So here's the deal. A lot of you, I assume, have heard of the Senate Bill 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I've read quite a few articles from people who agree with it to those who do not. I am not going to take a stand on where I am at this point in my belief about the bill (although it may become obvious throughout this blog) however, I am going to tell you what I think really matters...
On one side of the fence, we have people calling this an anti-gay law and this law now gives the right to anyone to discriminate against them. On the other side, we have people saying it protects their religious rights and gives them the ability to practice their religion without discrimination from the other side. So, essentially we have two sides feeling discriminated again. Either gays can't be gays or Christians can't be Christians. Neither of which am I okay with!
I'm not saying I agree with gay marriage because biblically speaking, if someone professes being a Christian, I don't see it. I can't find where it's okay, I only can find where it's clearly not accepted (1 Corinthians 6, Romans 1). But the thing is, that if someone isn't a professing Christian and they don't believe like I believe then I don't and can't expect them to live the way I live. Some of you may not agree with me, that's okay. But I'm not going to shun someone or discriminate against them because they're different than me. Jesus didn't. Jesus chose the outcasts and those that were looked down on and discriminated against. Jesus chose those people to work through (reference the verse at the beginning).
I know, some of you are totally disagreeing with me right now. That's okay. I don't need you to agree with me. I don't need us to always be on the same page. I'm not offended. I believe the Bible is absolutely true and it's the way we should all live. If you don't believe that, I don't hate you. You have the right to choose what you want to believe. I obviously hope you believe in the Bible and believe in what God has done for us and that he sent Jesus for our sins and now we can have eternity with him. I want you to believe what I do, but you don't have to. That's free will. You get to choose your life and I don't get to judge you for that choice.
I heard a guy say the other day in reference to the law, "People say it's unethical to refuse service to someone, but isn't it just as unethical or even more so to force that person to forgo their values to serve someone else?" I think we're almost at an impasse here. It's discrimination either way and it's unethical either way. Either the gays can't be gay and they are discriminated against or the Christians can't be Christians and they are discriminated against. (I know this law is much broader than that, but for this instance, those are the things I'm picking from each side.)
So, what's right? Well, I don't have an answer for you, but all I'm asking is that, as Christians, you think before you act. Pray before you act. Make sure that the decision you are about to make is one that Jesus would make. Reference the Bible. See that Jesus interacted with those much different than him with much different beliefs. And, those who are not Christians, I hope that you understand that Christians are imperfect and that we are just trying to strive to be like Jesus but we often fail. Please have patience and allow us to hold our values as you hold yours. Just because we disagree with you, doesn't mean we hate you or want nothing to do with you. It simply means we disagree.
In light of all of that and the new fixes, it has come to my attention that the bill is now non-discriminatory. A lot of people are asking, "Well, now the bill means nothing and they should just get rid of it." I don't know about that, but still everything I have said up until this point rings true whether the law is in place or not--what was bubbling under the surface before has come to light. We are a divided state and a divided country which should have been evident before hand, but is blatantly evident now. We may not all agree on what's right and what's wrong, what's ethical and unethical, what's true and what's false, but we don't have to and that's okay with me. I hope you're okay with that too. It doesn't mean I wouldn't like you to believe what I believe, but it means that I'm not going to hate you if you don't agree with me and I'm not going to discriminate against you. I still love you. I still want to be your friend. I still want to hang out. There just might be a couple topics that we discuss once, disagree, and never talk about again because our opinions have been said and there's no need to rehash the past.
I know, again, some of you don't agree with this. Some of you Christians are saying that I need to be more firm and not associate with those who believe different than me (i.e. people who believe in same-sex marriage). I couldn't disagree more with you. One of my best friends is a lesbian and although we don't see eye to eye on this issue, that doesn't change how I feel about her. I love her like a sister with my whole heart and I won't change that. She means so much to me and we have such a wonderful friendship. She knows where I stand and, if she allows it, I'd want nothing less than to be friends with her forever. We may disagree, but we don't hate each other. We're still friends and great ones at that.
I'm okay if you disagree with me on my stance on all this. It won't hurt my feelings, but again, I ask that you not judge me for my decisions. I love God with all my heart and he is the one who guides me in life. I hope he guides you as well. I hope you put your faith in him. I'll continue to say that to you until the day I die. But please, use Jesus as an example in all you do and don't discriminate or judge. Jesus came to serve and love. Not judge.