As anti-discrimination legislation is slowing making its way across the U.S., the backlash often takes the form of claiming that such things infringe on one's religious freedom.
Several cases have gotten into the news: a wedding photographer who was sued after refusing to take photos at a same-sex wedding, a Christian baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, and Christian bed and breakfast owners who did not want a gay couple staying at their B&B and ended up in court.
So there are demands for exceptions to the non-discrimination laws, so that a person of faith is not obliged to do things against their conscience and faith.
I get this, sort of.
More than twenty years ago, I told my gay friend Mark that if he were to get married, I could not in good conscience attend his wedding because I didn't believe in same-sex weddings. I sincerely believed that this was the right thing for me to do, and the fact that Mark and I were best of friends and I'd known him since high school didn't change anything. Today, I realize that this was the wrong thing to do and, more than that, I have no issue with same-sex marriage.
But the difference between the current situation and me and Mark, is that while it's nice to have all your friends at your wedding, it's not a human right. And, for the record, while I do understand why some people want such laws, I am opposed to them.
Here's a prime current example of one of these laws: Arizona has just passed a new law - Bill SB1062 - in both House and Senate, which would allow people such exceptions to the usual laws against discrimination. If the governor signs it, it will become law across the state.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: the governor has vetoed the bill. Hurray!
Now, if a photographer doesn't want to shoot your wedding, for any reason, it might simply be best to get someone who is excited to be taking photos of your special day.
But what if the EMS team refuses to help someone because they are gay? What if the landlord discriminates against an interracial couple and refuses to rent them an apartment, for religious reasons? What if the teacher refuses to teach a student whose religious beliefs are contrary to their own? All this and more is possible under the new bill.
What do you think? What if Jesus had come to earth as a wedding photographer in our time instead of a carpenter back then, and was asked to take pictures of a gay couple's wedding? Would he do it happily? Grumpily? Outright refuse?
And, as Micah J. Murray says, "But there’s simply no Biblical command for Christians to deny services to those whose actions you believe to be sinful." Hmm.
Read more of Micah thoughts on this.
Read more about this bill here.
10 questions to help determine if your religious liberty is being threatened.
Read 'Why Arizona’s Anti-LGBTQ Law was Religious But Not Christian' by the Raven Foundation.