A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus

Pen

Dear Christians In Indiana (and those elsewhere, who might read this),

I’ve seen what’s been going on there lately. Actually, I’ve been watching you all along and I really need to let you know something, just in case you misunderstand:

This isn’t what I had planned.

This wasn’t the Church I set the table for.

It wasn’t the dream I had for you, when I spoke in those parables about the Kingdom; about my Kingdom.

It was all supposed to be so very different.

It was supposed to be a pervasive, beautiful, relentless “yeast in the dough” that permeated the planet; an unstoppable virus of compassion and mercy spread person-to-person, not needing government or law or force.

It was supposed to be that smallest, seemingly most insignificant of seeds, exploding steadily and gloriously with the realized potential of my sacred presence, becoming a place of safety and shelter for all people.

It was supposed to be something so very precious, such an obvious, invaluable treasure, that it would make all those who discovered and experienced it, feel like it was worth selling everything they had to hold onto it.

It was supposed my very body, here in your very flesh.

You were designed to do this, to be this.

My kindness, my goodness, my forgiveness; you were created to be the method of transportation for all of it.

You were made to deliver the greatest good news to a world so desperate for it.

This wild, extravagant, world-altering love I have for my people, was intended to travel from my aching heart, through your trembling hands, to my hurting people.

This has always been your calling. It has always been your purpose.

It still is. This very second it is.

I have placed you here at this exact place and time in the history of creation, not to defend me, as I need no defense; not to protect me, since I have already willingly laid my life down; not to judge others on my behalf, as this is far beyond your capacity and my instruction.

My beloved, I placed you here, not to defend or protect or replace me, but simply to reflect me.

That has always been my most critical commandment and your most pressing obligation; loving God and loving others. I thought that I was clear on that, when I was asked this before.

I showed you how to move in this world.

I kept company with priests and with prostitutes. I touched lepers and washed feet and dined with sinners, both notorious and covert. I served miraculous free meals to starving masses, and I allowed myself to be touched and kissed and betrayed and slandered and beaten and murdered… and I never protested.

All that is happening these days, all the posturing and the debating and the complaining; does this really look like love to you? 

Do you really think that the grandstanding and the insult-slinging and the side-choosing, that it feels like me?

Do you truly believe that the result of your labors here in these days, is a Church that clearly perpetuates my character in the world?

Is this the Gospel I entrusted you with? 

To be honest with you, I simply don’t see it.

How did you drift so far from the mission?

How did you become so angry, so combative, so petty, so arrogant, so entitled?

When did you begin writing your own script for this story?

When did you turn it into your story?

My children, here’s what you may not realize, being as close as you are to all of this. You may not be able to see it clearly anymore.

You certainly don’t have the perspective that I do, and here from my vantage point, this is what I do see:

You are driving people from me.

You have become an unbreachable barrier between myself and those who most need me.

You are leaving a legacy of damage and pain and isolation in your path.

You are testifying loudly, not to my love, but to your preference.

You are winning these little violent battles, and you are losing people; not to Hell or to Sin, but to all of the places outside of you, where they go to receive the kindness and decency and goodness that you should be showing them.

This life is not about your right to refuse anyone. If I wanted to avoid serving those I found moral faults with, I would have skipped the planet altogether.

I came to serve.

Your faith in me, cannot be an escape clause to avoid imitating me. 

Asserting your rights, was never greater than following my example.

Your religious freedom, never more important than loving the least. 

Your central cause, should be relentlessly conforming to my likeness, despite the inconvenience and discomfort that it brings.

When I commanded you to deny yourself, I was speaking about the times when it is most difficult to do so, because that is when “self” is the most distracting, the most dangerous, the most like an idol.

Obedience to me, usually comes with sacrifice to you.

I can’t force you to reflect upon these words, and I can’t make you live as I lived or love as I love. This was never the way I worked or will ever work.

I can only tell you that you have surely drifted from the course I started you on, and as often is the case in long journeys, it is a divergence that unfolds by the smallest of degrees, almost imperceptible while it’s happening.

That is why what feels like victory to you, is really another slight but definite movement away from me, and from the reason you are really here at all.

Not long after I walked the planet, as my Church was just beginning to blossom and my Kingdom was truly breaking out, a Greek writer named Aristides, wrote these words about those who bore my name then:

“It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbours. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies.

They live in the awareness of their smallness.

Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a travelling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.” *
                                                                                                                                                                                         – Aristides, 137 AD

To the Christians in Indiana, and those beyond who are still listening today; you would do well to hold these words up daily as a mirror to your individual lives, and to the expression of me that you make together in this place.

Is this what you see when you look at yourself?

Is this what the world sees when it looks at you?

In your words and in your ways, Church; do they see me?

If not, then regardless of how it seems to you, you haven’t won anything.

May this be truth, that truly sets you free. 

 

 

* taken from Jesus For President, By Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw

 

 

720 thoughts on “A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus

    • This was a good letter, however, the writer obviously does not understand the law passed in Indiana. It is not to discriminate….it is to ensure that NO ONE, does not matter who, does not have to risk losing EVERYTHING in order to follow their moral and religious convictions. This law would never had to have been if certain individuals didn’t feel like they are entitled to everything and anything. The Chapel, the baker, and the flower shop owners were the real victims here. Where there is one who will deny service, there are 50 others who will. Why make such a stink, why not just respect their convictions and move on? Don’t force your lifestyles on others….PERIOD. This letter should be addressed differently….and shame on the writer for thinking he knows the basis and importance of the law passed in Indiana.

      • I thought Christianity was accepting of everyone, is that not a higher moral tenant then excluding? The hypocracy is just laughable really. Main reason more atheists today then any other point in history. Unfortunately alot of God’s followers feel the need to play God. They love to judge but dont judge them God help you. Pun very much intended!

      • Talk about missing the point.

        The Chapel, the baker and the flower shop are not, in any sense of the word, “victims”. To say that says that you don’t understnd victimisation. What if ALL of the chapels, bakers and flower shops decided to deny service, which the Indiana law enables them to do. Who is the victim then?

        The law must provide equality of opportunity – including the opportunity to obtain equal services – for EVERYONE (that’s what equality means, y’know?). Those who wish to hide their bigotry behind a cloak of religious belief must not be sheltered by the law.

        When you understand that, and grit your teeth and embrace it – well, welcome to the 21st. century.

      • Christina, you are missing the very points that this letter is making, that is to serve without judgment your fellow man. You or anyone else has no right to make judgments and condemnation of anyone!

      • I think it is crystal clear that you are the one not understanding what happened in Indiana. The butcher, baker and candlestick maker are in business, and a business cannot have religious objections. The constitution is to protect the individual. While the owners of the businesses are entitled to religious freedom on a personal level, they are not entitled to it when trying to promote that agenda in business. If you agree with this law, then someone who owns a business that objects to serving women, or allowing children to enter their business, or signs that say “no men allowed” are all perfectly fine with you, and you will just accept it and move on?

      • Treating others with respect, and with legal equality does not mean one is “absorbing” that lifestyle- nobody cares if you low-IQ, bunch of mid-western inhabitants accept it- it exists either way. To think this in any way means the LGBT community is “forcing their lifestyle” on you is narcissistic at best, and proof of your stupidity at least. Stupidest justification of bigotry I’ve heard today.

      • No one is trying to take anything from people that have different moral or religious convictions. The people that they are discriminating against want to BUY a service that your business offers. When someone BUYS something from you it is none of your business what they do with it afterwards, if it was your business what people did with your goods then gun shops, bars, restaurants where alcohol is served, hardware stores that sell rope or screwdrivers etc. would be called up on accessory to murder or death by drunk drivers or suicides because what you sold was used to commit the crime. When you open a business it is usually interpreted that you are trying to make money to support yourself and your family. Why would anyone in business pass up an opportunity to make money? The people who you are discriminating against aren’t asking for anything that they feel entitled to, they want to BUY something, they don’t want you to GIVE it to them.By SELLING goods and services you are NOT acknowledging or having their lifestyles forced on you, you are MAKING MONEY. You Sunday Christians are trying to force YOUR lifestyle and YOUR religion ON OTHERS. Your religion should STOP at the end of your nose, it is YOURS and may not be MINE, so STOP judging everyone or telling me that what I believe in regards to religion is wrong by YOUR standards. Jesus said it was up to GOD to judge sinners, NOT YOU.

      • AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And YES…Jesus did hang out with prostitutes and sinners but what also did He say to them…”Go and SIN NO MORE!!” And that is the message that has been lost today!!! So many pastors only preach about God’s love and THATS ALL!!! So many do not want to talk about sin!!!!!!

        • you sure sound like a fundamentalist cultist, but…nobody talks about sin? have you been to one of your fundamentalist cult meetings lately? that’s all they talk about…the sins of others, of course…but that’s still sin.

      • Bearing false witness is a sin too! This law is not about discrimination? Exclusion is hate. You make excuses for hatred. You make excuses for bigots.

        I’d like to think that you have read enough of the words in red to see your savior in this letter, but, it’s lost on you. Jesus is lost on you too. Sorry, you better invest in other real estate, your mansion in Heaven is not approved.

      • How does wanting to eat a dinner with another person forcing a lifestyle on you. How does ordering flowers for another person force a lifestyle on you… How does what someone else does in their life , become a forced lifestyle for you…. I doesn’t make sense… Bigotry is Bigotry how ever you want to explain it.
        I am a Christian, I find many references in the Bible against discrimination.. and zero for discrimination.
        Hiding behind a religious belief to discriminate over another , is judgmental.. and that too is covered in the Bible in many places.
        I like the letter.. it is straight forward… and not like the new Religious freedom Act ,, There are so many pitfalls in this RFA, it is a legal document that gives a person who claims to have a religious belief that goes against his ability to serve anyone…. open ended discrimination and judging.
        Discrimination is NOT a RELIGIOUS VALUE…
        Beware, the shoe might be on your foot… and then what would you think.

      • Christiana Neal you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, this umbrella has hid what we should be talking about, which is the nuclear talks with Iran which are a joke and we should all be praying about this. The aforementioned letter (aka from Jesus) is right on as to how we should try to imitate Him. The bill has nothing to do with our journey, but with our rights as we are still on this earth.

      • Shame on you for thinking America is a place to exclude. We are done with “whites only” ” no Japs served here” Jews not allowed” ” blacks not allowed” ” we do not hire Irish” “women need not apply”

        You sir are a relic that needs to be eradicated along with your out dated ideas and bigotry! Shame on YOU! Find a communist country to live in. What if we decided to bring the Lions back to take care of you Christians. How would you feel then. What if stores put signs up that refused service to Jesus lovers? Let’s turn the table and see how you like being treated like dirt. The difference between us and you is that we would never do that……. Well…. Keep pushing and let’s see. Jesus is ashamed of all of you haters and judgers…… Where is the love and tolorence he taught? You have killed it with your venom. Shame on all of you who call yourselves Christians and act this way. Your are killing religion and the ideas of America. SHAME,

      • This comment is nonsense! The writer has no grasp of Christianity!! but nether do a large number of “pretend Christians”!!

      • Except that by leaving LGBTQ citizens out as a protected class (like race and gender), it DOES serve to discriminate. The Federal Law names them as a class protected from discrimination.

      • While the “christians” of Indiana are arguing that they are only protecting their rights, if they didn’t discriminate there would be no basis for them to to be sued. The fact is in the south in the middle of the last century, there were “Jim Crow” laws, segragated businesses and all kinds of different places whites could go and blacks couldn’t go . Southerners refused to say that these laws were discriminatory, the liked the term “separate but equal” when referring to the laws, but in retrospect no one today believes that intent was anything but to keep blacks and whites from being on equal footing. Y’all can argue all you want that this law is only “protecting” your rights, but if you don’t discriminate, you don’t need to be protected. And whether you believe it or not, Indiana is looking really bad right now in the eyes of thpeople of the U.S and the world. This law (which ony protects bigots) is going to cost Indiana a lot in the way of jobs (you have no chance of getting some major companies fom moving there) and new businesses. I wouldn’t be surprised if this law is the straw that pushes a few to leave. Without new businesses, Indiana doesn’t grow and those who own businesses don’t grow. Just to satisfy a few bigots and alot of stupid people who really have no dog in the fight (in other words they don’t own businesses anyway). Just saying!

      • @Jami God’s love is accepting of everyone, but not of their sin. He loves the Alcoholic but not Alcoholism he love the Homosexual but not Homosexuality he loves the Adulator but not Adultery. Having said that we Christians have done a horrid job at showing the love of Christ, only He can change a heart, no amount of yelling or throwing verses in peoples faces will help.

        I personally use this acronym.

        LOVE
        Listen
        *Don’t give advice before you’ve heard the story
        *People listen to about 10 percent of what someone tells them
        Offer support
        Voice God’s truth
        *At some point, you need to share what the Bible says
        *Don’t ever be embarrassed by what the Bible says
        *But watch your tone
        *Ephesians 4:15
        *Truth and love are married
        Esteem
        *All humans deserve respect
        *We’ve all been created in the image of God

      • That may have been the intent but it is so loosely worded that it does, in essence, legalize discrimination. Not to mention the fact that it’s redundant since we’re already garenteed freedom of religion by the U.S. Constitiuton.

      • Those seeking to discriminate are the victims. Right… Why don’t you run that through your Jesus filter in your heart of hearts and see if it passes. Your argument presupposes there are others who aren’t as holy as you who will take up the slack. Doesn’t sound like you’ve ever lived in a small town; there’s no reason to make that assumption.

      • Really, they’re the victims? Really? If they want to discriminate. Go right ahead, but post your intent for all to see so we can avoid small-minded discriminatory businesses. This law does not just allow discrimination against the LGBT community but can be used to discriminate against Jews, Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, etc. in case you are not much for history, Nazi Germany started with laws like this and we all know where that ended.

      • I am not certain you understand the Indiana law. It is to discriminate against those who are different from what the fine Christians of this state think they need to protect themselves and their businesses. The shop owners are not the victims but the perpetrators. They have a right to refuse service if they feel threatened, but why must one’s “religious” views become the center of the problem. I am a person of faith and do not feel threatened by giving services or goods to be condoning their life style.

      • I am sorry you weren’t ready to see this “letter” for what it was. Too many Christians have added restrictions to God’s love. Please stop.

      • Since when is wanting a cake for your wedding “forcing your lifestyles on others”? Since when is trying to order flowers to celebrate what should be the happiest day in your life ‘forcing your lifestyle on others”? When someone from the LGBTQ community tries to make you L or G or B or T or Q …. THAT is “forcing your lifestyle”. Otherwise, it’s just plain old discrimination to deny someone based solely on their sexual orientation. Would you deny an African-American/Caucasian couple the right to go to any bakery? There was a time when that was considered to be against someone’s religious beliefs. If RFRA had protection for the LGBTQ community in it there wouldn’t be all the backlash. And the fact that Pence has said such protection isn’t on his agenda is extremely depressing to me.

      • Obviously Christina you cannot see that being a christian is accepting of others including their faults as you perceive them. Jesus didn’t tell the prostitute you can’t follow me or I can’t wash your feet because it’s against my religious conviction. This letter is specifically written for people just like you.

      • There is no explanation, clarification or rationalization to justify the exclusion of any individual from those rights due every person.

      • How is walking into a bakery and ordering a cake or putting together floral arrangements “forcing” a lifestyle on someone? Your snide comment about certain individuals feeling entitled to everything and anything is abhorrent. “Certain individuals” are entitled to the same rights as you are. If you aren’t turned away for your sexual preferences, then no one should be. Get it?

      • AMEN Christina ! The victim are the shop owners. What if someone came in and wanted a party cake fora bunch of thugs celebrating their protests and wanted Kill all Police inscripted on it. They would certainly have the right to deny that service. NO DIFFERENCE! Also, a reporter called a alternative style bakery and asked to have a cake with the inscription “Homosexuality is a sin”. The homosexual owner refused to fill the request. DOUBLE STANDARD ALL THE WAY> I’ve said all along, if you’re so confident its okay, why do you have to cram it down everyone else’s throat! Just go to one of the other 50 bakery, flower shops etc in your city and quit being a bunch of control freak whining babies. If you’re so confident, then just shut-up and live your life, for God’s sake!!!!

      • So where do we draw the line. If muslims say they don’t want to serve Jews then that’s okay too? If Mormons say they don’t want to sell their houses to Southern Baptists because they don’t share the same beliefs. If men practice a religion that says females should be subservient can they deny a promotion based on gender. Indiana is taking lessons from the middle east. You can call it political but it is not Christ like in any form

      • How is this any different than having different drinking fountains or bathrooms or buses for “colored” and “white?” It’s a hugely slippery slope. When a gay person comes into a store to buy groceries, they are not “forcing their lifestyle” on anyone. They are buying freaking groceries. If you look at history, it’s these kind of laws with these kind of “protections” that were the beginning of fascism.

      • I ‘m pretty sure you missed the point about inclusive love. And also if one doesn’t protest this, then it will be used to harm someone and with no redress.

      • ridiculous, you don’t risk anything by treating your customers as equals, whom God created. the point is, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” that’s what a real christian does, not condemn what others do. why as you say, make a stink? just serve you customers and respect their convictions and move on…….and feel good about it and have their business at the same time, and help the economy in your state.

      • Gay people don’t force their lives on anyone and furthermore, being gay isn’t a “lifestyle”. This is where your ignorance kicks in. Do you consider heterosexual preference a lifestyle? There is no difference. Gay people live normal lives at heterosexuals. Why be so steriotyoical? Your states ridiculous law that passed refusing service to gay people is nothing other than discrimination. It has nothing to do with religious moral beliefs. If that were the case, you wouldn’t turn anyone away. Jesus didn’t turn a single person away. Hopefully these businesses that are participating in this new law will fail. They don’t deserve to succeed.

      • Amen. God calls upon His people to judge one another (other Christians) and to hold ourselves accountable to Him, and His Word. If I go to church and find out someone is a member of the occult (Free Mason), don’t you think I’d like to have a conversation with the guy about his faith and how he can’t be both a Christian AND a member of the occult? I wouldn’t refuse service to the LGBT, because their money is as good as anyone else’s. But I won’t do it because they’re forcing me to. In fact, I wonder if any of these vendors experienced issues from these potential customers’ demands, and chose not to serve them for another reason, and they used their sexuality to challenge them. Any idea?

      • You clearly missed the message that was posted JUST for you. Your reply is as hateful as it could possibly get, and Christians like you are why I no longer follow your faith. If hatred is a Christian value, I want no part of it.
        Who are you, to decide whose lifestyle is acceptable? Who are you, to judge any other human, a human your Christ would have loved and embraced?
        There is no reason for anyone to refuse service to another, of any kind, and this law is an atrocity, hateful and wrong.

      • You obviously missed the comments by the pope that lobbied for this law and who where there at the signing ceremony. That or you are deluded…

        Oh and you still missed the point

      • My thoughts: gays will still be able to find all the goods and services they want, like you said. This is protecting a persons right to believe that homosexuality is wrong like the Bible tells him. In effect those protesting this law are mad at God. Now God loves homosexuals, and I think Christians, and their cause would be better served if they were to realize that God does not care if you sell goods and services to homosexuals. I’m sure Christians sell goods and services to homosexuals every without knowing it. The only time I can a Christians selling of goods and services to a homosexual, as being something that their conscience would have a real problem with, is when it is something that want for a marriage celebration. If a Christian would welling a homosexual a hamburger, or bottle of water, or a house, car,etc, what is the harm in that?

      • Even the Governor refused to answer when asked the SIMPLE question – yes or no, will the law allow a person to be discriminated against? He did not answer because the answer is YES it will alllow discrimination. That stupidness was REJECT by civilized people in the 1960s!

      • I think YOU missed the point of the letter. The point is, you shouldn’t WANT to deny service to anyone because it’s not your job to judge people. If you were a true christian, you would “risk losing everything” TO serve.

      • Christina, please stop trying to pretend that you give a damn about religious convictions, and stop hiding behind the Prince of Peace’s robes while justifying your bigotry in His name. Freedom of religion meand freedom FROM it as well, and you are a fool to dismiss businesses’ discrimination in one breath and moaning “stop shoving your beliefs down our throats” in the next, you hypocrite. The Bible AND JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF okays slavery, so why did the government go against my religion and outlaw it? The Bible has been used to justify slavery, segregation, bans on interracial marriage, a ban on women voting, and the attepted eradication of Jewish people too, tou bigot.

        And while wereon the discussion of the Bible, Timothy 2:11~13 makes it pretty clear that as a woman, you’re supposed to shut your whore mouth and let the men do the talking. You are only property, hussy.

