In my last post I discussed my opposition to Indiana’s recent RFRA, specifically focusing on how it differs from similar legislation in a legal/practical sense.
This post will be a completely different kind of boring, as I will talk about why I as a Christian oppose this bill and the motivations behind it. To be honest, this was and still is my primary reason for opposing this bill- and it is the reason I have spent my time researching the legal side of this in the first place.
I’d like to note that I’m able to write and post this at all in part due to existing religious freedom legislation. The government can’t silence me because of the first amendment; and wordpress and other avenues can’t refuse me access on account of my religion- as religion is a federally protected class (unlike sexual orientation.) None of that is at stake here.
To begin, I want to state clearly what the point of this bill was. Normally this would be difficult to state without resorting to conjecture, however the chief lobbyist behind this bill was considerate enough to make his intent very clear:
Eric Miller, the Founder and Executive Director of Advance America stated: “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana. It’s the right thing to do. It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!”
Churches, Christian businesses and individuals deserve protection from those who support homosexual marriages and those who support government recognition and approval of gender identity (men who dress as women). SB 101 will help provide the protection!
I don’t know Eric Miller or what faith he follows if any, but Advance America describes themselves as “the state’s largest pro-family, pro-church, pro-private and home school, and pro-tax reform organization.”
The problem I have with this is that the people behind this bill (and I assume most of those supporting it) seem to be “pro-church” without being for those the church is supposed to serve, as if you can separate the two. They are prioritizing the “christian baker” over the Christ.
Even ignoring the malice and selfishness behind actions like this- it’s hard to justify this kind of exclusion as a Christian teaching at all.
This is Holy Week, the foremost time in the church calendar for recognizing Jesus’ radical acceptance of the other and willingness to suffer in our stead. Yesterday many of us sang Hosanna! to the man who dined with prostitutes and thieves and pharisees, then rode a donkey to His death. The God who would rather die than be in the sin-accounting business that we’ve put Him in.
I can’t speak for Eric Miller or Mike Pence or any of you- but events like this convict me-
-Of all the times that I have chosen my own security over extending my hand to somebody in need.
All the times I have feared somebody different than myself instead of seeing the Imago Dei reflected in them.
All the times I have chosen comfort over hospitality.
All the times I have stepped on somebody’s rights, dignity, or humanity because I felt it was my right to do so.
Just as the darkness of Good Friday is washed away by the joy of Easter, I hope the darkness of SB-101 is defeated by an outpouring of love and hospitality from the big-C Church towards those we have attempted to push away from the table.