taking the words of Jesus seriously

There are few things that make me angrier than when Christians try to twist the Scriptures for their own comfort or gain. As a life-long believer who has read the Bible cover-to-cover more than once, I have a profound love and respect for the scriptures.

Which is why I feel confident in saying that Kansas House Bill 2453 is not only immoral, it’s unbiblical.

This bill was passed under the guise of protecting religious freedoms concerning marriage, but it goes much further. According to Slate’s legal writer Mark Joseph Stern,

“In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples–not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.”

Could a Christian lawmaker in Kansas pull a couple of verses from the Bible and make the argument that this law isn’t about discrimination, but protecting “religious freedom?” Absolutely. I’m sure some already have. But the Bible was never meant to be used this way, as a set of verses and proof texts to be taken and applied out of context, in the attempt to make a point. The Bible was meant to be a collection of stories and re-tellings of Christ; the Old Testament, showing the hardship of life under the law and our need for a Savior, the gospels, where that Savior came to fulfill the law and prophets and sacrificially die for our sins, and the remainder of the New Testament, where His followers tried to carry out His will and spread His teachings.

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The whole of the Bible points to Christ.

So any Christian who is questioning whether they should support a law like this should look to Christ — His words, actions, teachings, and try to infer from those whether He would ever support legal action like this one. Figuring out Jesus’s opinion on our government’s laws should be hard though, since Jesus seemed largely unconcerned with government at all. When the Pharisees tried to trip him up with a question about paying taxes, He pointed to the face on the coin and said, “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” He made further His lack of interest in controlling or influencing the government when He was facing Pilate before his execution. “My kingdom is not of this world, ” Jesus said. “If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jesus didn’t spend his time on Earth trying to get laws changed or working for legal protections for His growing followers. He failed to do this not just because being a Christian isn’t about being “protected from discrimination, ” but because that’s not what He was concerned with.

What Jesus was concerned with was raising up the oppressed, the poor, the rejected, and the forgotten, and inviting them to follow Him.

What Jesus was concerned with was showing the sinners — the woman with multiple husbands, the woman caught in adultery, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the blind and the lepers — that they were valued and seen by Him.

He was also passionate about letting the religious leaders know that it was not their job to cast the first stone.

As Christians, we should always be trying to follow both Christ’s example, and His words on what the greatest commandment was — to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves. That should be our main priority in all that we do. Christ never said that we should be concerned most with our comfort. He never once said that following Him meant we had special legal rights against “religious discrimination.” That’s no where in the Bible.

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Christ did say that it’s our duty to love others. And there is absolutely no way that any Christian can make the argument that refusing housing or services to a person in need is loving. This goes far beyond standing up for the “Biblical definition of marriage.” This law casts a wide net of protection against any government worker who wants to refuse to serve an LGBT person, for any reason of, “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Refusing to help people in need is the antithesis of what Jesus stood for. The Christians in Kansas need to recognize this, and rally against this bill. They need to be the hands and feet of Jesus, who would be the first to serve an LGBT person who needed help.

To stand behind this law is to stand behind discrimination, in Jesus name. And that is something His name should never, ever be used to defend.

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