Do Christian values discriminate, or are courts unfairly curbing Christian religious freedom?

Courts are ruling that certain religious values are discriminatory, causing many Christians to feel like their beliefs are under attack.


Religious freedom has been a hot topic across America in recent years. It has generated contentious debate around the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, and, specifically, how far this right should extend. Since Christianity is the dominant religion in America, the majority of disputes involve Christian values. Although recent expansions of civil rights have been widely celebrated among marginalized groups and their supporters, many Christians argue that their basic religious freedoms are being infringed upon as a result. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the arena of private business. By evaluating several controversies involving religious businesses, we hope to shed some light on the debate. The central question is: where does legitimate religious belief end and discriminatory treatment begin?

Hobby Lobby

You may remember the Hobby Lobby case that went to the Supreme Court two years ago. The arts and crafts store, which has over 100 locations throughout the U.S., refused to provide certain kinds of birth control in their employee health-insurance plans. Namely, the plans excluded emergency contraception methods such as Plan B (also known as “the morning after pill”). It is a pill taken to prevent pregnancy in the hours after sexual intercourse has occurred. Many pro-life advocates argue this is equivalent to handing out an over-the-counter abortion device. In the end, the Court ruled 5-4 that privately owned religious companies such as Hobby Lobby did have the right to deny these forms of birth control in their health plans. Pro-life and religious freedom advocates celebrated a huge win. That was two years ago. Since then, the tide has definitively shifted.

Pharmacies Must ComplyThe Bible is not a health care plan

Recently, a very similar case made the news. It involved a Washington state pharmacy chain owned by an individual of strong Christian faith. They refused to stock emergency contraception in their stores, believing these forms of birth control to be morally wrong. However, a 2007 FDA requirement declared that pharmacies have to carry and sell all drugs approved by the FDA, which of course includes emergency contraception. The pharmacy challenged the rule, and the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the Court declined to hear it, resulting in a de facto loss for the pharmacy – they will now be required to provide birth control in their stores. However, the court rulings have not been limited to women’s rights.

(Gay) Christian Mingle?

Christianmingle.com is a dating site for those who identify as Christian. The site was created to help single Christian people looking for a likeminded partner. Since homosexuality is generally frowned upon in the Christian community, ChristianMingle.com didn’t accommodate people seeking a same-sex relationship. During sign up, the site would ask users to select between just one of two options: a man looking for a woman, or a woman looking for a man. This did not go unnoticed. In 2013, they were challenged in court by two gay men who argued that the dating website discriminated against them.  After an extended legal battle, the website finally conceding defeat and agreed to include an option for same-sex couples. But some people are still fighting.

Ben Valencia pictured with his fiance

Ben Valencia his fiancé Luis

Selective Bakers

Perhaps the most controversial disputes have involved Christian bakers and florists who refuse to provide their services for gay weddings. Texas resident Ben Valencia and his fiancé Luis encountered one such bakery when attempting to order a cake for their upcoming wedding. After realizing they were a gay couple, the bakery’s owner refused to sell them a cake, citing a belief that marriage should be between a man and woman. Asked what it was like to be turned away because of his sexual orientation, Valencia told the local papers that it “makes you feel dehumanized”. Valencia wasn’t angry, but explained that he was generally saddened by the experience.

Places like the bakery in Texas argue that as private businesses, they should have the right to choose who they serve. However, critics were quick to point out that the same argument had been used to deny services to black people prior to the Civil Rights Act. The courts tend to agree – whenever legal challenges are brought, the religious businesses end up losing. The courts explain their decisions by saying that just because you disagree with someone’s way of life, it doesn’t give you the right to deny them service, no matter how sincere your religious beliefs are.

Where is the Line?

When evaluated as a whole, it clear that opinions are shifting on the notion of religious freedom. For generations, religious beliefs enjoyed certain protections under the First Amendment. No longer, it seems. Increasingly, courts are declaring that if these beliefs are perceived as discriminatory in any way, they are unconstitutional. As a result, many Christians feel as if their fundamental belief system is under legal attack. What do you think? Where is the line between expressing religious beliefs and discriminating against others? Are Christians guilty of crossing that line, or are they being unfairly targeted?


 

203 comments

  1. jack lam says:

    Its simple abide by the king James version bible,and you can never go wrong. Amen.

    1. hsw says:

      I’ve always found it curious that so many people believe the translation commission by “Queen James” is the one to go with. Why do you think that is?

      1. jack lam says:

        To answer like this is non Christan.I would expect for you to dig deep in your heart and fing god.this is a Christian for am.

        1. hsw says:

          First, it wasn’t an answer, it was a question. I am truly curious as to why the version commissioned by gay King James is the go-to for so many Christians – including the ones who believe that homosexuality is a sin. I’m not sure what it means to “fing” god – and this is definitely NOT a Christian “for am.” This is a forum for people of all faiths, and none. Chding me for a “non-Christian” answer doesn’t seem very Christian to me – but I also don’t care except insomuch as I come here precisely to avoid being criticized for my beliefs, or lack thereof.

          1. jack lam says:

            Why does someone have to be so neg.as to call James gay.were you there to confirm this.and so what if he was gay.its his god gift right.although I don’t believe in gay isim.

          2. hsw says:

            The only history you believe is that which you were present for? King Jame’s sexual orientation is well-documented by many who were, in fact, present. There is no need to get defensive and all “so what…” – as I said in the beginning, I am truly curious as to the question you continue to deflect. I have no idea what you’re saying when you say “I don’t believe in gay isim.” Are you saying you don’t believe being gay is actually a thing? You just said it was a thing when you said “…so what if he was gay…”

            So…now I’m more confused than in the beginning, when I asked a simple question you still haven’t answered. Why?

          3. the Beachwitch says:

            jack lam-Were you there to confirm the life/death of the person for whom the xtian religion is named? There are historical accounts about King James, but none about jesus. You do the math.

          4. amberlf says:

            Jack, I have every respect and support of you to believe or not believe as you wish. However, I’d expect that if you truly believe way deep down that you would open your heart and mind and understand that there are many people with different beliefs from yours who feel just as deeply and strongly that theirs is correct for them. You don’t have to change your beliefs to accept others have different ones that are just as valid to them. That’s all that can rightly be asked.
            As to the King James Bible, with all due respect, it really isn’t the most accurate of Christian materials. There are older, more true to form bible versions out there. King James did add, subtract and change things in the bible to suit his needs and that is a well documented fact if you only check the history there.

          5. Brother John says:

            The Preface of the KJV was all I needed to read to confirm that the translators had an agenda. It clearly states in the opening paragraph that God personally chose James to rule the people.

            “Great and manifold were the blessings (most dread Soveraigne) which Almighty GOD, the Father of all Mercies, bestowed upon us the people of ENGLAND, when first he sent your Majesties Royall person to rule and raigne over us.”

            Here’s a link to the entire Preface…http://www.kjvbibles.com/kjpreface.htm

            Collusion between the church and state has been controlling the masses for century after century and continues today. All that’s necessary if for enough people to believe what they’re told.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_right_of_kings

        2. David says:

          It is also fact that anything about divorce and homosexuals was added in the 16th century by a pope, so none of these so called bibles should be used! Just love and respect people and problems solved, instead of throwing ones beliefs down others throats all the time!

          1. amberlf says:

            I honestly don’t feel it shouldn’t be used, I do feel the truth about how the bible has changed over the years should be part of any bible study so that people will realize these are things to think on and consider, not take as absolute fact.

          2. Walter Jones says:

            Not all facts are true. There are copies of books of the New Testament that go back to the late 1st century. They have the same teachings as the KJV. No pope added these to the Bible. You might has well say no ancient source mentions Jesus despite Tacitus mentioning him and Josephus. I know the Josephus passage was once in doubt; but, the doubters have had to change their words for a while since a 2nd Century copy was found with the section in tact.

          3. Amber Fry says:

            You are backwards Walter, Not all truths are fact. What makes something a fact is that no one can reasonably dispute it. Its the truths that can be shaken. Two people can have different ideas about something, their own truths but quite honestly could both be quite wrong because the facts were not checked and backed up.

          4. Cy says:

            The Christians are the lost from 2009 and on, since Christians feel they can abuse their own and do get away with it because the normal smart and intelligent realize they are the problem of why they teach abandonment still and not only to their extended family, but to their children, while they get away with it, because normal, intelligent people are so much more intelligent vs deal with their black smoke with drama thus why Christians never grow or learn. What does Jesus think? The Christians are the problem of why there is no harmony on this planet and due to Christians who choose to abandon people,while they all forget, the true God is not about abandonment vs Christians rarely sacrificing what is hard like a good husband and why they are the left behind in this new era while they steal from themselves and others in their blind spots while they get away with it since many are bullies. If bullies, served themselves more and or their money God, and did not serve the true God and why they compromise a truth for a lie which makes them feel GUILT, just so they Can live a life through stealing and through their own sins and all mirrors vs the better road and or best era that was for every human being vs just their beliefs.

          5. Ronald Wolfe says:

            CY where did you get all that from, Sounds like you just like to ramble without any references, facts, proof, examples. Nothing just opinions??? Any one can just pick any religion and make the same accusations, without any proof All of that makes no sense. It certainly is not what i have experienced in 60 years.

          6. Joe Langer says:

            Cy, you are putting all Christians in the same boat, and that is not fair. There are a lot of good Christians out there doing good work and not abandoning others. The thing is that they are not loud and obnoxious about it.

          7. Joe Langer says:

            Walter, the definition of a fact is that it is something you can prove, so yes, all facts are true. However, just calling something a fact does not make it a fact.

          8. hsw says:

            Cy I have no idea what you said.

