Recently my home state of Mississippi and the state of North Carolina caused a stir when they passed laws that are believed by some to be anti-LBGT. The Mississippi law, HB1523, known as the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act is the one I am most familiar with. If you read the headlines from around the world you would believe this law is hateful. The liberal website slate.com called it a bill that would result in segregation of LBGT. Another article read, “Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Signs Anti-LBGT Bill Into Law.” So there you have it, Mississippi wants to segregate the LBGT and our state is anti-LBGT. Many on the left have reminded everyone how Mississippi had Jim Crow laws and abused black people in the days of Civil Rights Movement. Here is a tip, if you go back 50+ years to find events and equate that with today’s South you are not to be taken seriously. Equating this law with Jim Crow is just plain nonsense. The bill that was signed into law will do none of the things that have been said. It protects churches and business owners from violating their religious beliefs by allowing them to refuse to be a part of a same-sex marriage ceremony.
The simple truth is the first chapter of Christians’ sacred writing, the Bible, clearly states in verses 27, 28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them and God said be fruitful and multiply…” If this was the only chapter in the Bible we have enough standard to believe same-sex marriage is against Biblical teaching. However, the New Testament is teeming with verses that describe the relationship of the church and Christ as bride/Bridegroom. To me, the pinnacle of such imagery is found in Ephesians 5 when Paul gives instructions for the husband and the bride. He says in verses 29-32,
“29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,
30 since we are members of His body.
31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. “
The imagery of Christ being the Bridegroom and the church being the bride is a huge, sacred part of our teaching. It makes sense a state would not force a private business owner to violate this sacred belief. What this law does not do is allow you to say, “I won’t serve queer.” There is nothing sacred about donuts, apple strudels, or cupcakes. The LGBT can buy these all day. No business owner should be able to deny service simply because they don’t like “that kind.” A business owner should not have to violate his convictions about marriage. Should a bakery be required to bake a bachelor’s party cake even if such shenanigans are against their religious beliefs? What about Halloween? Should a bakery be required to bake Halloween goodies if as a Christian they do not want to? OF COURSE THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO.
North Carolina’s new law oversimplified demands a person use the corresponding bathroom based on the sex they were at birth. The hot-button term is “self identify.” A person born female can self identify as a male. I will remove the person who has had gender reassignment surgery from this conversation and deal with people who have the same anatomy they were born with. The debate on self identifying is really a debate on what is truth. I am 48 years old but most days because of arthritis in my back and hips I feel like I am 65. Can I self identify as a senior adult and start drawing social security? What about the 30-year-old man who self identifies as a 16-year-old and has sex with a teenage girl? We live in a time when truth changes like the minutes on the clock. It is frightening to consider what many, if not most, Americans are now willing to say is no longer true. Marriage is a sacred union between a man and woman – not anymore. A man should not use a ladies’ restroom or shower facilities – not anymore. As believers in Christ we believe the absolute truth of God’s Word and ways never change. Part of that truth is we must engage people in a way that shows love, respect and compassion without compromising. This is becoming more challenging in the days we live in for people are wanting to fight us because of our beliefs. Several celebrities have boycotted these two states. Mississippi will have to struggle to live without Brian Adams and North Carolina will have to be brave in the face of the news Bruce Springsteen will not be coming. In the days ahead probably both of these laws will be repealed or overturned. If that happens Christians should not view these as losses because
ANOTHER PART OF THAT TRUTH IS GOD ALWAYS WINS.