I wanted the first blog following our last (debate with an atheist) to be a follow-up and summary of the debate. But, considering how many news headlines have to do with Indiana’s 'religious freedom bill' I thought some clarity is needed on the subject.
Major areas of focus:
--SLIPPERY SLOPE HYPOCRISY
--NO SPECIAL TREATMENT
--WE DON’T CELEBRATE SIN
-- APPROPRIATE vs. INAPPROPRIATE DISCRIMINATION
-- CUTTING OFF THE VINE FOR THE SAKE OF THE FRUIT
SLIPPERY SLOPE HYPOCRISY
I have debated many homosexual advocates over the past year on the issue of defining and redefining marriage into anything we want. I argue, if we extend the fence that surrounds and protects marriage to include same-sex partners, what is to stop the same social engineering experimenters from extending it further to appease the next “what about us” shouts (close relatives, multiple wives, minors, animals, etc)? The pat answer I get is: “that’s a slippery slope fallacy.” These same homosexual advocates are up in arms over Indiana’s religious freedom bill, not because there was some language in the bill singling out homosexuals, but ironically because they believe “IT WILL LEAD TO” businesses refusing service to homosexuals just for being gay. I guess slippery slope fallacies only apply when Christians are worried about the implications of a new law.
Many defenders of the bill have rightly pointed out that nowhere in the bill does it mention the gay community, and yet the gay community is still finding a way to make it about them. But let’s be real. It is about the gay community. Why? Because, the gay community broke their word and our brothers and sisters in Christ are rushing to legally protect themselves. How did they break their word? I’ll get to that, but I want to address some other things first.
NO SPECIAL TREATMENT
Despite the “pride” of the gay community, there is nothing special about their sin. The same way homosexuality doesn't deserve special attention in the form of harassment and ridicule, it doesn't deserve special treatment either. Sexual immorality is sexual immorality—PERIOD. Most Christians have coworkers, acquaintances, and even friends, who are promiscuous, adulterers, or porn addicts, or all of the above. Despite their sexual immorality, we work with them, laugh with them, hang out with them, and when we communicate with them, it is with dignity and respect.
WE DON’T CELEBRATE SIN
Even though Christians can associate with those enthralled by sexual immorality, there is one thing we should not do as Christians: celebrate their sexual immorality. It’s one thing to be kind and cordial to a person who is ensnared in sin, it’s quite another to celebrate their sin. If a promiscuous friend wanted to throw a party because he had sex with his 100th partner, it would not be appropriate for a Christian to participate in the celebration. If a coworker wanted to throw a party to celebrate his 10th mistress without his wife finding out, it would not be appropriate for a Christian to participate in the celebration. If a friend wanted to celebrate his 200th day in a row of watching porn, it would not be appropriate for a Christian to participate in the celebration. I hope you are seeing the pattern here. Let’s continue this line of reasoning. As I said earlier, homosexuality doesn't deserve special treatment; therefore, when a homosexual wants to have a ceremony to celebrate and commit his life to his sexual immorality, it would not be appropriate for a Christian to participate. While ALL the examples of immorality listed above fall under sexual immorality, some might demand attention, but only one DEMANDS APPROVAL.
Many Christians fought and still fight for gays to be able to “come out of the closet” without fear of persecution, or ridicule and to be accepted as fellow members of our American society. Despite the inappropriate and insensitive tirades gays experienced decades ago (many times from Christians), the fact is, an overwhelming majority of Christians today accept homosexuals as our fellow men and women made in the image of God, but who (like all of us) are in need of a Savior. While many gays might have disagreed with Christians (on the idea that they needed a Savior), they assured us (in the Christian community) that their “freedom to marry” would not infringe on our religious freedom. They would ask rhetorically, “How will gay marriage affect YOU?” In short, they duped too many Christians to believe that they really just wanted to “get married” and they assured us that same-sex marriage would not infringe on our religious freedom. Erick Erickson pointed out two years ago, “gay marriage is incompatible with religious freedom.” The truth of his article is ringing louder and louder today.
APPROPRIATE vs. INAPPROPRIATE DISCRIMINATION
The right of a business owner to "discriminate" today is often argued as if the "discrimination" issue is a dichotomy--either business owners cannot discriminate against anyone for any reason, or business owners can discriminate against anyone for any reason. If we take both views to their logical conclusion, we can see the absurdity that follows. If any business owner can discriminate against anyone for any reason, that means business owners can deny service to black people just for being black. I think most of us would agree that is a moral regression, not a moral improvement. If, however, no business owner can discriminate against anyone or anything for any reason at all, that means business owners are effectively “slaves” to the customer. Like many false dichotomies, the solution is found somewhere in-between both extremes. A proper framework is necessary to 1) objectively distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate discrimination, and 2) protect the civil rights of customers while protecting the rights of conscience of business owners.
The framework: The Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator..." This phrase in the Declaration of Independence is the basis for civil rights; more specifically, “all men (PEOPLE) are created equal (i.e. bear the image of God and it is this "image" that all humans share that makes us all equal).” Thus, civil rights apply to PERSONHOOD; therefore, discrimination based on the personhood of an individual would be a civil rights violation.
Example: "Get out of my store! I don't serve YOU PEOPLE (black, homosexual, etc.)."
What our civil rights do NOT imply is "all ACTIONS or CAUSES are equal, that all ACTIONS and CAUSES are endowed by their Creator." Therefore, civil rights do NOT apply to ACTIONS/CAUSES. Causes, actions, services, and ceremonies reflect ideas—ideas that many will not agree with. All causes, actions, services, and ceremonies are NOT equal! So, if the discrimination is based on a service, ceremony, cause, message or action that violates the business owner’s conscience then that is a legitimate discrimination because causes and actions are NOT civil rights.
Example: "I would love to sell you cupcakes and pastries for your birthday party, but I cannot provide a cake (or other products/services) for your same-sex wedding ceremony." Translation: "As my fellow man/woman made in the image of God, I would love to serve you; however, I don't want to participate in desacralizing that which I consider sacred--marriage."
The discrimination in the first example was against the personhood of the individual; thus, a civil rights violation. The discrimination in the second example, however, was against the ceremony and NOT the PERSON--notice the owner was willing to serve the PERSON with their products and services as long as the service requested is not having the owner participate in any way shape or form to desacralize that which the owner believes is sacred.
Homosexual advocates either don't understand this distinction or they are purposefully distorting and conflating the two to make it look like the latter is a civil rights violation so that their coercion can continue undetected.
CUTTING OFF THE VINE FOR THE SAKE OF THE FRUIT
Lastly, consider the irony of those who are fighting for their “civil rights” to not be violated. “’Freedom of religion’ be damned if it infringes on my ‘rights’ (to have what I want where I want it)!” The civil rights homosexuals claim will be violated in the religious freedom bill derive from the very religion they don’t want “free.” In other words, without the freedom, and more importantly, the influence of the very religion homosexual advocates want suppressed (Christianity), there is no basis for “civil rights.” In short, to suppress the Christian religion for the sake of civil rights is like cutting off the vine for the sake of the fruit.