Given the recent furor over the now-amended Indiana Restoration of Religious Freedom Act (RFRA), the following faux conversation between “A” and “B” is worth considering.
A. I’ve missed our getting together for coffee. Glad you could make it.
B. Well, I’ve been caught up in this controversy over these RFRAs which, as a devout XXXXian I fully support.
A. So, you think those laws are both good and necessary!! Do you believe that the people who oppose them are waging a war (1) against you XXXXians and persecuting you?
B. Yes, I do!!
A. Have any of those people tried to stop you from being a XXXXian?
A. Have any of those people tried to stop you from worshiping at the XXXXian church of your choice?
A. When you engage in XXXXian worship in your home, have any of those people intruded and tried to stop you?
A. When you hand out pamphlets and otherwise extoll the virtues of XXXX, do any of those people infringe on your behavior?
A. Then how do you see those people as being “at war” with you and your religion?
B. As a business owner I object to being forced by law to serve people who behave in a way that my religion considers sinful.
A. But B, your XXXX’s most sacred book says that none of us are without sin. So, you’ve been serving other types of sinners ever since you went into business. What’s so distasteful about the sinning of a particular small group of people?
B. Their specific behavior is an abomination in my XXXXian religion.
A. You’re losing me. The more you talk, the more it looks as though you are splitting hairs so as to discriminate against one subset of sinners out of a larger group of them.
B. That may be. But, I would not be a good XXXXian if I served members of that subset.
A. Has anyone tried to force you to change your view of the sin of subset members?
A. Ok; then let me ask “Isn’t forgiveness a big part of XXXX?”
B. Yes, it is.
A. Why not pray for it AFTER you serve that specific sinful customer and let your XXXX-diety deal with his/her sinning? Otherwise, by going ahead and discriminating, you’ve decided to usurp the role of your deity, haven’t you?
Blogger note: If the “sinful behavior” is homosexuality, it is worth remembering that Jesus himself said not one word against it. The condemnation of homosexuality is largely derived from passages in the Old Testament.
1. Conservative opinion-shapers have been hard at work convincing Christians that anti-discrimination laws and sentiments are the opening thrust in a “war”. This trope is gaining a lot of traction among Republicans’ evangelical base who make up core constituencies in the red states that are pushing RFRAs. Make no mistake; what we are dealing with here is the dangerous intersection of politics and religion.