Religious Beliefs Shouldn't Trump The Lawn - And Response

Friday, June 6, 2014

RE: Roy Exum: A Baker Stands His Ground 

Dear Mr. Exum, 

Normally I agree or somewhat agree with most of your opinion items, however the one titled "A Baker Stands His Ground" seemed a little misleading or misinformed. You only briefly mentioned the most important thing......what he did was against the law. 

There is a law in Colorado that states a business cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation discrimination is not covered under the U.

S. Civil Rights Act, as that protects all U.S. citizens from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex gender, or national origin so it is up to individual states to pass laws to prohibit it. Colorado has such a law prohibiting discrimination in public businesses.

You are trying to insinuate that just because it's a small-business owner, that he should be able to disregard the law of the land. To put it in very simple terms, the request for a wedding cake was made to the bakery which is a public business.....not to a private citizen. Because that's the law in Colorado there was no difference between him discriminating against a gay couple than had he discriminated against a mixed-race couple. 

Many people worked very hard to get that law passed in Colorado and, quite frankly, it would be a disservice to those who did so for the couple to "simply go to another bakery."  There were many similar situations when the U.S. Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. There were restaurant owners who did not want to serve blacks even though it was now considered against the law....many of whom cited religious beliefs supporting their discrimination. And many people had the same notion back then that you stated about this couple in Colorado.....why don't the blacks just go to another restaurant instead of "forcing" this small business to obey the law? 

Nobody's trying to force Jack into believing it's okay for two men to be in love and want to be committed to each other....but what they are forcing Jack to do is obey the law that says a public business cannot treat a customer differently from their other customers based on the customer's sexual orientation. Baking and selling a cake, which is what the place is in business for, does not mean that you are accepting or advocating gay marriage....it just means you are baking and selling a cake.

So the only lawful thing for Mr. Phillips to do is what he said he is going to do....discontinue wedding cakes period, that way he doesn't have to discriminate based on a customer's sexual orientation. 

On a side note, i continue to be somewhat perplexed at all the "Jack Phillips" of the world that are so hypocritical in their religious beliefs. Mr. Phillips sold wedding cakes to couples who had been previously married and divorced and marrying someone else and the same Bible calls that adultery. He sold plenty of wedding cakes to couples where the woman was not a virgin on her wedding day, which is called a sin in that same Bible.  It just seems sometimes that people that are bigoted against gays for some reason don't want to call themselves a bigot so they cite the Bible for their discrimination, yet ignore so many other things that are admonished in there, making themselves look like hypocrites.   

Look at what happened here with that whole Chris Anderson mess. These "godly" people decided that God would want them to recall the gay guy out of office so what did they do? Committed forgery on the petition forms. It's as though they were saying "let's ignore the fact that forgery is wrong, and illegal, and bearing false witness.....let's just do it so we can get that evil sinner out of office."

Okay enough ranting about hypocrites, all I'm saying is that nobody is telling him he has to change his religious beliefs, but I disagree with you that his religious beliefs should trump the law of the land. If a person's religious beliefs are that a parent should kill disobedient children, their religious beliefs should not trump the law that makes it illegal to kill them.  There are many religious beliefs.....even within the Christian religion alone there are tons of different and conflicting beliefs....but do you really believe each individual person is entitled to have his personal religious beliefs be able to trump the law?

John Rockford
Chattanooga

 

Mr. Rockford, you make some very good points in your post regarding religious beliefs vs. the law, but I'd like to offer some explanation as to why some religious people do what they do.  

Christian people are faced daily with the tension between grace and truth.  Let me explain.  

On the one hand, the Bible teaches that we are all sinners (disobedient and rebellious toward God), have no power to do anything about it, and that sin separates us from God who is holy.  It also teaches that Jesus, God's Son, died to pay for our sins and rose from the dead victorious over sin, death and the grave.  If we turn to Him asking for forgiveness as we choose to turn away from our sin, He cleans us up in His power and makes us holy restoring our relationship with God. That's grace.  He gives us something we don't deserve - forgiveness of sin.  He expects that we too will extend grace to others.  

The flip side of the coin is truth.  It is true that God will judge those who turn away from the gift He has provided...who rebelliously turn their backs on Him and refuse to obey Him.  Hell is a real place, and yes, it's harsh.  God explains to us in scripture how He expects us to live.  He doesn't do this to spoil anyone's fun or just to be controlling.  He does it out of love, because He knows what is good for us - just as parents know better what is good for their child than the child does. He has the bigger picture.  When we disobey Him, it's called sin.  No one likes to be corrected or told they're being sinful, but we all are.  And no one will live perfectly.  No one.  Jesus will continue to cover our sin if we allow Him.  Having a relationship with God is a beautiful thing, and it's sad that people miss it.

Christians are expected by God to communicate the truth to others, but in love and humility. People have to be warned, because sin is destructive.  It's not loving to just allow folks to go along la-dee-da without being warned of the consequences of a sinful lifestyle.  Those consequences are harsh too.  That's why God wants us to avoid them.  He wants to bring us to a place of healing and wholeness, and sometimes that's a long journey.

What people see too often is religious people who get out of balance focusing too much on truth and not enough on grace and love.  It has to be both.  People don't need someone beating them over the head with scripture verses taken out of context, and this happens all the time.  In many of these cases, these folks are religious rule-keepers, but they don't have a relationship with God.  If they were walking with Him daily by prayer and scripture meditation, He would point out their unloving ways to them.  Jesus had more trouble with religious people than with anyone else, and those same people continue to blacken His Name.

Regarding government:  God established government to bring order to a society, and He expects us to obey those in authority...to a point.  When that government dictates people to do something that a person knows God forbids, God trumps government.  I think I have my facts straight when I say that all of the Apostles died for their faith except John.  I don't think they were obeying the law, and they lost their lives over it.  Individuals must decide if they are willing to pay the price for obeying God over the government, whatever that price might be.  But, they better make sure it's God that they are obeying.

Joyce Hague


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