As I’ve poured over the infinite news coverage, blog postings, and other resources surrounding SB 1062, one thing continually jumps out at me – agendas. An agenda is often a list of task, meeting guidelines, etc…but in this case the secondary definition takes hold – from Webster’s, an agenda is an underlying, often ideological plan or program (i.e. a political agenda). I’m convinced both sides have agendas, and I’ll take a few moments to look at them both.
First, on the pro-SB 1062 side, which is commonly being referred to throughout news outlets and social media as the “Christian” side, there is an agenda of fear. Yes, an agenda of fear. One prominent leader of the face of American Christianity blogged earlier this week and stated, “The cases are now piling up.” He then proceeded to name 4 cases which are active in our nation in the judicial system over refusal of service. 4 cases, the earliest of which I can find on the web dates back to 2006. 4 cases, in 8 years. This is “piling up?” When I think of piling up I think of 100′s, 1000′s of things…not 4 in 8 years. Additionally he states that in these cases, the businesses in question are being told, “in no uncertain terms”, they must participate in these situations or go out of business. Simple Google searches this morning revealed all 4 are still in business. Now, perhaps there may come a day when they go out of business, and perhaps it will be due to the money they have spent for legal battles, or the lack of business they receive, but today, all of them are still in business.
There is also the question on the Christian side of things as to what constitutes “endorsement” of a lifestyle/situation that is contradictory to scripture. When one prominent Christian blogger suggested that a baker who does not refuse service to a heterosexual couple that gets married (when one or both of the participants have divorced without having biblical terms for that divorce) is hypocritical in their stance toward a gay marriage, he was blasted with this response – “The fact remains that a marriage of a man and a woman is, in the biblical point of view, still valid.” Really? In Jesus’ teachings on divorce from Matthew 5, He states in verse 32, “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” So from a strict, Bible literalist position, Jesus speaks against a man or woman entering an adulterous marriage by divorcing without biblical grounds. Add to this Paul’s words from 1st Corinthians 7:10,11, “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.” So maybe, just maybe, every marriage between a man and a woman is not as scripturally valid as we thought?
The other side of the SB 1062 seems to have its own agenda as well. I’ll be honest – I have had difficulty understanding why instead of filing lawsuits, the parties involved have not simply looked elsewhere for their needs. If a business owner were to refuse me service or goods on the grounds of me being a Christian (which technically could happen if SB 1062 is made into law) I would gladly find someone else to provide what I need, and faithfully give them not only my future business but also endorse them to every friend and family member I had. This is what happens in a free market system. Just recently I was not able to rent a car due to the company’s rules regarding debit card use. I went to another company, they obliged me, and will get my business for the rest of my days. I understand there are potentially hurt feelings and high emotions on the part of the person denied service, but I cannot figure out why lawsuits are the answer.
Additionally, many on this side of SB 1062 are comparing legislation like this to the infamous, “Jim Crow Laws” which discriminated against black persons in America. This is such a stretch I cannot believe it even warrants attention. The Jim Crow Laws ended up with black persons having separate doors to enter and exit out of, separate bathrooms, separate classrooms and classroom materials for students, and so on and so on. I’ve yet to see a sign that says, “LGBT people enter here.” I’ve yet to see a command in public school stipulating that LGBT students use different seats and books than anyone else. There is no comparison between the 2, SB 1062 and the Jim Crow Laws.
Furthermore, I’ve seen BOTH sides invoke the days of Nazi Germany and Hitler in the discussion. One one side I have seen MANY people discussing how the church in Germany kept silent and didn’t speak up when they should – they were KILLING Jews in Germany, not discussing whether or not to make cake for LGBT weddings! To compare these 2 things as reason for the church to get in an uproar over cakes, flowers and photography is incredibly insensitive to the Jewish community in my opinion. On the other side, the wedding issues are being commented on as the first step towards a Nazi Germany type of persecution. Really? Nazi Germany loaded up millions of Jews on trains and gassed them and shot them to death. I’ve yet to see a train loaded up with the LGBT community on its way to a concentration camp. Again, I believe this perspective is highly offensive to the Jewish community.
At the end of the day, this is what fuels most things in our culture – underlying agendas. Let’s use fear, manipulation of facts, and other tactics to discuss and persuade people to believe what WE want them to believe. We need to cut through the agendas to discuss the things that are really important – how we treat each other as human beings, and how we are best equipped to have a civil society. From the Christian point of view, I would add how are we best equipped to show the love of Christ. Legislation out of fear that something “might” happen is ridiculous. If that’s how we’re going to operate, I suggest we pass a law against all dogs with teeth for they MIGHT bite me one day. Anyone up for that?