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Religious liberty vs LGBTQ citizens

Religious liberty vs LGBTQ citizens

We have perhaps all seen the most vocal situations of businesses not wanting to serve LGBTQ folks. Most often, since individual states have been legalizing marriage equality, it is businesses that don’t want to provide services to same-sex couples for their wedding. A baker doesn’t want to bake a same-sex couple a wedding cake. A wedding/reception hall doesn’t allow a same-sex couple to book the venue for their wedding. Here in Washington State we have had a well-known instance where a florist has refused to provide flowers for the wedding of her longtime gay customers. And every time it seems that the argument has been about “religious liberty.” That forcing a Christian business owner, with a strongly held religious belief against same-sex marriage, to provide services to a same-sex couple, is a violation of the business owner’s Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The conservative law firms that fight these cases often contend that their position is that which is held by the majority of US citizens. There are now scores of “religious liberty” bills being introduced in the various state legislatures to codify the religious liberty argument in state law. If passed, the laws would allow, for example, any business where the owner claims a firmly held religious belief against same-sex marriage, to legally discriminate against potential LGBTQ customers, by refusing to sell them goods & service for their weddings.

But guess what? Recent polling affirms that only one group of Christians actually supports laws legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ citizens. That group is white evangelical Protestants. By overwhelming majorities, most other religious groups oppose laws allowing businesses to refuse services to LGBTQ folks. See the chart above for the breakdown of the polling results by groups.

The chart and the survey are from PRRI.


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Anne Bay

Interesting to note that the people who are less likely to discriminate on this issue are the “unafilliated” and the non-Christian group! That tells a huge story and explains why so many young people are not having anything to do with religion. The healthiest and most knowledgeable people I know are young people in these categories. Education is the key-a good well-rounded and modern education will greatly help the stupidity and the plain ignorant stands on so many of the current issues disappear. It takes time to learn what the current knowledge is. I might add that Gorsuch wouldn’t be approved by the young people I know.

Philip B. Spivey

You make excellent sense, Anne. What preached from the pulpit is only one aspect of ‘corporate worship’. The other aspect are the members of the congregation. Parishes consist of affinity groups that are more, and largely less, likely to welcome alternate world views. To wit: Not only would progressive or questioning youth not be welcome in a parochial parish, they would soon begin to feel like outsiders; why go there?

It’s not the ethos of Christianity that turns youth away; it’s the fecklessness of some disciples.

David Curtis

One piece that I could not find in this survey is church attendance and how church attendance does and does not impact viewpoints. In the 2016 primaries, self identified white evangelicals would be nearly split between Senator Cruz and Mr. Trump. However, the gap would typically widened in favor of Cruz when factoring in regular church attendance. It would be interesting to see if the numbers in this survey would be impacted by regular church attendance.

Michael W. Murphy

As religious liberals, our challenge is to devise a way to tolerate religious bigots. Like the late Rev. Fred Phelps, J.D., they have free speech rights to spout their venom. (Some of the members of his congregation are both highly educated and highly intelligent.)

The religious argument is how to resolve the apparent conflict between the two commandments (See Mark 12: 29-31.) which Jesus stated were most important: 1) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD your God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deut 6:4-5.) and 2) “[Y]ou shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:18b.) (The story of the Good Samaritan incorporates Lev. 19:34: “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” into the second commandment.)

Our Jewish brothers state that God does not command emotions. While recognizing the “sins of scripture” we must find a scriptural basis to redraft the rules of society. I suggest that Gen. 9: 4-6 be the starting point of the study which must precede that redraft. This study should have begun 50 years ago when we started to change the traditional rules of society.

Gregory Orloff

A far better Biblical basis for “redrafting the rules of society” is Luke 6:31.

Practice that, and the rest takes care of itself.

Michael W. Murphy

I do not believe that you have fully thought about the implications of Gen. 9:4-6. Among many other things, it says that we must treat every person as the image of God. It also says that each person has infinite value. Therefore, it is the basis of Math. 25:31-46.

Helen Kromm

Education, or lack thereof, plays an important part in all of this. Churches that practice intolerance, and in fact encourage it, are generally comprised of congregants that represent the least educated in the United States.

Gregory Orloff

Under the guise of “religious liberty” bills, does a businessperson belonging to a racialist church (they exist) get to refuse service to non-white people on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs”? Does a Jehovah’s Witness emergency room doctor get to refuse a blood transfusion to a patient on the basis of his religious abhorrence of blood transfusions as “eating blood,” according to his/her interpretation of the Bible as prohibiting that?

Nothing in any religion requires someone to open and run a business for the sake of his/her salvation. If some religious believers find that they cannot abide by laws of commerce and public accommodation that govern doing business, due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” they simply need to find another line of work that presents no such conflicts with their consciences.

Yes, sometimes one must make sacrifices to remain true to one’s faith…

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