      • I love this, so true and so needed. But more importantly, it is very sad that the Evangelical church has become blind to their hypocrisy, and their arrogance. They have shut up the Kingdom of Heaven to so many people. Thank you for your prophetic words. Peace to you. Mark

      • Why should anyone have the right to deny service based on something that cannot be helped? They did this and are still doing this based on the color of ones skin…..folks with color cannot change the pigment of their skin, nor can folks who are gay! Being gay is just that being gay! God made them this way… What makes you think because your not, that it’s ok to discriminate against anyone? I am a Christian, and I know my God loves all his children! If someone commits to a loving relationship, and truely loves one another, than who are we to spit in Gods face? No my dear this law discrimiates against those who live the life that was given to them! I stay I will pray for you and those who are blind to the hate you perpetuate!!!

      • Refusing service to another person created in the image of God IS discrimination, and Christians should have nothing to do with it.
        Peace,
        Mark

      • And once again, because you missed it the first time…..
        Is this what Jesus would do?
        Is this how you want people to perceive Christians? Exclusion it’s who ay they stand for love of God, but shun people?
        Jesus would have been dancing at these weddings and celebrating love, not slamming doors in the faces of his people.

      • I still don’t see how refusing services to people is following a religious or moral lifestyle. Nor how being a gay person requesting those services is forcing your lifestyle on others – they’re not saying the service providers should turn gay! ‘Religion’ is an excuse for a multitude of bigotry – and I say that as a Christian myself!

      • That there law in Indiana was created so that people could discriminate based on their exclusionary religious beliefs. But Jesus was inclusive, at least that’s what I get from my Bible. Maybe y’uns is readin’ from the wrong book. Check out the red print an’ see what Jesus said about love. God created all of us the way we were meant to be an that’s how God loves us..

      • I’m glad to see Indiana has stood up for the right of people to live out their beliefs. It is the Christians who have been bullied. If they don’t bow to the wishes and moral dictates of these gay marriage bullies the Christian businessman stands to lose their business and all they have worked for. The gay movement has called for fairness. What’s fair about taking all that a person has worked for just because they will not bake you a cake? In all the cases I’ve read about, those who declined the job referred the gay couple to another service provider. The couple got what they wanted, plus they were able to persecute people based on the person’s religious beliefs.

        As far as the “letter from Jesus,” it shows the writer’s fundamental lack of understanding in the Bible. Jesus did not come to earth to be some warm, fuzzy anything goes kind of guy. Reading past the gospels you see that the apostles, who walked with Jesus, didn’t see Christianity as being an anything goes religion. The Bible speaks out against sexual immorality. Jesus spoke out against sexual immorality. Those who claim to speak in Jesus’ name would do well to read Jesus’ words first.

      • How sad that you have missed entirely the point of what Jesus did on earth and commanded those who claim to be Christian’s to do. ‘A Letter to Christians in Indiana from Jesus’ defines precisely the example Jesus set for his follower’s and their “moral and religious convictions” (quoting you). If those people with such “moral and religious convictions” were really Christians they would be doing as He did and as he commanded instead of the exact opposite. They would be having lunch with the very ones they are trying to legislate out of their businesses. In the end God will not judge the ones who were legislated out for being legislated out. He will judge the ones who did not follow his command to love them as them selves, for failing to open their hearts and homes to them, for not telling them that he loved them enough to die for them. Sadly you are right on one point though: It is the baker, the Chapel, and the flower shop owners who are the real victims here…. however, they are victims because they failed to do as Christ commanded them NOT because they are not allowed to discriminate against those they believe to be morally inferior to themselves. They will discover on Judgment Day that it is they who have failed the Master in their behavior. God will judge everyone for their works and we will all give an account of every word we ever spoke. I’d far rather be able to tell him that I did business with sinners and told them of HIs love, as he himself did, than to tell Him that I judged them and thereby find myself on the receiving end of His judgment. “Don’t judge others because in the same harshness that you do, I will judge you.” Those were Christ’s own words. What the morally “superior” business owners of Indiana, who happen to claim to be Christians, have done here is guarantee their own guilt on that day.

      • Because they are asking for a cake or flowers. Not your beliefs. Maybe you should not own a public business if your beliefs get in the way of providing the service. They are not Victims at all. But the very vipers the Lord spoke so venemously about. What does your beliefs have to do with inanimate objects, I wonder?

      • Disagree. If you choose to be a bigot you should not be excused because you have bastardized your religion. And you should not be excused of your religion preaches intolerance or hate. You religion belongs in your home and your bedroom and your church. Those are the limits. Outside of that you may not infringe on the rights of others because you have been taught to be a bigot.

      • As far as refusing service to someone that wants “homosexuality Is A sin” or “Kill All Cops” you have the right to refuse service for something that promotes hate or violence. in fact you have a duty to do that. You do not have to condone illegal behavior.

      • What if you went to do business somewhere and they refused you simply because your straight? What if this happened more than once? What if it happened quite often? Would you stay quiet because you would not want to “force your (hetero) ‘lifestyle’ on others”??? Think before you speak next time.

      • Don’t force your lifestyles on other people? Who is this directed to? Anyone who isn’t heterosexual? As if a person would choose a lifetime of being threatened for who they love… Don’t force your heterosexual lifestyle on others!!! Sound weird? Because that’s how heterosexual privilege works, by which I am guessing that is something you were unaware of or merely are ignorant about it. This is outright bigotry and ignorance on what is really going on with this law. As an ally to the LGBTQ community, to allow a non-living entity such as a business the legal power to potentially discriminate via religious beliefs is absolute crap. ‘Nuff said.

      • Christina -I wonder if you would feel the same if you were the one being discriminated against. What if the majority of people were atheist, and passed a law making it ok to not serve Christians if the owner didn’t like them? It is you who does not understand the point here. “Certain individuals” as you put it, are not feeling like they are entitled to everything. They are feeling like they are entitled to walk into a public place of business and not be discriminated against for some idiotic mentality that says they are inferior. You want to only cater to those who share your particular convictions? Don’t open a business for the public. Keep your religious ideals in church and home, and stop YOUR feelings of entitlement. Your religious freedom does not grant you the license to discriminate. I suppose you want separate water fountains for LGBT also?

      • Nobody is forcing their “lifestyle” on anybody by ordering a cake you bigot. Do these “victims” refuse service to unwed mother for example?
        What a bunch of hateful hypocrites.

      • Suppose you see a convicted arsonist walk into your gas station. He wants to buy gas in a plastic milk jug. If you sell it to him, you are helping him break the law. If you don’t, you are discriminating against him. The state says you must discriminate against him, in fact. What would Jesus do? Sell him gas in a plastic milk jug?

        You see a pedophile with a young child locked in the back of his car. The child is banging on the glass, begging to be let out. He wants to buy some rope and a shovel from you. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus sell him the rope and shovel?

        You run a restaurant and see a man who has a bad case of the flu come in. He’s coughing and sneezing all over everybody. He even sneezes into the salad bar! He wants to go back in the kitchen to check on the soup. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus let him into the kitchen?

        You run a bakery, and a pair of homosexuals come in. They want you to decorate a cake for them, celebrating their same-sex marriage. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, and is a public health menace. What did Jesus tell the woman who was taken in adultery? “Go, and sin no more.” Jesus never said, “It’s OK; just keep living the way you like.”

      • @BiBabe: “I still don’t see how refusing services to people is following a religious or moral lifestyle.”

        Suppose you see a convicted arsonist walk into your gas station. He wants to buy gas in a plastic milk jug. If you sell it to him, you are helping him break the law. If you don’t, you are discriminating against him. The state says you must discriminate against him, in fact. What would Jesus do? Sell him gas in a plastic milk jug? You say that servicing the customer won’t turn you into what he is, but you should be aware that it makes you complicit in his crimes.

        You see a pedophile with a young child locked in the back of his car. The child is banging on the glass, begging to be let out. He wants to buy some rope and a shovel from you. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus sell him the rope and shovel?

        You run a restaurant and see a man who has a bad case of the flu come in. He’s coughing and sneezing all over everybody. He even sneezes into the salad bar! He wants to go back in the kitchen to check on the soup. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus let him into the kitchen?

        You run a bakery, and a pair of homosexuals come in. They want you to decorate a cake for them, celebrating their same-sex marriage. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, and is a public health menace. What did Jesus tell the woman who was taken in adultery? “Go, and sin no more.” Jesus never said, “It’s OK; just keep living the way you like.”

        • You cannot judge an arsonist by his past actions, he might be buying gas for his lawn mower. Anyway most gas stations will only sell you gas in an approved container, a milk jug isn’t approved. How do you know someone in a car with a kid is a pedophile? If you think a law is being broken, call 911 and report a possible kidnapping or child endangerment . Restaurants wouldn’t let just anyone in the kitchen. Most people try to stifle sneezing, what if they only have allergies, are you a doctor and can diagnose the flu on sight? Using the Bible as the basis for law doesn’t pass muster. What if the people aren’t Christians. There aren’t or shouldn’t be any laws based on religions. Remember we have a separation of church and state in this country. You are probably a person that denounces Sharia laws, how are laws based on the Bible any different than laws based on the Koran? It is still religion affecting civil behavior. This is no different than past laws restricting Blacks, Jews, the Irish, women etc.

      • @Christina – perhaps you are correct about the verbiage of the law, but the FACT of how it will be applied will be discriminatory. That is exactly what the author addressed appropriately in this “letter”.

        AND, the author is telling the people of Indiana (and others who might include you) that Jesus’ teaching was such that they shouldn’t be refusing service to LGBT, etc in the name of Christian convictions. Which is exactly the opposite of what he was teaching.

        But again, no one needs a stupid law that actually tries to make discrimination into law. It is wrong!

        I agree a Gay couple could ignore such unchristian behavior, but that’s not my place to judge.

        Apparently, it is Indiana’s….

        Let’s just call a spade a spade – fear and possibly homophobia are often driving this kind of behavior.

      • well….among all the many other misconceptions in your post, christina, you obviously don’t understand the law itself either. this law specifically and intentionally grants legal right to discriminate against gay, bisexual and transsexual people. that’s why it exists. the law says that if a business owner finds service to any person against his religious views he can refuse service to them. that’s discrimination. there are many very good explanations of the law you can find on line….please don’t look at fox news, the heritage foundation or the family research council for them…you won’t find anything but propaganda on them….go to some law sites, some academic sites…there are many out there. but simply what the law does is allow a business or an individual who is sued in court for discrimination because of discrimination to use this law as a defense. if the defendant asserts his religious values as the reason for his discrimination then this law means that a court has to decide if it is a “substantial burden” on their beliefs. that opens the door, who can know the mind and heart of another, how can i define what is a “substantial burden” to you? so, the assertion of that would leave the court, according to this law, virtually no alternative to finding in your favor…thus, legalized discrimination.

        indiana does have non-discrimination laws on the books…for race, gender, religion…etc….but lgbt people are not included those laws, they are unprotected from the legal discrimination in this bill. the intent and the effect of this law is to legalize discrimination against gay and transsexual people. don’t take my word for it, do the research.

      • pooua, “public health menace”? Really? I’d like to see some scientific cites on that assertion. That is as dangerous an assertion as the assertion years ago that mixed marriages were a public health menace. Or that blacks were of a lower IQ or lower order of human.

        You’ve just exemplified why laws like this are so wrong. There IS harmful discrimination out there against LGBT folk. There are people that want to promote hate. And that kind of language and legislation gives the haters all they need to start forming up lynch mobs. IMHO, laws and language that promote hate against minorities is far more of a public health menace.

        Your examples comparing criminals to LGBT people is really shameful. The LGBT people want to live normal lives with their partners and families. They don’t want to convert anybody. They are not a public health menace, they are not rapists, they are not pedophiles. Maybe you define them as sinners but, in my opinion, they aren’t doing any harm to anyone except indirectly to people who decide to get all twisted up by their own moral position.

        Maybe it is offensive to fundamental Christians when a gay couple wants to eat at their restaurant. Fine. But that’s sounding very much like what used to happen with blacks, doesn’t it? Are these same business owners checking their customers for adulterers? Better not serve them either. Oh, and the kids that might be having sex before marriage? Wouldn’t want any of that in our store.

        Statistically, there are going to be a *lot* more adulterers and kids having sex in these stores than there are gay folk. So why legislation that, according to most observers, is designed to target LGBT folk? The hypocrisy is indecent.

      • Following Christ may indeed call for the loss of everything. I still suffer the consequences of being fired for taking a stand for Christ. It is the first question I am asked when looking for a job. It is the first reason to disqualify me. It is also how I became black-listed in the medical community as an medical secretary. Only in the West do we want to follow Jesus Christ risk free. The end of your letter is incorrect, the writer of the piece may not know Indiana law, but he does know following Christ. Steve

      • The writer may not know everything there is to be known about the law in Indiana (nor do I), but he is spot on in his understanding of the Christ that is revealed in the new testament, and that is the humble leader whose example I seek to follow with my whole heart, without shame, rather than the current “leaders” of any church. The truth is that those who refuse service to people based on their religious convictions know nothing of the real lives of those they are rejecting because their “gay-dar” or other forms of bigotry somehow got triggered. As a married Christian woman, my lifestyle is little different from yours, but if I choose to wear my rainbow scarf into your restaurant and you ask me to leave, it was not a case of me “forcing my lifestyle” on you, it is a case of you presuming to judge me as if you were God, despite Christ’s injunction to you to “judge not, that ye be not judged” and the fact that you actually know nothing at all about me. So yes, I will wear all my queer positive apparel when I travel to Indiana to visit my family now, even if you and others like you feel I’m choosing to “make a stink” and am not accepting of your “convictions”. But before I go and broadcast to my entire social media world about your lack of hospitality to the sojourner in your land, because of this writer’s article, I will first try to have a real heart-felt conversation with you to see if we can’t come to some sort of meeting of the minds about “what would Jesus do”.

      • All I can say is re-read the letter. No one is asking anyone here to become gay. All they are asking is to rent an apt. Buy a cup of coffee. A baked cake, or a bouquet of flowers. If it is so reprehensible for one human to do this for another, then they need to read this letter again. My prayer is that eventually hearts will soften, people will become less hurtful, laws guarantying proof in ones mind that they are more righteous than others will cease. God asked us to love, support, and accept one another as his children. He never used the words, unless they are….

      • The baker and flower shop owner are the victims? Wow, you really are a moron and probably wish segregation was still the norm. I hope to God that if you have children that none of them are gay because you would make a terrible mother to come out to, let alone plan a wedding! But then again, maybe it would do you good.

      • Do you even understand what you yourself have written? Let me read it back to you–this law is not to allow us to discriminate, it is simply to allow us to deny service or product to a group of people that we don’t like. Now, go look up the definition for the word ‘discriminate.’

      • If anyone would take time and actually read the bill, you will find NOTHING inflammatory about it. The “intent” is to protect your religious freedom. However, with that being said, the problem with the bill is what it does not say. It leaves the door open for misinterpretation. We live in a society where people twist the laws to fit there own agenda. As a Christian, I don’t want to be forced to do something I do not believe in, but I also do not want a law that allows people to be unkind in the name of religion. I do not believe in gay marriages, but I am not going to tell someone who they can and cannot love. That is between them and God, and none of my business. The bible is for me to judge myself on what Jesus expects from me, not a tool to judge others. Jesus says we are to love all people, not pick and choose who we show kindness to. That is what this bill in its current context will do, it will allow immature Christians to be unkind in the name of religion.

      • The bakers, flower shop owners, and priests were not victims because they were not discriminated against, and there was no crime committed against them. They were (rightfully) sued because they refused to serve gay customers, and so now a bill was passed so that homophobic business owners can legally discriminate against homosexual couples, or anyone they claim their religion doesn’t agree with.

        So yes, the author understands the bill, and you illustrated in yor comment that that’s exactly what the bill in fact would allow.

        Homosexual couples wouldn’t be “forcing their lifestyles” on anyone. Homophobic people would be forcing their discrimination on others, actually. Homosexual couples just want the same rights as anyone else, plain and simple.

      • Christina, you are wrong. Religion is a choice. Sexual orientation is not. I did not choose to be bisexual, God made me bisexual and I noticed that I’m bisexual during puberty at around the same time you noticed you’re heterosexual. We live in and the businesses you mentioned do business in a community that consists of all of God’s children and we have laws to ensure that people do not discriminate on the basis of innate human characteristics. Choosing a religion, misinterpreting that religions scripture and then denying service to people based on innate, human characteristics is discrimination. The courts have upheld this truth time and time again. If you interpret Christian scriptures as condemning and forbidding homosexuality then you need to take a more critical look. I recommend Liberating Christianity by my father Thomas Sorenson:

        http://www.amazon.com/Liberating-Christianity-Overcoming-Obstacles-Millennium/dp/1606080725/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1427854914&sr=8-3&keywords=liberating+christianity

        Best of luck with your faith journey, I pray that you find the courage to reflect the example that Jesus set forth for us and to love and welcome your LGBT brothers and sister.

      • really, the bakers and the flower shop owners where the victims? So buyng flowers or a cake (for whatever reason since that is NOT the business of the shop owner, his business is to bake and sell cakes or to sell flowers that came from the LGTBQ friendly country of the Netherlands). I am appaled by the idea tht marriage for YOU is the most normal thing but for a Gay man or lesbian woman it is ENTITLEMENT? This is where discrimination and hate start, don’t ou see that? you should reread the letter because you clearly didn’t understand it and while you are at it you might start again with the scriptures, you know… that book that tells you what Jesus had to tell the world. You might especially want to read Matthew 7:12 and think about how you would react if a gay person denied you service because Christianity is ” against his moral views” . You might also be interested in Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goat (you do know what a parable is right?) and ask yourself, am I on his right side or on his left and finally you might want to take a look at Matthew 7 :1-3 which I shall post here so everyone can see
        7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

        2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

        3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

        Christians (yes I am one as well) Should stop being so entitled about their religion and their CHOICE of LIFESTYLE and stop the hate against those that are either born in a certain way or in another way are ” lesser human beings” (like homeless, addicts, woman, children, Muslims/Hindus/Jews, elderly, sick and all those others that get to stomped into the ground by ” Christian lawmakers and their minions”

        this kind of hypocrisy makes me so furious but guess what, I still do what Jesus would do and that is forgive you and love you even if I don’t know you because THAT is the Christian way

      • no Christina Neal….shame on you for obviously missing the ENTIRE point of the letter. If you for ONE moment think that this is about the actual law in Indiana then you are so very sadly mistaken. This is obviously about the feelings of EITHER side of this debate, not just one side. The protesters on BOTH sides Christina…..please for your own good…..READ IT AGAIN……why is it that even full on honesty escapes some people. They still want to take a side and point blame at one side or the other…..DON’T YOU PEOPLE GET IT……THERE IS NO SIDE….WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE…..LOVE AND COMPASSION……OMG

      • “This law would never had to have been if certain individuals didn’t feel like they are entitled to everything and anything.”—-Oh boy, does this comment say it all! Yes, well said, I demand it all. I demand equality, nothing more, nothing less. I’m looking for equal not special rights. Deny me anything that you are entitled to under the Constitution and I will claim discrimination. We’ll just categorize you and your comment in the ‘we discriminate and do not respect the Constitution of the US’ column. Shame on you. Shame on Indiana.

      • Christina, you have the situation with the chapel, the baker and the flower shop owners bass-ackwards. They are the ones who do not respect others’ convictions. If they did, their businesses would prominently post their denial of service particulars. That way every one of their potential customers could decide whether to do business with them. My moral and religious convictions means that I would NEVER set foot in their establishement!

      • You missed the point. It is about the message. The law is reflective of self interest for political gain. Indiana will suffer tremendous economic loss as the result of such decisions.

      • Christina. We chose the Hunt’s Ketchup Lifestyle for our home and family. We thought about selecting the Glass Tumbler Lifestyle but decided instead on the Styrofoam Cold Cup Lifestyle so we would not have to load the dishwasher so often. Tell me which you prefer, the Charmin Roll Lifestyle or the Scott 1000 Sheet Roll Lifestyle?

      • I think you didn’t read the letter. It is NOT your job, obligation or right to judge others. Is it possible these people feel entitled because in so many cases what they deserve hasn’t been given by those in the church or even mankind in general. Read the letter again and quit feeling so high and mighty over what you have. This law may not have been written to discriminate but it sure will turn out that way in many cases, just watch. Way too many people of religion act as if they are a member of a special group that only certain people can enter and that God will only love them. Check out the Bible that you so preciously hold and read that again too. I’m pretty sure it speaks of the idea that Jesus loves all and tried to help all not just those of a certain group. Maybe the idea that many things contradict each other in the Bible between the old testament and the new show that man has been inspired to write the books of the Bible and put in a little too much of what he wanted and not enough of what God wanted.

        • Very well said. It is nice to hear someone take a realistic stance on the authoring of the Bible. It should not be taken word for word, but the general message of loving one another, and acceptance of others, charity, compassion etc. is what you should take from it. If you do not use the Bible to make yourself a better person, than you are using it wrong.

      • No one was ever prosecuted for refusing to sell a cake, you do not understanding the letter, the law, or the reason for the stink. I suggest you re-read the letter, read the law, and reconsider.