          9. Brother John says:

            Walter (and others) RE: historical records/eyewitness accounts of Jesus…

            https://thechurchoftruth.org/no-evidence-for-jesus-outside-bible/

      2. Walter Jones says:

        You need to fact check this. According the the homosexual community every historical personality was homosexual from MLK, Pres. Obama (although there is evidence in his favor.) on back to Hammurabi. You might want to check this out: http://www.deonvsearth.com/was-king-james-gay-questions-answered/

        1. hsw says:

          That link is your idea of “fact checking”? As none of us were there, I’m going to have to take the word of those who were. Sir Walter Raleigh joked that Queen Elizabeth had been replaced by “Queen James.” And the idea that he only “signed the checks” is ludicrous. The KJV you know today is very different from the one he commissioned, which sings the praises of King James, among the scriptures. But I would expect nothing less from the guy who, in the post above, said “not all facts are true.” Facts are, by definition, true. Not everything you read in a fundamentalist blog is true – very different from facts. But since you provide a blog as your “fact checking,” I give you this: https://etb-history-theology.blogspot.com/2012/03/king-james-was-gay.html

        2. Silver says:

          Walter the fact still remains Christian are being attacked by all means and for me it shows the Bible is real, the true word of God is real, for he said ( KINGDOM OF GOD SUFFERATE VIOLENCE) But only the violence can take it by force!!! if them non believers can stand up for there right and fight no matter the shame, then I bet we should stand taller and fight because we have no shame, no fear, for God is with us!!!!! Hallelujah somebody!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. Amber Fry says:

            That isn’t a fact, its a bias opinion. To question something isn’t to attack it. There is no reason to get upset when people question the validity of a book that’s been changed countless times over the years. That’s been documented, look it up. There is no reason to get upset when other religions when equal treatment. No one is asking anyone else to stop believing or stop praying or stop reading the bible. No one is asking anyone else to clear their homes of religious items and trash them. No one is asking anyone else to never think of God or Jesus ever again. People just want the right to work their own mind, find their own spiritual and religious way without Christians screaming sin and and threatening hell fires. Where in the world is there room to love and care Jesus taught people to show in his name when all that is acted on is the venom of hate?

          2. Joe Langer says:

            Silver, that is an abuse of Jesus words. He was saying how thing were in that time. He was in no way condoning or suggesting the use of violence, quite the opposite. Your quote is of Matthew 11:12, which you should have stated, but the chapter ends like this: “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus offered himself up in service to others. That is the example He wishes us to follow, not one of violence. Calling yourself a Christian, and then twisting Christ’s words like that is THE problem with Christianity today.

    2. Dr. Skylord Johnson Jedi Knight and Metaphysicist says:

      Spoken like one ignorant of history. Any objective historian. Without an agenda can explain the actual documented by James himself in personal correspondences to the pope of the time who was in fear of James tendency to assinate those who didn’t roll over that James wanted the bible altered to give him more freedom and authority.

      It was pretty much the pebble that preludes to the extreme era of ruling by divine right that would take centuries to bring down the vile monarchs.

      1. hsw says:

        Dr. Skylord, to whom are you responding? It’s impossible to tell from what you’re saying whether you’re speaking to jack iam or to me. Pretty sure it’s not to me, as what you said didn’t in any way answer the question I asked, but on the other hand, it didn’t address what jack iam originally posted either. Please clarify.

    3. Godless_Heathen says:

      to bad the KJV has 14,800 edits and differences from that of the oldest known bible, Including the book of Barnabas and the book of the Sheppard of Hermas. the Sinai bible, printed in 325 CE is the most complete and original version. 1286 years older than the KJV

      1. amberlf says:

        Yes, now if this was taught in the bible study classes so people could use the brain they were born with perhaps this world would be in a much better place by now.

    4. Rev paul says:

      I agree100. Percent jack

    5. Joe reyes says:

      In America Christianity is an arrogant intolerant religion. Most sects have a selfish agenda and do anything without an intent to add to their numbers. My experience in America all my life has been Christianity doing the persecuting the judging and condemning. Seeking political power and influence to advance their religion. Jesus has been out of the picture for thousands of years. What came out of Europe into the continent of America was no longer the Jesus movement or religion. Just a power hungry greedy institution backed by a book created in the council of Nicea.

      1. Kevin says:

        Actually the 325 council did not determine the books of the bible, it was the synod of Laodicea that banned many of the books that had been considered scripture for centuries. Read the books of Enoch, Jasher and the Pseudepigrapha and see if you can hear the spirit in the words. It may give you a whole new perspective on how you see religion.

      2. amberlf says:

        What came out of England wasn’t exactly a Jesus movement or religion either but try telling them this. Even back then it had already changed many times.

  2. J Coop-Klamer says:

    From one perspective, the White-Protestant (evangelical and fundamentalist) majority is rapidly losing its control on American society and culture. They have been so accustomed to their lives of privilege that anything which appears to be close to equality for anyone else must feel oppressive.

    With the advent of private religious educational institutions, there are too many ministers than pulpits available, so they are pursuing other vocations – many in law and politics. It are those upcoming fundamentalist political factions who are divisive and insist on continuing this culture war by making a mockery of the Constitution and US Justice system. They did the same with segregation as seen with Bob Jones vs. United States. Heck, the mega-church of my youth finally voted in September of 1986 to admit African Americans to full membership (they would gladly take your money but you would not receive baptism/marriage/communion/serve in public ministry/voting/etc.) The first black full-member was baptized on 10/5/86. The most ironic part of that shameful history is, that was in Detroit!

    You might fool some of the people some of the time, but trying to justify hate and ugliness with scripture and pawn it off as actions of righteousness doesn’t work. Thus have they made God in their own image.

    The fact is, no one is singling out or targeting “Christians”, yet many radicalized hardliners insist on their right to tyrannize, demonize, and demoralize other Human beings based on differences and their personal ‘firmly held beliefs’. We see it in the legislative backlash and cookie-cutter “Right to Hate” laws rushed through by GOP super majorities, stemming from the SCOTUS ruling on marriage last summer. However, it is not their faith, but their public actions against others which are being criticized. Their behavior toward others exposes elitist ideologies and near-ascetic understanding of their own human anatomy and physiology. If they find something outside of their self-righteous, self-imposed, self-interpreted holiness codes, then they shouldn’t participate in whatever it is they find offensive. No one is forcing them to do anything.

    Now should a business discriminate, then one might argue you’re inviting scorn and public criticism.

    Apparently, many fundamentalists confuse “criticism” with “persecution”, and are whining because they can’t handle the public scrutiny. Baptists can’t even agree on what it means to be “Baptist” since there are 103 sects of “Baptists” in North America alone, registered with the National Council of Churches, and all with a full gamut of views on doctrines, scriptures, and social progress. Simply, there can be no religious test or qualifier for laws in a multicultural secular society because there is more than one religion, and your religious liberties end where mine begin.

    If God is Love, then you don’t get to be a bigot and blame it on God. If my religion told me to hate anyone, I’d choose to change my religion.

    1. KAR says:

      You said it much better than I would’ve!

    2. Melinda says:

      Very well said! This is common sense and common decency AND common law.
      In ANY freedom, not just religious, my freedom ends where your freedom and personal space (physical, psychic, spiritual) begins. I have a right to drive my car but not to drive it over your lawn. I have the right to stretch out my arms but not to poke you in the eye. Freedom of the press does not give me the right to libel and ruin someone’s reputation or to make false claims that hurt people physically, financially, emotionally.
      Please, have your beliefs and practice your religion. Any religion, truly practiced rather than talked about–leads one to love and kindness and the golden rule. It is humans’ perversions and self-centered “interpretations” of their religions that bring trouble to the world.
      There is no hate or fear in God. Amen.

    3. MB says:

      Well said,
      Thank you. Christianity has been the dominant paradigm in this country (and responsible for the genocide of Indigenous Americans), and I imagine that having to share that space may feel “oppressive.” It’s unfortunate that how history has been written by the victors and that’s what we are fed from childhood.

      1. C@ says:

        ^.^ Much angrier than I would have used… but yes. Well Said!

    4. Robert Smithers says:

      Thank you.

    5. comicspectrum says:

      Bravo!
      Tolerance of others and love for all is what God SHOULD be about.
      I’m not a fan of the fire&brimstone, judgement-heavy version that seeks to condemn and control others.

    6. David Griffith says:

      Thank you for taking the time to so elegantly state the views of the “rest” of us.
      Peace.

      1. J Coop-Klamer says:

        I firmly believe we’re changing the world for good, and leaving it a little better than the one we inherited!

        “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8/KJV)

    7. Ann Wood says:

      Christians are taught that they have a duty to spread their faith, no matter how intolerant or hurtful it may be to others,as a way to secure their place in
      heaven (located where?) So at its base, it is a very selfish religion insofar as
      its tenets are concerned. How, in the 21st. century, can so many people cling to a wishful thinking idea that there is a supernatural being looking after them and interested in their welfare. What does that say about the millions who are
      being killed, tortured, starved and otherwise “punished” who have done no one harm? Why is their God so selective in extending his/her mercy?
      To answer the question, NO, Christians are NOT being persecuted as a group, actually, in many cases they are the persecutors. I was born a Baptist in the South,but as I grew and learned I was able to see the flaws in the “belief” system.

      1. J Coop-Klamer says:

        We probably have a lot in common, Ann. I’m the son of an IFB minister. Yes, I totally agree, the flavor of Christianity which is so pervasive in American Society and on various media outlets is selfish, and self-serving at its core. We see too many people who self-profess to ‘speak for god’, pulling ancient texts out of context to use at will, while too much superstitious and fanciful thinking is going on in the pews. (The people are not thinking for themselves, and chastised when they do. That was my experience, anyway.)

        To question ‘God’s anointed’, is to question his god-given authority and the source of that authority – scriptures. To question scriptures is to question God, himself.

        Plus, the only thing worse than an imaginary friend, is an imaginary enemy.

