Dear Christian, Can You Be More Bigoted Please?

Look up any single word in a dozen dictionaries and you may find a dozen varying definitions. IntoleranceThe other day I saw someone on social media calling Christians bigots.

It made me want to look up the word to see the variations. While you will find definitions that fit the way liberals use the term against Christians, dictionary.com had this:

big-ot [big-uh t]

noun

1. a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

In some sense, then, I believe that Christians SHOULD be bigoted.

Yes, we need to be utterly intolerant to a different creed, belief, or opinion. In Acts 4:12 we see the Apostle Peter preaching:

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Peter is merely reflecting the words of Jesus in John 3:18:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

There is no room for allowing other creeds to coexist along side of the Christian creed. Jesus is not A way to God.

Jesus is THE way to God.

So yes, call me a bigot. I won’t waver in my belief that the Christian way is right and any other way is wrong.

Where Christians and non-Christians get confused, though, is understanding that we can treat people well in spite of religious differences. I can believe that my way is the only way and still treat people decently. A difference of beliefs does not necessitate anger and animosity towards those who differ.

Liberals tend to see this as a cop out. I’ve been told if Christians really treated people decently we’d allow people to believe what they want to believe (ironically, they are refusing to allow me to believe what I want to believe).

Conservatives tend to see this as a sell-out.Sellout If we hold firm to our beliefs then we will separate from the world around us and shun evil. This is why so many Christians are up in arms about selling wedding supplies to gay couples. This is why Christian doctors are refusing to treat infants of gay couples.

I will be blunt: THIS IS NOT TREATING PEOPLE WELL!

We can disagree theologically and still be decent human beings. So I will do my best to treat people well.

But don’t ask me to cave on my belief about salvation just because you feel excluded. 🙂

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I welcome all discussion, just keep it civil and polite. If this post resonates with you in any way, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email!

Why Indiana Loves Christians and Hates Gays

You have to be living under a rock not to know anything about Indiana passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) this week. Indiana RFRA

Depending on which media outlet is your favorite you will have heard a couple different slants on the thing. MSNBC has labeled the legislation as an “anti-gay law” and even a “right-to-discriminate” law.

Saturday Night Live was even taking shots at Indiana.

Here’s the thing: the title of this post reflects the belief many seem to have about this law. But it’s not the case. The Gospel Coalition has put together an excellent look at the RFRA. The highlights:

– The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a federal law introduced by a democrat and signed into law by President Clinton (so it’s not about the religious right and conservative Christians)
– The RFRA gives religious objectors a statutory presumptive entitlement to exemption from generally applicable laws (subject to strict scrutiny).
– 19 states already have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act and 10 other states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar (strict scrutiny) level of protection.
– It does not give anyone a “license to discriminate,” [and] it would not undermine our important civil-rights commitments.

The law protects ALL religious people from behaving in ways that conflicts with their religious beliefs as long as there is not a greater compelling need to comply. So it covers Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, etc. Of course that’s not how it’s playing out in the media. Liberals are proclaiming this as an attack against gay marriage and Conservatives are heralding this as a moral victory for Christian businesses (and a sign of a Christian nation).

Regardless of how you view the law, I think the controversy has sparked needed conversation about how Christians Christian Businessbusinesses interact with a secular clientele. Never one to miss the bandwagon, here are my two cents on the subject.

Jesus interacted with sinful people without condoning their sin.

Some people act as though any dealing with sinners is going to taint us – especially when it comes to business dealings. We also act as though providing goods for behavior with which we disagree is an act that condones the behavior. I’m not one who holds that view. I think that selling goods to people is about providing stuff for a cost. Candles, flowers, cakes, tuxedos, thank-you cards; these are all things that are associated with weddings. Do we really think that selling a gay couple any of these things is an act that condones gay marriage?

It’s just STUFF!

And let’s be honest – we don’t run background checks on other customers to see if selling them our stuff would violate our notion of sinful behavior. That means we’re cherry-picking homosexuals and ignoring other sinful behavior. We’ll sell to adulterers, fornicators, idolaters, drunkards, gluttons, and on and on, but HEAVENS forbid we sell to a gay couple. I can just see Ebay listings:

Collectable Star Wars Action Figures (will not sell to homosexuals).

We’re masterful hypocrites, aren’t we?

Of course the question I’m always asked is, “Well, would you marry a gay couple?!?”

And my answer is, “No.”

I believe there is a difference selling stuff to people and the act of participating in & officiating the ceremony. Officiating the ceremony WOULD be condoning the marriage. Selling my stuff doesn’t condone anything the buyer does. Stuff is stuff. Refusing to sell people stuff because we disagree with their behavior IS discrimination.

When we think about the Bible’s call to act in loving ways towards people, and when we examine the way Jesus interacted with sinners he didn’t condone, I think it is safe to say that conservative Christian attitudes toward selling stuff to gays is deplorable.

Our stuff is not holy. And since there are no sin-free people, you’re always going to be selling to sinners.

It’s time to get off this train and treat people decently. Don’t discriminate – sell your goods to any buyer regardless of sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a baker, dress-maker, or anything else.

Stuff is stuff, and stuff can’t be holy or Christian.

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I welcome all discussion, just keep it civil and polite. If this post resonates with you in any way, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email!