As recently as yesterday, another conservative politician ┬áhas come out claiming that good christians ought to be able to refuse service to gays and lesbians based. This one went so far as to suggest that no civil rights protections against discrimination are needed. He believes that market forces themselves would be enough. But since Phil Robertson’s outbursts ad this idea of discrimination has been more topical, no one has really stopped to articulate the theology behind this stuff called Religious Liberties. Sure, proponents like to suggest the Constitution protects it, but if it is a religiously based thing, where is the religious justification?

Often, the answer is some vague stuff about Sin and the decline of civilization and the need for more focus on moral choices, which is a way to say, things are a mess and the solution is to get more strict with something, and let’s call it morality. But if you really pursue this, what is underneath? Fine, you think gay sand lesbian people make a lifestyle choice with which you don’t agree and you think is wrong. How do you get from that to believing it is christian to discriminate and refuse service to gays and lesbians?

In Christianity, most generally speaking, the place where Christians look to understand how to act christian-like is the Holy Bible. Different factions of Chrtistianity place importance on prayer and direct revelation as well as rational thought, but underneath all of that is the Bible, accepted by most as the Word of God. So what does The Bible say that supports the notion of refusing service to gays and lesbians?

I’d like to go so far as to say, the Bible doesn’t support discrimination against Gays and Lesbians in any way what so ever. In fact, I believe Holy Scripture itself stands as evidence as to how and why refusing service to Gays and Lesbians is utterly un-christian-like. Here are the religious passages I’d use to support that position.

I remember from my days in a Pentacostal Church, a phrase used to describe the plight of the Faithful in our current culture: in the world, but not of the world. One way to consider this is fro see it as a call to keep oneself separated from what is around you. Keep yourself pure by shutting out those who are different from you and caught up in the world. Increasingly Christians today find themselves in shoes similar to the Faithful in the time of Jesus’s ministry. Then, “the world” was Roman occupation and Roman rule was seen as in opposition to God’s rule. Today, some Christians are claiming that legal acceptance of gays and lesbians is counter to God’s rule like Roman rule was counter to God’s rule. So what was Jesus’s teachings?

Matthew 5 (NIV)

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

In other words, those who you believe are not like you per persecuting you- be generous and open to them and meet their requests of you. In fact surpass their requests.

41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

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