        Simply, fear of hell and/or eternal damnation, or promise of eternal “rewards” in glory drive the actions of the masses. The mysticism and traveling medicine shows worked for the under-educated/uneducated and in simpler times (through the last Great Awakening and up through the Great Revivalists of late 19th/early 20th centuries). The ability to justify racism and segregation with scriptures failed. As do the moral arguments for holiness codes today.

        Science and Reason are leading the way to a higher social morality, which is better for the whole – not just the chosen few. Which is exactly why so many are having such a difficult time with ‘tolerance’ and ‘equality’.

  3. Steve Wehrenberg says:

    Religious freedom does not mean specific denomination supremacy. Christian rights end where they are in conflict with mine. A christian has the right to believe whatever he or she wants. However, a christian cannot force me to adopt those beliefs. In my view, christianity is no better nor worse than judiasm, atheism, or pastafarianism. I guess we just have to learn to coexist.

    1. C@ says:

      I agree, Steve! *next statement isn’t aimed at you… it’s more of frustration*

      I am fine if someone believes that all babies in the womb have rights- my conflict is when they limit my access to birth control because they believe that eggs are sacred and have the right to be fertilized.

      They like to pretend that Right-To-Life is all about abortions, but they extend to any method of prevention of that extreme (Birth control and access to condoms- not just PlanB and Abortions), AND if the religious want to limit my access because it hurts their brains to think I have control over what takes up residence in my body, I take issue. It is my body, my religious values obviously aren’t inclined to agree with theirs because I do not see eggs having full rights to be fertilized. I have no right to force someone to be on birth control (my personal view), they should not force me to go without. To me that is “tit-for-tat”. You can allow someone access, and give them the personal choice.

      1. David Griffith says:

        Personal choice is what they are afraid of, they are unable to make it themselves Andre need to be “told” what to do.

    2. Godless_Heathen says:

      Atheism isn’t a set of beliefs or a religion. It simply means we don’t believe there is a god. Pastafarianism is an Atheistic made up religion to piss off the religious by getting the same special privileges they get… like the right to wear a silly hat in drivers license photo’s or have a tax exempt status

      1. Tiger Moon says:

        I refuse to take the obvious bite, here, and I hope no one else does either.

      2. hsw says:

        Your description of Pastafarianism sounds like any other religion to me.

        1. The Godless Heathen (@G0DLESS_HEATHEN) says:

          And they don’t deny it. That’s the point. Theist can’t prove the FSM does/doesn’t exist anymore than can anyone can prove gawd does/doesn’t exist

        2. Amber Fry says:

          Actually most other religions are really not there just to appose Christianity. They are there because they just cant get behind it. There is a difference.

          1. Joe Langer says:

            Actually, most other religions preceded Christianity.

          2. hsw says:

            Actually most religions, as Joe Langer said, preceded Christianity. It would be more accurate to say Christianity exists because its followers just can’t “get behind” Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any number of other faiths.

          3. Amber Fry says:

            Most other Abrahamic religions and those from the far east, yes. But there are many more that cropped up after that were in direct response to not being able to get behind Christianity. Not exactly hating on them, just not able to follow them. The main point was that not following doesn’t automatically mean being against it.

  4. James says:

    Religious freedom means the right to live your convictions however you want but not the right to tell others how to live theirs…

  5. Jean-Guy Boudrias says:

    There are as many ways to hate and be insecure and only one way to serve God…. love others like yourself…. accepting others might make it easier to accept yourself . …… it’s not about God but about ego, when we judge others . …. 😊

  6. John Wilson says:

    There should be a thick black line between church and state. The two should never have a touch point and the notion that legislation interferes with an individuals (or companies) Christian rights is baloney. The Hobby Lobby ruling was horrible and the “narrow” issue that is being addressed sets a precedent for a slippery slope of many such issues being allowed by the court.

    1. Godless_Heathen says:

      or a “wall of separation” Like Ben Franklin said

  7. Kirk says:

    I wouldn’t trust a cake baked by somone I didn’t think really wanted to bake one for me! On the other hand I would over charge someone if I felt forced to sell somebody something! Also, whydoesn’t anybody sue Muslim owned businesses for refusing the same services? I think Christians are being unfairly targeted.

    1. jack lam says:

      Thumbs up fellow man or women!

    2. MB says:

      “Targeted” or simply responded to in a way they don’t like, particularly when they have to obey the law as well? Goose, meet Gander…

    3. Godless_Heathen says:

      it boiled down to the bakers posting the couples full personal details online which caused major hardships for the couple. but it is illegal to discriminate in that state because of race, gender, sexuality etc. If nobody complains and files suit against a Muslim baker, does this mean the law is biased or does it mean that the person discriminated against couldn’t be bothered?
      the likely hood a christian would go to a Hala bakery is slim to none, just as the likelihood that a Muslim will go to an all your can eat pork sausage sizzler

      1. Amber Fry says:

        The worst part of that is that the bakers didn’t see posting such private information in public forums as an attack. It certainly was an attack and now they are offended by the backlash? They started that ball rolling.

  8. J Coop-Klamer says:

    While many people have sincere and ‘firmly held’ personal religious convictions, and those beliefs vary as far as the east is from the west, businesses are not people. Keep the religious beliefs and elitist ideologies at home or in your cult/church. If you find something offensive, or violating holiness codes, well then, don’t do it.

    Public actions produce certain public consequences. Public “criticism” and exposure of bigotry is not “persecution”.

    No one is singling-out or targeting ‘christians’, it’s the radicalized fundamentalists involved in politics who want to make this a ‘christian issue’, and who keep trying to enforce “ChrIS-IS”, or their brand of Christian-Sharia Law on our secular government and society, or anyone who doesn’t align with their elitist, out-of-context interpretations of scriptures.

    There is more than one christian perspective, and that’s the reason the line of separation between church and state should never be blurred or crossed.

    Your religious liberties end where mine begin. My job is to focus on my own actions, and perhaps those in my own congregation, no one else’s. It’s none of my business. Your job is to focus on your actions and good deeds, no one else’s. My life, or who I marry is not your business.

    “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:12-13)

    1. Tom Jaynes says:

      You were posting as I was writing. Nice to echo your thinking.

      1. J Coop-Klamer says:

        Just proves, “Great (informed) minds think alike!”

    2. Vitrbjorn says:

      The Bible says to judge not lest we are judged, this is where those who come up with the bigoted rules they operate under get their world view.

  9. Tom Jaynes says:

    There will be lots of discussion on this topic!
    1. I support religious freedom. We should all,have the right to believe in whatever we choose to believe religiously.
    2. Having said that, keep it to yourself. You are on your own mission toward your God. You get no extra points by trying to impose your beliefs on others. In fact, you lose points in that game.
    3. Business owners, regardless of the service being offered, have an obligation to serve everyone. If you wish to claim a religious exemption, post it in the window, next to the register, on business cards and receipts, as well as on all advertising in print or electeonic. Own your belief, advertise it and let the market decide if they wish to do business with you or not. As a service provider serving the public, your customers choose you, you do not choose your customers.
    4. Religionists, especially Christian, need to read 1Corinthians 5:12-13. Paul reminds the church to mind its own business. Judge your own, God will judge those who are not among you. In the meantime, get rid of the evil doers within your group.
    Please, people, let’s stop telling others what to do with their lives!
    Have a nice day!

    1. D. Waldron says:

      Well stated. I agree 100%. It’s strange how people want to convert everyone to their way of thinking whether it’s politics, religion, style, food or anything. They just want validation that they know what is good I guess. The world would be a lot happier place if everyone would just respect that everyone is different and has different likes and dislikes. Acceptance and love is the key to being happy.

    2. MB says:

      The issue here is one I’ve always struggled with, which is the notion of “missionizing” (which breeds colonization & oppression), which is an integral part of Christianity. It’s intrusive and non-consensual for those who already have their own belief system.

  10. Phil Smith says:

    I try to lead us to see that other faith traditions are not dissimilar to Christianity. That our goal as ministers is to show the similar. In doing so, I hope we can dispel false assumptions. The Founders were Deists. They worshiped a providential Godhead.
    Let us work together to show others, that, what name we called is less important than how we show others this God.

  11. Kathleen Baird says:

    Saw a comment from a nurse who said that, “If she could take care of a drug addict who had been shot while murdering a rival AND his family, because this is the job SHE chose, then why would someone think they could refuse to bake a cake for a member of the public who did not believe the same things as the baker, who CHOSE to have a business serving the public.”
    Personally, I feel that all these Christians, or any other belief system who feel they have a right to discriminate against anyone who has different beliefs or doesn’t think exactly like they do is practicing to become a member of the Taliban!

  12. Gerald (Jerry) Gay says:

    During this societal time of re-evaluating we come to understand that GOD is everything and everyone. THIS is what Jesus was really teaching and why the church and government sent him out to the desert to teach. This whole earth life consciousness is the Mind of God. We ALL are here to learn during our lifetime. When we leave here we go to the Soul of God (Heaven). With this personal divine Christ understanding we see Jesus was teaching each of us to be OUR Christ. We help others (neighbors) in their seeing and being…
    mostly by our own example and with our help when we see their need and how and where we can help. We are NOW living in OUR
    Second Coming. The near death experience clearly shows that GOD loves each and everyone of US. When we are NOT judging others, we can LOVE all others by seeing we are ALL thoughts in the Mind of God. We are ALL to be OUR best and help create the
    world of loving and caring while parts of OLD reality are collapsing ALL around us. As God said to me, “Jerry my son, what kind of
    parent would I be IF I didn’t love EVERY single one of my children? Don’t let the other kids tell you, “they are MORE SPECIAL or they have THE ANSWER. ” You ALL come here to learn TOGETHER. In the end of your time here… you ALL come home to be with ME.”
    We need to stand apart from religion and politics and be OUR Christ (Buddha)… however we choose to honor God by being OUR SELF.
    Welcome to OUR Second Coming and THE time for us all to change OUR world by being the best WE can to help others BE theirs too.