      • wow – you just chastised Jesus – wow. You obviously did not understand the letter – judge not lest thee be judged. Christina – obviously is NOT a Christian nor has Christian beliefs – did you actually look in the mirror and smile at yourself after writing your chastisement?

      • you claim discrimination is ok as a neccesary byproduct, as if all discrimination in the past was arbitrary.

        ” certain individuals didn’t feel like they are entitled to everything and anything.” The supporters of the original bill were the ones feeling entitled. They felt they should not be responsible to a law if they did not believe in it.
        Do you also believe a Muslim should not be bound to laws that are not Sharia?

        “basis and importance of the law passed in Indiana.”
        This shows me you missed the entire message of the letter. The letter was saying that it is the ‘basis and importance’ of Christianity that you need to focus on. Reread the letter in that light, perhaps you might see things a bit differently.

        I am so glad to see this letter. When we see terrorism, we ask ourselves where are the good muslims and why are they staying quiet? With this current wave of religious freedom bills i have been asking myself where are all the good Christians and why are they so quiet?

      • I’m sorry but you clearly do not understand this law if you think it does not discriminate. I will save an hour-long lecture on legal statutes and so forth and try to put it in a way that you may understand. You are saying it is okay for businesses to put up a “No Christians Welcomed” sign. Would you have a problem if business owners could decide to not serve you because they didn’t agree with your faith? Of course you would think this is an attack on your faith and blah, blah, blah. I can’t make the argument any simpler than that. Christians to the back of the bus, different drinking fountains, etc… We will not return to those days. Why do you think it is okay to treat others the way you would not wish to be treated? You are free to BELIEVE anything your religion teaches. However, you cannot ACT to discriminate against them. No one is taking away your religious freedoms.

      • Now that a few days have passed and the ‘we can now legally deny gay couples a wedding cake from our shop’ folks are being funded by others who also deem it their right to judge and deny, perhaps you now see that what was originally omitted from that law had the immediate predicted effect. It was poorly written with gaping loop holes, regardless of intent.

      • One more time. Being gay is NOT a lifestyle. Do you feel that being straight is a lifestyle?
        We just call it a life. We KNOW we were born this way. You ASSUME we chose (although you cannot explain to us when you made the choice to be straight).

        Would you feel the same way if the chapel, baker, flower shop, and pizza shop owners said that they would not cater a black wedding? a jewish wedding? a muslim wedding? an atheist wedding?

        We will never know because they wouldn’t have refused any of these things. They only refuse the one thing that they, like you, believe is a choice. And if it was a choice? why do you care? no one is forcing you to be gay, or marry a person of the same sex. You got to make your “choice” and you chose straight – no one discriminated against you for it. Not once. Not Ever.

        Not everyone in this country is a christian, or even a religious person. And even those that call themselves christian don’t even agree with each other. catholics don’t believe the same things that methodists do, or lutherans, or baptists, or church of christ, or mormons, or, jehovas witnesses, or, or, or, or, or. Heck, not even all catholics agree with other catholics, or baptists with baptists . . you get the point.

        Why do you get to decide for those that believe differently than you what their morals and values should be? If you are a pizza maker, you make pizzas. period. you don’t get to judge your customers lives. you aren’t “participating” in their wedding, you probably aren’t even invited. You are just asked to do the job which you advertise you do. Thats it. Really.

        The law was absolutely meant to discriminate. Otherwise, why now? What freedoms need restoring? Exactly what has changed that drove these legislators to feel a need for this law?

        One thing. Gay people are now allowed to get married, and thus, they feel we should be punished.

      • I think you’re actually missing the point. And people shouldn’t force lifestyles on anyone PERIOD? Christians have been forcing their beliefs on pretty much everyone since the dawn of time.

      • Christina, you just really don’t get it, do you? Refusing service is a hateful thing, not a sign of Christianity but of ego, of show off false self righteousness. But upon reading and rereading your comment, it’s plain that nothing I, the authors of this article, or anyone else have to say is going to inspire you to see that hatefulness isn’t an exercise of faith. Maybe someday something in your life will awaken you to this in a way mere words can’t. I wish you peace.

      • Jesus, would still be appalled by what you just said. Rembear he ate and lived and loved thieves and prostiutes.

      • The letter is written in a style that is familiar to me. I think this is exactly what Jesus would say. I think the letter makes it clear that these Christians businesses are proclaiming their “right of free exercise” as they see fit under man’s law. They are choosing to prioritize man’s law over God’s law.

        Jesus taught how to obey God’s law by example. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Pointing out that Jesus would want anyone acting in His name to treat others they way we want to be treated, and that our forgiveness is wholly dependent on their forgiveness of others.. that what people hold in their heart is of more import than any ritual or action….is hardly making them victims.

        The self-righteous refusal to treat all paying patrons with equal love in the name of Christian religion seems very much like what Jesus describes in Mathew 15. “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;”

      • The writer of “A letter to Christians in Indiana” is totally ignorant in trying to compare the Indiana law to any kind of exclusion or ill treatment, and/or discrimination of any sort. He must be a hater from the left. Let be add this note: Jesus associated with all kinds and types of people during His earthly ministry, but He never failed to speak against the sins committed by those people. Jesus still loves the sinner, but He still hates the sins committed by people. You can be a friend to the rapist, but I doubt you will invite the rapist over to baby sit your young daughter unless you are a total moron. However some of you might do just that to show rapists how deep your love and forgiveness goes for them. Come on people wake up, thank before you try to change the real message of Jesus, “i came to heal, forgive the repentant sinner if you forsake your sinful life and follow Me.”

      • Almost every comment here under this post from both points of view call each other names, aggressive and defamatory to each other. Everyone under Christina’s post needs to read this article again before they like it or post arguments in favor of it. 99% of the commenters here are exactly what this article is talking about. It doesn’t matter what side you are posting on. If you want to help bring the person to “love” or to “God”, stop berating each other.

      • You didn’t actually read the letter did you? If so, then you read it so quickly that you missed the point. Please read it again. If you want to claim to be a Christian, then follow the example of Christ, but please don’t take his name in vain to further your own purpose.

      • Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin. No one is forcing anyone to engage in what Christians call a sin. Christianity teaches that you reject the sin but not the sinner.

        As for a Christian business owner refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple, citing their Christian belief that a gay lifestyle is a sin, logic would dictate that the Christian owner should NOT DO BUSINESS with anyone as we are “ALL SINNERS & FALL SHORT of the glory of God.

        Selecting one “sin” over the sins that the Christian business owner may be committing or that of the other customers is discrimination but WORSE, it’s against the command of God to “love God & love your neighbor as yourself”.

      • To John Pavlovitz:

        I read your letter with the same heavy heart I carry every day – for the people like this one here I am responding to – wondering if it is her own pride blinding her from seeing the truth in your message and from rejecting Jesus Christ himself.

        Every week I have re-read a gospel, thankful for how blessed I am to see Jesus commandments right there – but also baffled by people like Christina who cannot see them.

        And I am also angry. Angry at the the probability that she has been corrupted by one of many false teachers who have given up their salvation by the lure of power and alignment with the political right.

        I pray fervently that Jesus can take the veil of deceit from their faces – so they can reject the false teaching that has twisted them.

    • Why is it so important that I accept your belief/lifestyle, or you mine? It’s a free country… I tell you my belief/lifestyle and you have a choice to either believe it or not. You tell me your belief/lifestyle, and I have the same choice. I will do what I have to do to protect the right to believe or disbelieve for me or my children, and you will do the same. The point is, I don’t have to accept your belief if I don’t want to, nor you mine . Period. It’s a two way street.

      • But it’s not the same street, see. Sure, the way you portray it, “I’m free to believe as I do, just as you are, and if we don’t agree so be it,” would be fine, if that’s all it was.

        You’re seeking to use your belief/lifestyle to deny someone else goods, services or rights based solely their different belief/lifestyle, though – goods, services or rights you’d happily grant someone else who shares your same views. How are you inconvenienced in accepting their business? How is their mere existence “shoving it in your face”?

        In the case of businesses, those with whom you don’t agree are simply asking you to do your job – which is the reason for starting a business, no? In the case of rights, those with whom you don’t agree aren’t asking for special rights, different rights or to take rights away from you. They’re asking for the same rights you and so many others have.

      • It is not a two-way street in the fundie world. One of their famous evangelists said that if you have to break a person’s leg to get them into Heaven, go ahead and do it—and they will thank you later. He was serious. This is who these people are, and this is their mindset. They are dictatorial and totalitarian in nature. They do not give a crap what you think or what your rights are. All that matters to them is what they believe and gaining the power necessary to FORCE what they believe on you and other people. They are by nature NOT “live and let live” people.

      • I say, let them discriminate. The world is changing, and those who discriminate, will be out of business. People won’t tolerate YOU, who discriminate — just look at the reaction to Indiana. It’s only going to get more and more severe. I love it, actually. Enjoy the rapid decline, as you sink with your convictions.

      • The only lifestyle you have to believe in is the one Jesus laid down his life to provide for you. It seems rather obvious to me that you either didn’t bother to read the blog post you are responding to – or you just don’t care – and Jesus commands.

    • Funny how the most relentless Libertarians go all gooey for government when their religion gets involved. Then they’re all Chairman Mao brown shirts all of a sudden. Pretty pathetic.

      • really, the whole thing is pretty absurd. how in the world is baking a cake for a same sex wedding “participating in the ceremony”? how is that any more participatory than say….picking up the garbage cans afterwards….if the baker can refuse to bake the cake, can the garbage haulers refuse to pick up the cans in the morning?….handling all that “gay” trash, you know. or, how about the weather man on tv…..should he decline to predict the weather that day, i mean…after all….he’s passing on information that those gay people will use to plan and hold their ceremony…..that’s as participatory as baking a cake.

        the absolute stupidity of it all is breathtaking. of all the things in the world for a christian to get worked up over….baking a cake for a same sex wedding seems so pathetically petty and absurd. Jesus has to be just shaking His head and wondering how it all went so very wrong.

    • Dear Christian,
      I am disappointed how you have embraced the sin and not the sinner. Remember the woman caught in adultery? When I told her to leave her life of sin, I meant it! I died for you and all your sins. There are things my Father called an abomination and unrepentant sin is among the worst. It was not a mistake when I wrote about some of these sins in the Old Testament AND the New Testament. The yeast of the Pharisees was that of a lack of humility, being unrepentant and hypocrisy. I called you to die to yourselves – especially those things that keep you from reflecting my holiness. This means you die to your agenda, you die to your selfish desires, you die to sin and you die – yes – even to your sexuality if it is sin. Adultery, pornography, homosexuality and other promiscuous behaviors were not my plan for humanity. Those who claim to be without sin make me out to be a liar and the truth is not in them. It is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. I think I proved that on the cross but that is not a license to go on sinning. That’s called, “cheap grace”. Even if you abuse my grace, I will still love you and I want my Church to love you, but my Church is called to be holy as Your Father is holy.
      Jesus

      • You should consider reading the original letter a few more times. It seems you missed its point entirely, and you were kind of its target audience.

      • Don’t you dare speak for Jesus! You need to sit down and read at least one gospel a week over and over again until you understand what Jesus really says – very clearly!

    • The writer reflects an existential, libertarian, and unbiblical view of Jesus. It is antinomianism. What I am hearing, is that in the name of diversity and equality, I cannot judge anyone and I am obligated to serve all. If Hitler asked me to make a cake with a Swastika, I am compelled to do it. Or if a rapist, serial killer, or child molester comes to my door for business, I can’t refuse. We’re all sinners, right? We can’t draw any boundaries? Love is not unbridled permissiveness. Love in the Bible is about commitment, covenant, and obedience to His commandments. The author also writes in pseudepigraphical style… indeed, it is false ascription.

      • Then you go along with the recent trend in Christian fundamentalism where words like love (as most people understand it),compassion, pity, warm heart, etc. stand totally outside of the will of God? All are slippery slopes to an approved life of sin, and the word “love” needs to be REDEFINED so it means ONLY threatening a person with Hell so they will buy your fire insurance policy.

        Do y’all see what these people are doing? Who in this universe would most like to DEFINE AWAY the traditional meanings of those words in American English. If you define away pity, then Satan gets to operate Auschwitz a little longer and kill more people. If you define away compassion, then Satan can make sure the poor and hungry can suffer longer and starve to death. If you define away a warm heart, then Satan can make sure the world is a cold and cruel place with no smiles and no hope. Really, there is a conscious movement now in Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism to DEFINE AWAY words in the English language that they think are detrimental to the twisted theology they have created for themselves over the past 40 years—because it sure as hell didn’t come from Jesus.

      • Do you offer swastika cakes as a product?
        If so, then yes, you have to bake one for hitler and anyone else that pays you to do so.

        If not, then you don’t have to bake one for anyone. Its just not a product you offer.

        On the other hand, if you offer wedding cakes as a product, then you have to bake one for anyone that pays you to do so (even if its Hitler). Its not a gay wedding cake, its just a wedding cake. If you don’t offer toppers with 2 men or two women, then you can still bake the cake and we can buy our own topper. Because baking cakes, and specifically wedding cakes, is what you do.

        IF not, then you don’t have to bake one for anyone Its just not a product you offer.

        But, if you do offer wedding cakes, and you choose not to for specific people who you don’t like because of who they are then you are discriminating.

        Do you get the difference in not offering a product for sale, and not selling an offered product to a specific segment of people?

    • Dear John:
      Jesus wrote the whole book, not just your snippets. if you truly want to be the yeast, quietly working behind the scenes, then why are you sending out a letter, driven by a media frenzy, falsely attributed to Jesus, on the worldwide web? Physician, heal thyself!!

    • It has made me so sad to see my fellow Christians support denying services to those judged to be sinners. My mind cannot comprehend how any Christian could think this is ok. I’m glad Jesus hasn’t decided to stop serving sinners.
      I will have to study the law before I pass this judgement, however. I can’t believe this was the intent when passed?

    • Excellent letter. Jesus has was excluded since day one when there was no room at the Inn for him.
      He has been an advocate for the excluded, sick, the rejected and outsider ever since. Since when did Christians become so exclusive, high living and self righteous. They seem to be missing the point!

      • i have a hard time figuring out why these self-righteous ones even call themselves “christian”. Jesus left us with two commandments, having fulfilled all the others for us. How is it loving God to turn people away from Him? how is it loving your neighbor to deny Him service? Jesus washed even the feet of judas and made clear that service was what He expected of his followers. it seems so ironic that they choose to make a stand by denying service to their neighbors, in the name of Jesus. how, though any eyes, can that be considered christian?

        • That’s ok, I have a hard time understanding how somebody who refuses to convert, who sticks to a definition of love foreign to anything Christianity taught in the first 1900 years, and who would rather live a life based in the sexual revolution than in The Way of Life, can claim to be Christian.

          • so…in your profound arrogance and ignorance you sit there with a straight face and tell me that you know what love is and i don’t. you’ve got the patent on love and i am an interloper. nope, you are a bigot and i am a christian.

            “convert”……oh, convert from the red print to the deuteronomical dogma? no, thank you, i’m a christian.

            “live in the sexual revolution” that’s called willful ignorance, stupidity in the common lexicon. you have absolutely no conception of my “sex life”…and, frankly, it’s none of your business. but, judging, based on sheer ignorance is…well……just plain stupid.

            that’s what bigotry does to people….it prevents you from realizing common sense or common decency, perverts all that is decent into arrogance and self-righteousness…..the deuteronomical dogma might celebrate those things in many ways, but my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, condemned them in no uncertain terms.

            you might consider converting to christianity.

            • Tradition is the democracy of the dead. Stop trying to tell the Saints in Heaven and even your own parents that it is evil to have children. Because that is the message homosexuals send, that you are a special snowflake whose form of love is better than everybody else’s.

              I for one am tired of a group that cannot take yes for an answer.

              • now you are operating in a complete mental vacuum. we are telling people that’s it’s evil to have children? what insane pulpit did you hear that little gem from?
                i’m now convinced…..you are completely insane.

                • The only reason for government to support heterosexual marriage is children. Supporting non-procreative marriages, be they infertile heterosexuals (which used to be called “unable to consummate” and was an automatic annulment) or homosexuality, is a major change that has been coming for a long time, from supporting children to saying that our government no longer wants to care about children. Abortion and contraception are similar, and is a part of Eugenics.

                  • So you completely discount and devalue the social benefits of couples living together? We have countless studies showing the benefits of people living as committed couples. It stabilizes society, it makes both parties healthier and happier. It would do the same for gay couples, but there’s a large swathe of Christians out there that can’t tolerate the idea of happy, healthy gay people.

                    • No, I’m saying that procreation is the single most important thing any human civilization can encourage. Fail to encourage procreation, and the result is inevitable. One human lifetime means almost nothing in the march of history and two million years of human evolution, only those who breed have lives that count.

                      And it has been proven, over and over, that a child who knows his or her biological parents and is raised by them, has a great advantage of those who are robbed of one of their biological parents.

                      That is the only interest government can possibly have in a private sexual relationship, at all. All other supposed benefits of marriage, can be accomplished with adequate business contracts.

      • Notably, Jesus wasn’t trying to be included in the mainstream. He excluded Himself, even as He demands that His followers walk the straight and narrow path that few people will find.

        “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

        You have neglected the message of Jesus: Repent!

        “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3)

        This is the point of failure; you are all about bringing the abomination into your church, without ever telling them that they must either repent or face the wrath of God.

      • You are correct, Jesus was excluded from day one and he has shown love and grace to each and every one of those groups also excluded. (He even died a horrible death for each and every one) However, Jesus also told them “go and sin no more” and Jesus never participated in their sins or did anything that would enable them to continue in their sins. You may call it exclusive, high living, and self-righteous, I call it conscientiously living MY own life using God’s Word (the Bible)as my manual. God’s Love never changes and He created each of us with a free will. As for me and my house, we choose Christ and His teachings. Everyone has the God -given right to make that decision.–you included.

        • well, no one is asking you to live in any manner you choose not to live, just do business if you are in business. “go and sin no more”….listen, if you have figured out how pull that one off then you have outlived your need for Jesus, you have managed do what Jesus tells us is impossible, save yourself.
          but then that which you insist i repent of….love….well, if you think i could possibly repent for that, you are way off base.

          the Word of God never changes, that’s true….but if you are not willing to grow in your understanding of His Word then you have my sympathy….as paul noted in this letter to the colossians, “you are constantly being renewed in order to bring you to a fuller understanding of Himself.”

          bigotry is decidedly unchristian, get over your self-righteous self.

          • It is statements like that last one, that prove to me that homosexuality is about hate rather than love. To expect somebody to do in business what they cannot do in the church is to teach hypocracy. Hetrophobes is the real bigotry here.

  1. We’re facing the same situation here in Arkansas (and worse). I wish there were a way to get these words to them, but they have cut themselves off from any potential debate. They have won their causes for their handlers, and as you say, they are driving people away in droves. As an atheist, I should be happy, but all I can see is the hurt.

      • No, it would take an undisputable act of god to make me believe. You misunderstand. I don’t care what someone’s religion is, as long as it’s not harmful. Once upon a time, when I thought of Christians, I thought of people like my grandfather and Pastor John here. Their religion is personal; it has to do with how they deal with the world, and that’s how they view it. They don’t externalize it as ways the world should treat them. Don’t get me wrong; I still view unfounded beliefs as harmful, but if you feel you must believe in things unseen, that’s a pretty good way to do it. It affects you, and in a best case scenario provides a positive passive example for those around you.

        But these so-called Conservatives, Evangelicals, and Dominionists are something else again. They’re actually demanding the right to discriminate in the name of their god. I can’t even wrap my head around that. Their god is so weak that they feel the need to prop him up with laws. It’s as if they feel their relationship with their god is only as strong as the influence they can make it wield on others.

        I think it would be a good thing if John and everyone else gave up religion, but that’s not going to happen. I have to live in the real world, and in that world this corrupt and cancerous version of Christianity is harming me, my friends, and even people like Pastor John. Christianity doesn’t have to be this perverted caricature, and as angry as I get at the people who foist it on the public (and those who believe it’s a good idea), I’m more overwhelmed by the hurt I feel from those around me.

    • From my vantage point in Canada, I don’t see a lot of debate on the topic of same-sex marriage. I see a lot of verbal stone throwing.
      But what is really needed is not stone throwing or debate. It is true dialogue. That is in VERY scarce supply.

      • It is an abomination to God. It is sin….rebellion against God.
        According to His Word if homosexuals do not give up the lifestyle and call it what it is…SIN, they will go to hell.

        That is not hate, that is His Truth!

