Where is our country heading? The First Amendment states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Our country was founded on Biblical principles, including the principle that forcing one’s religion on someone else is wrong (John 18:36). But it was also founded on the principle that Christians should be able to live out their beliefs that are specifically revealed in Scripture. Today this second half of the first part of the First Amendment is deteriorating. First, as Christians we are already forced to pay for other people to be able to murder their babies. When taxes are used for abortions, the taxpayer is playing a part in the murder of innocent children. The Bible describes the murder of children as one of the most, if not the most, heinous of sins (Matthew 2:16-18; Exodus 1:15-22). It doesn’t matter if our courts don’t see abortion as a crime. Many Christians correctly see abortion as the crime of murder. Tax funded abortions go against the rights of those who still hold to the moral laws found in the Bible. Abortions should be illegal because they go against a clear moral law that everyone should be aware of in their conscience – it’s wrong to kill innocent babies. At the very least, those who believe abortion is immoral should not be forced to participate in them by paying for them with their tax dollars. Second, it now looks like Christians will be forced to sanction same sex marriage. Indiana is trying to ensure that Christians will not have to go against their conscience and be forced to participate in same sex marriages. Most people believe it is not right to go against your conscience (Romans 14:22-23). But if a pastor or photographer feels that being involved in a same sex marriage condones what he or she believes is a sin, they might be forced to go against their conscience if they are not allowed to refuse to participate in the wedding by officiating or taking the pictures. For the last two centuries our society has seen homosexuality as a sin because the Bible is very clear in both the Old Testament and New Testament concerning this issue (Genesis 19; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The Bible is very clear that we are to treat everyone with respect and kindness because they are created in the image of God, but this does not mean that we have to participate in their chosen lifestyles. Some have suggested that the Indiana law is no different than the laws that made black people sit at the back of the bus or stay out of certain restaurants. The Indiana law is not like that at all. The difference is that the Bible does condemn homosexuality; it does not promote prejudice concerning skin color. Christians should never look down on LGBT people or deny them services unless the Christian is required to participate in their activities that go against his or her conscience (e.g. participate in a gay wedding). We all need to respect each other. I believe the law in Indiana is only seeking to preserve the right of the Christian who simply asks for all parties to respect each other, including areas concerning the conscience. A rejection of this kind of law would be another step away from the true meaning of our constitution and the First Amendment. All people should both respect and love each other, accepting the fact that they might disagree on moral issues. We can coexist and live with each other, while not forcing each other to believe like the other believes. Some believe that homosexuality is an acceptable alternative lifestyle; some of those believe that they should be able to force their belief on those who disagree. Because historically homosexuality has been considered a sin in this country, and historically this country was founded on preserving Christian principles, it seems to me that it would be wrong to allow the LGBT agenda to force its beliefs on those who still believe in the conservative interpretation of the Bible concerning the moral issues surrounding the LGBT agenda. Finally, I would ask all parties to dialogue with each other concerning these issues in a way that shows respect for each other. Emotional hate language does not promote respect or understanding. We can agree to disagree agreeably, being led by sound reasoning rather than emotional vitriol.