“Keep your beliefs out of your business!”

This is not the first case of its kind, but it certainly is causing a stir, especially with the boldness of the statements made by the justices involved. In New Mexico, the State Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian couple may not conduct their photography business according to the dictates of God’s Word.

Here is the article: N.M. Supreme Court: Photographers Can’t Refuse Gay Weddings

In short, the court has determined that if you run a business and someone lifestyle runs in opposition to your faith, your faith has to get out of the way. “Keep your beliefs out of your business!” Claims Justice Bosson, “it is the price of citizenship.”

“You! Shall not! Stand up for your faith!!”

Since when?

Well, those who love and stand up for freedom and free speech in our country are certain to find reasons to be upset here. I’ll admit I am quite disturbed by the news. On the one hand, as a citizen of this nation I have a bit of a problem with a justice telling me that “the price of citizenship” is being forced to show support for same-sex marriage if my business has anything to do with marriage at any point. On the other hand, I’m concerned about the difficult position in which this places many Christians.

Let me be clear – if this is a form of persecution we have to face as Christians in America, we should count ourselves blessed that we have the opportunity to stand up for Jesus’ name, and blessed that the persecution is not more severe (though, if the severity of the persecution is tied to intensity of blessing, which direction does that really go… hmmmm?). But my concern is not that we must face persecution. My concern is in how many might capitulate because of it.

Here’s what I mean: Some Christians will see this kind of thing as an opportunity to stand up for their faith, give a solid testimony, and whatever negative impact they have to face, they will hold unswervingly to the faith they profess. But others – and I am concerned at how big that number of “others” will be – will throw up their hands and say, “Well, if that’s the rules I have to follow, then I guess I have to follow them. What else can I do?”

See, for all that we confess that we will stand up for the Word, we are still so very, very weak.

How many will buckle under the pressure? How many will give up without a fight? How many, when faced with the choice between their business and their Lord will choose their business?

But I need to remember something my Savior said – that the very gates of hell itself cannot overcome His Church (Matthew 16:18). See, my fears and concerns over how some Christians might react are not really well founded. Oh, certainly, some who profess the name of Christ might demonstrate their human weakness. Some might even prove that they were never truly professing his name at all. But the Church will stand.

And the Gospel will be proclaimed.

That Gospel which says that even when we fail to stand up for marriage God’s way, we have a bridegroom who calls us his bride.

That Gospel which says that even when we let money become our master, we have a Savior who values us more highly than all the riches in all the world.

That Gospel which says that even when we are faithless, God is faithful.

That Gospel which says that when we sin in these ways and more, we have a God who died to take away our sin.

That Gospel which says that when we are broken down under the weight of the world, we have a Lord so strong that even the grave could not hold him in.

So what do we have to fear?

But then let us not take that Gospel for granted and foolishly say, “Well, then, might as well just accept this new law of the land.” No. We are Christians. We bear the name of Jesus. And it is right to stand up for his way.

So what should we do? Well, here’s a suggested action plan:

1. Use your rights as a citizen to be salt and light. You have every reason to cast your votes and speak your opinions in a way that is in accord with your faith. God’s Word is clear about marriage – be just as clear!

2. Stand up for what is right no matter what it costs. If you run a business, and you find yourself having to make a hard decision, make the decision that says who you belong to. Don’t let someone else tell you to keep your beliefs out of your business. That’s just foolishness.

3. Speak the Gospel in words and actions. Standing up for the truth of God’s Word when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate is a good thing. But don’t let it become the dominant message. Let Christ and his Salvation ring clearly from what you say and do. Only the Gospel can change lives. When you are clear about your stance on homosexuality and your testimony that Jesus is the Savior, you’re in the right place.

These things will happen. It is the way of the sin-darkened world in which we live. Jesus had some words about that, though, too: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

‘Nuff said.

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11 thoughts on ““Keep your beliefs out of your business!”

  1. I am Side A.

    If the photographer does not refuse to work at marriages which are the second marriage of one of the parties, then the photographer is not standing up for any sort of Christianity, but for prejudice and hypocrisy.

    I would not want a hostile photographer at my wedding, but- gay people have a right not to be driven out from a place, and if enough businesses refused to serve us in a town, we would have to leave. If what you desire came to pass, people would be afraid to come out about being gay, and unable to express themselves as God created them, and that would be an infringement on liberty.

    1. Clare, thank you for reading and taking time to comment. You’re absolutely right that a Christian photographer would be hypocritical to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding and then happily photograph the remarriage of two people who had sinfully divorced. But that comparison is complicated because God doesn’t outright condemn all remarriage. In cases of adultery, abandonment, and death, the marriage is ended and remarriage is acceptable. The Bible gives no such acceptable circumstance for same-sex marriage.