      • The thing that bothers me most about some so called Christian people is that they pick and choose what they want to follow out of the Bible. If they are going to make such a fuss about one part of Leviticus, why don’t they complain about the other things in it that people don’t follow, like the food laws (eating pork, rabbit or shell fish, clams, oysters etc), haircut & beard rules, mixed fabrics in clothes, perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich, uncleanliness post childbirth & menstrual period, getting tattoos, not standing in the presence of the elderly (how many times do you see youngsters NOT offering their seat on a bus or at a restaurant waiting room to an older person), mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born”, working on the Sabbath etc. If one part is to be followed, why not follow the other parts too?

      • you can acknowledge sin to your heart’s content….but when you judge the sinner you are playing God…….that’s called idolatry, and it’s sin.

    • You know, I had an athiest friend who said things like this. I found it quite ironic that she was totally okay with parents going to any measures to get their kids to believe in Santa but thought that believing in God, whom you cannot prove doesn’t exist, was “harmful.”

    • as an atheist i don’t see how just seeing people being driven from any certain religion should make you happy…perhaps if you were an atheist advocate. don’t feel like you aren’t alone with those feelings among atheists either, there is nothing about atheism that that prohibits you from seeing injustice and feeling badly about it….that’s just plain old garden variety compassion. i’m a christian, to me Jesus is the most compassionate entity in the universe, but even He doesn’t have a monopoly on it.

      celebrate you compassion, as others see that yours is more like their Savior than their own….maybe it will make them think.

      • To me participating in a ceremony that promotes and glorifies sin is not something a Christian should be part of and we were told in the Bible to not be a part of this world. It is the same as eating meat served to idols, if you don’t know etc just eat and be there with the people, but if you do know i.e. they tell you this is for a wedding that goes against the Bible, then you are not to take part in it. So many times we want to read what others have written without actually turning to the scripture that we should be reading.

        • Wolfvet, I spent the first half of my life deeply entrenched in the church before moving over to the dark side (because they have better cookies). To this day, I still spend an hour or two per day on bible study. The difference is I no longer take it as I was spoon-fed it in church. Studying the bible was what led to my atheism. My continued studies have only served to strengthen my convictions about the book. I simply do not see the passages which are commonly cited as condemning homosexuality as doing so. It seems very clear to me that it’s a complete misreading of the original texts.

          Were I still a Christian, that would not change my knowledge of the texts, and I still wouldn’t view homosexuality as a sin according to either the old or new testaments. There are many Christians who do hold this or similar understandings of the text. Regardless of whether or not you agree with us, does the fact that some Christians can have perfectly valid reasons for believing homosexuality is not sinful have any bearing on your argument?

  2. Martin Luther and Jean Calvin is what happened. Abandoning The Way, The Truth, and The Life in exchange for the chaos of Sola Scriptura and individual religion, individual values, under which there is no more room for works of mercy.

    • Somewhat off point and I don’t see paying indulgences to get out of “purgatory” to fatten the Roman churches coffers as
      “The Way, the Truth and the Light”. In fact I still believe that people are still paying for masses for the dead. BTW, it is John Calvin the reformer.

      • “John” Calvin was French and known natively as Jean Calvin. His birth name was Jehan Cauvin, and he signed his name in a number of different ways throughout his life.

      • It wasn’t an attack. It seemed more to be an open letter of appeal. A lot of people ask themselves “What would Jesus do?” and consistently come up with a skewed answer. Not because the idea that Jesus had for Christianity was wrong but because they involved their personal feelings and discomfort in the decision. Then they use scripture as an excuse for bigotry. This was very much not an attack. It was a plea for people to come to sense and learn human compassion, which is the basis for most religion. I’m not a religious person, or even a christian, here but I see how positive it’s effects can potentially be in spreading love and kindness. It’s a potential that is wasted on people who refuse to love each other without exception. This addresses those people, the ones who need to open their hearts to loving one another. If you feel this applies to specific sects of christianity(or maybe you personally), then maybe some introspection of the insecurities, likely caused by your own doubts, is in order. Learn from this, follow it’s example, and understand that to portray a religion is to adopt is completely, not to cherry pick verses to prop up personal vendettas of hate.

      • I see no love nor acceptance in the article, only warring definitions of Sola Scriptura and cherry picking of favorite verses, on both sides of the question.

        There is no love in homosexuality, only hatred.

    • I don’t know about Calvin, but Martin Luther left the Catholic church BECAUSE it had become a political machine, “selling” forgiveness to those who could pay money, and because it had abandoned a trust that Jesus’ work was all that was necessary, instead turning to a works-based righteousness that creates exactly the kind of fear that is being addressed in this letter. If we can trust that Jesus did the work and knew what was needed, then we don’t have to try to go do the work. We just have to live in love and grace and kindness to everyone. Sorry, but you don’t understand Luther if you think he advocated anything like what you’re claiming. After all, he called for people to stop listening to the human institution that was the church and start reading the Bible again.

      • What he created was people who selectively read scripture to avoid their own favorite sins. The cause doesn’t matter as much as the effect.

    • I can’t speak about Calvin, but Martin Luther left the Catholic church BECAUSE it had become a political machine, “selling” forgiveness to those who could pay money, and because it had abandoned a trust that Jesus’ work was all that was necessary, instead turning to a works-based righteousness that creates exactly the kind of fear that is being addressed in this letter. If we can trust that Jesus did the work and knew what was needed, then we don’t have to try to go do the work. We just have to live in love and grace and kindness to everyone. Sorry, but you don’t understand Luther if you think he advocated anything like what you’re claiming. After all, he called for people to stop listening to the human institution that was the church and start reading the Bible again.

  3. Really great post. Beautifully said. I have not been paying attention to what is happening in Indiana, but if it is anything like what is happening elsewhere it is relevant. God bless.

  4. Dear Ian,
    A lovely letter that truly reflects my position with respect to the good news that Jesus brought, taught and lived. However, living in the UK, I have absolutely no knowledge of the situation that prompted you to write. I am ignorant concerning the ‘battles’ that the Church in Indiana has fought and won and which you say is a denial of the calling we have all received from our Lord; could you please enlighten me?
    David

      • Not all Christians in Indiana was for this bill and are racists or bigots. All Christians should not be blamed for what a hand full of Christian and non Christian people did. Many people are upset including many Christians!

      • Hmm, kind of like what you just did there by calling Christians bigots and racists? Aren’t you happy that you have the right to do that and that you are protected by laws to do so? By the way…It is not named the Christian religious freedom law in case you missed it. It is open to ALL religions. This law was not signed in by ONLY Christians. As a Christian I can be refused service by ANY person if their religious theology is not similar with mine. How about you actually read the law before placing judgment? This is actually already a federal law that was just added to the States constitution. There are 19 other states that have this in their state constitutions. I am not saying it’s right, I am simply saying that it ALREADY existed on a federal level and your anger should be pointed in that direction instead of pointing it in the direction of the newest and most recent MEDIA coverage.

    • Hello David, The governor of Indiana signed into law this week a bill that allows business owners to refuse service to anyone whom they deem to be incompatible with their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, there are already similar laws on the books in 31 other states. The recent laws have become much more strident in their language, however, and recent attempts in other states to pass such laws (“Religious Freedom Restoration Acts”) have been vetoed at the level of the governor. http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/25/gov-mike-pence-sign-religious-freedom-bill-thursday/70448858/

      • kay bus. people have moral objections to virtually any and everything under the san. morality is not a claim that that be held by just a few, when we allow one group of people….especially those who do not have a moral mandate in the first place, to codify into law permission to impose their morality on others….we functionally accept their sense of morality as our own. i, for one, and certainly among many, many thousands if not millions of other hoosiers, do not accept their sense of morality as my own, i think religious fundamentalists are among the most immoral people on the planet.

        tolerance is not an absolute, functionally, tolerance is dead when it tolerates intolerance. when you have a church who says, “we accept everybody”, the fact is that first time you allow a person in your church that does not accept everybody you become a church that does not accept everybody, you have a church where some members accept everybody and other members don’t. that may sound a little off the wall but there was a recent debate in a church between those who wanted their welcoming message to read, “we accept everybody” and others who wanted to say, “we accept everybody who accepts everybody.” tolerance, by definition, cannot exist when it accepts intolerance.

        i guess my point is this….at some point you have to take a stand. you can understand someone’s position without accepting it. you can say, “i see your point, but i disagree with it and i will stand against you imposing your point on others.”

        the debate in indiana isn’t about anyone’s particular moral feelings, it’s about how they get to impose that morality on the business community. the point of contention is, basically, can a business…operating in the public space, impose it’s individual moral positions on their customers. should we allow people, again….operating in the public sector, using public infrastructure and public access… to pick and choose who they will do business with. when doing business….do you have to do business with everybody or can you discriminate…can you pick and choose? the intent and the effect of sb101 is to say that in indiana, yes….you can do that. no, it doesn’t say that specifically, but the language does steer the courts in that direction.

    • Indiana passed a bill that allows a business owner to be able to refuse service to someone. It is suppose to protect the business owner from being sued but some can’t help but wonder if this bill is related to the gay couple that were refused service and then they sued the business. The bill could allow people to openly discriminate gays, muslims, etc. For me it’s a little reminiscent of when black people were refused service and segregated.

      • I feel it had to do with the gay people that got upset and sued that business. I understand the reasons for the Christian or religious business owner will have certain moral standards that they want to follow and even feel a conviction about certain matters. Many people believe the way gay people live is morally wrong and upsets them. It has nothing to do with skin color or a certain race of people. I know this will continue to be a touchy subject. I hope passing that bill things won’t get out of hand. To keep people from being sued is fine but some people may use it in the wrong way and actually be prejudice or mistreat some people.

      • Technically businesses still can’t discriminate against protected classes (like religion) but there is no lbgtq protection clause in Indiana.

      • It is not “a little reminiscent” of that, Amanda, it is exactly the same. Human rights, civil rights, are inalienable and universal. No law should be allowed to be proposed, let alone passed, that can exclude people based on someone’s prejudices. Business owners who don’t want to sell to those they don’t like, don’t agree with, can close shop and go door to door after carefully screening their prospective customers, selectively and narrowly focusing on only those they agree with, without liablilty…
        and see how quickly they go out of business.

      • The bill also protects doctors from being forced to perform abortions if they feel that it would be against their personal convictions. That’s something Jesus would definitely be on board with I should think.

      • This event occurred here in Cornwall, England. I know the couple who ran the business, and even stayed in their beautiful house myself with my young family. We stayed for free because I was working for a Bible translating organisation, and the Christian couple wanted to give us a free holiday. They are lovely, kind, caring folk, and were trying to run their business as they felt Jesus would want them to. They were, unfortunately, in the eyes of the UK gay activist movement, a soft target. Their website and their literature made it clear that unmarried couples would be expected to have separate rooms. In the UK, however, any such stipulation is deemed unenforceable. The gay couple hid their sexuality until the moment they arrived – they misled the owners, in other words, and then sprang a sudden shock on them. It was, frankly, a set up. When refused a room with a double bed, the two men called the Police.

        I felt torn by this tricky situation. I love the hotel and I felt befriended by the owners during our stay. My two children drew pictures of the cats and dogs that lived there. A few years later, Hazel Mary wrote to me and said that we needed to go back, because the pictures had been stuck on the walls and were getting a bit tired. Maybe my kids would do some new ones? This is the kind of people they are, and gives an idea of how they ran the business (which they viewed as a ministry).

        Why am I torn? Because I think they should have realised that running a business means that it has to be run within the confines of the Law, rather than according to personal standards. But I hate the fact that they were set up by people who are essentially political activists. I am father to a gay child. I have had gay experiences in my own life. I am not anti-gay, in other words. But in this instance, these lovely people were traumatised by their experience of having to go to Court, and their business was shut down. Nobody won.

        If we had our own version of your new Indiana law they might have been protected. But your law as it stands seems so open to abuse. It almost reads like being open season to discriminate against anything you don’t approve of. Where does it end, I wonder. “I was breaking the speed limit because I was late for a church service”, maybe? “I didn’t help the woman being mugged because her habib offended me”? Nope, the Good Samaritan parable seems to point the way.

      • another way to look at the law is that it PROTECTS anyone from legal retaliation. For example if a Christian bakery doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for a gay couple … They can do so without fear of a descrimination lawsuit. Whether or not that is the “Christian” reaction is debatable. I like the article and it has somewhat impacted my thinking on this issue.

      • Cheryl, that bill is not singularly pointed at the LGBT community–it was the oh-so-unbiased media coverage and CEO’s that started that ballyhoo. It includes EVERY religion. Service can be denied to ANYONE (not just LGBT community) based on your religious theology. This is a FEDERAL law that was just added to Indiana’s state constitution. It is already on the books and at least 19 other states also have adopted a similar law. For instance…if i went into the establishment of someone who was Atheist ,Gay, muslim, etc. (and I am only using it as an example) and they wanted to refuse service to me because I am Christian–they can do so and do not have to fear a lawsuit.

      • Yes but. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals say that you cannot be saved unless you believe in every word in the Bible (as they believe it). They claim that one must be 10 percent consistent in spiritual things. On CNN a minute ago, Gary Tuchman asked a Georgia florist if she would sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding. She said “NO.” He then asked her if she would sell flowers for the wedding of a person who had committed adultery, and she said, “YES.” And why was that? “Well, I just think that this gay seeyun is more important than the adultery seeyun?

        Where is your 100 percent spiritual consistency now fundies? A Christian florist in Georgia has more guts in stating the truth than any of you who practice PR deceit. And I will remind you that PR deceit is a form of lying—and the New testament says that liars will never see the Kingdom of Heaven.

        The fact of the matter is that you people hate gay people, resent them for having success in the free American political system, and now need to have a law to punish them for that success. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. But, oh no!!! You’ll have no part of that. God is moving a little too slowly for you on this matter, and you want to step in, sit on his throne, and pass “jeest a leedle beety law” so you can use it to begin the vengeance process yourselves. C’mon. Admit it. You are angry at gay people—and you personally want vengeance. C’mon. Man up!!! No deceit is needed here. Just a “yes” or “no.”

    • David, the simple answer is that Jon is responding to a bill passed by the Indiana legislature and signed into law by the governor this Thursday past. The law provides that business owners can refuse to sell goods and/or services to or employ certain people if they claim it is based on a deeply felt religious belief. The law is aimed at gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people. The looseness of the wording would allow the business owners to discriminate against just about anyone based on any prejudice they hold; black folks, latino folks, mixed race couples, divorced people, etc. The belief doesn’t even need to be a documented belief of the religion to which they claim to subscribe or any belief system, they can make it up in their head.

      There are a number of US states working to pass similar laws. It is a splashback by religious conservatives upset with the swift reality of marriage equality in the USA. 37 states now, with some in the deep south digging in their feet, have marriage equality for same gender and opposite gender couples. Due to that, a few businesses that cater to the wedding industry in several states have refused to sell cakes & flowers, rent venues, etc for same gendered weddings. And some of them have been found to be inviolation of their state’s civil business codes that require them not to discriminate in their business practices of selling goods and services to the public.

      • This is the exact type of lying that is being promotef about this new law that is purposefully causing confusion. These comments are not even close to reality! Our society is being destroyed from within by dishonesty. A truthful discussion of Indiana’s new law would be helpful, but when people lie to promote their agenda, nothing good can come from it.

      • Pretty much. The fundies will argue that it has nothing to do with gay people, but most of the rest of us aren’t buying that rationalization. This is a Jim Crow law for gays–don’t sit at my lunch counter, don’t ride on my bus, and don’t expect me to serve you in my business unless you can proves you’re not one of those “sinful queers.” It’s completely disgusting, and I’m not gay nor do I live in Indiana. I’m still outraged.

    • The people if Indiana voted to pass legislation that woukd protect religious rights: A pastor cannot be forced to Marry a gay couple against the views if his church for example.

      • People of Indiana didn’t vote for this stupid law, the tea party and ultra conservative Republican Party that holds the majority vote pushed it through in a secret meeting ????????

      • your example is not applicable. no pastor in the state of indiana has ever been forced to marry a gay couple….not now, not ever…this law has absolutely no bearing on that. i have never heard anyone advocate that pastors should have to marry anyone they don’t want to marry….that’s just another red herring that lying religious bigots have put out there for very ignorant people to believe and act on. this law is not about religious “freedom”…it is the exact opposite, this law is about religious oppression. republicans often name bills the opposite of what they actually are because their base is generally so unintelligent and undiscerning that they are willing to believe what they say about a bill based on it’s name rather than it’s substance. this is a very good example…they call it “religious freedom” so there is no shortage of ignorant, unintelligent and undiscerning people who insist that that’s what it’s about…they have been told so, it’s suits their own bigotry to believe so….so that’s what they believe. no amount of truth or empirical evidence will change their minds. willful ignorance is a tenant of bigotry……usually people really aren’t that stupid, but they will intentionally keep themselves ignorant if it suits their bigotry……we see a lot of that……it’s overwhelming in the fundamentalist christian cults, it’s necessary for their survival…..intelligent, discerning people don’t do cults.

        • Maybe not Indiana, but in Kansas this has already come up before the Human Rights Commission and the Knights of Columbus were forced to host a gay wedding on Catholic Church property. In Idaho, a Protestant couple running a wedding chapel came under a local ordinance and was nearly forced to close its doors. BOTH cases were denied appeal to federal court- Christians have no constitutional rights when it comes to the great Homophiliac Union.

          • when you do business in the public arena….like renting your facilities out for money….you are doing business in public, so why is it asking too much for you to do business with the public? actually, that’s a very american concept, religious cults aren’t excluded from democracy, nor should they have special rights in a democracy.

          • Very simple. Neither the KofC nor the wedding chapel are churches. Christians in the US are often so completely inured in their privilege that they honestly cannot grasp just how special they’ve made their place in society.

    • Short Version- Indiana Governor signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which prohibits racists and bigots from taking away the rights of “Christians” to live their lives and conduct their businesses (aka free enterprise) according to their religious beliefs. People came to America, not just Indiana, so that they could have freedom of religion–not freedom from religion. I may not agree with other people’s lifestyle or beliefs but I should be able to live MY life according to my belief in God’s Word. For example, I would never hire a known child abuser to babysit my kids. I would never have an abortion because I believe it is murder and not within God’s plan. Because some states’ laws say abortion is not murder, Colorado is not going to charge a woman with murder when she used Craig’s List to lure a very pregnant woman to her house, stabbed the woman and cut out the baby. The momma lived but the precious life of her very much wanted baby was ended.

      • Adraper said: “People came to America, not just Indiana, so that they could have freedom of religion–not freedom from religion. I may not agree with other people’s lifestyle or beliefs but I should be able to live MY life according to my belief in God’s Word.”

        Then quit trying to take over the government so you can use it to force people of consciences other than yours to believe and act the way you want them to. Religious freedom is a two-way street in the United States. Your problem is that you see it as a one way street and nobody exists on that street except you.

      • listen…..it’s not that complex……there is no such thing as freedom of religion without freedom from religion. you cannot have one without the other. orange is not yellow, but orange cannot exist without yellow.

      • racists, bigots, child molesters, craigs list? huh? not following your rambling stretch of a point. free enterprise should not allow discrimination. baking a cake for a reception is doing your job. you are not participating in the ceremony. are you go to have all your customers explain what each cake is for? maybe its a birthday cake for a sinner?

    • In the 90s, president Clinton, backed by a unanimous House and nearly unanimous Senate, passed the same law that Indiana just passed – a law concerning religious freedom. This law was on a federal level. Because Clinton’s law was federal, there was still some loopholes at the state level. Since then, numerous States have passed the same exact same law, or a variation that amounts to the same thing. From what I understand, in its 20 years as a federal law it has never been used to discriminate against homosexuals.

      Because the law has anything to do with religious freedom, it is vehemently attacked and misconstrued (especially by the media). Straw men arguments are erected. Lies touted as facts. People are made to feel like bad Christians if they support it. It is true that some supporters, unfortunately, show very little charity and love when supporting this bill. Do the lies of the media or the poor behavior of some supporters mean that the law is bad or inappropriate or will be used to discriminate? Are Christians bigots if their religious beliefs are protected?

      • RE: In the 90s, president Clinton, backed by a unanimous House and nearly unanimous Senate, passed the same law that Indiana just passed – a law concerning religious freedom. —

        The law was originally written to protect religions from interference from the government in the practice of the religion. It came about from the Native Americans who wanted to use Peyote in their religious ceremonies.

        • when they start by telling you that the federal rfra and the indiana rfra are the same…..you know right then that they don’t know what they’re talking about. the only resemblance between the federal and the indiana rfra’s is….the name. besides that, the intent and the effect are entirely different. of course they wouldn’t know that because, obviously, they are informed, or i should say misinformed, by fox news and not by any credible source. it’s a shame that people choose to keep themselves enveloped in ignorance and deceit…but, that’s what cults are all about.

        • The person who told all of you that the Indiana law was the same as the federal RFRA of 1993 lied to you, assumed you were gullible enough to believe it, and trusted that you would not look up the facts for yourself.

