Legislation and Legalism: The Parable of Arizona Bill 1062

A bill recently came to desk of the Arizona governor to allow business owners to not have to serve certain clientele (namely homosexuals). The bill was vetoed but not without much debate, anger, and hurt. I understand that business people don't want to be forced to do something that goes against their beliefs. And religious beliefs were largely at the core of the bill.

The problem with the bill was that it didn't go far enough. I'll admit that I don't know the specifics of the defeated bill; from what I understand it was largely intended to give retailers and service industry workers the freedom to tell someone that they didn't have to provide them business if doing so would condone something they didn't believe was morally acceptable (largely around the issue of gay marriage and wedding services).

It didn't go far enough because if people are going to be denied service due to one particular sin, they need to do so to people who partake in all sins that go against their moral/religious beliefs. 

Christian business owners who provide wedding services need to not only make sure the couple is heterosexual, but that they haven't fornicated or engaged in any other acts of sexual immorality. They need to make sure neither party has ever gotten drunk, lied, coveted, or taken the Lord's name in vain.

The Bible also tells us to obey governing authorities, so they should also make sure they've also paid their taxes and never broken any laws (including speeding). They need to make sure they've tithed to their churches (no less than ten percent of their gross income). Prospective customers also should not have worshiped anything other than God. All of their actions toward their neighbors should only have been out of love. 

If we're going to protect ourselves from from condoning sinners, we need to protect ourselves from all sinners.

Including ourselves.

Yes, ourselves. Didn't Jesus tell His followers that we need to remove the plank from our own eye before criticizing the speck in someone else's? I'm fairly certain He did. Because we're all sinners. Even Christians. Especially Christians. That's the whole reason we need Jesus. I know I'm a big sinner, and that I need Jesus.

Part of the problem is that we've been told that we need to be tolerant. Frankly, the tolerance push is ridiculous. In the classroom in which I work, I won't tolerate bullying. I won't tolerate disrespect. I won't tolerate meanness. I won't tolerate lying. I won't tolerate racism. 

The same goes with my children--only that they have an even longer list of things I won't tolerate from them. I have plenty of behaviors that my wife won't tolerate (and she shouldn't!). I have plenty of behaviors I do that I don't want to tolerate. I want to keep becoming a better person and get past the things I do that I don't want to tolerate.

Frankly, tolerance is mostly ignorance.

Tolerance turns a blind eye. Respect and love acknowledge that there are sins, flaws, and growth points but that each person is created with a special eternal spark. We all mess up and tarnish that spark. Me. You. All of us.

But each of us also has great redemptive value. Me. You. All of us. But we're not going to uncover that redemptive value if we keep treading all over everyone whose values don't line up with ours. Do we need to embrace those values? Definitely no. Do we need to embrace those people? Resoundingly yes.

That doesn't start with legislation (I'm pretty sure Jesus' message was anti-legalism). That starts with the heart.

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