      But what you really need to know is this: First of all, we’re all broken. We are all born with sin. You, me, the whole world. That sin manifests itself in different ways in different people. I certainly have my weaknesses, things that I’m inclined to do that God says I should not. But to say that God created us that way is to say that a holy God created sin, and that’s simply impossible. To say that God created you to be gay when he expressly calls homosexual activity a sin is a lie from the world that you’ve been sold to get you to ignore what he says. It’s as silly and un-Scriptural as saying that a liar should tell lies because God made him that way, or a porn addict should look at porn because God made him to lust, or a substance abuser should use because he was made to be an addict. Sin is a problem that needs fixing, not celebrating.

      But it’s precisely because we’re all broken that Jesus came. See, God doesn’t love you because you’re gay. He loves you because it is his nature to love, and he wants you and me and all us broken folk down here on earth to be with him. Jesus came to fix the problem of sin. Jesus to take our brokenness upon himself, to take our sin and the death we deserve. Your sin, your death. My sin, my death. Everyone’s. He came not to give us an excuse to do whatever we feel like doing, but to set us free from sin so that we can be with him forever and live for him now and in eternity.

    1. NotAScientist, thanks for reading and commenting. Actually, we treat people because of their nature all the time. Some people are inclined – you might say it is their nature – to tell lies. We trust them less because of it. Some people are inclined – you might say it is their nature – to abuse alcohol. We stage interventions and get them into treatment programs to help them stay sober. Some people are inclined – you might say it is their nature – to beat other people up at the slightest provocation. We lock them up so that they are not a danger to others. We treat people differently because of their nature all the time.

      But my question really was more along the lines of, “When did the price of American citizenship become accepting someone else’s arbitrary definition of what is normal?” Race and gender can be scientifically proven to have genetic factors (incidentally, alcoholism also has genetic factors, as does congenital lying, as does tendency toward aggression). However, so far no one has ever found a direct genetic link to homosexuality, despite best efforts. So, someone arbitrarily decided on the basis of opinion and not fact that homosexuality is as natural as race and gender, and now that has become part of the price of citizenship? I repeat my question, since when?

      But you said it’s wrong to treat people differently because of their nature. I would suggest that it’s wrong to treat all people the same regardless of their nature. I don’t treat men the same way I treat women. I don’t treat children the same way I treat adults. I don’t treat one sinner the same way I treat another. It would be wrong to do so. What is right is to treat everyone with love. And sometimes the loving thing is to say, “I love you too much to support your sin.”

      1. “Some people are inclined – you might say it is their nature – to tell lies.”

        Sure. But if someone’s beliefs tell them that all black people are liars (for example), or all gays are cheaters, then we rightfully tell them that those beliefs can’t influence their business practices.

      2. Thanks for the continuing the discussion. I think it is important. There is a substantial difference, though, between your examples and the issue at the heart of this case. Those examples rely on unfounded prejudices that have no basis. But no one is arguing with the fact that the couple in this case is getting married, or that they are a same-sex couple. However, it is the fact that they are a same-sex couple getting married that is the problem. This is a case where the photographer is being asked to make something she believes is wrong look like it is right. I don’t believe the government has a right to step in there and say that she has to. In a free market society people can give her business bad publicity and she can be “punished” by losing business, but for the government to step in and mandate whether or not it is appropriate for her to do business according to her conscience is not too many steps away from tyranny.

        But my point is really that if a Christian business owner is in that position, the Christian thing to do is behave according to her conscience, even if it means her business suffers fines and penalties, however wrongfully imposed.

      3. ” This is a case where the photographer is being asked to make something she believes is wrong look like it is right.”

        And if she believed that interracial marriage was wrong, would you side with her?

      4. If she believed interracial marriage was wrong, I would disagree with her belief, and if she tried to back it up with Scripture I would be sad and would try to correct her, if I had the opportunity. I would certainly not defend her viewpoint. I stand for what the Bible says, no more no less.

        However, I would also say from a political standpoint that in a free market economy, that kind of thing should be punished by bad publicity and a loss of business, rather than government intervention. I recognize that this is my opinion about the best way for our country to preserve freedom. It’s not really about moral. Laws don’t make people more or less moral. They change behavior but not the heart. I’m mostly interested in changing the heart, and only Jesus can do that.

      5. “and if she tried to back it up with Scripture”

        As we live in a secular country, that wouldn’t matter.

        Other Christians think you are wrong when you try to back up your anti-same sex marriage stance with Scripture. So who do we side with? You or them?

        How about neither, and look to the position that causes the least amount of harm. And preventing discrimination is what does that.

      6. Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head that our society is very secular. That’s why we have these issues – our culture no longer looks to Scripture as a main source of wisdom, guidance, and truth. That’s part of the purpose of my blog – to help Christians live according to the Word in a secular society that opposes the Word. And according to that Word opposition to same-sex marriage is really not harmful. Supporting it is.

        I believe the discussion has run its course. We have very different world views and that’s one of the cool things about our country, we can still exist and rub shoulders and get along specifically because we have the freedom to say what we think and live according to our beliefs. Thanks for engaging in the conversation, and I hope you’ll keep reading, even if you disagree.

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