          • The single way it was different was protection against frivolous lawsuits. If I was a thief, I’d pretend to be gay and get married just to bilk people for very large civil rights lawsuits.

            The fact that you are against frivolous lawsuit protection must mean that you are for gay mafia going around bilking people for civil rights cash.

  5. Hi John. You need a bit of a history lesson here to know what is really going on in Indiana. In the early 1900s, land subdivides in Tennessee were about shot. Rural families in Middle Tennessee had 8 to 14 kids in them. The large Revolutionary War land grants in Middle Tennessee had been subdivided among the kids of each generation so many times that by 1920 a father and mother had only 117 acres of farmland, and subdividing that little among their 14 kids for the next generation would not have given the kids enough land of their own to support themselves by farming.. This means the kids had to look elsewhere than the farm for jobs, and Tennessee did not have a lot of nonfarm jobs. Highway 109 North in Middle Tennessee was the beginning of what turned out to be a large emigration pathway to Indiana for industrial jobs—and huge numbers of people from Middle Tennessee flooded that pathway prior to and during World War II. The Native Hoosiers saw its as a massive influx of disgusting hillbillies who could barely read and write—if at all—and the possessors of strange cultural ways, which had their roots in Scots-Irish culture. What happened is what many bigots against Hispanic people fear might happen. The disgusting hillbillies bred like rabbits, landed good jobs, worked harder and better than their neighbors, got respectable educations for their kids. Basically, they took over Indiana—colonized it—and made it their own.

    Unfortunately, they took all of the bad things in southern culture with them along with the good. They took their hatred for black people. They took Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism. They took a taste for deadly “vittles” that clog arteries. They took the whole 9 yards of it with them and more. This is why Indiana had (arguably) the largest and most vocal Ku Klux Klan organization in the nation in the early 20th century.

    All of those Tennessee emigrants to Indiana passed their cultural affectations onto their children for several generations. Those generations tended to stay in Indiana.

    So, this is my point for those of you who might be wondering what is going on in Indiana right now—and why—at its very roots. Basically, Indiana is a foreign colony of the American South wedged into the more progressive states around it—just like Southern Florida is a colony of the American North. From history, It is fully predictable that LGBTQ people would be having the same problems (or worse) in Indiana that they are having right now in Alabama and Texas. Indiana is a state with an Alabama-style and Texas-style populace and mindset.

    P.S. I know about the history of this emigration to Indiana because my family on both sides was part of it. As one person said to me about 20 years ago. The Brown family from Tennessee always had an unusual and distinctive cranial shape. I could spot any member of the Brown in an Indianapolis grocery store, even if I had never met the person, just by looking at their heads. I would then walk up and say, “Excuse me. Might you be a member of the Brown family from Tennessee?” The answer was always, “Why yes, I am. How did you know?”

    You will find that the families who went north were mostly Southern Baptists, assorted other fundies, and old Methodist Episcopal Church South members—along with a huge dose of Church of Christ people—a fundamentalist sect in Middle Tennessee referred to pejoratively by most Middle Tennesseans as “Campbellites” but pronounced—always pronounced—“Camel Lites” like the cigarettes.

    Now there’s your trouble…and whatever else your are seeing of concern in Indiana is a direct outgrowth from it. All you need is a little cultural context to understand what is really happening.

    • Thanks for an insightful history lesson. I am a lifelong Hoosier, born in LaPorte and living in Indpls since 1968. When I began my studies at Franklin College (Class of ’68), many of my friends attending from the East would jag that Indiana is the most northern of the southern states. Your offering here helps explain why that was, and is, a valid observation.

      • Nope. This is pretty much how it went. The thing I forget to mention is that the kids of the Tennessee emigrants to Indiana consider themselves to be better quality human beings than their relatives, like me, who still live down south. You can look at my background information over on my blog under the My Profile button. I am a pretty accomplished person overall, but in their eyes I am little better than a globe of dried snot—not because of anything about my behavior—but simply because I was born in Tennessee and have lived here all of my life. To them, I am no better than their own disgusting hillbilly ancestors.

        I am just telling it the way it is Janice. Take it or leave it.

    • Your explanation makes perfect sense to me now. I’ve lived in NE Indiana for nearly 20 years and have always wondered why Indiana seems to be giving the rest of the country the finger up between the more progressive states that surround it. I’d heard this “giving the rest of the country the finger” from a newspaper reporter who interviewed my same sex partner and I at the Allen County court house on the day we were married there. Since the state couldn’t stop the marriages, the knowledgeable politicians, in the name of religious freedom, have been trying to take what they can from the situation. They believe all they have to say to get support is to make it a religious thing, when it has nothing to do with religion at all.

    • The above explanation is full of prejudice and loathing for southern Christians. I hope it at least makes you feel good.

    • Your little history lesson was good for a nice laugh today. It was filled with inaccuracies, generalizations, and insults. Social injustice can and does exist most anywhere. I’m a person who has devoted both my personal and professional life to help all regardless of color, orientation, or origin. Much of Indiana during the past 10 years has seen a huge increase to a foreign born population (i.e. 4th fastest growing Latino population in the nation) Not to mention 15,000 Asian, Asian-Americans living in Hamilton co. Personally my organization had resettled thousands of persons from Burma and Africa who now call Indianapolis home. Your remarks would have also insulted my ancestors who fought for the North and wrote about their feelings of hatered for Slavery etc. The Klan has had a dwindling membership for years and has very little influence in the policitical landscape in last 40 years. I could go on but I won’t !

    • Correct me if I am wrong as I have not read the piece of legislation, it appears that the new law does not specify what group can be denied. So the door would swing both ways and a law of unintended consequences will occur. As that happens, hopefully people will come to their senses. One can pray that they do. On the other hand, if I was strongly morally opposed to something and forced to participate or support it of face imprisionment or fine, that would amount to persecution….for instance in the case of a physician who refuses to perform an abortion…this is what is going on in my thoughts as I thank God I don’t live in Indiana.

      • Well, this is what I told a friend of mine who didn’t really see the problem inherent in this law.

        “The wording of the bill makes it seem fairly innocuous with a bunch of political speech and legalese. But I think the issue that comes up is people who may be negatively impacted by this bill HAVE to look past the words on the page. If it’s going to affect your life and your enjoyment thereof, you can’t just assume the circular, vague, clinical language in a bill is for the betterment of everyone, themselves included. Especially in this political climate on the topic of religion.

        The biggest issue I see with this bill is that it is “protecting” something that was never in danger to begin with. I get the feeling the people who voted FOR this thing weren’t looking at it saying “Well, I hope this allows muslims/buddhists/hinduists/etc to worship freely without undue burden or consequence.”

        If this bill is being so WIDELY misread by both sides, I think that says a LOT about the law itself. It is clearly not doing what it set out to.”

      • perhaps you should read up about these types of laws. Depending on which source you find…there are between 19 and 31 states that have similar laws in their state constitutions. I wonder if the state that you live in is one of them?

    • To believe that the very mentality that you say was ‘created’ by the influx of Middle Tennesseans and passed down through generations of the early native (hardly) Indianans – who by inference were, supposedly, pure and homogenous in their thinking and beliefs (highly questionable at the least) – and that the negative impact this emmigration is, as you claim, to blame for the current day thinking behind the recently passed discriminatory legislation, is not only clouding the issue at hand by some loose correlation between economic hardships of ‘yesteryear’ and the apparent bigotry today but is narrowmindedly justifying any and all discrimination. I’m not suggesting that you are trying to justify it, but to suggest it as a root cause is not plausible even in the vague historical context. That those who were ‘to blame’ for the earlier discrimination are now doing the discriminating is off the mark. Bigotry is not genetically passed on, it is learned – taught – and has no place in our more evolved society (tongue-in-cheek).

    • This is laughable. At best it’s like reading the Ma and Pa Kettle story. I am a Hoosier and my ancestors came over on the boat and moved west to Indiana from Philadelphia. There is a huge portion of our city that is of polish descent. We have a very diverse community here with latinos, blacks, whites, gays and straights. YOUR family history doesn’t have anything to do with the law that was enacted.

      • Don’t kid yourself honey. I have relatives all over Indiana. I know their religious beliefs—and they likely have nearly everything to do with this Indiana law—along with many others.

        And remember, one of the primary reasons the Ku Klux Klan became so powerful and so large in Indiana in the early 19th century was its targeted and highly public opposition to immigrants, particularly Roman Catholic immigrants, pouring into Indiana from eastern European countries like Poland.

    • You generalize too much. I lived in Indiana t h e first 50 years of my life. The farm my family owned in 1809 is still in family hands. We are not a bunch of ignorant hillbillies. We are educated as much as anywhere else in the US. Most of us are deeply sorry and embarrassed by even the thought of this bill. It’s religious fanatics that push this through, and they are everywhere. To be disrespectful to everyone in the entire state is showing one’s own ignorance.

  6. The mega churches in Springfield MO are also trying to repeal the law so that LGBTQ people can legally be discriminated against. This saddens me so much. It is so not what Jesus was all about – I know that in my heart. I fear what “group” of people will be the next target and the next…

  7. Pingback: A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus by John Pavlovitz | I'd Rather Be Writing

  8. Beautiful post, well written. Love should be such a simple commandment; many in this world seem to have forgotten that.

  9. A simple Google search will provide plenty of information regarding the state of affairs in Indiana today. I have yet to personally meet anyone who openly approves of this new “Religious Freedom Law”, which tells me that individuals who support this are not willing to publicly say so. That alone should tell you something.

    Keep in mind this goes way beyond Christians denying service to individuals in the LGBT community. anyone of any religion can refuse service to someone for ANY REASON, if they say it is against their faith. There are places in Indiana I am not allowed to shop in due to wearing pants, for example. It also allows for religious freedom in their practice, so for example the First Church of Cannabis (this is real, look it up) will be legally allowed to use Cannabis, as it directly relates to the practice of their faith.

    • I approve of it and know MANY people that do. More than not. Read the actual bill. Sadly people like you have been influenced instead of forming your OWN opinion based on the actual bill. I would suggest you read it and then maybe you will understand why it’s in place and why there is so much support for it. It’s been turned into a LGBT issue when it has nothing to do with that at all. This law already exists federally btw. I live in Indiana. I am a Christian. I hate absolutely no one. I try to love everyone as I would want from everyone else. I wouldn’t turn someone away from my business because of their skin, religion, or lifestyle. But at the same time- Would you want to be sued if you felt uncomfortable doing something?? We live in a world that will sue over anything they feel offended by. You can’t force people to all feel the same, all see the same, all love the same. But you can respect everyone. Doing something your uncomfortable with is not ok. You shouldn’t be sued for a decision you choose to make for the business you created. Is it okay to treat somebody any less than you would treat yourself?? Absolutely not and this bill is not encouraging that in anyway. Have faith in people. Just because they want their religious freedoms in tact does not mean they want to purposely cause pain to anyone. Indiana is multi cultural and very diverse. It is being incredibly misrepresented. How sad. I have scrolled through many of these comments and find very uneducated comments and hate in its rawest form.

      • Yes, that is why two of the larger companies/organizations in Indiana (NCAA & Salesforce), with their slew of lawyers, have spoken against the law, because they haven’t read it and don’t truly understand what it means. And why large companies and major cities all over the US are now considering not sending any business/employees to Indiana. It’s why the Chambers of Commerce all over Indiana speak against the law, because none of them have read it.

      • I wrote the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce today and told them that my family is not going to buy any product made by a business in Indiana until this law is repealed. My family is going to stick by that. It is easy for us to look on the bottle or box to see where the product was made. I am not encouraging anyone else to do this. I am simply saying that this is what my family has decided to do. Someone has to dig in their heels and make a stand on this. Indiana just happens to be the state where we decided to make our stand.

      • If a gay couple went into a restaurant to celebrate their anniversary.. but we’re refused service because they were gay.. that is discrimination. If a gay man wanted to buy a cake for his partner that says “I love you and Happy Birthday” but the baker refused to make it, that person was discriminated against. In these possible examples that do not involve weddings could occur under this new law. Do you think it’s discrimination or not??? Do you think it’s possible it can happen or not??? You must agree that the law will allow a religious person to deny service to a gay couple celebrating their anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s day, love, etc. It will go beyond Wedding cakes and Wedding photography because the law does not specify.

      • I think you are misspeaking. This law is exactly about refusing service and causing pain to others. It protects your ability to not show respect to others for all the reasons you presented. Being uncomfortable is part of being Christian. I thank God every day that the early Christians were not as weak and sensitive as today’s Christians. The legal system today is the only option for oppressed people who don’t want to resort to violent demonstrations. This type of law takes that protection away from the minorities and the oppressed, but what do I know.

      • Jess, I get where you’re coming from. I do. But I think you’re being short sighted. Yes, the vague wording of the bill seems non-threatening and all that. But the LGBT community and others facing discrimination on a daily basis simply MUST look past the wording. I have seen MANY Christian business owners in this discussion breathe a sigh of relief that they no longer have to serve gays. And I’m not talking about catering a gay wedding, I’m talking about serving them a ham sandwich. This may not have been the intent of the bill, but it’s how it is being interpreted by both sides. Now, you seem to be all about love and acceptance. And that is awesome. But when Christian business-owners openly state they will be doing exactly what the LGBT community is afraid of, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

      • The law allows religious belief to trump non-discrimination laws. As a business owner, you do not want to get sued for refusing to provide a service that you do not believe is ethical or in line with your morality. OK. However, in justifying your ethics and morality are you using the fact that the people you are refusing service to are gay/bisexual/transgender? Here’s where this goes off the rails. People who are bakers that make wedding cakes all the time do not have the right to claim that their religion bars them from making a cake for a same-sex wedding if their business is for profit. The minute a business is for profit everyone who walks through your door asking for the exact same service that you have provided a hundred times for others – baking a freaking cake – you shouldn’t be able to use your religion to refuse service to the person. The whole point of this post is that Christ served all with love and humility. Those who would call themselves Christians and refuse to serve with love and humility are denying their God and a basic tenet of their faith. Freedom of religion is the freedom to practice your religion, not impose your version of religion upon others. The separation of church and state means that if you are a for-profit business receiving goods and services from the public sector (including access to the public through your use of a storefront or website) you can’t discriminate against the people seeking your service. You can have legitimate reasons why you can’t perform a service or provide a good such as you lack the skill, materials or ability to deliver. You can’t tell someone that because they are gay, bisexual or transgender that you refuse to provide a service or good that you have and will continue to provide to others. This law in Indiana will allow people to discriminate without fear of consequences in civil court. This law takes away rights from LGBT persons – it makes them less than equal before the law by taking away their ability to ensure their access and equality through the courts.

      • If the legislators wrote a law that said “you can refuse service to lgbt folks” it wouldn’t stand for a minute under court scrutiny. Laws like this are sneaky side-stepping of rights laws. If you read the words, it sounds totally reasonable. If you look at the intent, it is about suppression of minorities.

        Religious groups have protected status under Indiana law. LGBT people don’t. Christians are, by far, a majority in Indiana. LBGT people are a clear minority.

        A law imposed by a powerful majority to allow them to suppress a powerless minority on “moral grounds” is not a good law. It does not serve the greater good of society to protect a large and powerful majority at the expense of a minority.

        And I think that is what the blog author has said so beautifully. I don’t think Jesus every said that we should use power and might to suppress people that make us uncomfortable.

      • Then these businesses should have to post signage, so that people who disagree with that intent know where not to shop.

    • J Ashley. If you know of a store in Indiana where you are not allowed to shop because you wear pants and the owner of that store is preventing you from shopping there because pants are incompatible with his religion, you can sue his pants off under the First Amendment. That has been blatantly illegal in the United States since the late 1700s. It has nothing to do with this new law. It is illegal for a business to discriminate against any customer on a religious basis. Period.

  10. Grateful that someone with the knowledge and education is addressing this issue right at the core. Beyond sad what is happening. Just unbelievable.

  11. This article is a perfect example of the ‘tickling of the ears’ that Scripture warned would happen. Agape love shows those those we care of when they are living a lifestyle of sin.

      • So if someone disagrees with you, you disparage them and don’t think they should speak. Typical liberal! Don’t disagree on substance– just spew hate.

      • No Judy. That is a play out of the right wing extremist Karl Rove’s official playbook. He taught it to you guys. You guys applied it—and in so doing—taught us how to use it. Sometimes what you shoot at others comes home to roost. Say hello to your old rhetorical friend.

      • Right on brother Kelly. I still remember the signs at the old Cordell Hull Hotel in Gallatin, Tennessee, when I was about 8 years old. They said: “We reserve the right to deny service to anyone.” What they meant was:

        “If you are a black visitor from Indiana and you want something to eat, all of us fine, upstanding, white Christians here in town think you ought to take your sorry black hind end someplace else to eat—like over in “Nigger Town” (that was the local name everyone in town used) on Blythe Street.

        Don’t mess with me. I’ve seen this and lived it—and it is no different from what fine, upstanding, white Christians want to do to gay people today—and anyone else that gets in their way.

    • So, you think Jesus would have wanted people to demean and say horrible things to others? Call them names and do everything in their power to put them down? What is the end game there? What is it people like you hope to achieve? You think ANYONE is going to realize what you perceive to be the error of their ways through name-calling and demonizing? Because that seems like an exercise in futility. And it sure as hell doesn’t sound like the all loving Jesus Christ I heard about as a child.

  12. Good post John. I think a lot of believers need to hear this, myself included. But we need to be careful because the letter is addressed to ALL Christians in the state of Indiana. Obviously you are referring to the RFRA, but we can’t make a blanket statement that all Christians have done wrong or sinned against someone in regards to the RFRA. We can’t generalize all Christians right now and blame all Christians for whatever wrong we think is happening. The beginning of your article refers to “Indiana” and “what’s been going on there lately.” By this, you seem to be indirectly blaming Christians for the RFRA being passed and for the wrong that’s been done. (Now, I realize that totally may not be the case, but that’s just the message the text conveys) I think even if you left out the words “Indiana” and “what’s been going on there lately,” your blog post still carries the same powerful message, but removes the blaming tone of the post. Because honestly, this post rings true even if the RFRA never even existed. We need to be careful not to see events and situations and then automatically react by generalizing a person, group of people, place, concept, or idea. Regardless, I enjoyed the post and think that we need to hear the message.

  13. Yes, we are to love one another, but does that mean we condone/support sin? Or are we not to determine what is sinful at all (which would be contrary to Scripture)? When society legalizes sin, what is the role of a Christian–are we to condone and support it or speak out?

    It is easy to say “love everyone”, but much harder to determine what love looks like–does it include saying “No”?

      • When someone points out that there is such a thing as sin, self-righteous hypocrites are quick to make judgmental and condemnatory accusations. Jon did not allude to himself being sinless! Making groundless assumptions and then accusations based on one’s own biases adds nothing to an honest discussion.

    • I think the trouble with people like you Jon is that you do not trust anything to do with the word “love.” You do not understand it. You do not trust it. You do not want to deal with it. You just wish it would go away. You choose to equivocate it out of existence like Pontius Pilate did with “truth.”

      Bottom Line: Love in the Christian faith is not going to go away—and there are light years more to it than just telling someone about Jesus—and then screw them if they say “no.” The whole universe is founded on love. Love is never going to go away—and it is the single word that will one day fell the tree of evil in this universe forever.

      • dover1952: Just want to say I’ve been reading along here for quite some time. I’ve read most of your replies. I’ve gotta say that you are a delightful breath of fresh air! Your witty takes on Christianity are brilliant and your insight into the bigoted history of Indiana playing out right into our present rings perfectly true to this product of Muncie, an industrial, central Indiana town. It seems what you’ve said, but some have misunderstood, is that the culture brought to Indiana from Tenn certainly isn’t the sole “cause” of the current bigotry/political/religious flap, but that it certainly contributed in profound and significant ways. We have other demons here in the Hoosier State as well, but I’ve seen first hand the ugly influence you describe. For example, the HS I attended was built in 1963/64 on the south side of Muncie, a city of about 40K at the time. I don’t need to remind you what was going on in the South in the years leading up to ’64. Anyway, in spite of the fact that this brand new school would have a substantial population of blacks students, the school was named Southside High School. That appears innocent enough on its face, given its location in the city, but the name/avatar selected to represent the school and athletic teams was the Rebels. They even used a Confederate flag! I honestly can say I wish I had been more sensitive and aware at the time, but I was young, a product of my environment, and didn’t appreciate at the time just how in-your-face offensive that was. I’m ashamed of it now. The passage and signing of RFRA by the Indiana Legislature and Governor is not all that different, in several meaningful ways, from the naming of the Muncie Southside Rebels. It was meant, in large part, to be a symbolic slap in the face to the objects of the bigot’s scorn. If you can’t discriminate against them, blatantly, openly, you can at least remind them of their place. The very real and tragic truth about the RFRA in Indiana is that it actually, and purposefully, creates a “legal” avenue, in the guise of religious freedom, to return the State to blatant, open discrimination. That is not hyperbole. I practiced law in Indiana for 30 years. I’ve read the statute. I know what it says. I know its intent…and the intent of those who created it…and I know what it would allow. I can promise you it won’t last long once subjected to Constitutional scrutiny by a court, but that isn’t the point. The creators of this law knew it wouldn’t survive a Constitutional challenge as sure as I do. They passed it anyway. Those stubborn, white, religious fundamentalist from Tenn, joined by other white, religious fundamentalist from who knows where, are still showing their influence and stirring the pot of bigotry and hatred. Thank you for sharing your insights. They are a pleasure to read.

