Christians are resisting the imposed Homosexual disorder and Liberals want them to stop. They don’t hesitate to use the power of government to force them to do so. But, when that doesn’t work right away, some also spend time and energy to get Christians to voluntarily submit.
Thus, Jonathan Merritt’s article in the Daily Beast: “Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate.”
Merritt is upset that the Arizona legislature has a law saying that people do not have to offer services to other people if it violates their conscience to do so.
The very fact that this law has to be passed shows you already that the United States has been, as long as anyone can remember, a fascist conformist regime that has always outlawed freedom. If freedom has any meaning at all, it means no one can be forced to transact with other people against his will. But that most basic and obvious meaning of “freedom” has been obliterated by the totalitarian, government-dominated, culture that we live in.
The Arizona law does not even really challenge this regime. All it does is give a “religious exemption” to it. A real move for freedom would be for Arizona to say that anyone can serve or not serve any other person, whether or not it has anything to do with their religious scruples or values.
Jonathan Merritt just assumes the normal American regimentation is how we should all live, with businesses only allowed to exist if they promise to “not discriminate”—and, of course, then we can all continue waiting for the moment that the government decides that churches are businesses and should not only allow Christians as members.
So Merritt makes an argument on that basis, and his argument is full of problems.
The backers of these laws claim that a Christian cannot, in good conscience, provide a good or service for a same-sex wedding because it violates the teachings of Christianity.
Many people who appreciate the law may have made this claim about Christianity, but the law is not Christian specific. A Muslim could just as easily take advantage about it. So the rest of Merritt’s argument is not really against the law. He is claiming that Christians should never use the provisions in the law. He’s wrong, but even if he was right that wouldn’t mean the law is not in keeping with the First Amendment and the freedom of conscience.
But in order to violate a Christian’s conscience, the government would have to force them to affirm something in which they don’t believe.
So the government can force you to perform an abortion without violating your conscience since it is not forcing you to change your belief about abortion. A Nazi regime that threatens to harm you and your family if you don’t participate in the extermination of Jews is not violating your conscience since it is not demanding that you change your belief that Jews are fully human, created in the image of God, and deserving of life and liberty. That premise is nonsense and no argument can possibly be taken seriously that uses such a premise.
If you lined up 100 married couples and asked them if their florist “affirmed” their wedding, they would be baffled by the question.
Wow. When you tell a florist that you are getting married not even in a hundred will be happy for you, think that you are embarking on a great new stage in your life, and offer you congratulations? Merritt is just making stuff up and trying not to think about it so he can convince himself he is offering an intelligent argument.
Before considering legal rights, Christians wrestling with this issue must first resolve the primary issue of whether the Bible calls Christians to deny services to people who are engaging in behavior they believe violates the teachings of Christianity regarding marriage. The answer is, it does not.
Since the law is not specifically Christian, they really don’t need to go through this exercise. The only question they have to ask is whether or not it is compatible with the First Amendment to force religious believers to violate their consciences.
But aside from the irrelevance, Merritt is only half right. Christians are not called to deny services to people who are engaging in behavior they believe violates the teachings of Christianity regarding marriage, unless that person claims to be a Christian. The Apostle Paul spells this all out in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter five. They are not supposed to associate with such people. Merritt can recover his point if he can distinguish serving and associating with. I’m open to that. But we need more here if he actually wants to engage with Christians.
The real meat of Merritt’s (already irrelevant) argument is that Christians who decide not to photograph/bake a cake for/ homosexual weddings must also do it for other “unbiblical weddings.” And he tries to set the bar for a Biblical wedding really high in order to make his argument work.
But what Christian group has ever said that a believer and an unbeliever who get married are not really married? What Christian denies that non-christian families are not really families? I don’t know of any such Christian group. But that is exactly the point about homosexual “marriages.” The point is not that they shouldn’t get married but that they simply aren’t married. Using the word is just a way of pouring excrement on marriage. And since Christians affirm marriage, they don’t want to participate in a farce designed to deconstruct marriage.
So Merritt’s pretense that Christians are being aggressive in “singling out” homosexual marriages is just something that makes him feel good but has nothing to do with reality. Christians know God condemns sex outside of marriage, but marriage has always fixed that problem for a couple of heterosexuals living in sin. I don’t know of any Christian who says that a marriage between former fornication partners is no marriage at all. But a “marriage” between two men or two women is a travesty whether or not they ever get naked together.
As far as Christians are concerned, no one is threatening to make them serve a wedding. They are threatening to make them go through a farcical pretense—a fake wedding.
On the other hand, if I know a couple who obviously shouldn’t get married, then maybe Merritt is right: I should have the freedom to say, “Sorry, find someone else to celebrate your folly, I don’t want anything to do with it.” In “the land of the free” I am not allowed to do that.
And, to revisit the point I made at the beginning of this piece, why shouldn’t I have the freedom to refuse to offer services to a couple whose marriage I believe to be fully Biblical but still to be a stupid mistake? I don’t see any reason why the force of government should be used to coerce me to transact against my will just because a person doesn’t make me violate my religious beliefs.
Why can’t we all be free?