I’m still not sure that I understand #RFRA Indiana. Tobin Grant, writing for the Washington Post, says no one understands Indiana's new religious freedom law, and explains that the law will actually have little to no effect on discrimination in Indiana.
So what does #RFRA Indiana do? I think what bothers me most about the bill is that it doesn’t actually do anything. As such, it is largely symbolic. In it's timing, passed immediately on the heels of a federal ruling making same-sex marriage legal in Indiana, the symbolic meaning of RFRA is clear: it's a political statement against gay marriage. We know we private business owners already have the political right to refuse service to anyone, but we just want to make it clear how badly we want to be able to NOT serve you.
Last night in churches across Indiana and the world, Christians gathered to celebrate Maundy Thursday. We gathered to remember a Savior who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life for many. Who taught us that whoever is first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
Who, in the last week of his life, refused to throw the first stone.
Who valued extravagant gestures of love.
Who washed his disciples’ feet.
Who said his followers would be known by love.
Who told Peter not to fight back when soldiers came with swords.
Who did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking on the form of a servant.
Who died without ever changing a single political policy in a corrupt system that marginalized his own people group.
How can we call ourselves Christians and spend Holy Week fighting for the right NOT to serve someone?
Just last night, pressured by the many businesses who threatened to withdraw from the state, Gov Mike Pence signed a “fix” for #RFRA, clarifying that discrimination based on sexual preference is illegal in Indianapolis. Still, it remains legal in the rest of the state, where discrimination against gays and lesbians is not expressly prohibited because they are not covered by statewide civil rights protection.
Money rules the day, as it always will in the kingdoms of the earth. Convictions falter when financial pressure increases.
But we are not here to build a Christian nation; we are here to advance the kingdom of God within the kingdoms of the earth. To me, that looks more like suffering for obeying our consciences than grasping for our rights. To me, that looks like giving up our own rights, if needed, so that we can sacrificially show love to others, including our gay friends and neighbors.