  13. hsw says:

    First, I’m not sure what this all has to do with the topic of the thread – but I mainly wanted to ask about your statement that “THIS is what Jesus was really teaching and why the church and government sent him out to the desert to teach.” Jesus, as I understand the stories, represented no church – the church of his forefathers saw him as a dangerous radical, and the government was equally afraid of him – as far as I’ve been able to determine, he was “sent” by no one, certainly not the church or the government. Thoughts?

  14. Jameson Graeg says:

    Religious freedom is under no threat. Religious POWER is the true underlying concern here.

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      Absolutely! Throughout the millennia, organized religion has always been about ‘authority’ and political control.

    2. Amber Fry says:

      Here here!! Agree completely!

  15. Shilo says:

    The central question is: where does legitimate religious belief end and discriminatory treatment begin?

    I agree with Jameson Graeg’s statement, because the Bible asks, why do people argue? Is it cause they can’t have their way? James 4:1&2 People will always have selfish ambitions, even those that serve in the High archly of religion.

    1. Amber Fry says:

      I agree also when it comes to personal beliefs being pushed onto others. People doing what they do in the name of religion should be limited to their own person. Refusing to help someone, harming someone, ignoring or disliking someone on the bases of one’s difference in beliefs or opinions is discrimination. Once one tries to control another’s life based on religious beliefs and ideals, they have crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

  16. Ed Moriarty says:

    Religions, including Christianity, have more freedom to worship and practice their religious beliefs in the USA, despite our many national shortcomings, than anywhere else on this planet.

    1. neil mccarthy says:

      Don’t be so ignorant…..numerous countries are open to allowing various religious practices…why do you assume that the USA is more open than ANYWHERE ELSE ON THE PLANET….look at all the other countries before making such a sweeping statement

    2. Amber Fry says:

      By law this might be true. Looking around, in practice there is still a long ways to go. Hearts and minds take a bit longer to line up than words and signatures on a page. Sometimes quite a bit longer.

  17. Kelly says:

    No one, in the US, is being denied their right to practice their religion. No one is being stopped from going to church, or praying in public, or wearing Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc paraphernalia. However, if the practice of your religion infringes upon the civil rights of another, you are doing it wrong. Baking a cake for a gay Union isn’t endorsing the marriage, it is providing the service for which you operate a public business for and are paid to do. Providing medication prescribed by a doctor isn’t advocating abortion, it’s following the oath you took as a pharmacist in a medical position. As a follower of Christ’s teachings I am to love my neighbor as myself. It is not for me to judge.

  18. Ronald Wolfe says:

    My Belief is pretty simple on this subject, And yes it is only my belief with no intention to force it on anyone else…If one owns a business and that business is not recieving any public funds and not connected to the Government, then that business should have the right to deny doing business to anyone they want to. It is their business, their investment, let the free enterprise system dictate. That owner is choosing to forego income and maybe turning away many others by his or her choice to not do business with someone whose beliefs differ from the owner. The consumer has the choice also, go do business somewhere else. Why would you want to give your hard earned money to someone who does not want it?????

    1. Kelly says:

      So you would agree with the restaurants during Jim Crow that would not allow a black person to sit inside or at the counter? Or bus companies who made them ride in the back? Or separate water fountains and bathrooms?

    2. Tiger Moon says:

      I guess you have no understanding of the term “public”, then. Any business who provides goods or services to the “general public” should first look into exactly who comprises the “general public”. It is comprised by people, in general, people of all ages, genders, faiths, abilities, races, etc. Any business who believes they have a right to pick and choose who they do business with, are actively discriminating against “the general public” and need to be held accountable by the general public and those who protect the general public.

      1. Ronald Wolfe says:

        again public is everyone and there is no requirement that to open a business you must cater to everyone that is called FREEDOM the basis of our existance as a nation, the general public has the option to hold them accountable just by not using their business.. Stop trying to control everyone and tell them how they have to run their business if they want to use poor business practice and discriminate that is their choice and they probably wont be in businrss long. We dont need big govenrment telling us what to do

        1. Kelly says:

          If left on their own businesses, states, etc won’t do what’s right. That’s how Jim Crow laws came about, separate but equal, which was BS, and the Loving case. If you have a business and you are open to the public you cannot discriminate. Period. If you wan to do that, then have yourself a private little club.

          1. Ronald Wolfe says:

            again who decides whats right??? govt. cant do it, do you think you can? every business has choices to make as do people if they choose to discrimiate then so be it the cusomters can decide to go elsewhere, no one is hurt all about choices we should all be glad we have them instead of in a communist state that does not allow choices.

        2. hsw says:

          I noticed you didn’t answer the question about whether you agree with the places that refused to serve blacks, and the policies that had them sitting in the back of the bus. You speak against government and yet you conduct yourself like a politician. We’d really like to hear the answer to the question – even asking nicely. Please?

          1. Ronald Wolfe says:

            to answer your question, No i do not agree with those who discriminate at any level not sitting in the back of bus or seperate water fountains, But id does not matter what my beliefs are it is the belief of the business owner it is his or her business and they have the right to enforce any regulations, restricitons they want. i would never condone that but i do believ any person who runs a self funded business without government help should be able to serve who they want and no one you nor i should be able to tell them how to run their business, Polices such as those you mention would put any business out of business so it would be foolish but it is there right

          2. Joe Langer says:

            Ronald, that is a ridiculous replay on so many levels. First there are no businesses that run without government help. The roads that pass by their front door, the police and fire department protection, and much more all are government services that help them to run a business. Second, how does it run them out of business to insist that they serve more people. If they serve more people they will make more money. You really didn’t think this through, did you?

          3. Ronald Wolfe says:

            actually you didnt read what i posted very well, I said that if they used the discriminitory policies such as special water fountains, special seating, no service to certain people , etc. that is what would drive them out of busness as many or most people would boycott them based on these practices. Your resoning of INDIRECT services are not founded, they pay taxes for those services like everyone else, just because i pay for the got to provide road service fire/police etc. does not mean i am receiving government assistance in the tradional sense?? I PAY TAXES for those services! As do the businesses, only businesses who recieve grants, subsidies etc, actually are considered to receive government assistence on a legal basis. So your commment are unfounded. Again you nor I have no right to tell any business what they can or cannot do! The only recourse which thru the free enterprise system always works is for those who do not like their business practice to NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM Simple why make it harder by instilling your belief system on them? RIGHT OR WRONG, Who is to decide?

          4. Joe Langer says:

            Well, Silver, I did read what you wrote, but apparently you didn’t write it very well, because that’s not what I got out of it. That having been said, you may pay taxes for those government services, but you don’t pay them by yourself. The rest of the community is paying for them too, and the cost of only those who benefit from them paying for them would be much higher for those individuals if they had to pay for them alone. So, no you are not doing it by yourself, or without government help.

      2. hsw says:

        Actually the bigots and their businesses did quite well until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – there were (and I’m afraid still are) plenty of people who believe, as you do, that discrimination against race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation/identity is perfectly OK. Thankfully the law was passed, and discrimination is illegal – so no they don’t have the “right” to discriminate.

        Just as an aside, no one does business without the government, not really. Your customers get to you via roads that were built by the government. Your supplies ditto. Your safety is the responsibility of the police your taxes pay for, and I’m betting if your building was burning, you’d prefer to have the fire put out without waiting to receive and pay an invoice for the service. Water, sewer, many other services are paid for by your taxes. And before you jump in and say you pay a water and sewer bill, yes, you do, but you didn’t pay to have them installed, and if a water line in the street breaks, you won’t get a bill for the repair. Your taxes do that. Your employees were more than likely educated in public schools, and even if they attended private colleges, there is still government money involved.

        So keep thinking “private” businesses don’t get government funds – but you’re wrong.

  19. amberlf says:

    Honestly for people who follow Jesus specifically and not the words of everyone else who wrote especially the later parts of the new testament, I’d think this would begin and end in the individuals and the church, particularly in the US where there is supposed to be a respect for ALL religions, not just Christianity and a clear separation between church and state. I personally support anyone’s right to choose and practice their religion. I just cant support those who try to force it on everyone else.

    1. Godless_Heathen says:

      agreed

  20. Philip Jenkins says:

    I just love it when “Christians” whine about being under attack. The whole history of Christianity has been about imposing their beliefs on others, often by violent and repressive means.
    Now that a few “Christian” bigots are being prevented from imposing their bigotry on others, they cry foul.
    I guess they just don’t like it up ’em.

    Phil Jenkins

  21. the Beachwitch says:

    Ronald Wolfe-What if you lived in a small town, with only a family-owned pharmacy? This is a very slippery slope. Remember separate water fountains?

    1. Ronald Wolfe says:

      i do live in a smal town (pop. 196) then maybe someone should open a new pharmacy and put that one out of business or you can always drive to the next town, or order on line. if that business felt strongly enough about their believe they could always close up and then everyone in that town would suffer.

      1. Kelly says:

        So, it’s okay to create a hardship for someone because you choose to violate their rights to medication that was prescribed by their physician?
        “I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy. In fulfilling this vow:

        I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.
        I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.
        I will respect and protect all personal and health information entrusted to me.
        I will accept the lifelong obligation to improve my professional knowledge and competence.
        I will hold myself and my colleagues to the highest principles of our profession’s moral, ethical and legal conduct.
        I will embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.
        I will utilize my knowledge, skills, experiences, and values to prepare the next generation of pharmacists.
        I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.”

        1. J Coop-Klamer says:

          Thanks for sharing this!

          Professional standards and codes of ethics are simple reminders that whatever good they are trying to provide is not about the provider … but those who they serve. APA emphasizes, “Do no harm.” I wish there real professional standards and codes for religious professionals (yet, any who take real counseling courses at scientifically-based educational institutions ARE introduced to APA, ACA, and the like).

