SB1062 Mini Soapbox

Posted on 26 Feb 2014 in Breathe, Reveal | 0 comments

1507015_10100739662986609_337452490_n<begin soapbox and mild theological reflection – please feel free to ignore>
I normally try to remain silent on most political issues, but having now read SB1062 from AZ, I’m actually more concerned about the bill and its ramifications. The wording of it is far too vague, leaving numerous openings for the state to *have* to come in to define religious practice. I really don’t want the state to define those practices.
Knowing, also, that the concern had to do with bakers in CO & OR (and a photographer in NM) being instructed to serve regardless of belief. A more savvy approach would be to investigate “at will” service or statutes that investigate how to refuse service (think “no shirts, no shoes, no service” regulations). Instead, it’s become a religious issue, opening the door for the state to necessarily in future cases establish legal precedent of what is and what isn’t a religious practice.
Further, on a personal note, I now have to wonder how “Refusal to Serve” constitutes a religious practice? The only circumstance I can imagine where an actual religious practice is at stake is with officiants not willing to perform some form of religious ceremony. I may not believe that refusing to bake a cake is a religious practice, but are we taking the same stance and setting religious practice standards by not baking cakes for people who have already been having sex before their wedding? Or perhaps not baking cakes for people who purchase pornography or drugs? Or not baking cakes for people who refuse to bake cakes for gay people? Or perhaps checking people’s financial records to ensure that they are tithing to their local community of faith before baking a cake?
The whole thing reeks of an attitude that seems to be very against the way of the Cross – the place where we are supposed to nail our “Rights” as Christians to a tree. We’ve grown so accustomed to having them here in the USA that we think somehow it’s a biblical cornerstone, when in fact, it’s an Enlightenment one. I’m just imagining the quiet Christian baker who decides – “I’m going to bake these cakes as if for the Lord, and pray that whoever eats them experiences the glory of God.” And then blesses the couple who has different religious beliefs – and maybe then, the couple wondering “why is this baker so gracious, so kind?”. Or the Catholic taxi driver who instead of refusing to drive the young woman to her appointment at a family planning clinic, asks to bless her and opens a door of compassionate love from the Father to her as she’s facing a horrific and desperate choice. Maybe even giving her the father’s blessing she never received to know that she’s loved and cared for regardless of the choices she’s making. When we surrender to the Cross, we lay down our rights and surrender to the ministry of reconciliation.
So, perhaps, my brothers and sisters, can I encourage you today to reflect on why this bill strikes such a chord in you – angry or defensive or otherwise – and to consider the way of reconciliation, the way of the Cross, the way of God’s welcome? Can I urge you to find a third way, a Kingdom way, of handling situations like this, where we can create and set an expectation of honor and compassion, lighting up the darkness with the Life that we’ve been given?
I know some of you may disagree with me, but I ask you if you comment, to disagree with honor and compassion, recognizing that the others seeing this are people, with feelings and families and struggles that we do not always understand.
Love you guys. <3

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