emotionalism going on right now without adding what passes for fuel these days to the fire.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        I’m also well versed in many things, only a scholar in a few.

        And thank you for not choosing other words. It wouldn’t have been published otherwise.

  31. tara says:

    I find it very interesting that you use parts of the bible to prove your point in this case and argue Christians need to “read their bible”. I get what you’re saying and how each passage you pick was used to provide examples to make a point, but remember you can’t pick and choose which scripture to follow when you are TRUE follower of Christ. You can’t say the bible says this this and this so all you Christians are wrong, but you yourself fail to follow Leviticus 18:22 or Levitcus 20:13 which are also clearly pointed out in the bible from God.

  32. Dave Cunningham says:

    It seems that everyone is thinking this will allow people to just willy nilly discriminate against LGBT folks. That isn’t why it was enacted. When it was first passed in the U.S. (almost exactly same wording as Indiana) it was to allow Native Americans the right to use peyote. The U.S. bill was introduced by leading Democrats. and had almost unanimous support in both houses. It was then signed into law by President Clinton.
    The same (almost identical) legislation was enacted in our neighboring state Illinois and one Barrack Obama voted for it.
    As a Christian male I can state that I personally don’t have a problem with what a couple does, gay or straight. It is not for me to judge them. I realize they are trying to find Love, as anyone on this earth tries. Love is very important to us humans. However, God is very clear on His opinion. I know we as as a society are trying to get around that, (maybe he really doesn’t mean what he says? He is the God of Love and Forgiveness after all.) But I seem to recall reading somewhere in there God stating that He is Always the same God. So I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t condone the lifestyle.
    Now if I were a Christian male photographer, I wouldn’t care to be sued because I didn’t want to photograph a Gay male wedding. (I WOULD not do it, even if sued.) Do i think they have a right to marry? . It seems to me a civil union outside the Church would be more suited for that.
    So with all that said, the purpose of this law is very diverse. It has been enacted to keep the heavy hand of the government from being able to prosecute individuals for following the strictures of their religion. Whether it pertains to ceremonial peyote, proscribing birth control that kills a fetus, or forcing a baker or photographer to participate in an LGBT wedding ceremony.
    As far as I know, since the same law has been enacted in quite a few states around the nation, never has it been used to disallow patrons at a restaurant or any establishment. If you truly believe that Hoosiers would do such a thing… than you don’t know Hoosiers very well.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks for commenting Dave.

      Actually, this law is substantially different than the federal law, and different from the 19 other laws passed in 19 other states.

      Finally, as I note above, you have the right not to serve anyone you wish. You just can’t not serve them based solely off of their religion, race, or orientation…at least ethically. Since there is no protection for lgbtq people in Indiana this law now makes it possible to use sexual orientation as a basis for non-service.

      That’s the issue.

  33. seshields says:

    I have something I want to express here and I promise I am not trying to offend anyone. I just have some concerns I need to air.

    I agree that Jesus served everyone and looked down on no one. I totally agree. I think that if Jesus lived today, he would not discriminate against anyone. However, I don’t think he would participate in activities that actively condone sinning.
    Here’s the rub. When clients ask businesses to participate with them in an event that is sinful, those business should be able to respectfully and gracefully decline. I’m not saying the business should make a public mockery of their client or be actively looking for people to turn down. I’m just saying that homosexual people should not be able to demand that a business participate in something that condones their relationship. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be allowed in restaurants, or let into churches. Homosexual people are people who deserve respect and to be treated with dignity. But followers of Christ should not celebrate or encourage their relationships, including their weddings.
    Now I haven’t read the entire law, but I feel as if it’s aiming to keep Christians (or anyone) from being forced to condone and encourage what they believe is wrong, to keep an anesthesiologist from being forced to aid in an abortion, or to keep a caterer from being forced to aid in the marriage of a same sex couple, etc. It doesn’t sound like its intended to keep LGBT people from interacting in society with everyone else. I know I could be wrong about the law but I feel strongly that I am not wrong about Jesus. But I welcome polite replies to my comment.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks Seshields for commenting!

