As I was downing my second cup of coffee and watching an Easter morning service on television this morning, I suddenly saw the whole Religious Freedom Act debate in a different light. It struck me how so much of the rhetoric on both sides had to do with the phrase, “I have a right to…” and so little to do with the phrase, “I have the responsibility to…”.
For those looking to be able to practice their religious principles in the operation of their businesses, especially those who profess to be Christian, I would ask them this: “Who was it that Jesus hung out with? Was it the righteous and those viewed as the ‘good’ people of society? No, he hung out with the poor, the sinners, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the sick. Jesus acted and asked his followers to be one with those marginalized by the greater society. He called on his followers to act as witnesses to what it means to be a truly ‘good person’.
By wanting to shun those who are different or not seen as ‘normal’, Christian business owners are not following the example of the Son of Man and God, they claim to want to be like.
Also those who would use the cover of ‘religious freedom’ to act out their agenda of discrimination pervert what true religious freedom means.
Similarly, those who would cast vile names at those who want to follow what their consciences dictate in their business dealings and would paint them all as homophobes or bigots, you should think again, too. You would discriminate against those who think differently than you merely because they DO think differently from you. By doing so, you become what you hate!
Both groups do have rights, but with each right comes a RESPONSIBILITY! The one responsibility that each group has to the other is this: in your disagreement, have a civil respect in the conduct of discourse with the other group. It is a respect, a responsibility owed, that is missing from most conversations and interactions in our society.
It is missing in our political discourse; it is missing in the interaction between the branches of our government; it is missing in the interactions between peoples around the world.