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Why Christians (and all sane people) MUST reject RFRA Laws

Updated on April 1, 2015

As Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana has stated repeatedly, there is quite a bit of misinformation swirling about on the topic of RFRA laws. He would probably disagree with me that all of the misinformation is coming from the right; but I will lay out my case for why these laws are harmful, and why Christians should disown them.

Pence and other supporters have repeatedly referred to the legislation that was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993. Many people have already explained the differences between the two laws, and why Indiana's version is so much more inflammatory. Instead of restating those differences, I think it is important to put things into historical context. Homophobia was running rampant in this country in the 1990s. The AIDs epidemic is commonly connected to this issue, but the identification of AIDs as strictly a gay disease was actually part of the problem. I grew up in the early 90s, and the words "fag" and "queer" were quite literally the most common insults young people would use to put each other down, and AIDs was still barely understood, to the point that people wouldn't use the same drinking fountain as someone they connected with homosexuality. Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act also, a law which he and other democrats have worked hard to counteract and repeal. Gay marriage was not on the table in 1993, just like integration of schools was not on the table in 1935 in Mississippi.

There are many evangelical Christians who believe that modern society is at war with them. I don't completely discount their feelings on this, the country has changed remarkably quickly on issues of tolerance the last several years, and many people were taught from a young age that homosexuality is a sin. The problem with that stance in modern society is that people do not choose to become homosexual. I did not choose to be attracted to women, and I have never met a heterosexual person who actually claimed to be consciously choosing that orientation. It has taken a long time, but in this country we do not discriminate against people for the way they came into this world. Well, we still do, but hopefully not for too much longer. That is why the civil rights movement happened, that is why the Americans with Disabilities Act happened, and that is why RFRA is being opposed so voraciously by so many people.

If you are a Christian that has an issue with homosexuality, try looking at it this way: Imagine you owned a pizza business. Now imagine a white Christian person came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a black Christian woman came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a Jewish woman came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a handicapped man in a wheelchair came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a blind woman came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then an Indian-American Sikh person came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a Muslim woman came in to buy a slice of pizza, and then a gay woman came in to buy a slice of pizza. Under Mike Pence's new law, that last woman is the only person that you could legally kick out of your store for absolutely no reason other than the way they are... who they are as a person. The reason so many people are outraged by that, is that we are actually almost to the promised land. There will always be more work to do on race relations, and relations between different cultures in a country such as ours, but if we stop discriminating against people because of the "Type" of person they are, then we have crossed a huge milestone. LGBT people, it would seem to many, are the last group to enjoy the rights that I was born with as a white heterosexual man.

Every member of my family is Christian; I have never seen a Christian discriminated against in this country. I do not think it will ever happen, but if it does, I hope we will all stand in opposition to it. As of now, LGBT actually are being discriminated against. People like Micah Clark, for whatever reason, seem to sleep better at night if they know people who are different from them are not entirely equal. I actually appreciate the opportunity to learn who these people are, because it is important to distinguish the differences between the views of people like Micah Clark, and the views of tolerant Christians. In northern Indiana there is an owner of a pizza parlor that is excited to start not serving gays. Let us all take this opportunity to never eat at that place, but then let us restore sanity and get rid of legalized discrimination in the United States of America. Should a florist in Indiana be allowed to deny service to a gay wedding on the basis of their religion? No, just like they are not allowed to deny service to blacks, muslims, hispanics, or any other minority group. It's crazy, and in a few years it will seem crazy to everyone, just like it seems crazy to a whole bunch of us right now.


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