Monday, April 6, 2015

Religious "Freedom:" Who Would Christ Refuse to Serve?

Right, probably the money changers in the temple. Other than that, there's no indication he excluded much of anyone. So, yes, Jamie Dimon, you might not be invited for pizza at Christ's house but anyone else, bring the Pepsi.

Readers know I have no interest in religion. It's hooey, though years back I made the case for a legitimate humanism based on Christ's teachings. Christianity, then, has a shot for being taken seriously as a way of life.

Too bad Christians ruined it by going all Old Testament on us. Toss in the rest of the crazy shit, like the love of guns and the death penalty, and you have a religion that, in the American context, approximates "choosing" the Neanderthal "lifestyle."

And yet, when Indiana, Arkansas, and some twenty or so other states put discriminatory laws on the books in the name of Christ -- admit it, they aren't doing this for their brother and sister Muslims -- we are supposed to believe they just want to be good Christians the way the Constitution told them they could be.

Never mind that in a pluralistic nation, governed by, yes, the Constitution, religious accommodation dictates that we compromise and respect others' rights, as well. That means we have to serve -- if we wish to operate in the public sphere -- others without discrimination. What this means is that if gays want pizza, give them pizza, unless of course they insist on having gay sex in your pizza parlor.

I don't mean that facetiously, by the way. People want pizza, give them pizza. What they do in private, who cares, who even really knows?

Now, if I were a pizza parlor operator and a Christian -- and, as a Christian, actually was against war and violence, a set of beliefs not discordant with Christian faith -- and I refused service to soldiers and police officers in uniform, would you think my cause was just?

Let's go one further. Let's say a couple of guys came in with military-style haircuts and I asked if they were in the military. If they answered yes, would I be American if I said, "Sorry, boys, my religious beliefs don't let me serve you."

You'd think I was nuts. And I would be. But think about this: As Americans, let alone Christians, is it moral to serve trained killers and not gay people?

Just asking.

Okay, I get that many Americans would say, sure I'd serve the trained killers because they're my trained killers. God bless them, and God bless America. The gays, they're not my people, even if they're, er, Christians and Americans.

Still, would Christ serve them? Since he was known to have let a sinner wash and anoint his feet, I would have to say, yes, he would serve them. He also famously said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, render unto God what is God's." That's as clear a statement in support of separation of church and state as anything Thomas Jefferson might have made.

Of course, Christ didn't live in Indiana, so I suppose I don't really know.

What would Christ do? We know what Mike Pence tried to do. #EpicFail

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