      I’m unclear how helping people to live is condoning sin. I don’t think trying to pick Jesus’ brain is helpful…especially since he never said anything about it.

      So many of these comments have been focused on how Jesus wouldn’t “help people sin.” I think that’s a backwards way of viewing this all.

      Would Jesus be proud that a law is passed so people can keep other people from having privileges? I imagine Jesus would probably want his name left out of it.

      In so much of this stuff I’m pretty sure the 2nd commandment is being walked all over. God isn’t in this kind of business.

  34. uncfsu133 says:

    I believe this law is put in to protect people such as the florist who served a gay couple for 9 years but when they decided to get married she respectfully declined because of biblical convictions. She never discriminated and in fact was good friends with the man. She has now been drug through the mud. Jesus loves sinners but would never and never did condone sin. He would not participate in homosexual wedding or any other sinful activity.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      I am still unclear how providing flowers for an event is sinful. If it was good enough for the man to buy for his partner, wasn’t the florist already implicated? Does the “I do” change it all?

      In short: I don’t think the florist needs protection like this.

      • uncfsu133 says:

        Romans chapter 13 speaks on the concious of the christian. Some christians may feel they arent condoning sin if they provide the flowers but another christian may feel they are participating in the sin.

      • uncfsu133 says:

        She was not discriminating against them because they were gay. She served him for 9 years.

  35. […] in Indiana, from Jesus.” Blogger and pastor Tim Brown shared about what he thinks that “Christians in Indiana should do in Response to the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act.'” In response to the news from Indiana Jan Edmiston wrote, “Against My […]

  36. RWS says:

    I find it interesting that you find this law to be “sin” but it is apparent (correct me if I’m wrong) that you do not find homosexual activity sinful. Takes a very creative reading of scripture to do that. By creative, I mean outcome determined prior to reading. But then you are a creative guy. Just a point–if you’re trying to give a well-reasoned argument with admonition for all, you shouldn’t shout “cough” in your first paragraph that you think people with strongly held religious convictions are lying.

    • Timothy Brown says:

      Thanks for the comment, RWS.

      Humor (as in the ) is always a helpful tool when encouraging reading. But in all honesty, I often think that “strongly held religious convictions” is just a mask for “prejudices.”

      As for the “creative reading of scripture,” I actually used to be convinced that homosexuality was sinful. And then I studied the scriptures, the languages, and the contexts, and it became clear to me that actually the only pre-determined outcome were those who continually translated the 7 verses talking about same-sex interaction/behavior (all male behavior, by the way…you can read Scripture and come out thinking that lesbianism is perfectly acceptable) as being about “homosexuality”…which isn’t even a term in the ancient languages.

      In fact, the ancients had no idea what sexual orientation was/is. They were interested in systems, not in individuals.

      I do appreciate the comment 🙂

      (I hope the smiley face indicates that I did, indeed, mean that jokingly)

      • uncfsu133 says:

        With all due respect your biblical hermeneutics is poor. Im not trying to be offensive but the bible clearly defines the act of homosexuality between individuals as sinful.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        We’re not going to agree on this. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • RWS says:

        So by your reasoning, it would also be clear that only man was created in the image of God and not women? Rather sexist interpretation. And just so I’m clear, you jokingly appreciate my comment?? Really? Sorry to bother you.

      • Timothy Brown says:

        I genuinely appreciate the comment. The cough was a joke. Not trying to raise defenses.

        And, I’m certainly not trying to be sexist in the least. Just trying to point out that the same-sex prohibitions in scripture are aimed toward men…which is telling.

  37. filemissile says:

    Thank you
    Fantastic Blog
    Good luck
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    http://www.filemissile.net
    (*&&^%

  38. Love this. We need fewer knees jerking and more efforts at communication.

  39. […] the debate on social media started, a few friends of mine posted an article calling for Christians to have a servant’s heart and serve all people, regardless of who you are […]

  40. vivachange77 says:

    Wonderful piece ! Holding us all accountable to serve all people. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s