          If ministers realized it is not so much about themselves, their power, their authority – but rather more about those they are supposed to serve, we probably wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

  22. jimgramze says:

    I think the line of imposition is very easy and clear. You are free to impose your religious beliefs on yourself, you are not free to impose your religious beliefs on others.

    I am a man married to a woman. No one has forced me to instead marry a man; if so, someone else forcing me to marry a man would be infringing on my religious freedom.

    If i don’t believe in eating pork, no one is forcing me to eat pork. I am also free to not work at a store that sells pork, like a grocery store. Can you imagine a cashier refusing to ring up a pound of bacon? I would fire that cashier for refusing to do their job. If you refuse to do your job you should be let go.

    A private bakery refusing to sell a cake to a gay couple is practicing hate. It is also imposing its religious views on someone else, which is wrong. We are to follow the law of the land we are in, very clearly stated in the Old and New Testaments. There is no instance of Jesus refusing to help someone because of their lifestyle, and we should follow that example.

    1. amberlf says:

      Yes, this, thank you very much. I agree whole heartedly as a woman married to a man but in support of choice.

  23. Ellen Santistevan says:

    The principle of the separation of Church and State is sound practice. Religion should be kept out of business and government.

    1. Bill Millhouse says:

      I agree 100%

  24. reflectionsofthemother says:

    As I was reading the above comments I was struck by the ignorance of the United States Constitution. The word God does not appear in it at all. Why are we still fighting about something that everyone thinks is an American right? There is a separation of church and state. Although America is predominantly Christian does not mean it is a Christian county. I resent people forcing their views onto anyone else. I am free to worship whenever and whomever I feel is my ‘god’.This is a right documented in the Constitution. I wish every one would read it.

    1. Kelly says:

      Well said.

  25. rebadams7 says:

    I see this from a different freedom perspective. If your job is inside a corporation, you have to do the work out before you, with the understanding that it is lawful. If you are an independent artisan ( in whatever form or medium you use) you are free to accept or decline your commissions. Otherwise wouldn’t that be a form of slavery, imposed by the state?
    No medical professional should be forced to end a life. There are grave oaths taken by these professions and I would hate to see vows and oaths diminished to that extent.

  26. Kelly says:

    If I have a business, open to the public, that offers a service and you come in and want to purchase a product, I cannot turn you down because I am religiously opposed to you. If you ask for a product that I don’t carry, or a service I don’t provide – such as pies but I only bake cakes, or catering an open bar when I don’t provide alcohol, then I can turn you away. I am an artist. I paint portraits of people, pets and houses. I don’t do abstracts. If someone wants an abstract I will send them to an artist who paints those. If someone wants a portrait I will paint it.

  27. Randy says:

    I’m sorry but I have to disagree with many here. If someone comes into my restaurant without shoes, I have the right to deny them service – it’s a health issue. Likewise, if a gay couple comes in and start kissing, etc., in public I deny them service too – that’s a societal health issue. I operate a family establishment, kids eat there for gosh sakes!

    1. Kelly says:

      That’s probably the most ignorant comment I’ve read. Unless of course you also ask straight people who are kissing to leave as well. PDAs to that extent are best left at home by any sexual orientation. But to equate a couple giving each other a kiss to a health issue is beyond the pale.

      1. Randy says:

        I don’t mean any harm, I’m just trying to maintain my restaurant’s status as a family-friendly place.

        1. Kelly says:

          Gay people can’t have families? As an ordained wedding minister I recently officiated the wedding of two men who had been together 35 years, waiting for the time they could make their union legal. It was a beautiful ceremony. As was the one with two brides who had been together 15 years after having met in middle school. I would rather my children be influenced by these loving couples in committed relationships, than by a straight person who is a serial monogamist.

    2. J Coop-Klamer says:

      You’re kidding, right? (about the “societal health issue” thing)

      Kids and family have nothing to do with this, as kids will do whatever they are taught/told! If you don’t make a spectacle of something, I guarantee they won’t make a spectacle of it, either. They will mimic you and your actions. They will parrot whatever YOU say.

      What do you say to straight couples who display affection in public? Do you ask to see marriage licenses, or at least check ids to make sure they’re married (to each other) and not some sort of adulterers/adulteresses?

      From one perspective, when a gay couple displaying affection in public stops being such an issue, it will stop being an issue. After all, with Marriage Equality the law of the land, it’s very much reality and here to stay. I assure you, American Society will be seeing more and more pubic displays of affection by LGBTQ couples as time goes by. Make a choice to let the change begin now, and with you.

      Otherwise, you don’t get to blame God for being a bigot or raising more little bigots.

      1. J Coop-Klamer says:

        afterthought … I misspoke, kids (the next generation) and family have EVERYTHING to do with this!

  28. amberlf says:

    In the case of a private business, sure. Business owners and managers have that right in that case. Of course people who feel its wrong to discriminate can just boycott the business which is in their own right as well. I’m a strong supporter of going to whichever places of business you find most agreeable and just not going to the ones that are not. Actions speak a lot louder than words and a drop in income can speak volumes.

  29. kate12402 says:

    “For generations, religious beliefs enjoyed certain protections under the First Amendment. No longer, it seems. Increasingly, courts are declaring that if these beliefs are perceived as discriminatory in any way, they are unconstitutional.”

    This is what’s upsetting to be about this article. It would seem that not only is the author saying that religious freedoms are being eroded, but the author is also entirely misunderstanding every example they used! Religious belief is not being ruled unconstitutional. It’s ignorant and woefully negligent to say anything of the sort.

    Discriminatory, racist, or sexist ACTIONS (regardless of their origin, religious or otherwise) are being ruled unconstitutional, if they occur in public spaces or impact the rights of others. You have the constitutional right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, and this right to believe whatever you want is not being infringed upon.

    However, you do not have the right to act in ways that are discriminatory in public spaces or in ways that infringe upon others’ rights, regardless of the reason why you’re doing it. This was a poorly written article for a topic that deserved a much more in-depth analysis of white privilege, Christian privilege, and male privilege and our responsibilities in identifying, and helping others identify them.

    1. Richard says:

      Kate, I think you’re right, the author could have worded that much better.

      But the intent of the passage is clear – that throughout its history America blindly protected Christian religious freedom, even if it resulted in discrimination. Now, in the modern age, both the courts and society as a whole are refuting the notion that Christian belief is infallible. Thus, actions inspired by Christian beliefs that used to be considered permissible are now seen as unconstitutional.

      1. amberlf says:

        I think that has a lot to do with so many other minority religious ideals becoming more public and banning together in support. Many of them are tired of dealing with preferential treatment due to religious beliefs, not to mention the level of misinformation and flat out lies about what those other religions are and do even when facts are presented. You have to admit there are a large number of denominations that consider anything specifically not Christian as evil, and must be a lie? That has a lot to do with this whole discussion.

    2. J Coop-Klamer says:

      Good stuff, and I agree with @Richard … we need to make sure to clearly distinguish between ‘beliefs’ and ‘actions’ … and also stop permitting others to make “Christian Beliefs” statements, as if there were only one official ‘Christian’ sect/authority/belief system.

      As you’ve both pointed out – the beliefs are not unconstitutional, a person is entitled to his/her own beliefs; and beliefs (from teachings) can be grievously errant. However, demeaning and dehumanizing ACTIONS towards others can be tyrannical and oppressive, thereby, whether based on religious teachings/beliefs or not, imposing my beliefs on anyone who does not want them might be considered unconstitutional.

      From my understanding and personal experience, what so many evangelicals/fundamentalists have difficulty with, is in the thought of questioning their authority. To so many, the mere action of thinking for themselves, questioning religious authority is ‘grieving the holy ghost’ and sinful/heretical; because to question the ‘ordained’ messenger (pastor) is to question the very source of their authority (‘scriptures’); which ultimately is to question God – Himself!

      Sadly, both healthy and toxic beliefs are taught/learned, and passed on from generation to generation.

      To submit and follow any organized religion blindly is to acquiesce all personal responsibility/culpability and surrender all critical thinking skills, which is what grieves the Divine Light Within. My Creator did not make me an automaton!

      As you’ve both well stated, hateful actions (even when justifiable in religious beliefs) can be very, VERY harmful.

  30. Tiger Moon says:

    I read a lot of articles, as well as the “comments” on them. From what I’m seeing, in nearly every instance, the verbal attacks on Christians are in RESPONSE to an attack BY Christians upon those who don’t abide by their standards for how to be. My advice, don’t start nothing, there won’t be nothing.

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      YES!!! Excellent perspective! You don’t get to dehumanize someone else, based on your own self-professed self-righteousness and ‘firmly-held beliefs’, then whine or play the victim when someone calls you out on your actions, or even if they actually call you a piece of shit for what you did!

      That’s not ‘persecution’!

  31. moralist99 says:

    Christianity is hard to make generalizations about; it has two faces: love-based, and fear-based. There are many, many Christians who are living by the teachings of Christ concerning kindness, forgiveness, mercy, generosity to the needy, and not judging and condemning others for their sin. And then there are those subgroups within Christianity whose excuses for unkindness and discrimination are blatant. It is their hypocrisy, their disobedience to their own progenitor’s call to be ruled by the Law of Love that is often criticized. They may feel “under attack” but their religious freedom is intact, and not under threat in any real way. The complainers are those who want to impose certain beliefs of their own on the rest of society, through political action and lawmaking, an impropriety that violates the Separation Doctrine and the rights of everyone else.

    When they receive resistance on the political battlefield, they have left the sanctuary of church and home, where religious freedom truly lives, and entered the public marketplace of ideas, where anything you say can be subject to rebuttal and debate. If we say, keep your religion out of politics, then politically-active Evangelicals, for example, feel like their rights are being violated. But they can still practice their faith, and they can still vote and participate in democracy. However, we ALL have freedom of religion, and that means your religion can’t be imposed on the rest of us, whose beliefs differ, by means of civil law. When you try to do that, you get a lot of negative feedback. Those aren’t attacks on Christianity, but negative reaction to bad political ideas that emerge from primitive, fear-based religious hysteria, from belief in the myth of the Punisher God and the idea that we will all be punished for the sins of a few.

