Christians are about to claim their place on the wrong side of history.
The state of Arizona has received some extreme national attention this past week because of its “unintentionally controversial” state bill that was up for passage into law.
The bill, SB1062, cleared the state legislature last week. In short the bill would have been an amendment to the existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act and would have allowed business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers, if the owner was acting solely to uphold sincere religious beliefs.
As one can imagine, the bill sent the national media into a state of uproar. Critics across the country accused Arizona lawmakers of looking to pass a bill that enforced discrimination. The bill received so much attention that the state senators who originally passed the bill encouraged Republican Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill before it would pass into law March 1. She decided on Feb. 26 to veto the bill.
Brewer told the media she conducted a “deliberate and careful” review of the bill before making up her mind.
State Senators Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley claim the original intent of the bill was to ensure religious freedom to people of all backgrounds. Kellie Fiedorek, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom helped craft the bill and told CNN it was designed to protect basic freedoms that belong to everyone. It would have allowed a gay photographer the right to refuse to work for the Westboro Baptist Church or give Muslims the freedom to not sell pork sandwiches on a Saturday, she said.
Despite original intent, federal and state legislators encouraged Brewer to veto the bill all week because of the discrimination it insinuated.
This recent incident has done more than fuel the fire behind the “gays vs. religion” debate. Christians should take this recent political uproar as a sign – it is high time we redraft our approach to homosexuality.
The topic seems to have become a dead horse on campus after the past two weeks of chapel services. According to Chaplain Holcomb, the purpose in inviting Christopher Yuan and Mark Yarhouse to campus was to offer students a different narrative than what they normally hear coming from the Christian church.Theissueis,there are still only two suggestions the church offers for dealing with same-sex attraction – reparative therapy and celibacy. While Yuan’s message was compelling, it was still only one example of how to deal with same-sex attraction, and an incredibly extreme example, at that.
What about the gay Christian who has accepted his or her same-sex attractions, has married a partner and thrives in a committed relationship? What about the homosexual who has embraced his or her feelings of same-sex attraction, which are not a choice according to Yarhouse, and continues to live a Christian life, participating in healthy same-sex relationships (causal dating, just like a heterosexual)?
The issue is, we do not have a Christian response to either of these scenarios. Must this growing community of Christian homosexuals live out the rest of their lives in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance?
One can argue that scripture makes it clear – participating in any type of gay sex is unholy. However, scripture also argues that slavery is just fine (Leviticus 25: 44-46, Exodus 21: 7-11, 1 Timothy 6: 1-2).
We are not proposing there is error in scripture. We are simply proposing Christians reevaluate their approach to homosexuality; the same way Christians reevaluated their approach to slavery after the Civil War.
We are in the midst of a very intense cultural war. The church needs to offer another narrative.