Yesterday Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law a bill that allows businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers in the name of religious freedom. I am blown away that we are legalizing discrimination – against people made in the image of God. It hurts my heart.
We are all made in the image of God. Black, Brown or White; male, female or transexual; gay, straight or bi – all are made in the image of God. Therefore, all human beings are immeasurably valuable. All human beings are infinitely loved by their creator God, whether they acknowledge it or not. All human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Which means no human being should be excluded from any part of our community.
But what about religious freedom? Shouldn’t we have the right to not participate in activities that violate our religious beliefs? Shouldn’t Christ Jesus, God Almighty, have had the right to a fair trial and to not be killed on the cross, an innocent man?
Jesus did have those rights. But he chose not to fight for them. He laid his rights down because he decided loving us was more important than his rights. He decided that restoring our dignity, stolen by the fall, was more important than his rights. And he did this while we were still sinners, according to Romans 5:8.
If we claim to follow Christ and to be like him, we don’t get to wait for our fellow human beings to confess and repent before we are required to love them. We need to love our fellow human beings now. Imagine if Christ waited for us to stop sinning before he died for us. I know I still sin, so we would all still be waiting for our debt to be paid.
Our job is to love our fellow human beings who were created in the image of God. That means they need to feel welcome and included in all quarters of our society, even if it violates our “rights”. Excluding any human being from patronizing any place of business strips them of their human dignity. Our job to is love others and treat them with respect and dignity. Our job is to demonstrate God’s love. It is God’s job, and his alone, to work in peoples’ hearts to make them more holy and righteous. Our job is to reflect Christ by laying down our rights and loving.