This week, Arizona finds itself at the center of American political discussion.
The reason? The bill that now sits on the governor’s desk, waiting for a signature or a veto, which protects businesses and their “religious convictions.”
The religious convictions in question are specifically those convictions which pertain to whom the business owner should deny service.
Last year, an Arizona couple were denied service by a bakery when they requested a wedding cake. A New Mexico couple were turned down by a photographer because taking pictures would violate his convictions as a “born again Christian.” Both couples were denied service because they are same-sex couples.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Yarborough says, “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”
I’ll let you parse the irony of that statement as you see fit. I don’t have a thing to say about it.
But as the cost of doing business in America rises, financially and for some people, morally, there is a lot that I am thankful for as bills like these are debated all over the country. I am thankful that when I go to my local baker and ask for a cake, the baker doesn’t have me stand on a scale first or measure my BMI. I would hate to make a baker violate his conscious and make him think he’s selling products made of highly processes sugar and fat to a rampantly obese society. But thankfully, the baker doesn’t seem to care about how selling me a cake might violate his conscience.
Yes, thankfully, when I go to the grocery store and fill my cart with absolute crap which I plan to eat in completely unhealthy quantites, the cashier doesn’t say, “I think you’ve had enough.”
And when I purchase some beer to share with my friends, the clerk does not put me through the embarrassment of making me take a breathalyzer test. That would certainly be humiliating.
I am glad that if my wife and I hired a photographer, he wouldn’t ask us if we are having marital problems, infidelity, or otherwise violating the biblical definition of marriage. He would just do his job, which is to make us look like a happy couple.
It is so good to know that when I go to the Apple story and pick up an expensive new laptop, the “Geniuses” don’t ask me if I’m just buying the laptop because I’m jealous of my friend who has one.
And when I purchase a new car, I’m pretty sure the salesman is not going to ask if I have honored my parents and made sure their needs are met before I drop this kind of money.
He will probably just take my money because I am a member of the American public who doesn’t answer to a car salesman. Yes, it is a good thing that when we go to church, the ushers aren’t asking people at the door how many times they looked at porn in the last week. The comment cards don’t ask how many lies we told or how much gossip we spread. It’s a good thing for a lot of us that no one checks to see if we used God’s name in vain or judged someone unfairly while cutting ourselves slack for the same faults. No one will know if we are being generous with our money, or hoarding it selfishly. It is a good thing they do not send people away who are greedy, gluttonous or porn addicts, because church membership would plummet immediately.
Yes, I feel lucky that the vast majority of my sins are private. No one asks me about them. No one tries to dig up my secrets. And the sins that are seen, people make excuses for those. I may not be sinless, but at least I’m socially acceptable among Christians.
Yes, all of my sins are pretty darn popular here in the good old Christian U.S.A. No one has ever stood on a street corner with a sign that said I am a sinner. No one has ever thrown me out of their store because my life doesn’t meet their moral standards.
And for that, I am thankful.
I am thankful that whatever lifestyle I live, however sinful it might be, I am still socially acceptable to all the morally upright, Bible believing Christians of America.
Because if I were made to feel that Christians hated me, I am not sure what I would think of their “Jesus.”