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The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) was recently passed, and just as quickly amended, in Indiana and Arkansas.
In short, the RFRA allows business under the guise of religious freedom to openly discriminate against homosexuals.
This came to a head recently in Indiana when the owner of a pizza parlor said that she would never allow her pizza pies to be served at a gay wedding. This pizza place, which apparently tops their pizza with pepperoni, sausage and a sprinkling of bigotry, raised over 1 million dollars via GoFundMe because they were exercising their religious freedom.
I would like to make the assertion that this is not a religious issues but don’t take my word for it—Jesus, the main man of Christianity, said nothing about being gay and said everything about love and kindness to our fellow men.
To our friends in Indiana and Memories Pizza, remember the words of Matthew:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew (7:1)
The Indiana problem is not one of religious freedom, instead it is that a small group of evangelical Protestants who are misquoting, misrepresenting and holding hostage the teachings of the Bible and that of Jesus Christ for their own intolerance. In fact not only is the Bible a fairly tolerant place, but Jesus was a man of acceptance—most Catholics, Jews and mainstream Protestants, believe in marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
The Bible had a lot to say about kindness, tolerance and love while Jesus spoke endlessly about a desire for his disciples not to judge:
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:2)
Suffice to say, Jesus was pretty clear that the type of unfettered judgment going on in Indiana would not align with his teachings.
Looking at the biblical evidence we see that this continual hatred against the LGBTQ community is not a biblical teaching but dogmatic hatred from Christians. Hatred and “religious freedom laws” are a construction to legitimize hatred of a group of law-abiding citizens. This is not the first time this is happened, the Bible has been fueling political agendas since its inception—whether it be slavery, women’s rights or homosexuality, the Bible has been used by corrupt political forces to subjugate and separate with very little regard for the actual teachings of Christ.
The argument should not end with the invocation of the Bible. Instead, we, as informed citizenry, should recognize this ploy and truly ask ourselves is the Bible being used to talk about love, peace and grace or is it being used as a tool to subjugate and discriminate?
Jesus was a man of love, a person who used his voice to speak out for those often maligned by the society in which he lived. He lived and died for his followers and did not use judgment or bigotry to create conflict or strife.
Reading the Bible and examining the teachings of Jesus, I am pretty sure, not only would he have catered a gay wedding, he would have officiated them. Standing up and advocating for the disenfranchised? That’s definitely Jesus’s cup of tea or, in this case, slice of pizza.
Author: Katie Schellenberg
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Mike Pence on Flickr
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