        • Thank you Steve. I am not an attorney like you, but I know the U.S. Constitution, some of the history behind it, and certain other things about how the legal system actually operates in this country. Your legal analysis was, of course, quite correct. The Religious Right gave up its legal efforts at the federal level and decided that it would be more effective to pursue their theocratic goals at the city, county, and state levels where you can talk a rhubarb elected official into doing nearly anything that is constitutionally illegal—because of their ignorance. Even here in Tennessee, I almost never see any serious attorney supporting these screwball initiatives. As you well know, none of these screwball initiatives will survive a test in the federal courts because they violate the First Amendment or Supremacy Clause and reach for the defunct 19th century notion that a local or state government can legislatively NULLIFY a federal law or court ruling. In addition to the primary issue of slavery, we fought a war from 1861-1865 to settle that issue once and for all. Thank you for writing to me, and I would like to close by saying that Indiana folks on the whole are very nice and intelligent people—and GOSH—I have to say it—because I have enough blood relatives in Indiana to lose or win Spence the next election. God bless.

    • I believe that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second “like unto it” is this, to love your neighbor as yourself. Not just your neighbor who is just like you, but every neighbor. It is not our job to judge, that is God’s job alone. We are to love people, help them, show them the love of Christ through us so that if they are going astray, our loving lives and caring spirits will draw them to the cross. My motto has always been “love them all, let God sort them out”.

    • America is a secular nation. Not everyone is of your religion and I notice people like you condone certain ‘sins’. Why attack only LGBT, you hypocrites. You love only your egos and your sense of superiority. You are without honour and you make up excuse to NOT follow your path of your god Jesus. You shame yourselves and your deity.

      • And you called someone else here a troll? You’ve been trolling this page the whole day. You are doing to Christians what you claim is happening to you…extolling hate. You want respect, but yet you give none, that’s interesting.

      • Actually Terri. I think she is just offering her honest opinion. She just feels strongly about it.

        Christian fundamentalists expect to be treated with kindness and respect for their beliefs—because they see themselves as dignified members of a royal and exclusive elite. The problem is that Christian fundamentalism as a belief system was originally and formally founded in the late 19th century United States on anger, disgust, and disrespect for the entire rest of Christendom on planet Earth. The history is plain for anyone to research and read—and they have been mouthing off about it with extreme anger, militancy, and disrespect for others ever since that time. If they were to ever respect anyone else’s religious beliefs, their own might get some respect too.

    • Sin is certainly a hot topic. An honest discussion on what is sin would be interesting. Jesus was pretty clear. Love everyone. If you choose not to love, that is a sin. It is your job to figure out why you cannot accept certain kinds of people – other races, other ethnicities, other religions, other genders, other sexual orientations, left-handed people, – and to learn to love. Do not project you fear of others on to them and justify it by causing them sinful.

      “God makes the sun to shine on the evil and the good and the rain to fall on the righteous and the non-righteous. Be ye merciful even as your father is merciful.”

      It may be, in the eyes of God, you are the sinful, the non-righteous. But there is still love. Your challenge is to understand that, focus on the beam in your own eye rather than a speck you think you seen in another’s.

    • Who are you to determine what is sin for others? Do you expect everyone to believe exactly the same way you do? Or can people actually believe what they want (even if it is in nothing)? Explain why you believe that what you think is a sin should be the controlling factor in what others do?

    • No, when society legalizes sin, you are to not engage in said sin. The end. You aren’t condoning it, you aren’t supporting it. You’re not sinning. THAT is what your role as a christian and a human being is. Just because your favorite book didn’t like something doesn’t mean you get to use it as a shield to spew hatred. I’m not saying you are the sort to do that, but a lot of people seem to misunderstand that simple concept. You don’t condone gay marriage? Cool. Don’t marry someone of your same sex.

      • God gives everyone a choice. Fundies oppose God by saying that men should not have a choice. Do it my fundie way and my way alone—and if you do not—then I will break your leg to force you to do things my way. It is really a form of playing God—which is the very essence of original sin in the Bible.

  14. I love what you have said and your awareness that certain things you cannot control, “You cannot legislate love,” as one of the characters in Jere Myles’ books “Murder on the Pier,” addresses. The books talk about hate, misgivings of parents, misunderstandings with a depth that makes you realize that Jesus would be one of the first to love these children, and they are His dad’s kids too. Check out the book on amazon. It’s great for parents, youth ministers and youth struggling with whether God loves them or not. He does…we are all His children.

    • i think you just hit the nail on the head. it just simply drives the fundamentalist cultists up the wall that God loves me every bit as much as he loves them. they cannot stand that idea…..much like a jealous toddler sibling.

  15. I was born and raised in Indiana. I’ve lived away from there for nearly 16 years, yet I still consider myself to be a Hoosier at heart. When asked where I’m from, I always say “Indiana. I happen to live in another state.” To the very long comment regarding why Indiana is the way it is, I have to say that while some of that may hold some truth for Southern Indiana counties, it does not hold true for the entire state. I am very saddened that Indiana has passed this law – I’m equally saddened by the stereotype that is being spread that all Hoosiers are ignorant bigots. Simply not true. And just as hurtful as the discriminatory attitudes that this law expresses.

    • They went everywhere in Indiana—mostly the big cities and towns—with Indianapolis being ground zero. Your notion that southern things always stay south geographically is not true.

      • My family, a founding family in Indiana, came from Scotland, to Maine, to Indiana (paternal side). My mother’s family came from Prussia, were in Ohio for some time, then to Indiana. There’s no southern anything in this girl. Your notion that Indiana is a southern state tucked in amongst “progressive northern states” isn’t true, as that certainly doesn’t explain the fact that Michigan, Indiana’s neighbor to the north, tried to pass the same law. Guess that actually makes MI the most northern southern state. I’ve lived in the South for 16 years, and have realized just how progressive this Indiana girl really is. My sister lives in Wisconsin – one of the most conservative states in the nation. And yet, it’s way up north. Please stop making generalizations about all Hoosiers. I certainly never looked down on anyone because they lived in TN. People are just people, anywhere you go. Some good, some not. I have only heard one person that I know in Indiana voice support for this law. Actually, they didn’t even outright say they support it – those who do seem to be reluctant to say so. Which, as another comment here says, is very telling.

      • I will stand by what I said. And I think you still need to explain away that Wikipedia article about the Ku Klux Klan. The clan might have been founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, but it flowered in Indiana like it did nowhere else in American history.

  16. What a Divinely inspired and beautifully written message. This post is exactly the reason I choose not to wear a label called “Christian”.

    I do however believe that “Christianity” is a way of being and living and I do my very best to live a Christ like life. In doing so, I reflect all the qualities and attributes mentioned in this post and demonstrated by The Master!

    • I think that was the Holy Spirit part of Jesus talking through the typing fingers of a church pastor. You claim that your pastor does the same thing every Sunday.

  17. And here I come with an opposite view from the blog I follow. I had JUST read mine and Dad’s popped up. They are quite polar opposites. But then that makes for interesting conversation.

    Mom

    PS Indiana is proposing to eliminate the law that makes it illegal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgender folk.

  18. Whether or not I approve of the Indiana law, I find the idea of writing this sort of letter to be extraordinarily presumptuous. I don’t claim to know what Jesus may think of Indiana’s law. That would take someone with far more chutzpah than me. The wording itself is innocent. The law “prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.” The last time I checked, an “exercise” requires an actual action Would Christ approve of a state law that requires me to write “congratulations on your marriage Bob and Phil” on a cake, if I am morally opposed to gay marriage?I dont know for sure, but I kind of doubt it. I know what I think, and I know what I approve of. But I would never presume to claim to know what Jesus would think.

    • Jesus absolutely told us what is on His mind. He told us, “Love each other.” That is it. Period. If you find yourself doing anything less than loving, you have strayed from the path.

    • Let’s try another example: Would it be ok if a Christian restaurant owner refused to serve the couple, Bob and Phil, who were wishing to celebrate their anniversary with a nice dinner? …Will the law allow it? That would be sad… And guess what? Bob and Phil happen to be Christian too…

      • Hi Mark. How are you. They would love to serve that dinner to Bob and Phil—as long as the two guys do not let them know that they are gay and/or married to each other. You see. God knows they are gay and married to each other. Jan the restaurant owner, who is also waiting tables, does not. Now if Jan goes ahead and serves the meal in ignorance of the fact that they were gay and married, then Jan gets off the hook one day by saying to God: “Why, I didn’t know.” But you see, God knows that they were gay and married. Jan did not ask if Bob and Phil were gay and married. She should have. Because of this failure God, who is a hard man, is going to send Jan to hell so she can watch her skin melt off for all of eternity.

        Moral of the Story: If you are a fundie like Jan and you own a restaurant in Indiana, the only way to protect yourself from the wrath of the Lord is to ask all guys sitting at the same table if they are gay and/or married to each other and ask all gals sitting at the same table if they are gay and/or married to each other—and then refuse to serve them if they are. Can you imagine this:

        “Hi guys. My name is Jan. I will be your waitress today. Before I take your drink orders, I have to ask a question. Are you two guys sitting together because you are gay and/or married to each other—because if you are—I cannot serve you—and I will have to ask you to leave.”

        Then Phil says to Bob and Jan: “Why that question was just outrageous!!! No, he and I most certainly are not gay or married to each other. Bob, I have no idea what kind of town you are living in here, but it is an awful strange one. You can forget about this lunch and also forget about our company building its new national warehouse in your town. I’m outa here.”

        Second Moral of the Story: Stupid fundie behavior loses 500 new jobs that were desperately needed to make up for businesses that had to close down during the Great Recession.

  19. Once again,nice post and very elegant writing. I would be so tempted to want to tear people to shreds when he puts something like this on my heart. Excellent restraint.

    I am going to share a few things that you may not have seen or heard before. No one taught me these things. I heard them when deeply studying the original scripture words and simply believing exactly and plainly what they say. I hope you will consider them.

    According to the original words of Mark 15:32 and Matt 27:42, I see the current Church which IS his SPIRITUAL body is still DIVIDED. (And it will continue to divide between those under law and those under grace until we all know the full division of “her” who is his body. In the next age, those still under law will have very strong “refining fire”.) Check out the word “now” in Mark 15:32 and Matt 27:42 and ask the Lord if this means right now at THIS present moment. http://biblehub.com/greek/3568.htm I am convinced it does. His body is a SPIRITUAL body and as the “last Adam” ALL people are part of it and not “some” like so many teach hypocritically. ALL will die with him including the current OUTER, natural Church (body). It is just that the “natural (body) had to come first”, die and THEN comes the TRUE spiritual body comes. 1 Cor 15:46

    Thus, part of his body is STILL under OLD Covenant law (and sin) and needs to die more until it is fully “dead”. It does not see or believe Colossians 2:20-22, 3:3 and Romans 6:7 and the MANY other verses like them. It has not yet FULLY surrendered to the fathers will and is still engaged in “the things below” of Col 3:6-9 trying to obtain it’s own righteousness via works of the law. It does not fully die until the “9th” hour when his true (spiritual) crucifixion is completed. Matt 27:45,50, Mark 15:33-37 (We are currently in “6” outwardly and “7-8” inwardly for those that do believe. Compare with Genesis chapters of the same number. “Ark = body”) When this does occur, they will finally and fully obtain the “tenth” hour of Col 3:10. This occurs in “3” : “10” that is the third age of Daniel 7 in the “10th” hour.

    Until this occurs, they will remain under the old covenant of law seeing things in the “old wineskin” as the new reality (of grace) doesn’t fit. They are STILL condemned themselves and thus will continue to condemn others by bringing them under law and thus defining them as sinners. They are blind to the true reality because in their hearts and minds the old covenant is still being read and they are veiled to the truth of grace in Jesus. 2 Cor 3:14-15. Sadly, I encounter these people every week and they can not see the truth of the law and are still trying to be justified by works of the law. They do not yet understand that the law is merely our tutor to bring us to full surrender (death to self) and to Christ where grace is found. Gal 3:23-26! Those 4 verses are awesome.

    Would you please consider asking our loving father to release them from the law they are bound to in their hearts? Only he can do it and give them the inner spiritual testimony of Christ in “the proper time”. 1 Tim 2:6. They will have to personally “go through HELL” when that occurs, but we can walk alongside them during that time. This will start the refining and purifying process of his “appearance” within them. Mal 3:2.

    God bless you my friends.

    May the Lord work mightily in all of us today as we “sit at his feet and behold him” doing the “one needful thing” and “the good part” that will “not be taken from us”. Luke 10:42

    Duane (www.ournewman.life & http://www.kickedoutofchurch.com)

  20. I’m a Gay Man it was aa 35 year struggle to admit this who I am am feel proud of who I am. It’s not about the sex. Never has been. I have a partner that I prayed to God to find me. He is the only man I ever loved and who loves me back. Only Man that God found was right for me. No I didn’t play around when I was younger. I was 39 when I met him and we have been together 14 years now. I see many so called Christians that have many marriages between them. I will not judge them on that. I will judge them on how they treat everyone including me. I left the ignorant state of Texas to get away from people like this. In my 53 years on earth I have never ever been more afraid of my safety and comfort in my life.

    • I am sorry about that Jeoffrey. I can understand why you left Texas. Just go here and take a look:

      http://tfninsider.org/

      However, there are loving and kind people everywhere. Seek them out. Throughout human history, it has been true that the human beings who come together and work together as a group are more successful at surviving than those who try to go it alone. If some sort of disaster ever occurs, the lone survivalist will never make it. Feel loved.

  21. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2
    Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
    ​It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
    Was Paul being judgmental?

    • Paul is addressing someone WITHIN the church. This is not how you deal with unbelievers, but this is what many Christians do. They use the rules for dealing with people within the church body as a way to handle the whole world. Like may have already said before, God simply calls us to love. His spirit does the rest

  22. Pingback: A Letter To Christians In Indiana, From Jesus | ldbush21

      • i sincerely hope so. aside from proving himself a pretty horrible manager of the state, he’s an exclusionary cultist, that alone renders him unsuitable to govern outside his own cult. we need to get americans in government and get the cultists back in their cults.

  23. Pingback: The Aroma of Jesus | The Shaba Files

  24. So, Christian would expect a Jewish sign make to make swatizika banners and signs for a skin head nazi?

    Sorry. You can love the sinner without in enabling the sin.

    I am not, btw, a christian

    • Ridiculous. If you truly feel that way, then dont have a public business. In my future profession, I dont have the luxury of not helping people because I disagree with their religion, politics or orientation. I take pride and honour in my profession and I will take an oath to be a good engineer and serve the public. I dont have time for nonsense.

    • Maybe I will open a restaurant and refuse to serve Independent voters. Independent voters are not a protected class under American law either. Maybe I could refuse service to Chrysler vehicle owners because of that lemon Caravan the dealership sold me new off the lot in 2002.

      But you know the really weird part. The really weird part is that even American Christians are sold out to money. Even the most hateful racist in Mississippi in 1935 was more than happy to take the money of his black customers, even if it was at the back door. Money is the true God of the United States. Power is probably the second. Nearly everyone is sold out to it. God knows it too.

    • If the law had actually been intended to prevent that, then I doubt John would be opposed to it. I wouldn’t. But the law is a lot broader than that—it’s a complete “Get Out of Jail Free” card for anyone who wants to discriminate for any reason that they can tie to their religion.

  25. I agree with loving others as Jesus did but don’t believe that this law is bad as this author suggests. The government is forcing Christian businesses to participate in gay marriages that they do not believe in. A great example is the florist in Oregon. The gay customer was a regular customer of hers that she treated kindly as Jesus commands. When she was asked to do his wedding she politely declined and gave him some other business names that would do a great job for him. Now the government is legally taking action to take everything from her, not just her business but her personal assets too. I do not personally believe the government forcing Christians to do something they find morally wrong to be spreading Jesus’ love.

    “Instead, it protects a private business owner (who might be gay themselves) from being coerced by the power of government to act in a manner incompatible with their deeply held religious convictions. In other words, it protects the Jewish sign maker from being forced by the state to make pro-Nazi placards for the next skinhead convention.”

    http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2015/03/25/pete-heck-gay-rights-activists-christians-surrender-else/70427990/

    • It will be used to hurt gay people and will be stretched to hurt other who are not one day. These are bad laws and they are not necessary because of the First Amendment.

    • clearly your sole understanding of the laws comes from it’s proponents, you are just parroting right wing talking points that, frankly, are just not true. this law is, in effect, a license to discriminate. it grants any business owner in indiana a legal defense should he or she decide not to serve the gay community in any way if it might offend their religious views….whatever those views might be. it has no other connection to the federal rfra than the title. the federal rfra was intended and has been used to protect a religious person from government intrusion, the indiana rfra is intended to protect a business from interacting with the gay community. that is the intent…..if you need more than to just see the picture of the signing ceremony then you are just keeping yourself willfully ignorant…..this bill was written by homophobes, for homophobes and it’s entire and only purpose is to grant homophobes in indiana the freedom to discriminate against gay people without government intrusion.

      listen to the cultists defending the bill…..they do it on religious grounds, they think it is fine to discriminate against gay people, listen to what they say….they like this bill for what it is, what it was intended to be…they like it because it grants them what they want….freedom to publicly harm gay people. the say flat out, it is right and it is good to discriminate against gay people….in fact, the cultists are telling us, God commands them to do so.

      arguing that this bill won’t hurt gay people is a dead argument, it already has and it hasn’t even gone into effect yet.

      christians stand firmly against it. only the fundamentalist, so called “christian” cultists like it…it’s just for them and against the rest of the world.

  26. I can appreciate your message but only to a point. If I were to expand upon your idea into the scriptures, at Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery he would have told her what? “You are OK, do not concern yourself with the law of the Pharisees; your life style choice is a part of who you are and you should not be concerned with behaving in a manner that brings glory to God, just what feels right to you.” This would be the ultimate form of hatred, to allow this woman to think that her behavior has no consequences. Yes Christians need to do better at showing the love of Christ but we don’t do that by denying certain behavior is sinful. We show love by coming alongside people as fellow sinners to mutually encourage one another in discerning what is the will of God for our lives and support one another to act in a manner that glorifies Him. “Go and sin no more.” May this Truth set you free.

      • All belief systems, even atheism defines behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not, unless you think this world is a free for all, do what you want to do. No civilization can survive such a paradigm. ALL sin impacts society and the world as Adam and Eve can attest. We do not sin in a vacuum. Your orientation or bent toward certain behavior is nothing different than anyone else’s bent toward sinful behavior. We all suffer from the same propensity to act in ways that deify ourselves and curse God. But the beautiful thing is that we do not have to remain in that state. Christ has paved the way for us to be able to confront our love affair with our sinful nature, repent, and walk in a way the glorifies the Lord.

      • That’s right klpowers. Go ahead and focus all of your attention on cleaning up yourself and your life. Learn all the laws and scrub hard to do out of your own strength what the grace of Jesus has already done for you by grace—making out like it was never done and was of no effect. And while all of that attention is focused solely on your SELF—let your neighbors be sick, hungry, cold, and starving to death. Deny love to every man—including yourself. What the hell do you care? You’re too busy scrubbing yourself.

        Then again. You might let go of your SELF, trying doing that Jesus love thing, and find along the way that Jesus is slowly scrubbing you in his own time without your really being aware of it. Fundies scrub themselves out of SELF. God scrubs real Christians in his own time and in his own way—and love in your heart is the soap he uses to do it.

    • These where things I would have thought to bring up. It seems rather simple, but we tend to be blind to the fact we all make judgements.”judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

  27. The “letter” from Jesus is a brilliant attempt to create a one-sided view Jesus to silence folk who take a stand for the righteousness Jesus stood for. Just after the miraculous feeding of the crowds, Jesus starts laying some heavy preaching on folk and the texts say people turn from Him in multitudes (John chapter 6). Jesus said, “(Joh 12:48) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” His words have already rendered judgment against sin. The role of His disciples is to (Mat 28:18-20) … Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

    Standing against things identified as sin by the Scriptures is not a sign of judgmentalism, its a sign of love for the Christ, and His righteousness. Many will reject Christ and/or His teachings and leave, but the disciple has no choice but to stand with Christ.

