Because the world needs my opinion on top of everyone else’s on this situation, that’s why.
So here’s the story: Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign or veto SB1062, a law “allowing business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers so long as proprietors were acting solely on their religious beliefs” (CNN.com). It would seem this law would protect business owners from litigation if they chose not to service homosexuals, but would leave the state wide open to litigation. It’s quite the dilemma Governor Brewer faces, and I don’t envy her for it.
As a former (and perhaps future) wedding vendor, I’ve been considering the implications of this law for people who service weddings in particular, although I’m sure there are broader implications at play. And as a Christian, I’ve also been personally working through the question of whether or not I would ever consider supporting a homosexual wedding by service or presence.
I’ve been clear about this on this blog and in my personal life, but I think it’s worth restating: among other things, I believe homosexuality violates God’s design for sexuality. (God’s design for sexuality being one man, one woman in a covenant relationship). I do not think same-sex attraction by itself is sinful, but I cannot condone acting on that attraction, just as I cannot condone adultery, viewing pornography, or pedophilia. I think I’m probably approaching the somewhat unpopular conclusion that I cannot support homosexual weddings by providing my services as a vendor at these events.
I know, I know. How anti-gay of me. I love gay people. I really do. Unfortunately, our society equates love with tolerance, in which I must be 100% behind you and what you are doing in order for you to receive my love. (Good gravy, we humans are messed up). Gay friends, why would you want to pay me and my narrow mind to be at your wedding, filming you through my judgmental lens? Why wouldn’t you want to invest your money in a business that is happy and proud to support you on your big day? There are hundreds of them out there.
Reality is, SB1062 in Arizona will set a precedent, which is why it’s such a big deal. The state will make a choice in who to protect – homosexuals or Christian business people. Politically, I tend toward libertarianism, which tends toward extremely limited government involvement, so politically, I think this is an issue the government should stay out of except on a case by case basis. In short, politically, I think it’s best not to have a law about it. Unfortunately, I think we will begin to see more and more cases like the one we saw with the bakery in Portland, and legislation is bound to come at some point. The precedent set in the Portland bakery case is that business owners have no right holding religious convictions in business, since business are not religious institutions.
Christians are expected to go along with the separation of conviction and business, the separation of who we are from what we do, and that is what concerns me. I am not worried about the state leaving Christian business owners vulnerable; I kind of expect it. In our softness, I’m worried we followers of Christ will just sit back and go along with it, and not fight to be people with convictions no matter whether we are in church or at work. I’m worried we’ll get mean with the people challenging our rights. I’m worried we will compartmentalize and be the convicted person at church, and not carry our convictions to our businesses, blogs, Tweets, and Facebook updates or that we’ll be the nice person at church and the mean person in the world. I’m worried we’ll lose our integrity as followers of Christ – that we’ll either begin condoning things He doesn’t, OR we’ll take out the loss of our rights (which may be promised in the Constitution, but are nowhere to be found in the Bible) on the people our rights have been forfeited to protect.
It makes very little difference to me whether Governor Brewer signs SB1062 into law or vetoes it. I will continue to stand by my convictions whether it gets a little easier (for a while) or whether it gets much harder. And I will continue to love people who do things that make no sense to me. I hope you will too.