I'm having difficulty coming to terms with the recent news coming out of Indiana and other states, including our own, with regard to anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.  As a pastor I come down on the side of religious beliefs as being a fundamental way of choosing how to live our lives.  On the other hand, as a Christian who believes that Jesus taught us above all to love our neighbors, I have trouble with any kind of law that allows discrimination against anyone.

Case in point, in my denomination we hold to certain beliefs and standards which should govern our thinking, but they are of course completely subjective to the person.  No one will refuse church fellowship to someone who doesn't completely hold to the same belief as someone else, or at least they really shouldn't.

There are Christian fundamentals that are non-negotiable, but these principles which we claim do not make or break us as United Methodists.  For example, we don't support war, drinking, gambling, abortion, or the use of gun violence.  I once had a parishioner who learned of a petition for stricter gun control that was supported by the United Methodist Church.  He came to my office very upset and not sure he could remain a member of the denomination because of this issue.

He did not say he couldn't be a Christian any longer.  Neither would I as a pastor say that someone who plays bingo or visits a bar or serves in combat could be a part of my church.  Those things are part of my religious beliefs within my denominational stance, but not enough to cause me to discriminate against people.

It seems to me that everyone has something about themselves that others won't always like or that makes them seem alienated within society.  Jesus taught that when it comes to judgment or intolerance we should remove the log from our own eye before we try to take the splinter out of another person's eye.

Any law that allows discrimination for any reason really should not be a law.  Isn't that what led the Nazis down the road they took?  Isn't that why the country was engaged in race wars for decades?  Isn't that how the young nation was split into civil war because of a difference in beliefs about slavery, the very act of owning another person?  If that doesn't offend someone's religious beliefs more than sexual preference, then I don't know what to think.

Since the prefix "dis" means apart, away, asunder, with the connotation of negativity and separatism I don't see what good can possibly come from discrimination, especially in the name of religion.  My guess is that if we tried to discriminate against people who fought or gossiped or lied or any of the other things Scripture says God considers an abomination we wouldn't get very far.

 

 

I'm having difficulty coming to terms with the recent news coming out of Indiana and other states, including our own, with regard to anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.  As a pastor I come down on the side of religious beliefs as being a fundamental way of choosing how to live our lives.  On the other hand, as a Christian who believes that Jesus taught us above all to love our neighbors, I have trouble with any kind of law that allows discrimination against anyone. Case in point, in my denomination we hold to certain beliefs and standards which should govern our thinking, but they are of course completely subjective to the person.  No one will refuse church fellowship to someone who doesn't completely hold to the same belief as someone else, or at least they really shouldn't. There are Christian fundamentals that are non-negotiable, but these principles which we claim do not make or break us as United Methodists.  For example, we don't support war, drinking, gambling, abortion, or the use of gun violence.  I once had a parishioner who learned of a petition for stricter gun control that was supported by the United Methodist Church.  He came to my office very upset and not sure he could remain a member of the denomination because of this issue. He did not say he couldn't be a Christian any longer.  Neither would I as a pastor say that someone who plays bingo or visits a bar or serves in combat could be a part of my church.  Those things are part of my religious beliefs within my denominational stance, but not enough to cause me to discriminate against people. It seems to me that everyone has something about themselves that others won't always like or that makes them seem alienated within society.  Jesus taught that when it comes to judgment or intolerance we should remove the log from our own eye before we try to take the splinter out of another person's eye. Any law that allows discrimination for any reason really should not be a law.  Isn't that what led the Nazis down the road they took?  Isn't that why the country was engaged in race wars for decades?  Isn't that how the young nation was split into civil war because of a difference in beliefs about slavery, the very act of owning another person?  If that doesn't offend someone's religious beliefs more than sexual preference, then I don't know what to think. Since the prefix "dis" means apart, away, asunder, with the connotation of negativity and separatism I don't see what good can possibly come from discrimination, especially in the name of religion.  My guess is that if we tried to discriminate against people who fought or gossiped or lied or any of the other things Scripture says God considers an abomination we wouldn't get very far.