The Michigan legislature is trying to push through a law they say will protect “freedom of religion” for those who feel their religious beliefs are being infringed upon if they are forced by law to do business with those whose lifestyles they disapprove of. An example of this is the incident wherein a bakery agreed to supply a wedding cake to a couple’s reception. When the bakery found out the cake would be part of a same sex marriage event, they backed out, claiming their religious beliefs would be violated by supplying the cake. There are other instances of business owners wishing to avoid services to gays. To be forced to do so, they say, would violate their religious beliefs.
Nonsense, I say. In fact, I submit to you that such legislation is dangerous to Christianity and the witness of the Christ. This legislation is based upon prejudice and fear, and those legislators forcing this item through are playing on our unwarranted fear and prejudice for personal political reasons. In fact, this kind of divisive nonsense is the same excuse that was used in the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s, when business owners in the South wanted to exclude offering their services to Blacks. They quoted scripture to defend their prejudice, a prejudice rooted in fear.
Will this legislation fly? Yes, it most likely will. Can the public rise up and demand a referendum to challenge it? No. The republican controlled legislature tacked on an appropriation item, and any legislation including an appropriation cannot be challenged by public referendum.
Some maintain this is a stand for Christian rights. I say such a stand only shows us how self-righteous some in the Christian community can be, and I ask, “how can such legislated behavior reflect the love of the Christ?”
A dangerous door will be opened with this legislation. Where will this “Christian” excuse end? Will shop owners be able to refuse doing business with other religions, such as Islam, which is already experiencing the sinful wrath of the conservative Christian community? Will the bakery that has refused to make the cake use the same excuse when persons who have been divorced wish to re-marry? After all, divorce is condemned by the self righteous fundamentalist Christians.
No institution on earth has such power to heal or destroy as the Christian church. I don’t see the healing in this legislation, but I do see the destruction.