    John’s gospel ends:(Joh 21:25) “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” Many of the things not recorded are handed down by the Holy Spirit through the Bible writers, such as Paul, Peter, and James. Those writers – inspired by the Holy Spirit (aka ‘the comforter’ and ‘the Spirit of Truth) (Joh 14:26) ” But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Joh 16:13 – 14) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

    These inspired men teach us things not recorded in the 4 gospels. Inclusive of lists of sin, such as in Gal 5 and 1 Cor 6 where we are told of things that will disqualify folk from entering into the Kingdom of God.

    I;m not a fan of McDowell, but he did get one thing right (Tolerance vs. Love):

    Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.”
    Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.”

    Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.”
    Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced ‘the truth will set you free.'”

    Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.”
    Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”

    Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks.
    Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity.
    Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.

      • Dover, Perhaps that’s your view and application of tolerance, and I suppose that’s how you apply it to those whom you tolerate.

        But the mature in Christ will apply His Love to each situation and will seek to do as He did, bringing folk out of their sin when possible and at least warning of their sin as given opportunity. Recall that He went among sinners as the Great Physician – a doctor – he neither condoned nor participated in their sin, he healed them. Adultresses and corrupt tax collectors became Former adulteresses and former corrupt tax collectors. Jesus had said: (Luk 13:2-5) “And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

        The impenitent who continue in their sin will not enter the Kingdom of God (See Gal 5 Col3 and 1 Cor 6)
        Love calls out the warning, tolerance will simply let them go.

        Penn Teller gets all over Christians for not warning others, says its like watching someone about to get hit by a train and not warning them. Seems Christians are danged if they do, and darned if they don’t.

        • Tolerance is choosing today that we will not kill each other because the things we believe are different. The subject here was “tolerance” of people who are different from us. If I recall correctly, Penn Teller is the two-bit jerk who said that if you can break a man’s leg to get him into the Kingdom of Heaven, then it is your responsibility before God to go ahead and do it—and the man will thank you later. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he break his friend’s leg with a baseball bat.” Funny. I do not remember Jesus ever saying that. Penn Teller forgets that God himself has given each man a CHOICE to follow Jesus or reject him. To break a man’s leg is to deny him the choice that God has given him. When Penn Teller advocates violence as a tool of evangelism and seeks to sit on God’s throne and take away that choice that God has given to each man—then he PLAYS GOD (which is original sin) and is a heretic. If Teller ever tries to break my leg, he is looking at 30 years in the state penitentiary and loss of every dime in his savings account in a civil suit. All of you who want to follow that two-bit jerk—your prison cell is waiting for you. I am also told that God is not particularly happy with people who try to sit on his throne and issue edicts contrary to the choices he has offered to men.

          Tootles.

      • The issue, sir, is that you are justifying imposing your beliefs on my life. I believe your understanding of the source texts is grossly flawed, so even if I thought you had the right to inflict your religion on me, I would not accept your translation of the texts. I can defend my reading of the text, while I have yet to see a defense of your reading which hold up to scrutiny.

  28. “You are testifying loudly, not to my love, but to your preference.”

    My guess is this is prompted by the RFRA thing. I suppose for some its a matter of preference, but for the Bible Believing Disciple, its an opportunity to stand for the righteousness of Christ.

    In John 6 – after feeding the multitudes miraculously, Jesus’ preaching led to,”From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (vs 66) the teaching of Christ is too heavy for many, but Disciples don’t get to pick and choose what is, is not, righteous living. When the opportunity comes, we stand for what is right. Leading folk to a one-sided presentation of Christ, like the one in the article, does not bring people to the only Christ worth knowing.

    Jesus told His guys that He would send the Holy Spirit (aka “the comforter” and “the Spirit of Truth”) and ” … he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (Joh 16:13) and that ” the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Joh 14:26)

    John ends his gospel telling us that not that Jesus said or did is covered in the gospel. Those writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, taking from Jesus and giving it to His pen-men covered a lot more ground, including lists of sins in Gal 5 and 1 Cor 6 which outline things that will keep people from entering the Kingdom of God. The disciple, as (s)he has opportunity needs to stand for that Righteousness. Doing so humbly and lovingly, but firmly.

    I’m not a fan of McDowell, but he did get this right:
    Tolerance vs. Love

    Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.”
    Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.”

    Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.”
    Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced ‘the truth will set you free.'”

    Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”

    Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks.
    Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity.
    Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.

    (Citation: Brett Kays, Brownstown, Michigan; source: Josh McDowell, Focus on the Family Magazine August 1999)

    Our gov’t gives us a voice, there is no shame in using it.

      • Hi Charles T.
        You wrote: >If you want to learn the truth read this entire article:… <
        [Note: this is my only post for today, I’ll try to get to any comments directed my way tomorrow or Friday]

        I read your suggested material, I’ve read the same stuff elsewhere, some write it better, some engage in little more than scripturephobic Bible-bashing, but nothing new here and there is precious little truth. Rather than play hermeneutical games its seems the author would be better off following the late Robert Williams,who seems to tire of his own attempts at re-imagining the texts and says:

        “The point is not really whether or not some passage in the Bible condemns homosexual acts; the point is that you cannot allow your moral and ethical decisions to be determined by the literature of a people whose culture and history are so far removed from your own. You must dare to be iconoclastic enough to say, ‘So what if the Bible says it? Who cares.” [Williams, __Just As I Am_, p 42]

        For Williams and others I’ve run into, in the end the Scriptures are irrelevant in their opinion. So why not admit such and get on w/ life, rather than try to play games with the texts?

        To cover all the misleading and errant material in the essay, would result in a small tome too long for this type of format, but I’ll cover a couple examples, and even then – while I’ll try to be concise, it will still be long. I’ll skip over the Essayist’s assumption that Old Covenant law was grounded in ‘superstition’ rather than a “Thus Saith the Lord” from a God who is there. That assumption itself places his views in a whole different realm than that of Bible believing folk.

        Essayist writes:

        “most of us have matured enough theologically to recognize that we need to contextualize the writings of the Bible”

        There is a difference between getting the context (Lexically, grammatically, historically, etc.) and Context Imposition, in which folk rummage around in the background outside the texts and seek something to overturn texts they find disturbing – by imposing that background context on the texts. This is little more than eisegesis – reading meaning into the texts, rather than exegesis, gathering the meaning from the texts. Eisegesis is simply poor scholarship – at bests it's only subjectivism.

        Essayist:

        “Interestingly enough, when it comes to things like shellfish, eating and touching pigs, … we understand that they are just flat out silly laws.”

        I suppose some folk will agree, about silliness. However it does no justice to the texts. It does demonstrate a lack of knowledge about, and/or an ignoring of, the Scriptures. The Old Covenant (aka ‘Law of Moses” or ‘Sinai Covenant’), was made with Israel and exclusively so. The dietary laws ended when the New Covenant of Christ came into effect. The covenant change was predicted in Jer 31:31-34 and affirmed as having been changed in Heb 8:6-13 (which quotes the Jeremiah passage) the end of the dietary laws for Jews is also affirmed in Peter's vision of Acts 10:1-16. In the vision a sheet is lowered w/ all kinds of animals that were off the Jewish diet. Peter is told by the angel 3 times to eat, Peter objects on grounds of the Old Covenant law against eating things unclean. The Angel tells Peter (Act 10:15) "And a voice came unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common."

        To a large degree the dietary laws remove foods subject to spreading illness if not properly prepared – leading to a healthier diet in general. Some other of those laws were not about moral issues but object lessons (no combining different kinds of threads for instance) about purity related to not mixing w/ the Canaanite folk and such, or related to Type-Antitype symbolic lessons intended for later generations who live under covenant of the Christ.

        But the point is, it’s not about recognizing something as silly, but understanding it in its actual context, rather than the context being imposed upon it. It’s not exegesis, its eisegesis you’re reading in the essay.

        Essayist:

        “One convincing analysis of these texts looks at the fact that one of the most prevalent forms of same-sex sex in the Greco-Roman world was male prostitution which frequently involved boys.”

        Here a good example of Context Imposition, where something that was going on outside the text is presented as being what the Bible was really talking about, when no such thing is mentioned in the text.

        Notice the essayist admits…

        “Those approaches … do require a small leap of logic to arrive at their conclusions. Much less of a leap of logic, mind you, than believing that these texts are about something of which people at that time had absolutely no comprehension, but slight conjecture all the same.”

        It’s not a case of a small leap vs. a large leap, it’s trying to impose something outside the text into the text, which the essayist seems to admit is not a necessary inference, thus requiring a leap. Note the attempt to compare and contrast… it evades the point, the Greco-roman world practiced same-sex activities, Christians were told not to do so. There is no qualifier stated in the texts, The New Covenant (see above on the replacement of the Old Covenant) does not distinguish between different kinds of same-sex practice, or imply contexts in which such might have approval.

        The words used for homosexual activity are not restricted to the distinctions our essayist seeks to force into the text. The words used covered a wide swath of such activity not limited to the usage he needs to overturn them. It’s a blanket condemnation, no exceptions are noted.

        For instance the essayist adds:

        “The word is arsenokoitēs and it means “male prostitute.”’

        It’s interesting that others who are also pro-same-sex practices claim the word is obscure and no one knows the meaning (I’ve slept since then, but I think Campbell is among those making the claim). Many of the lexicons – BDAG, for instance – indicate when a word's meaning is obscure, but it does not do so here – the meaning is not ambiguous. [Note: BDAG is the newer version of BAGD and covers more than the earlier version on the word.]

        I have some greek-english lexicons, and have access to others. There is no lexicon I’ve come across that restricts the meaning of either Malakos or Arsentkoites to what the essayist chooses to use, this is simply an abuse of language.

        Go to an English Dictionary, you'll find very few words that are restricted to one, and only one, meaning. Same was true of the Greek language, nearly every word has more than one meaning. Malakos and Arsnekoites are generic terms covering a range of meanings. To determine which, means looking to the context in which the word is found. NOT imposing a context from outside the text and then pretending that is the only meaning. In the NT period, when Paul is writing, both terms would cover non- male prostitutes as well.

        Dan Wallace, a Lexicographer writes in an internet article (a response to the Soulforce booklet by Mel White):

        “Eskimos don’t have a single word for snow. Does this mean that they don’t know what snow is? Rather, precisely because they have multiple words for snow indicates that they were well aware of it, even to understanding it in its various states. The arsenokoites was the active partner in male sex. The malakos was the passive partner in such sex acts. BDAG is unequivocal on both of these points. Incidentally, BDAG also notes that “Paul’s strictures against same-sex activity cannot be satisfactorily explained on the basis of alleged temple prostitution… or limited to contract w. boys for homoerotic service.”

        He adds:

        “In a brief sentence, backed up by serious studies, BDAG has shown that White’s major premises (for both of these texts as well as for Rom 1.26-27) fall flat.”

        [Daniel Wallace is author of _Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament_]

        The New Testament does not make the restrictive distinction between different kinds of same-sex practice our Essayist insists on trying to force into the text. The words are generic in their use covering all such activity, not restricted to a male prostitute type situation. It’s a blanket condemnation, no exceptions are noted. And like English, where words have synonymns and over-lap with other words, so too, do malakos and kinaedos, the essayist should know this, and stop pretending otherwise. Before the word ‘homosexual’ was coined around 100 yrs ago, descriptive language was used to translate the words into English instead of the word homosexual. All homosexual activity is an abuse of sex. No qualifers or exceptions are noted in the texts themselves, you have to force than into the text on your own.

        These are just a few examples of the errant writing we have in the essay. What we have in this essay is poor scholarship, where a conclusion is used to determine the meaning of the evidence, rather than following the evidence to a conclusion. I understand the limitations of space and etc. may have been why the author does not look at contradictory evidence to his position, but then, maybe he knows the actual facts do not support his views when all the evidence is in. The Lord knows, I don’t.

        NOTE:
        1) I neither fear nor hate homosexuals, but I do think they should have all the data so they can make an informed decision about their practice.
        2) Within my fellowship it’s been long recognized that orientation and practice are two different issues. We’re all tempted to sin in various areas, being tempted is not sin, giving into is. We have some preachers among us who have chosen Christ and celibacy over sex.

      • Sorry Scott. Jesus says that if you have thought it in your heart, that was the same as doing it. Jesus was dashing the belief of the pharisees that they were righteous if they thought bad thoughts but did not DO the bad actions—which was a traditional belief that they often voiced in ancient times. You know as well as I do in matters of sex that what you describe as “temptation” is essentially the same as wanting to do it, and your stiff penis is your evidence of it.

        Really Scott. You’re not scrubbing yourself hard enough. Try scrubbing harder and maybe all those sins of yours will come clean.out.

    • Quit hiding your ignorance behind your religion and legislators! Should I not build strong and safe buildings for the public because the majority of the public are not Asatruar / Heathen? Should I discriminate against you because you do not honour the Aesir? This is NOT a theocracy!

      • Hi Kaatje

        Actually, I been a fan of Norse myths since my childhood, so much more depth than in the shallow Greco-Roman godlings. Lately been intrigued by the celtic myths, the Sidhe have a lot interesting facets to them.

        But to your comment,

        If you were, say a silver smith, and I came to commission you to make a cross for me, and you refused because of your aesir faith, I’d respect that, and take my business elsewhere. I’d likely try to get into a study with you and see if I could bring you out of paganism into Christianity, and if not, I’d leave you alone.

      • swileyusa…stop trying to whitewash bigotry. bigots aren’t nice people who want to do studies with us….unchecked, they would be happy to kill us all….you see that sentiment throughout the bigoted world wherever they can get away with it. if you want to bed down with bigots you will wake up with the stench all over you…that’s up to you. bigotry is not nice, nor is it respectable, i would be lying if i said i had one little bit of respect for bigotry….it is the original sin of the human race, just as God expresses Himself as love, the devil expresses himself as bigotry.

  29. Pretty sure Jesus would be ok with Christians not wanting to participate in activities that would compromise their walk with Him. There are only insinuations by people who dislike religion that there are thousands of people (mostly Christians they perceive) that will begin discriminating like they’ve apparently always wanted. Meanwhile, Christians are continuing to live and serve others glad to know the government can’t force them to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony/reception or other activity not condoned by Jesus (and other religious people will continue as usual glad they will not be compelled by the government to act against their beliefs either) .

    • Oh. Now we learn that Christians who disagree with inflicting pain and hurt on people because they have a particular sin issue “dislike religion.” This is getting nutty.

  30. Really? You obviously have not read the Freedom of Religion Bill. It is NOT discrimination. There is nothing wrong with the law. Would you force a gay sign maker to make a sign for the Westboro Baptist Church saying “Gays burn in Hell”? Would you force a black seamstress to make KKK robes? Would you want the government to force a feminist photographer to help make a movie that abuses women? This bill merely re-enforces the RIGHT of a person/business to choose NOT to sell their product or service if it violates their belief. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!

    Capitalism = freedom. Laws that force me to sell MY GOODS to people against my will =tyranny

    If I go out of business because I refuse to sell things to certain people, and I get boycotted because of it, that is my problem, why bring the government into it?

      • The LGBT community is not a target for this “law”. ALL RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS were signed in and not singularly CHRISTIANS. As a Christian I can be refused service if I go into an establishment who does not recognize my faith. I daresay that Christians have been the target for centuries.

    • There’s a theory out there that a majority cannot be discriminated against. To be honest, I’m not even sure I fully support that theory but it is worth thinking about. The Chrisitian majority is acting as if they are being harmed by a minority when, really, the majority is looking for ways to suppress a minority.

      Your statements are almost all about less powerful minorities being forced to deal with powerful, harmful agencies or people.

      More relevant would be to ask questions such as these: Is it okay for a white Christian business to refuse service to a black person or an Asian? Or an inter-racial marriage couple? Or a Muslim or Buddhist?

      I get it; the business loses money. Their choice, right? But when we create laws that allow minorities to be shunned and suppressed, we’re encouraging hateful, discriminatory practices in the broader populace.

      • You are right, of course. There is another issue here though. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals, who think they alone are God’s chosen people and that they have an exclusive right to rule the united States according to their own dictates, are quickly finding out that they are NOT God’s exclusively chosen people and that they are losing power rather than gaining it. Over the past 40 years, their Christian reconstructionist and dominionist leaders have taught them that they are predestined by God to own the United States as their personal property—and that it will happen without anyone ever firing a shot. The fundies are quickly finding out that they have been the victims of false religious teachings by their leaders and that the American people (including Christians outside of their exclusive circle) will never tolerate a fundie theocracy ruling the United States—and those of us who love Jesus and love the U.S. Constitution will fight them tooth and nail to the last drop of our own treasure and blood. No one is going to allow you to take over. Christians like me will not. When you ban the beer at baseball games, do you seriously believe that the millions upon millions of nonbeliever Bubbas in this country will not take your leaders out en mass and lynch them on the nearest sycamore tree? You are not full of Jesus. You people are FULL OF YOURSELVES and naive as hell.

        I have said it before, and I will say it again here. If Jesus himself wants to come back and personally rule the United States, then I gladly bow before his rule and will support him because I know He will be fair, honest, and loving. However, I will never do that for some “fundie jerk-wad human” who has declared his right to rule because he is the sole representative of God on Earth. Up with Jesus. Down with fundie bigots.

  31. John, I think you’ve missed the mark. Sadly you have taken some ideas from scripture and over embellished them. The Gospel we share is a message of release from the penalty of sin and repentance from a life of sin. Jesus stood for righteousness and the new testament writers were led by the spirit to continue that stand. Yes, we are all sinners, but Jesus doesn’t leave us in our sin. He leads us toward Himself.
    As Christians, we offer ourselves to serve others, but we do not offer ourselves to serve the sin of others.
    The Indiana legislation is not addressing the poor and hungry. The statute is addressing those who might single out a merchant to support them in their sin. When Jesus faced to money changers in the temple He would not accept the misuse of His Father’s house. When Jesus met Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus repented of his behavior and promised a changed life. When Jesus defines marriage He says from the beginning they were created male and female. When Paul lists sinful behavior, he repeatedly lists sex outside of marriage as a behavior to be repented of. When Paul writes of Christian love, he points out that love does not include iniquity.
    In our country businessmen have been sued because they refused to support behavior that was against Christian standards. Florists, bakers, photographers, and others have been sued. The suits were not questions of scarcity of service. There are others who would be willing to support their behavior without any question. But in every case I am familiar with the plaintiffs chose to sue merchants who did not support the plaintiff’s request. The plaintiffs were not the hungry who needed food or homeless who needed warmth or shelter. It is the Christians who feed and shelter. It is the Christians who bring the message that Jesus saves from sin.
    Yes, Jesus ate with prostitutes and sinners. He did not however say let me help you in your sin. His offer is to help us from our sin.
    Should someone enter a Kosher market and demand some bacon? When the merchant says the bacon is not available in the market, should that open the merchant to a lawsuit or criminal fines? When bacon is sold in markets across the land, why should one Kosher market be targeted for not supplying bacon? If a same sex couple were to ask me to officiate at their ceremony, should I have the right to say no?
    The Indiana statute is explicitly echoed in nineteen states and implicitly echoed in eleven others. In fact the corresponding Federal statute has been around since President Clinton signed it in 1993. The Courts have held that the Federal statute did not apply to all the states, thus each state must deal with the issue. That is what Indiana has now done.

    • As I have told others, it is better you refuse and tell me upfront than to make something for me which would poison or injure me or someone I care about. I do NOT tolerate nonsense and I have read and heard ‘Christians’ bragging about poisoning or contaminating cakes and deliberately ruining other things.

      So just man up and say it to my face. I’ll go elsewhere because I dont want to go to jail because someone decides it is OK to be an arsehole. Life is too short for this kat schijt.

    • You are defining homosexuality as being sinful, and yes some forms of it can be….but then again so are many forms of heterosexual sex. But to define two people that commit to loving one another and building a good and decent life together as sinful in wrong. You are assuming that your religion is the only one that has value and expecting all to conform to your definition of sin. We have separation of church and state, as that is the only way a society can succeed, when you try to force beliefs on others it becomes tyranny, and that is why the USA was formed, to escape tyranny . Your religion, your morality, you have the right to determine what that might be. You do not have the right to determine mine. GET IT? When you are operating a business that serves the public, you have to serve ALL the public. Your morals or your beliefs are none of my concerns, and mine are not yours.

      I am a gay male, when other gays were boycotting Chick Filet because of the beliefs of their founder, I did not. He is entitled to his belief. If he bans us from his store, or refuses to serve us, then he is trying to judge and force his views on to others. That is wrong.

      This law was created to have a path for those who wished, to discriminate against others, and if you doubt that look at the people who lobbied for it, that stood behind the governor when it was signed. Now, since there is backlash that is going to cost the state big money, the are talking about adding wording that would protect LGBT persons from discrimination. That is not good enough, the law needs to be repealed, because it still open the door to discrimination against other groups and ANY and ALL discrimination is wrong.

