Monday, March 28, 2016
Religious Liberties or Snobbery?
On March 8, 2016, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board (GBMB) issued a public affairs alert stating "Georgia Religious Liberty is "Being Held in the Balance". There is much controversy surrounding Georgia House Bill 757 addressing this issue. The biggest disagreement seems to be the potential discrimination of the GLBT community by a person's religious beliefs. Should a business owner be allowed, by the State of Georgia, to withhold services to homosexuals based upon their own religious conviction without fear of legal recourse?
"Being different", born with a disability, I understand the feeling of simply desiring to be accepted. My challenge is a mutated DNA problem and so may be some of the GLBT community. The Bible states homosexuality is sin right alongside divorce, fornication, babies out of wedlock, drunkenness, jealousy, stealing, murder, cursing and many of the abominable acts that are rampant in our current culture. I'm glad Jesus overcomes ALL and gives us victorious life over sin!
Can you imagine a society where you have to answer a questionnaire before being served? Have you ever been divorced or committed adultery? Have you ever cheated on a test? Are you illegitimate? What is your sexual preference? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, according to the laws of the State of Georgia, we choose not to serve you at this establishment. Ridiculous, yes? But, I'm afraid the sexual preference question is included in GA HB757 as reported by the AJC. I wonder how Christian Business Owners intend to make the determination and differentiation? Will it be all GLBT or just same sex couples?
I agree with Governor Deal's comment about his religious faith:
“What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world. … We do not have a belief, in my way of looking at religion, that says we have to discriminate against anybody,” he said. “If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.”
Jesus showed his love, forgiveness and acceptance of humanity by dying on the cross as the only worthy sacrifice for human sin. He also practiced many non-discriminatory acts including taking water from the woman at the well (John 4) and eating dinner with Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Jesus dining at the house of the sinful tax collector got people talking. Luke 19:7 "And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner."
The following phrase from the GBMB alert particularly snagged my attention. The plea to Christians was the next to last sentence on the bulletin:
Remember: Be respectful and polite when contacting your elected officials.
The request reminded me of the TV show Hill Street Blues. After the police chief gave daily instructions to his unit, he always started their shift with the endearing words "Be careful out there". Having to ask Christians to be polite is akin to God needing to instruct Jesus "Be kind out there."
Update: According to the AJC Governor Deal vetoed HB757 today, Monday, March 28, 2016.