Thursday, March 31, 2016

Religious Freedom

I have been keeping up with these "Religious Freedom" bills that are popping up around the country, and what they entail. The thing is, this was expected after the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage. When the Supreme Court ultimately decided that states did not have the right to decide what constituted marriage, there became a void. For years, both Federal and state laws said marriage was between a man and a woman. It is something I still hold to. As a Christian, I believe in traditional marriage. The problem is with the government. When the Government got a hold of marriage and attached benefits to it, then the marriage waters get a little muddy. I believe in equality of government benefits no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Therefore, I was willing to entertain the idea of a federal government sanctioned union. I was also okay with states determining their own definition of marriage because the Bill of Rights gives the states that right. But because of the void left by the Supreme Court decision many conservative states have felt like they need to act. States like Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi all have passed bills in their legislative branches. The Mississippi bill allows individuals, businesses and government employees (including counseling services, foster care and adoption services), nonprofits and other entities to refuse goods and services to LGBT people and anyone who has had extramarital sex on religious grounds. Some believe that this includes the denial of emergency services. If that is the case it would go against all that religion, especially Christianity stands for. The Bible clearly states that one is to love their neighbor as themselves. It even states, "love your enemy and pray for those that persecute you." As a Christian, it would be wrong to deny someone emergency services just because they are living a lifestyle you disagree with. I do believe private businesses should be allowed to decide who they serve, I also believe pastors should be protected to speak biblical truths, and turn down couples who want to be married, and are not living a lifestyle that the pastor believes reflects the traditional values of marriage. Those things should be protected. Finally, a county clerk who believes in traditional marriage should not have to put their name on a marriage license, but she should not stand in the way of a couple who want to be married in accordance with state law. She should be able to step aside and allow someone in her office who is okay with signing the marriage license to do just that. But in no circumstances should emergency services be denied due to sexual orientation. To be honest, that would be unChristian  

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