Is Discrimination A Religious Freedom?

The United States is a great country because of its guarantee of religious freedom. The government will not tell you how to run your church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. If you want to set up a worship center to Cthulhu you can. Pastafarians can even have their driver’s license picture taken with a colander on their head as a religious right. Your religion is your business. The problem arises when you attempt to take your religion into everyone else’s business. Fundagelicals don’t understand this point. They have been attempting to write laws favoring their particular brand of Christianity since the religious right jumped into the political arena back in the 70s. They also complain when their secular businesses must follow secular rules.

E.W Jackson, in his Awakening broadcast, after a long anti-Muslim rant, decided to jump into the fray on supposed Christian persecution as evidenced by the fact Christians must follow secular anti-discrimination laws. (Listen HERE at the 43:00 minute mark) He complains about a recent lawsuit brought against a bed-and-breakfast for refusing service to a gay couple based on the owner’s religious beliefs.

His argument is this:

“Can I just be perfectly blunt? Why in the world should Christians who have spent their time, their energy, their money, their prayers to buy a little bitty bed-and-breakfast with three rooms for guests be forced by the law to have two old, big strapping men go up in one of their rooms and have sex? Now that’s disgusting! Or two women? In a place that they probably prayed over and dedicated to God and said, ‘God use this place for your glory, use it bless people and to encourage people and to comfort people and to help people.’ And they put their time, their energy, their money into it and then you’ve got the law come along and say, ‘Yeah, you’ve got to let two homosexuals go into one of those rooms and do whatever they do.’”

“Why should that be forced upon two people, or on anybody, who spent their time, their energy, their money, and their prayers, and their tears to build something that they wanted to be God-glorifying and then have somebody tell them, ‘Well, we don’t care what you built it for, we’re going to force you to have people come in here who will simply defile the place?’” Jackson fumed. “And I said it, and I mean it! This will be a defilement of the place that [was] blessed and dedicated to God.”

Here is where Jackson goes off the rails and misses the point entirely. He claims that the owners prayed over and dedicated  their bed-and-breakfast to God’s use and for his glory. If that were true, they would be a ministry and not a business. If they have a business license, they are a business. If it were true that this was a ministry, and the bed-and-breakfast was only used for religious retreats, and not available to the general public, then the owners could refuse use to anyone outside their religion. However, the owners have made a decision not to incorporate as a non-profit and enter the secular business world.

If this bed-and-breakfast was dedicated to Godly use, as the owners claim, then do the owners refuse service to other ineligible people? Do they check to make sure every couple who books a room is not only heterosexual but married? Do they check the previous divorce record of the couple? Are they making sure the couple is Christian? It seems that the religious requirements are selectively enforced.

This is a secular business, and the Christian owners have chosen to run a secular business. When you enter into a secular business, you must play by secular rules. At least that is what Paul taught, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1 NIV) Paul encouraged Christians in the Roman Empire to be good citizens. Should we expect less from Christians living in the secular society of the United States?

If you don’t want the LGBT community to sleep in your bed-and-breakfast, then don’t open a secular business. It’s that simple. If keeping undesirable people out of your “for God’s glory bed and breakfast” is a legitimate concern, then really dedicate it to God and trust that He will fill up your rooms with the right kind of people. Of course, if you want those sweet secular dollars, you can’t use religious beliefs as a smoke screen to discriminate. You have to be a good citizen.

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