Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was right to veto S.B.1062, which would have amended the Arizona Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The bill, per most interpretations I’ve read, would have given broad discretion to business owners, because of their religious convictions, to refuse to do business with anyone associated with homosexual lifestyles.
Religious freedom is about protection of your right to practice your religion and not being forced to violate it.
However, the right to religious freedom does not mean the right to write-off and marginalize into non-existence a whole class of citizens whom you don’t like or agree with.
Under Jim Crow, the problem whites had with blacks was not what blacks thought or did, but that they existed. These laws were designed to relegate one class of citizens to separate and unequal status, simply because of who they were.
Such actions have nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with bigotry and racism.
But, unfortunately, the failure of this poorly conceived Arizona bill will be misinterpreted. Some will incorrectly claim that this means it is not a violation of religious freedom to force a business owner to provide a product or service for activity that is against his or her religious convictions. That is incorrect.
Would anyone question the refusal of a black vendor to sells sheets to the local Ku Klux Klan chapter? Or a Jewish merchant refusing to sell the poster board for a Neo-Nazi rally? Or refusal of a Christian video service to make a pornographic film?
So why is it not perfectly clear that the religious freedom of a Christian merchant is violated if that merchant is forced to bake a cake or prepare a flower arrangement for a same-sex marriage, which is not only as personally repugnant to that vendor as any in the cases above, but is also a clear and literal violation of the scripture that defines the faith of these individuals?
And why is it that same-sex couples have such a hard time finding bakers and florists that are not offended by their wedding? Why do they wind up with such regularity trying to buy from Christian vendors?
The reality is that the “gay rights” crusade is not about a struggle for justice, but rather it is a cultural war.
Homosexual activists understand the ongoing erosion of traditional values as a pillar of our society and use this opportunity to push Christian reality, once and for all, into the closet and to lock the door.
The cultural script has been re-written such that Christians have been put in a position of either rejecting the precepts and prohibitions of their religion, or being faithful to them and being branded as against “equality.”
The problem, of course, is not what people do in private. The issue is that it all has been dragged into the public square because, again, this is a cultural war.
The battlefront is the core contradiction of the legitimization of homosexual behavior that scripture clearly prohibits and then moving on to redefine marriage.
Christians have been put in the untenable position that being true to their faith means, by the new standards set in our society, being labeled a bigot and then being exposed to being put out of business.
Let’s keep in mind that the idea of religious freedom only means something as long as religion means something.
It is critical that Christians draw the line and continue the struggle and not allow religion or religious freedom to be compromised. Individuals or businesses forced to supply goods or services for activities against the precepts of their faith must refuse and call forth their protection under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.