    Give me a better reason to pass a law than that it’s what your religion believes in or doesn’t like. Give me some rationale for the public good, based on reason and facts. Not on prejudice, and the misconception that everyone has to conform to the “single template” model of human sex/gender. Not everyone does, not everyone can, and there is no excuse for unkindness. Love-based religion doesn’t encounter that kind of resistance. Kindness is a universal currency, accepted everywhere.

  32. Rev. Goat says:

    Christianity is not under attack.
    Christians are not having their rights taken away from them.
    What is happening is that OTHERS rights are protected from Christians.

    Add to that that their rights are protected from Christians who are really bad at understanding and following the rules and guidance of the Bible. They cloak their own bigotry in “religion” and “religious freedom” while picking and choosing which rules applies to them.

    Remember, it’s your religion, the rules apply to YOU. It’s not my god, I don’t have to follow his rules, and you can’t make me.

    And one last thing, What would Jesus do? Would he say no to the gay wedding, or would he be providing the wine?

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      Absolutely!

      Proof: SCOTUS issued its ruling in favor of marriage equality on the morning of 6/26/15, and my partner and I applied for our marriage license at lunch. On 7/4/15 we were married. Fundamentalist Christians were all in their churches on 7/5/15 and absolutely nothing had changed – for them, anyway!

      However, we were suddenly entitled to the same 1138 Federal benefits/protections/privileges of marriage the majority took for granted.

      Jesus hasn’t come again, yet. Satan hasn’t moved into the White House, yet. Fire and brimstone haven’t fallen on the Capital buildings, yet. Christians aren’t being rounded up and slaughtered in all public forums, yet.

      I don’t know about anyone else, but I have certainly noticed an interesting spike in severe weather and weather-related disasters around the extremist/hardliner hater states lately. Just sayin’ …

      I firmly believe, all the breast-beating, pulpit-pounding, and high-drama lamentations of fear and pending doom were for naught but for the self-seeking and self-serving attention of loser sociopaths in their positions of authority.

  33. John Owens says:

    Congress shall enact no law regarding the establishment of religion or restricting the free practice of it. Therefore, according to the Bill of Rights, a person who does not believe in eating or touching pork does not have to eat or touch it, meaning they do not have to PREPARE pork for others to eat. HOWEVER, that also means there are certain places where that would be part of their job, and if they are unwilling to do it, they should not seek employment there.
    If they do not believe in abortion they do not have to participate in it, just as they do not have to participate in fornication, theft, idolatry, murder. Any clergy member who does not believe in child marriage does not have to participate in that, or any other marriage with which they are not comfortable.
    If a person owns a private enterprise they have the absolute right to refuse to do business with anyone else, if they so choose. That is the meaning of freedom. If we disagree with a policy enacted at a business we have an absolute right to discontinue patronizing that business.
    If certain religious or ethnic minorities wish to do things differently they should have a right to create enclaves and practice their customs as long as they do not violate the laws of the state in which they are located.
    I DO see Christianity as being under attack, here as much as anywhere. If you claim to be a Christian, particularly a conservative, fundamentalist, evangelical, you are automatically considered a bigot, ignorant, flat-earth, hater, etc. Thinking of people in such narrow terms and lumping them all in that manner IS bigotry, and a form of persecution by ridicule. It would not be kosher for a Christian to call homosexuals fairies, and it is also unacceptable for a non-Christian to call a Christian a troll, just because they believe in goodness.
    If a person thinks they know more than I do, I am not offended by that, because I know that it is entirely possible that they do. On the other hand, if they seem to THINK they know how much or how little I know without knowing me, because they have mistakenly lumped me in with someone else, I find that extremely bigoted and ignorant.
    To an extent, I blame Christians for the present situation we are discussing. On the one hand, too many do not even come close to living up to their espoused ideals, so they set a really bad example of what they purport to represent. On the other hand, those who DO live exemplary lives tend to be the kind who will not fight for their own rights, because they have a warped view of “turn the other cheek,” which is has been the tool the government-established churches have used to keep them subjugated to the governments and religious leaders for centuries. That mentality allows evil to grow and prosper, and the ruthless to trample the meek. I will continue to do what I believe is right, and will defend my right to do so, by whatever means are necessary.
    I do not insist on others believing the same as I do, mainly because I do not have the power to force them to do so. Nor do they have the power to force me to believe as they do, or to conform to their morals or lack thereof. Contrary to popular Christian teaching, Jesus was not a wuss, and He was not a myth. If you choose to believe either, try to enjoy your life. I have found joy and satisfaction in learning about the real Jesus, and knowing His origins and His plans for the future. If anyone ridicules me for that, THEY are the bigots and are bitter because in their own hearts they fear they are wrong. If they are not afraid, they should not behave that way. I suppose I should call it, Godaphobic or Christaphobic. I don’t hate them. They shouldn’t hate me, either.

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      No one is saying your beliefs are wrong for you. If they work for you, and help you live in a closer relationship with your god, then all power to you. However, I might say they are NOT for me – but that’s just MY beliefs. (See how that works?)

      Now, public ACTIONS of discrimination or bigotry by a business might have certain public consequences. Refusing to serve a same-sex couple might be publicly criticized, which is not religious persecution.

      Thank goodness for the yearly published HRC ratings. Personally, I spend more time investigating (small) businesses these days, because I don’t support businesses which contribute to identified/known hate-groups, or fundamentalist religious sects. I don’t want a hater making my food, or benefiting in the slightest from my GAY money.

      However, if someone refused my business because they “felt” I was gay, or “thought” I was an abomination, believe me, I would do everything in my power to expose their bigoted behavior (whether those behaviors are based on their firmly held religious beliefs or not).

      Enjoy the freedom of your personal beliefs, John! No one hates you. Simply , some of us disagree with how God would have us treating and/or (not) judging others. That’s some serious responsibility you describe to be judging the morals of everyone else. The only thing you can be sure of, is how god might want YOU to live. You know nothing about how my god speaks to MY spirit. Bottom line is, the ONLY person you need to worry about is John. If someone wants what you believe you have, then there’s the opportunity for witnessing and evangelizing. However, YOUR beliefs do not belong in the laws governing a multicultural secular society.

      From one perspective, the only thing “Christian™” being attacked is the self-serving/self-professed privilege of certain fundamentalist cults and their authoritarian tyranny over others. “Christians™” are deluded if they think society is somehow singling them out in any way, without any fault of their own or as the direct result of their own actions (or actions of their ‘authorities’). They apparently are confusing criticism with persecution, or their ‘authorities’ are purposefully misleading them into believing they are being persecuted.

      Consider Fred Phelps, his beliefs were fine and constitutionally protected until he put them into public action. The only way he felt better about his miserable existence was to ‘scapegoat’ LGBTQ people. His vitriol violated the constitutional rights of others – basically the freedom to believe something different. Do you realize how many LGBTQ people completely left Christianity because of Fred Phelps? (Personally, I’m done with organized religion, and proudly identify as a militant agnostic and apostate.)

      “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come; but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Matthew 18:1-2, KJV) One might easily argue, Christians would actually be better “Christians™” if they paid closer attention to just the little red-lettered words.

      If there is such a place, I believe Fred’s burning tonight in that ‘proverbial place of eternal torment’. It wasn’t his beliefs, it were the tyrannical ACTIONS – demonizing and dehumanizing others – which were publicly criticized by reasonable and compassionate people.

      I suggest “Christians™” consider walking a little more humbly before their god, check their accustomed privilege at the door, then go into their prayer tent, and “get right”! Don’t worry about anything anyone else is doing – it’s not their business (they’re not the image or reflection of any god I know).

      1. amberlf says:

        Wow, just wow. Honest and stern, right up where I feel the same though I haven’t been Christian for a very,very long time now.

        1. J Coop-Klamer says:

          Congratulations for making your personal statement of faith, @Amberlf! Honestly, I’m not criticizing Christianity, merely those who try to pervert The Divine, Goodness, and scriptures. I encourage you, question those in authority, especially if they are filled with rage and suspicion – or forever publicly demonizing others to make themselves feel more ‘holy’. THOSE are toxic, fear-based behaviors.

          If your head and heart don’t match, make a conscious evaluation of whatever causes the conflict.

          “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:14-18/NIV)

          Never simply accept what someone else tells you that you are supposed to believe. God, Himself, will guide you into knowledge of how YOU are called to live, and where you can do the most Good.

          From my understanding and experience, I believe if it’s not Good, Compassionate, Kind, or Loving – it’s not Truth, and it’s definitely not from God!

          1. amberlf says:

            No, I understand perfectly. I was just so moved by the clarity of the whole statement. My head and heart are in the same range and for me there is no conflict. I cant make anyone else see reason but I can hope one day they start truly researching, truly learning and understanding. BTW, your congratulations came a good 25 years late. I’m not shouting from mountain tops but I became annoyed by the Hypocrisy and and perversion long ago. There are too many other religions with too many similar good traits that just make a lot more sense to me. I don’t dislike the faith, I just don’t feel it in the head or heart. Good for those that do but I was done beating my self up over it years ago.

      2. Joe Langer says:

        Ok, reading that made my head hurt. I’m actually not sure what you’re trying to say.

  34. Joe Langer says:

    If you are going to call yourself a Christian, look to Christ’s example. He did not talk about hating people. He visited the homes of sinners, had dinner with them. I’m not labeling the people being discriminated against as sinners; the discriminators are doing that. I’m just saying denying people you consider sinners service is the opposite of what Jesus did, and would do now.

    I grew up in the Methodist Church, and my favorite hymn was “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” When did Christians start being known by their hate, and if they are known by their hate, are they really Christians?

