In case you missed it, the governor of Mississippi signed into law yesterday a religious freedom bill that is quite controversial. In comparison to other such laws it is quite specific. This article and this one, while leaning left a bit, do give a pretty good breakdown of the pros and cons for the bill.
I have long had problems with the cries of discrimination related to LGBT because in the end, being LGBT is a behavior. Urges are not characteristics. Serial killers, for example, obviously have very deep seated urges to do what they do; it is characteristically part of their personality – that does not mean we are going to legalize murder. Yet we seem to want to argue when it comes to the LGBT urge that it is a characteristic; therefore it is discriminatory to prevent them from marrying, etc.
The “does not harm” standard seems to be where we draw the line, but that is highly problematic. Same-sex marriage has already resulted in all kinds of harm to institutions and individuals whose deeply held religious convictions make them opposed to same-sex marriage. Maybe no physical harm has been caused, but the fiscal harm is very real and very measurable.
When I look at this from a purely reason (absent religious morality or legal precedent) standpoint, the problem with the whole situation is that it just ends up being a schoolyard debate over who got hurt worse. That is not the stuff of good law. It is a personal dispute, not a legal one.
This entire situation has caused me to reflect a lot on the story of Solomon and the competing mothers. It is a story that has traditionally illustrated wisdom in our culture. Solomon does indeed show deep wisdom. But I have always been struck by such a seemingly trivial matter coming before the King. However, kings often saw this kind of stuff for they were the entire government, and often religious officialdom as well, in the regions they ruled. But in America government is a different thing altogether. From a constitutional standpoint, as big as the issue of religious freedom is, a bigger issue is that with courts and legislatures making law about this stuff, we are taking our government much closer to monarchy than I am comfortable with.
There is one other biblical story I keep reflecting upon in all this – the trial of Jesus. Jesus was absolutely without sin and 100% correct in all that He did. Yet He was found guilty of crimes sufficient to warrant His death. Unjust punishment of Christians is as old as Christianity itself. At some point, and I am not prepared to say where it is, we who call Christ Lord may just have to “take our medicine.”
In the end the dilemma this nation faces in these matters will not be solved in courts or legislatures. It has to be solved in the hearts, minds, and souls of each American. That, dear friends, is exactly what Jesus was trying to teach the Jewish officialdom of His day. The vast legal traditions of Judaism only worked if the people loved God enough to honor and adhere to them. There was a problem much bigger then the law that needed to be solved.
Jesus solved that problem a few days after His trial when he rose from the dead. That’s the message the nation needs to hear from the church right now. Yeah, we have to do what we have to do on the legal front, but Paul’s line to the Corinthians rings as true today as it did then, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.“