Pastor, I am concerned about this new law in Indiana that discriminates against gays. Can you explain it to me? Anonymous
Sure. Let’s begin with a little history. In 1993 Congress passed the first Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It was enacted as a reaction to a restrictive Supreme Court decision that jailed a Native American for smoking peyote as part of a religious practice.
Since then, 19 states have passed similar legislation after the High Court ruled that the Federal stature didn’t cover state and local issues. Here in Illinois we have a similar statute.
The RFRA statutes do not allow discrimination. They simply define the standard for proof if a court action is brought against a person or group who claim their privilege is a religion issue. The intent is to protect religious freedom for all Americans.
The choice of a vendor to participate or not, even indirectly, in the celebration of a union that is fundamentally against the vendors religious belief is not a free pass to discriminate. The RFRA only means that if the offended party chooses to sue, then the burden of proof must meet a defined standard to assure as much protection as possible for the religion of a person or business.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for our neighbor’s interest and freedom. We also have a responsibility to be faithful to the teachings of the Bible in our civil life. Sometimes the two come into conflict. This is made even more confusing by irresponsible reporting.
The best practice for us as believers is to be informed first, of what the Bible teaches and second, of the truth behind what is really happening in the culture around us. The Bible is the only text that is absolutely true. Every other piece of communication be it print, speech or social media has the potential to be misinformed.