  32. I never thought I would see the day really of HATE among people that CLAIM they believe in Jesus Christ nor would I ever have thought they would use this small oppressed group of humans already beat up by society to try to TAKE our freedoms…Thank You as you wrote this exactly what God has been showing me…The word is our sword as well his example…LOVE and I rebuke those speaking of hate as hate is not THE GOD I SERVE. God Bless all is been my prayer as my FATHER wants all to come. Thank you for sharing your heart I as well am right with you filled with LOVE I see exactly what is going on. Take the VICTORY I AM GOD BLESS OUR WORLD I fear no evil as the God I serve is greater…AMEN

  33. Putting a sign saying you will not serve or hire is DISCRIMINATIONHATE OR NOT OF GOD…………..JUDGE you are judging CHRISTIAN and you do not have that right….. Who are you to discriminate,oppress and spread hate you better MIRROR your facts as who your serve…JUSTICE is as God is JUST..Remember that …I owned & ran 7 business DO NOT TELL ME WHY YOU WANT TO HATE PERIOD. You remember this it all belongs to GOD FACT and before this earth was ever made…FACT I LOVE ALL I PRAY YOU SEEK TRUTH ON THIS MATTER…

  34. I know that you’re not intending to actually speak for Christ. But I wish you would have used some actual quotes from Jesus like when he dealt with the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned by hypocritical Pharisees: “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) – He was not condoning of her behavior, but encouraged her to leave her life of sin behind. In not once instance did He teach that sinful lifestyles were acceptable. I’d like to hear if you have another take on that.

    Jesus did deal with sin in very harsh and extreme ways sometimes – e.g. cleansing the temple of the money changers (Matt. 21), confronting the Pharisees as being “hypocrites, blind guides, den of vipers, etc.” (Matt. 23).

    Everything He did was for as example for us, including these times. So I think it’s a bit dishonest to encourage modern day Christians to roll over and condone sinful behavior and lifestyles. I’ll admit that Christians, as human beings themselves, don’t always handle these situations very well, not “seasoning their speech with salt.” (Col. 4:6). But pointing out error in peoples’ lives is not hating them. Often times it is pointing out error in someone’s life out of love for them. And it is done so without any control over how the message is received.

    Peter tells us, as Christians to always be able to give a defense of our hope in times of slander, lies, harm (1 Peter 3) – and those times are now. Because a lot of lies are being spread, not only about Christians, but about this law that has been passed recently in Indiana. And I’m afraid this post doesn’t help out in that matter.

    • These people do not want to point out sin John. The people who have the sin already know it. No one needs to point it out to them. The issue is how the sinner gets treated. Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are angry—and they want retribution against LGBQT people for messing up their sad, twisted little religious world the same way white southerners wanted retribution against black people for the pain they suffered during the Civil War. The black man was the symbol of their failure as a society. The LGBTQ person is the living symbol of the failure of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in American society.

      Does anyone here doubt—seriously doubt—that fundies would execute every gay person in the United States if they had the power to do so. That is the prescribed penalty in the Old Testament. They follow the Bible rigidly. If they had the absolute political power that they have craved like “Little Precious” for the past 40 years, does anyone here seriously doubt that American streets would run red with the blood of slain LGBTQ people, slain unbelievers, and slain Christians of other denominations? This is where the evil seed fundamentalism leads to in other religions around the world. Why do we think it cannot happen here? Laws designed to keep people from buying and selling are a sign of the Anti-Christ. That is one of the things this Indiana law does.

      • Dover 1952- I will stand right now, this minute, to state that I doubt, seriously doubt, that there is ANYONE, Christian or otherwise, who would take upon themselves to kill everybody that didn’t believe as they believe. Why? because that would be murder and everyone knows, at their very core, that their own conscience would prohibit that. Now, the question is: Who put that conscience in their core. As long as there is breath, there is hope. Thank you Jesus for that hope.

      • Rousas Rushdoony was a Christian fundamentalist presbyterian and one of the leading ideologues of Christian fundamentalism. He openly advocated the killing of all gay people worldwide (and many other people) in his writings—not as a matter of murder—but as a matter of justice where Christians enforce God’s Old Testament law by executing them. He saw it as a HOLY undertaking. I think you need to watch the video. It is not a matter of what YOU might do. I feel sure that you would not kill a gay person—but there is no accounting for what other people would do when organized under the right fundie leader like Rushdoony. Watch closely and hang on every word:

      • Ah yes. The classic “the word of God that we have isn’t actually what God meant” argument. Sorry John, but I’m not going to believe that a loving God is going to give me a book in the year 2015 that is misleading or inaccurate. You can if you want.

      • It think it is really the old fundies have the Bible—and think it is great—the only thing greater being their misunderstanding of what it is saying and doing argument. It is the same thing as following the plot line in a novel but never picking up on all the other things the author is saying to the reader between the lines along the way—something illiterate people are great at doing. I remember my old friend Dr. Watterson at the First Baptist Church in Knoxville, who referred rightly in his sermons to the mischief caused by what he called “half-literate country preachers.” He was talking about fundie preachers. He ought to know. He got a degree in English before going off to seminary.

    • John McCauley – the scriptures concerning the women caught in adultery was not in the original manuscripts, but added later by a transcriber. But, even if Jesus did actually say this – He is saying this to her because He wants her life to be blessed. He didn’t talk to her like he did the Pharisees or the tipping of tables of the money changers at the temple. They were the representation of God on earth and doing a very bad hypocritical job and is why He was angry (much more to that story than what I’m explaining). I believe that Jesus is the ONLY one who can judge the religious leaders because He is the ONLY one who can see in their hearts – we can’t and don’t know the true motives behind their thinking. I also think John’s letter to the Christians in Indiana was not a hateful letter, but a call to follow the loving example of Jesus. But, even how loving it was (John P.), it was still a letter to straighten out their beliefs, and writing as if it were from Jesus is taking it a little too far. May want to ask God about that one.

      Even if Jesus was in the adulterous story, He addresses her much like a parent who says to His child who plays with electrical sockets and get shocked allot, “Don’t play with electrical sockets and you won’t feel pain any longer.” If playing with electrical sockets were a sin, He is just wanting her to be free of pain, but still loves and accepts her very much even if she continues to get shocked. Sins will continue on this earth, but sin was nailed to the cross. This meaning to me is – sins will not keep us from the love and acceptance of God – they just make our life here on earth difficult (fiery trials) and not blessed – so we’re encouraged to not sin parentally – but it has nothing to do with God reconciliation of us. We will all go throw the judgement by fire to burn up everything in us that does not line up with Love, but this burning makes us into pure gold and is not a bad thing (painful – yes, bad – no).

      When God says, “Don’t judge, (and) You will be judged as you judge.” I would think this would give every Christian PAUSE to throw down their stones (as in the story the stones were held by the religious folks). I also think much of the debates over people doing things wrong in how we perceive scriptural context, needs to stop or we’re going against scripture that plainly states what the conditions will be in Gods plans to reconcile the world to Him.

      Love God with all your heart – Love your neighbor and leave the rest to Him.

      • God has given us, as Christians through the words and examples of Christ and inspired men, what should be a very clear set of instructions on how we are to live our lives to be pleasing to Him. We are also commissioned to spread that word and to use it to correct others when they err. And we are to do so out of love for them, not because we are better than them. Often times, sadly, people don’t handle this very well. And sadly people today don’t take this correction very well in most cases.

        So what do I do as a Christian? Ignore sin in people’s lives because they might hate me for approaching them? Just sit back and be humble and loving as Christians are maligned and slandered like they have been in Indiana this week? Sorry, I’m not going to do that. Why? Because it’s not the Christian thing to do.

        Far too often I hear the “yes, the bible says that, but that’s not what it means” argument. And I’m usually very leery of what follows. Because in effect what you’re saying is that in the year 2015, God has failed to deliver to me His word in its accurate state. I hear arguments that begins with “well the Greek meaning of that word…” like any of us are Greek scholars. Be careful with that argument, especially when you’re trying to prove a point that contradicts the entirety of God’s word.

        Finally, personally, I am quite upset that so-called Christians have run so quickly to defend those who choose to continue their lives in a sinful lifestyle and called on the Christian to retreat and compromise their beliefs. That is really sad to me. I might remind you of Paul’s message to the Romans when discussing sinful lifestyles: “and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (‭Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭32‬ NASB)”.

  35. If there were no Gay Activists threatening to close down the churches that refused to perform same-sex marriages with discrimination lawsuits, Then perhaps Mr. Pence would have thought the law unnecessary.

    • There aren’t any GLBT folks threatening churches that refuse same gender weddings. We know that churches can legally discriminate against anyone they wish, based on anything. That’s well founded in the US Constitution.

      Those who can’t discriminate are businesses that sell goods and services to the public.

      • Except of course in Kansas and Idaho- and now that the court precedent has been sent, any church in the United States can be forced to marry anybody who chooses to be married there.

        The Constitution went out the window the day the Supreme Court decided that democracy means nothing.

      • Theodore. Please quit lying. No federal judge in the United States can force a church to marry two gay people if it is against the beliefs of that church—and it is not going to happen as long as the First Amendment is in place.

    • I challenge you to show evidence of such activity. As it happens, churches are well insulated from such demands in the US. That’s what the separation of church and state does. Churches will never be compelled by government to perform rituals with which they disagree. It’s a different story in the UK, where Church of England ministers are being required to hold gay weddings, because that’s a state religion. Oddly, it’s the ultra religious in the US who are trying to tear down the very wall that protects them.

      • Anglican clergy in England are not being required to solemnize same gender marriages. Yes, the CoE is the established church in England, but the CoE does not currently allow same gender marriages to be performed by it’s clergy or in it’s churches.

        • Seriously? OK, let me spell this out. The Church of England is a State Church. They have no separation of church and state; the queen is the head of the church. We have that separation. No church in the US can be coerced to perform ceremonies of any kind. Now, there’s a bunch of so-called conservatives out there trying to destroy the separation of church and state because they, like their Taliban brethren, think you can convert someone at gunpoint. If they ever succeed, then you would have a legitimate concern, because then the Constitution would rule over the churches, and all men -gay and straight- would be entitled to the same church privileges.

          • Already happened in Kansas and Idaho. The Christians were told that they’d have to perform the marriages or be forced to close the doors of their establishments, which according to haters like John, is as it should be.

    • you are mistaken. there are no such activists. there are no churches being forced to marry anyone they do not want to marry. any solemnizer can refuse to perform any wedding without even giving a reason, and that was already true everywhere before the Indiana law was enacted. this bill is about businesses that serve the public, not churches.

  36. Love your post! Some of the comments anger me because apparently people don’t understand what they read in your post. Let’s love one another despite any inkling to disagree on certain topics. Can’t we all get along? UGH Finger pointing, rudeness. Read the post for what it was intended (IMHO) . A reminder that we are a reflection of our maker, Our maker wants us to love each other.

  37. You know how Christians like to cry discrimination when in countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria Christians are abused, beaten, murdered….

    Well this is the same thing for LGBT people who are being Discriminated against in the name of religion and ignorance~!

    How would Christians like it if they were that cause of personal beleifs that couldn’t be served in a restaurant or bakery?? Christians would probably go on Faux noise and whine and complain, and Faux noise would probably run a banner that says “Christianity under fire” Or “War on Christianity” or “Battle for Faith”

    Well, this is a battle of being WHO WE ARE! WHO WE ARE BORN AS..Not Brought up./indoctrinated as

    The only Difference is…People ARE BORN lgbt, people ARE NOT born religious.

    The fact that people were not born Christians/Religious now have more freedom than people who were born a certain way just saddens me!

    • Don’t paint with such a broad brush. Not all Christians are to be hated. Some Christians are gay, some are lesbians, some are transgendered, some are bisexual, and oh my goodness, some are just Christian people who believe that EVERYONE deserves to be given the same rights and priviledges–no exceptions. What saddens me is that people have jumped on the bandwagon again and pointed their waggling fingers towards Christians. “No, no naughty Christians, you should be ashamed of yourselves…blah blah blah.” Seriously…waggle those fingers at the federal government who passed the acts instead of making it a Christians vs. Gays issue.

    • “born”? LOL show me the ‘lesbian GENE’.

      Stop insulting Science. And guess what? and even if were true, wouldn’t make it right before God. get over it. LGBT ACTIVISTS = ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ and THE LEVANT

      • Re: “born”? LOL show me the ‘lesbian GENE’.
        Just because the scientists haven’t found a Gay gene yet, doesn’t mean there isn’t one there. At one time people hadn’t found that bacteria or virus cause disease, but they found the connection and everyone understands that diseases are caused by bacteria or virus.

      • Show me in the bible where it states it isn’t okay for a woman to lay with a woman, as she would with a man. I don’t recall any such admonishments. I noticed you specifically asked for the “lesbian gene” as opposed to the “gay gene”, since the discovery of inheriting the mother’s x chromosome (as well as other genetic markers) was discovered to play a part in regards to gay men. They haven’t found the lesbian gene yet, as women’s sexuality is fundamentally different. But I just wanted to point out how you conveniently skirted around the issue here.

  38. Reblogged this on Another Anomaly Among Many and commented:
    This is important.
    This is one of those places where you need to ask yourself whether your theology is getting in the way of loving people. I really doubt that anyone can feel so strongly in their conscience against any sin that they can refuse to be loving toward people. That’s exactly what our Example did not do. He knew the Scriptures perfectly. He was the One who wrote them. But did He reject people or turn them away because they were too sinful or too dirty? No, Jesus engaged with those people. He associated Himself with those people. He ate with those people. He died on a cross alongside two of those people. He forgave one of those people while He was at His last breaths. Jesus loved and welcomed the people that needed to be loved. Why aren’t we doing the same thing?
    So, is your theology getting in the way of loving people?

  39. Not too much love portrayed in a lot of the comments! Followers of Christ are supposed to bring light into the world, but the tone by some responders to the letter portrays anything but light! Whatever opinion or view you hold in respect to any topic, please never speak in a way you wouldn’t speak to Jesus himself. We are known by our fruit, and even disagreement can be expressed in a loving Godly manner, this is how we are to differentiate ourselves from the world.

  40. I’m so sorry for the pain this legislation has caused. I live in Indianapolis and please know that this legislation is NOT reflective of the belief system of the vast majority of people here. The City has a long historical culture of hospitality and volunteerism and passage of the law, the divisiveness, & the backlash have been absolutely devastating. Even as a vocal opponent it’s stinging to recognize the pain it inflicts on others. It has hurt and divided us as a community, and it’s provoking scary, real economic ramifications. The legislation was heavily opposed by the business community and most major city mayors and councils. The fury of it’s passage locally is fresh & stinging.

    Our governor refuses to acknowledge how or why this legislation hurts people and continually asserts that it’s “misunderstood”, no “different than other states”, and “misreported by the media”. We all know what it’s about and why it was passed, and frankly we bear responsibility for being an apathetic electorate to the politics as usual BS. This law is widely assumed to be a pandering response to conservative religious groups that heavily funded the also divisive marriage amendment thrown out by the Court in 2014.

    But painful as it is, the backlash is serving a purpose – 3,000 people rallied in Indianapolis and elsewhere today with little notice – and people here are talking and listening to one another – even if they disagree. And, the Governor and Assembly are now meeting to “clarify” the law within the next few days – a stunning development and tacit acknowledgement of really sticking their feet in the wrong place. Hope they get it right.

    Peace to All.

  41. this is nothing short of spectacular. stuff that needs to be said, indeed! thank you thank you thank you for this! peace be with you as Holy Week begins, and may your ministry be blessed always!

  42. This is absolutely ridiculous. I am a God-loving, Bible-believing Christian, and a small business owner in Indiana.

    Have you read the bills which were just passed by my state? IN NO WAY do these bills encourage discrimination, nor are they JUST about Christians. They basically repeat the Constitutional Amendment that “state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion ” (unless they have a very good reason, like it’s threatening the safety of someone else).
    These bills do not say, “Christians, judge everyone who doesn’t follow your beliefs.” More like, “Our government will not make you disobey your beliefs.”

    These bills DO NOT give Christians (or Jews, or Muslims, or Atheists) a free pass to discriminate against ANYONE. Instead, it protects all from a difference sort of discrimination.

    As a sewing business owner in Indiana, these bills mean that I do not HAVE to pay for employees abortions, or make an extremely immodest wedding dress, or make something obviously supporting LGBT pride. I will still sell to LGBT couples (or Jewish, or Muslim, for that matter), if they want what I already produce. I don’t discriminate, nor should I! I strive to show the love of Jesus to my customers, and to all people!

    Please, please, do more research on these new bills in Indiana, and don’t make us ALL out to be hypocrites. Here are the links https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/568#digest-heading and https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/house/1632

    • I see your point of course, but Christian fundamentalists are simultaneously trying to take away my religious rights under the First Amendment and those of my children in precisely the same way that this Indiana law is trying to prevent. Here in Tennessee, they are always trying to sneak some fundie leader or program into the public schools that my tax dollars support so they can convince United Methodist children that they are not really saved by Jesus and that they need to get saved the right fundie way and then attend a right fundie church to prove it. They have no respect whatever for my religious rights and those of my children. Why the should I bow down and give them special religious rights they INSIST on taking away from me and my children?

      The fundamental fact of the matter is that Christian fundamentalists are by nature totalitarian dictators who want to reserve lavish rights for themselves while denying those same rights to others who disagree with them—and that is the problem with this Indiana law—it is a fundie foot wedged in the homeowner’s doorway so wider evil can be done.

      Let me reiterate this. The Christian fundamentalists who support this Indiana law want special religious rights that they are openly working to deny to other people in American society. Abraham Lincoln said it best of them in this quote, and I am going to stand on it until the world is on fire:

      “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.”–Abraham Lincoln, letter to H.L. Pierce, April 6, 1859.

    • I think you tipped your hand on that “extremely immodest wedding dress.” Who are you to dictate what kind of wedding dress your customers are and are not going to have? If a customer has a neck plunge, and then you say, “I think we need to move this up 2 inches, your business is dictating your religion to its customers—trying to use it to control them and their behavior.

      I saw it on CNN one night. In Islamic enclaves in London, self-appointed Islamic moral policemen walk up to nonIslamic women in parks, measure the height of their hem above their knees with a ruler, and give them on-the-spot Islamic moral lectures about the way they should dress. I cannot see that you are doing anything different when you make a wedding dress for a customer. You will never make a wedding dress for my daughter, I can tell you that right now.

  43. As a Hoosier Christian and Protestant pastor I’m torn on this article.

    Nobody asked me about this legislation. I’d have told them the reasons for its creation and passage were wrong and shouldn’t have been allowed out of committee as it stands. So I’m actually offended that you’re painting with such a broad brush to make all of us Hoosiers out to be the bad guys. Not really something Jesus would have done.

    And then you act like Christians in Indiana are the only judgy, bigoted, hateful, hypocritical Christians in the nation. In fact, Christians have been giving Christians a bad name for ages. It’s nothing new.

    So, psuedo-Jesus, maybe tweak the opener. This article is wonderful! But it should be for a majority of Christians the world over who have lost touch with what Christ really wanted, not just to the favorite target of the week. There are actually quite a few of us in Indiana on your side, but alienating your partners doesn’t exactly engender support and unity.

  44. The explanation is a very simple five-letter word: M O N E Y
    Money – the really BIG money – can not be raised in the name love or actually helping people. It can only be raised by scaring people and making them fear their fellow man. And you can fill in the blank of which group is to be most “feared” depending on how much is needed to keep them in their mansions and private planes. They’ve been exploiting your fearful followers – in your name – since money was first invented. Probably before that…

    • Right you are. A right wing extremist politician by the name of Paul Weyrich (now dead) hijacked and politicized the protestant church in the United States in the late 1970s. Now Republican politicians bed the church down like a cheap whore 24/7—and especially at election time. The politicians love Christians’ votes and their money—and pretend to go along with their religious beliefs (political lying) to get their votes and money. The church whore gets a slow, comfortable screw out of it because the fat-bellied fundie preachers with those despicable TV anchor haircuts love the high places at the politician’s dinner tables, low to rub elbows with powerful political men, like to be invited on exotic weekend golf junkets, and enjoy pretending that they have arisen to some “pope-like” position in the Christian faith—provided not by Jesus—but by the money and power of the politicians they bow down and serve first BEFORE Jesus—because Jesus does not hand out such nice and expensive goodies to his true followers.

      Just watch in this upcoming 2016 election. It is already starting. The Republican politicians are buying their condoms right now, thinking up the best and most effective ways to whisper their lies into the churches’ ears as they bed her down like cheap whore for the 2016 screw season—and MONEY and POWER are the only real gods that are being served in any part of this process.

      One of the chief reasons people cite for leaving Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches today—including their own kids who leave and never come back—is that the church has been POLITICIZED. They want no part of it because politicians are by nature slime devils—and they know it. The currency of all politics is COMPROMISE and LIES. The political system cannot run without actively engaging in those two things. Yet, those two things are often incompatible with what the church is and what it does in society.