  35. Daniel Wallace says:

    I honestly don’t believe Christianity is under attack. It is a way to excuse hatred by hiding behind the faith and trying to hide what they believe in the dark which itself is evil

  36. Kelly says:

    Just let a store refuse to serve Christians and the screaming and gnashing of teeth and subsequent lawsuits will be epic. Here’s the way to decide: you cannot refuse service to anyone with money to pay you for the service or product you provide. Period.

  37. aspamseesit says:

    Disclaimer: I have not read all the comments. I don’t have that much time.

    It’s only natural that Christians in the US would feel put upon by being forced to recognize that they can no longer dominate the socio-political institutions in this country, that they will henceforth have to compete on an equal footing with everyone else, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Slave owners felt the same way when Abe told them they could no longer own other people. The resulting conflict has NOTHING to do with religious rights or freedoms, but with dominance and control.

    I’m no longer a Christian, but when I was, I was taught that “God” gives us our government and Jesus taught us to submit to that government, just as he allegedly did. I’ve studied several versions of “the” Bible, and in all of them Jesus only spurned one group of people, the one’s trying to use their religious law to subjugate everyone else. The “Gospel” is all about showing others love and respect while developing a deeper relationship with “God.” If there’s any truth to what Jesus taught, all these self-professed Christians who run around ranting about their right to shun people, make moral decisions for women, defy the government, or even concern themselves with the affairs of anyone outside the faith – well, those folks will spend an eternity standing right next to me, except their fire will be hotter than mine, and they’ll have to listen to me endlessly asking why they didn’t demonstrate the love of Jesus instead of the law of Moses.

  38. Lea Weis says:

    You reap what you sow..I have found Christian’s very abusive. So ..they should practice what they preach that is love and respect for your fellow human being. It’s this what Jesus did? Which to to me is nothing more than mythology.

    This is why christians are not will likes because this religion has alot of blood on their hands. It seems to me the bible is cherry picked just to benifit themselves. .To me this is selfish.

    So now you know how I feel. ..The answer to your questions. They have no right to deny anyone their rights even if it’s a business. .It’s just hate hiding behind good.

    We have to except diffiences to get along and have a peaceful world…Because this is a division..Christians need to start educating them self and start living with reason and compassion. Namaste

  39. Jose Antonio Miranda says:

    Despite what the First Amendment states about the free exercise of religion, the whole society must be aware that “my rights end where yours begin”, simple as that; therefore if my rights are overridden under the “discrimination” excuse, I am finally discriminated.
    In order to provide an organized opinion, I am following the same structure and sub-titles of the article that trigger the questions.
    Hobby Lobby
    Why the plans should exclude emergency contraception methods such as Plan B? Even though I am pro-life, I am also conscious that not everybody is sexually responsible; therefore we have to face the facts and decide between a “Plan B” and an abortion probably performed without the necessary sanitary and safety measures. The dilemma is deciding between letting an undesired pregnancy to progress or giving a woman the alternative to mitigate risks and eliminate the contingency in a safer manner. Yes, it is a contingency because it is unknown if women are pregnant or not “the morning after”. In addition, we should also take into account what would be the future of an undesired child from love, nutrition, healthcare, education and psychological standpoints.
    I would like to know how many pro-life advocates (that argue this is equivalent to handing out “an over-the-counter abortion device”), are against the Second Amendment and fire arms proliferation.
    Pharmacies Must Comply
    Regardless our religious believes, no one is above the law, or should not be above the law. The case should not have been escalated to the Supreme Court. We all must comply with the laws and regulations; otherwise we will be facing the risks of anarchy.
    (Gay) Christian Mingle?
    The site Christianmingle.com was created with the sole purpose of helping single Christian people looking for a likeminded partner and users have to select between just one of two options: a man looking for a woman, or a woman looking for a man. Why is this considered as discriminative practice?
    Members of the LGBT are not forced to access this website; actually I searched and found that there are several dating websites for the LGBT community. Should heterosexual individuals sue these websites alleging discrimination?
    Heterosexuals do not have “proud day parades” and most likely are not visiting the dating websites of the LGBT community; therefore it is astonishing that the website was forced to agree including an option for same-sex couples.
    I would call this “reversed discrimination”!
    Selective Bakers
    I believe that in the previous section I clearly stated that I am against any form of discrimination.
    In my opinion, entrepreneurs should focus on increasing their market share and maximizing profits, on the other hand, we must be respectful if they do not want to sale their products to certain potential Clients.
    In the business world we see this scenario on a daily basis and it is not considered “a discriminative practice”. Exclusive brands and products are not affordable to most of us. Does it mean that as consumers we should sue Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc. for discrimination? Certainly if we would do that, no Court in the whole Country would take the case seriously.
    Where is the Line?
    The line is clearly defined; regardless my religious believes my rights ends where the ones of others begin.
    This “political agenda” does not target Christians; it targets all good will individuals regardless if these are Christians, Jewish, Muslims or whatever religion they might have.
    I deeply respect the human and civil rights of the LGBT community, but I also demand the same level of respect for those that do not belong to it.

  40. Dawn Papczynski says:

    In my opinion, we need to foster peace…yes, no matter what denomination we are, we should respect and recognize the divinity of every person. I have to agree with the Supreme Courts perspective on these cases. This line if thinking is applicable in every facet of life. You are my friend even if I don’t agree with your views.

  41. Clyde says:

    “Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and give to God what is God’s”
    Religious freedom does not trump personal beliefs of other folks’. Some Christians want to live in a theocracy. They are welcome to leave the USA to go live in one.

  42. Paul says:

    Silly question. Christianity as a mockery is off its track and rocker in America with all these conservative republicans. If any one believes in the Jesus of the bible, he taught to 2 basic rules. 1 Love God 2. Don’t do evil to others. Compassion, forgiveness and tolerance is so sorelly missing from churches today. They hate the gays and many other things and use the teachings to perpetuate the hate. Heaven is about to deliver a most pronounced judgement of christianity. i doubt if it will survive it. The Truth ans being taught in Churches and Reality are 2 very separate things.

    1. Jack says:

      With all this crazy talk of gays,then it’s OK to molest children,rape women and men.then what’s next wife swaps,if you remember the angels of God destroyed two city’s because of this craziness.I’m just saying.

      1. kcline99 says:

        You are what’s in your own mind.

      2. Silver says:

        Jack UR RIGHT but please child molestation is not the same as gays!!! Gays are 2 adults that SHOOSE to use their body they way that suits them. But child molester or rape should be given the worst punishment ever recorded In the history of mankind. For all I can remember a child never gave concent to his or her body to be used but gays do”.# no child rape#😭

        1. Amber Fry says:

          Yes, when two consenting adults both choose to be together regardless of gender, its consensual. Child molestation and rape are power plays, one person dominating another without choice in the matter. Please do be sure you understand the difference.

        2. Jack says:

          Yes that’s right silver.they are adults, but when they try to conflict there actions onto us and say it’s alright.well I guess they can put it right back in our face about religion pushed on them.but the two are completely different. I don’t witness unless door is opened. But that’s just me.Amen.

          1. Amber Fry says:

            There isn’t a conflict unless they are climbing into your bed though. That’s the point. When religious right groups decide what’s right for everyone else they are failing their own religion and society. Those who don’t see it that way are delusional.

      3. Kelly says:

        Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of homosexuality. They were destroyed because the men in the town wanted to RAPE the Angels. When Lot let the Angels stay the men came to him and demanded that he turn the visitors over to them for their pleasure. It was the law of God that you were to be hospitable to strangers, but the men of the town did not want that. So it was not about two consensual adults who loved each other, but about men who wanted to do harm to those seeking shelter.

  43. eliud colbath says:

    Religion is not Christ.Christ came to destroy religion.lets keep our focus in Christ.he is the word of God.if we do that then there will be no judgement of ourselves.when we mix religion and politics then we are mixing the secular with the word of God.this becomes religion.let us stick to the word and the truth shall set you free.the word of God says we can’t even judge ourselves.love one another as he loved us.if we practice this word the rest will be treated with an open mind because the supreme being will give us the light to see more clearly.God bless you.

  44. Susan Peters says:

    Just work on yourself and let love do the work on everyone else. Who knows. If everyone did this there would be no need for organized religion to command us to live in love. Everyone would be loving no matter what.

  45. Silver says:

    Am confused at what u say ! U said Christ came to destroy religion? Please if I may ask who is the founder of Christianity? Who is the founder of religion I bet is not devil!!!! Who did Jesus told in him I built my church? They crucified Jesus for what he believed, the arrested his disciples for believing and speaking the truth of word of God and now after death of Christ in our era, the so called gays are looking for a way to crucify us for what we believe in; IS THAT RIGHT FOR CHRIST SAKE NO!!!!!!!! WE MUST STAND UP JUST LIKE THE APOSTLES OF CHRIST WITH OUR HEAD HIGH.

    1. Joe Langer says:

      This is a perfect example of the nonsense that is destroying Christianity. The creation of scapegoats to set people up against eachother. The “so called gays” as you put it, Silver, don’t want anything but to live their lives as they see fit, and love who they love. They don’t want to crucify you, but by making statements like this, which have no basis in reality, you are crucifying them. People who want to control you have been setting up false enemies for centuries, and you are still gullible enough to believe them. I find that sad.

      As for Christ coming to destroy religion, I don’t buy that either. I would say Christ came to correct religion. Myself I don’t believe religion is necessary for everyone. Spirituality can be a much better path for those who’s minds are open. But many people need structure for their spiritual life, and for them religion provides that structure. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of following false prophets, or false profits, either one.

      1. Silver says:

        Joe everything you said is correct but saying gays don’t crucify us is an understatement because they are the ones that wants Christian to accept them even if is my right to say No!! To man to man or woman to woman, I doubt if in future I will stand and called my grandson a son really untill he completes 18 because after that he might tell me that he is a she; so God made a mistake in creation? Please if we are true Christian like we claim let’s be Christ like and stand in the way of truth. I as a Christian should be be left alone to my beleive and not be forced to accept what I don’t believe!!!!! God bless y’all.

