What About the Arizona Anti-Gay Bill?

Map of Arizona, 1904 - with numbers by me!

HumanSeeHumanDo via Compfight

The recent anti-gay bill in Arizona which was passed last week by the state’s Legislature and now sits on the desk of the Governor, would allow companies to deny service to or discriminate against gay people based on the religious beliefs of the business owner.

In response, Greg has tweeted:

“The governor of Arizona is considering signing into law a “Christian” sponsored bill allowing businesses to refuse service to GLBT folk…”

And …

“Ironic: Jesus PARTIED with the most judged sinners, ‘yet today some “Christians” fight for the “right” not to do business with them!”

And …

“If the devil wanted the best way to ensure that GLBT folk would want nothing to do with Jesus, he’d help “Christians” sponsor this bill.”

While Christian-promoters of this bill say that is about religious freedom (see this interview), we must honestly ask what’s really going on here. Is it really about religious freedom or about something else? The following is a quote from his book Myth of a Christian Nation where Greg challenges the idea that Christians should put themselves in a place of moral superiority, based on some kind of sin-grading system.

“[W]hen people assume the position of moral guardians of the culture, they invite—they earn!—the charge of hypocrisy. For all judgment, save the judgment of the omniscient and holy God, involves hypocrisy. … Instead of seeing our own sins as worse than others, we invariably set up a list of sins in which our sins are deemed minor while other people’s sins are deemed major. …

Our grading of sins has nothing to do with Scripture, of course, for Scripture no only has no such graded list of sins; it specifically teaches against such a notion. …

We feed our self-righteousness with this illusory contrast by ascribing ourselves worth at the expense of others. …

To illustrate, more than a few have noticed the comic irony in the fact that the group most vocal about ‘the sanctity of marriage,’ namely evangelical Christians, happens to be the group with the highest number of divorces in the U. S., which itself is the highest divorce rate in the world! … Whatever our excuses, outsiders legitimately wonder, ‘If evangelicals want to enforce by law the “the sanctity of marriage,” why don’t they try to outlaw divorce and remarriage? Better yet, why don’t they stop worrying about laws to regulate others’ behavior and spend their time and energy sanctifying their own marriages?”

Do evangelicals fear gay marriage in particulate because the Bible is much more clear about the wrongfulness of gay marriage than it is about the wrongfulness of divorce and remarriage? No, for the Bible actually says a good deal more against divorce and remarriage than it does against monogamous gay relationships. Do they go after this particular sin because the research shows that gay marriage is more damaging to society than divorce and remarriage? It seems not, for while one might grant that neither is idea, there’s no clear evidence that the former is socially more harmful than the latter. …

We evangelicals may be divorced and remarried several times; we may be as greedy and unconcerned about the poor and as gluttonous as others in our culture; we may be as prone to gossip and slander and as blindly prejudiced as others in our culture; we may be more self-righteous and as rude as others in our culture—we may even lack love more than others in the culture. These sins are among the most frequently mentioned sins in the Bible. But at least we’re not gay! …

So despite the paucity of references to homosexuality relative to the sins we minimize or ignore, and despite empirical evidence that some of the sins we minimize are far more harmful to people and to society than this sin (for instance, greed and gluttony arguably kill millions!), this is the sin evangelical as a group have decided to take a stand on. Why?” (136-138).

Related Reading

Sanctuary

  . SantiMB . via Compfight Jamie Wright wrote this penetrating essay of encountering a woman in a moment of extremity and need. It’s a reminder of our great need for a sanctuary, a safe place to come when the world has gone mad and we have nowhere else to go. From her essay: Because,…

On Consumerism

Werner Kunz via Compfight As we enter the upcoming holiday season, most of us will be bombarded with advertisements attempting to convince us that what we have isn’t enough, that our lives are incomplete without the newest and most updated products, and that our main goal is to find the “perfect” gifts for everyone on…

The Right to Remain Silent

A reader (Thanks Adam) sent us this reflection written by Jason Hess on how we as Christians sometimes use the freedom of speech in ways that are in opposition with our call to love. How we live is infinitely more important than what we say, and sometimes our free speech is a detriment to bringing…

The Nature of Human Rebellion

God placed Adam in the Garden and instructed him to “protect” it (Gen. 2:15). The word is often translated “till” or “keep,” implying that Adam’s main responsibility was to protect the pristine Garden from weeds. This is certainly a possible interpretation of this word, but in light of the cunning serpent that shows up in…

homosexuality, truth telling, and love

A Guy Taking Pictures via Compfight A couple weeks ago, we posted a portion of Greg’s sermon (and his comments) on the marriage amendment in Minnesota, homosexuality and finding a “Third Way”. Today we’re continuing the conversation by linking to a blog post by Sarah Bessey called In which I tell you the truth about…

The Root of Broken Relationships

God’s goal for creation is for us to receive his perfect love in such a way that we all become prisms that reflect this love. However, you don’t have to look very far to notice that creation falls far short of this goal. Although you might be tempted to look around for someone to blame,…