God said: "Be fruitful and procreate." From a biblical perspective, both abortion and homosexual sexual unions are deterrents to God's mandate on the sustainability of the human family. So the battle over who is right and who is wrong rages.
For a moment, let's put aside all of the legal arguments surrounding whether Christian merchants should be made to participate in same sex weddings. Instead, let's consider what could be at the core of this controversy – intolerance based upon a lack of understanding.
Basic truths. Everybody, unconditionally, NEEDS love. Many people desire, not necessarily need, sex. The sexual drive is a primal instinct. There is a difference between need and want. In this super hyper-sexual environment we live in, much of it is artificially manufactured, people are crossing all types of lines, barriers and boundaries, sometimes without knowing or understanding what is happening. Breaking natural rules not considering consequences. In other words, people are dying for lack of knowledge. Not knowing or agreeing with the purpose of things like marriage and sex. So in the name of lust; divorce, adultery, abortion, clandestine sexual encounters, gender confusion, and human abuse abound. It's off the chain!
Human beings, in general, have a hard time seeing beyond our own desires. It’s not surprising, then, that a sentiment seems to be growing in our nation that says, “I want what I want and you have to give it to me regardless of any other considerations.”
Yes, that’s a very selfish yet human attitude. Yet can we try and look beyond ourselves to consider other people?
First, let’s look at the question of why a business owner would decline a customer’s money; because it’s not profitable to decline business.
In the case of a baker, photographer, or florist who's asked to serve same sex couples, some would say such a refusal is based simply on hate.
Yet there has been no major outcry of discrimination against the LGBT community other than in the context of weddings. Indeed, these accused businesses have long served gay customers; some have hired gay employees.
So hatred is not the reason Christians turn down offers of money to participate in gay weddings – love is.
Christ gives His children two commandments – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Repeatedly, the Bible instructs us to share our love for God by obeying Christ's teachings.
Truly if we love God, we share our love by obeying God. And our relationship with our Creator is more important than anything the world can offer – including money.
So how does our love for God conflict with gay marriage?
God's Word is clear. God ordained marriage between one man and one woman. For a Christian to contradict this teaching by participating in a ceremony that goes against God’s Word would not only be disobedient, it would be to mock God.
When Christians are asked to share our God-given talents to create a cake or floral arrangement or photograph for a gay wedding, it’s important to realize what is being demanded. Because no matter how much a merchant loves his or her customers, he cannot be expected to choose them over the Lord of his life.
Christians are called to love our neighbors – our friends, relatives, acquaintances, and, if we have them, our customers. But there is no one, homosexual, heterosexual, black, white, old or young, whom we can place above God.
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." We all are born into and start out life in the same fallen condition and live in a sin-cursed world. This doesn't mean that God created any of us humans in our sinful conditions. The sin nature wasn't and isn't part of God's design. Sin, any and all sin, was forced upon us from a hostile interruption in God's overall loving plan for humanity.
But Christians also know that God has provided a way of escape from sometimes seemingly hopeless situations. God has given us Jesus, who is our hope and our salvation. If we are asked to deny Jesus for a sale or even for the threat of financial and professional ruin, we know what – and Who – is more important. Eternity is a long, long time and God is more than worthy of our love and obedience.
So, if someone is disappointed that a business owner will not serve a wedding because of religious beliefs, let's hope that more tolerance, more common courtesy, and more respect for that businessperson’s love for God would win the day. Instead of running to the courthouse to file a lawsuit to destroy someone’s business and take his or her house, maybe just walking across the street to another merchant would show grace and tolerance. It's a two way street.
On the other hand, Christian merchants absolutely must learn to communicate God's love, grace and truth in a powerful yet love-infused manner. Those seeking service from God's servants must be ready to accept that people who really fear God are genuinely committed to God's commandments. There is a way to get this across without hate from either side.
Let's learn to see not just “others,” but brothers and sisters. This is why we fight for the inclusion of the unborn in our culture and in our laws. It is why some work for what my Uncle M.L. called the Beloved Community. And it’s why we pray to for strength to love and respect each other.
We must learn to guard our hearts. I know that as a former victim, there is no satisfaction and no righteousness in making others victims, too. Let freedom ring and agape love prevail!
Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the founder of King for America, Inc. and consultant to the Africa Humanitarian Christian Fellowship.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by Priests For Life.