Forgive us—or don’t; we don’t care—if we return to this matter from time to time, for it is so troubling. Some of these thoughts came to us while we were in church and if they are antagonistic to you, too bad. We do not profess to have the certainty in our faith journey that others seem to have. And in that, we are unrepentant.
Senate Joint Resolution 39, sent to the House by the Senate, provides—if voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment—protection from state penalties for any religious organization that refuses to perform same sex marriages or allow same sex marriages to be performed on its property. It also protects individuals such as florists and cake-makers who refuse to provide flowers or cakes for same sex weddings or same sex wedding receptions if they have sincere religious beliefs about same sex marriage.
Surprisingly, though, this bill protecting religious liberty does not rule out the imposition of the mysterious “state penalties” against religious organizations that refuse to allow homosexuals to be members of their congregations.
Backers say it’s a “religious liberty” bill. Whose “religious liberty?”
Suppose I am a florist, a follower of the Christ, as you can tell that I am by the decal of the icthys, the Christian fish symbol, on the front door of my shop. And suppose I am a homosexual florist. And suppose a straight couple asks me to provide flowers for their wedding and weddings of other people like them. And I tell them I have a sincere religious belief that allows me to refuse to serve them. And further, my partner who runs the local bakery, shares my sincere religious belief and will refuse to provide their cake, or cakes to others, like them.
Where is my protection, our protection, under this amendment? Why doesn’t this protection of religion cut both ways? Or does this profession of religion only protect the straight segment of the population and by inference proclaim that members of the LGBT community aren’t religious enough to merit those special protections, too? Do they not deserve protection for their religious liberty?
To the degree that this proposition lets you set me apart from others, you persecute me by making me less of a person than you and they are.
To the degree that this proposition lets you deny me the protections under the law you reserve for yourself, you diminish my status as a citizen of this country.
To the degree you do not allow me to do unto you what you do unto me—
To the degree that you exempt yourself from following the commandment that you love your neighbor as you love yourself—
To the degree that your legislation dismisses Paul’s admonition that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ”—
You are not Christian.