Religious Freedom and Homosexuality

Indiana has taken a huge amount of heat over its attempt to enact its own Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Similar to what happened here in Arizona, people started yelling discrimination, often without any respect for religious liberties.

Those who support the laws will quickly say the law is about religious freedom and not about discrimination. Those who oppose the law say it is veiled language to allow for discrimination against homosexuals. In Indiana the governor asked for additional legislation to clarify this point and to prevent the law being misused.

A similar situation in Arkansas makes a curious side note. The governor there said he changed his mind at the last minute and vetoed the law because his teenage son asked him to. If I was a voter in Arkansas I would ask the governor to explain why his son is more qualified to govern than he is.

In discussing the topic, I have heard it said that church leaders should have no say in these policies because it doesn’t affect them. They are given a ministerial exception in the laws. This argument is silly, creating an inequality between church leaders and church members. In my church I would like the membership and leadership to have the same religious freedoms. It is also obvious that their exception will soon be taken away.

A lot of this hoopla is based on a denial of reality. Conservatives want to protect religious freedoms, and try to pass RFRA or similar laws. But at the same time they try to align themselves as being against any form of discrimination. But the truth is you cannot have it both ways.

Religious freedom must include allowing a person to choose not to participate in something they find morally objectionable, not only as a private person, but also as a businessperson. Asking them to set aside their beliefs while conducting business is asking them to be a hypocrite. Incidentally I believe this should hold true for personal ideologies as much as for recognized religious perspectives.

Meanwhile the homosexual feels discriminated against if a businessperson does not want to serve them. They have very successful political forces seeking to make any such decision illegal. They have also controlled the dialogue of these encounters labeling anyone opposed to homosexuality as homophobes, defining in the public mind that homosexuality is genetic condition instead of a behavior, and defining sexual behavior as a greater good than religious freedom.

The path we are on ends with the courts ruling that all major world religions are historically wrong in regard to this issue and must change their doctrine. I don’t know for sure what the future holds, but I can tell you one thing about religious freedom. You will miss it when it is gone. Even if you are not religious, you will not like the world where the government determines the content of your conscience.

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