        1. J Coop-Klamer says:

          Dear @Silver, do your generalizations and statements include LGBTQ Christians? Do they cry out for your crucifixion (“persecution”), or even their own? No one is out to get you, contrary to most of which some radicalized self-professed religious authorities would have you believe. You confuse ‘criticism’ with ‘persecution’. Don’t worry, it’s easy to do when the ‘religious authorities’ are purposefully trying to portray themselves the poor victims in this culture war, when they’ve been dehumanizing others for decades, and are now being called out on their actions.

          Anyway, my point is, no one ever said they want you to accept them, and YOU are not appointed to speak for all Christians. You can only speak for yourself, share from your limited understandings and feeble perceptions.

          Your rights and religious liberties end where mine, and even your grandson’s, begin.

          Your example is ludicrous. The mistake isn’t God’s, but rather how you think, react, and treat your metaphorical ‘grandson’. Your grandson’s life is not your business, but his happiness is his alone to find and pursue. If he ever does identify as transgender, that’s NOT your business! Try to let him/her just be happy in whatever their journey might be.

          Personally, I don’t care what you think about me, it’s not my business. What you FEEL when you see me or my spouse in public is your problem, not mine. Now, what you DO (your actions) might be an issue if they interfere with my life, my liberties, and my pursuit of happiness. If YOUR actions ever interfered with my life, I will fight you.

          (Do you understand? You don’t get to tyrannize, demonize, dehumanize other people and expect us just to lay there and let you do it. I won’t let you oppress me! That’s not a “RIGHT”! The radicalized fundamentalists started this culture war five decades ago, and now that they’ve lost and people are finding other means of spiritual fulfillment, they want everyone to believe it’s them who are being victimized. F.Y.I. – I’ve been in it since Anita Bryant’s follies.)

          You’re free to believe whatever you choose. It’s your ACTIONS which might become a real issue.

          1. Kelly says:

            So very well said. Thank you.

        2. Joe Langer says:

          Silver, How is it crucifying you for them to be saying they want to be accepted for who they are??? If you can’t accept them for who they are at least mind your own business. It has nothing to do with you. If God doesn’t like them being gay that’s between them and God, not between them and you. You say I am making an understatement to say they are not crucifying you, but you are making an extreme overstatement to say that they are. The fact that you take it upon yourself to speak out against them is simply inserting yourself in an issue that has nothing to do with you. As I said if you can’t support them at least mind your own business.

  46. gokine123Rev. George Armah Okine says:

    Unity in Diversity

    How else is this unity of the defiled and undefiled being attempted in America? What other angle is the devil using? Satan is today attacking all segments in America´s Christendom through the decisions of ungodly men and agencies in government. This attack has many fronts and faces. It is even against groups which are normally against each other. Why? It is because Christendom in America is composed of those God calls harlots, and those He calls brides. Both are being attacked.

    This seemingly indiscriminate governmental attack on “religion” is a satanic diversion designed to entice the true bride of Christ to commit fornication with other antichrist political parties and the harlot church system. Satan´s diversion is accomplished by tempting real men of God to compare the harlot church with these ungodly government officials, who are making wrong decisions on important issues. By making this comparison, the harlot, who has perverted major doctrines, begins to look like “Mr. Clean.” Men of God are then tempted to ignore or forget the major doctrinal errors of the harlot, who is also being attacked by these same men.

    1. hsw says:

      Is there medication you should be taking?

  47. Amber Fry says:

    A little historical research would be a wise thing to fall back on. Jesus was arrested more because the local prominent religions and government saw him as a threat to their security. Most of what Jesus taught had more to do with treating people with respect, dignity, honor, and the like. He was… in more modern terms… “rallying against The Man” or oppressive government that was stepping on most people, and religious institutions that were looking at the money more than practicing what they preached. He was trying to teach people to treat each other better, not start a whole new religion. The disciples, those who were not caught and punished as well that is, scattered. They didn’t stand up, they ran, mainly because he told them to do nothing when they came for him. Check in religious history and theology in the middle east of about 2000 years ago as well as the ideas and theories around what was most likely to have happened. It will likely give you a better understanding of what’s actually there in the bible anyway.

  48. Rev. Goat says:

    Did… did you just equate being OK with homosexuality with being OK with child molestation?

    And Jack, no, the angels didn’t destroy two cities because of homosexuality. Only right wing fundamentalist Christians who don’t actually read or understand the Bible say that. How about you actually open up the good book and read it, really read it. And think about the message that Jesus was all about.

  49. eliud colbath says:

    Religion is the law.when Christ CAME TO FULFIL THE LAW HE CHANGED IT FOR THE TRUTH.LOOK UP THE WORD RELIGION.religion is something eminently social. We need structure but we get that from Christ.the structure you talk about is full of laws and regulations.dont be lead by that.focus on Christ.he is the way the truth and the life.he is the alpha and the omega.he is your answer.this message is not just for you but for all my brothers and sisters.He is the worlds greatest lover.John 3:16.God bless you.

    1. Jack says:

      I like your comment eliued.amen

  50. Kelly says:

    No one is trying to make you believe differently. That is your right. What is not your right is to discriminate based on your belief. Our laws are not based in religion. They are civil laws based on equality of all people. As for “God making a mistake” in gender. Nature is not exact. All kinds of things happen during the process of gestation. No one knows the whys, but we must understand that each human knows who they are and accept them as such.

  51. Silver says:

    Kelly if you say nature can make a mistake that means we all are mistakes because we can wake up and say am a lion, chicken or even a dog. Please don’t say am discriminating but they are the ones discriminating against my belief saying Christ doesn’t exist and Christians are may fallacy! I stand to say that God can’t make a mistake in creation and nature is the most faithful and nothing mistake about my mother nature.
    I STAND TALL WITH CHRIST IN THE CROSS AND SAY NO TO SIN OF FLESH AND CRUCIFICATION OF CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD.

    1. Joe Langer says:

      That’s a pretty amazing leap of hyperbole to say you are being crucified because people don’t agree with your beliefs. Let them disagree. Again, it’s between them and God, not between them and you. As far as your nonsense about people saying they are a lion or a dog or whatever, that’s a logical fallacy. Just stating an extreme case to make the reality look ridiculous does nothing to contribute to the understanding of the real issue. You want to argue with people, learn how.

      1. Amber Fry says:

        I agree with Joe. Though I still have to wonder just how someone makes the jump from “can be” to absolutely “is” or that a mistake means an entire species jump.

        1. Joe Langer says:

          What is a mistake? You could say that a mutation is a mistake, or you could just say that it’s an adaptation. Some mutations are successful and some are not. Maybe the unsuccessful ones are mistakes, and the successful ones are adaptations, you can’t know until it plays out. Maybe some mutations are neither, but just different, and that’s ok.

          1. Amber Fry says:

            True. Very true. My beef was more about the leap of logic from a possible ‘can be’ to the absolute of ‘is’.

  52. jeremy munoz says:

    I have only one thing to say Christians can cross the line god would not have wanted Christians to hate but be accepting of everyone whether they be gay straight or transgender. What if it is your own child then things would be different. God had told me my child believe in yourself and me and everything else will fall into place.. And I’m very accepting of the homosexual community and I believe they have every right to marry god wouldn’t have judged them so why should we.

  53. Kelly says:

    Then if all creation is perfect then you must accept that people who are gay, transgendered, etc are perfect as they are because God made them that way. I don’t say that nature makes mistakes, I say that nature is not exact. We are all created differently. If it was perfect then everyone would be just alike. You don’t have to agree with anyone, but you cannot refuse to serve them because of your religious beliefs.

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      Exactly, @Kelly! It’s not the persons, but rather the hateful thinking and tyrannical oppression of others which are the real mistakes!

    2. C@ says:

      <3 @Kelly. I believe to stand behind the words of the Bible and have hatred in your heart is a contradiction. Jesus is love.

    3. Joe Langer says:

      Well said, but I would say that it is perfect because we are not all just alike. Our differences make this a much better world.

  54. Silver says:

    How can they be perfect if they have gone through surgery and drugs to become someone there spirit told them to become.
    That is not perfection it is humanly made perfection and not nature.
    Why would a man that hates anything to do with a woman adopt a baby girl?
    I guess confusion and something fishing somewhere!!!!
    Let the truth be told for only the truth shall set us free says THE LORD.

    1. J Coop-Klamer says:

      Simply, that’s their journey, not yours. They are perfect already. What others are willing to sacrifice for peace, self-actualization, and self-fulfillment shows the sincerity of their understanding, and their firmly held beliefs. It has nothing to do with you.

      (PS – Personally, I never trust anyone who tries to throw nonexistent ‘authority’/’power’ and tries to control an argument or the thoughts of others by declaring, ‘Thus says THE LORD!’ We’re not given the ability to think and choose better living, to be automatons.)

    2. hsw says:

      Silver what man is it that you believe hates anything to do with a woman? I don’t know any gay men who hate women, nor do I know any transgender women who hate women, nor transgender men who hate women – so who is it you speak of? I do know gay men who have adopted without caring which gender their child was – like any other parents they were only concerned with having a healthy baby of either sex. Not sure how that makes them different from anyone else.

      Please clarify who it is you’re speaking of when you say “man that hates anything to do with a women.”

      1. Silver says:

        I bet a woman gave birth to that child he is adopting and a man produced the semen of the child she is adopting, if all men marries men and all women marries women I guess there will not be a child to adopt and it beats my imagination how two adult men can be living with a child that is not biological theirs (#myopinion#) Go ye into the world and multiple!!! God created Adam and Eve if my Bible is correct.

        1. Kelly says:

          If you’re Christian then you believe God created all humans. Adam and Eve AND Adam and Steve. There are plenty of children who need loving parents and heterosexuality isn’t going anywhere.

          1. Silver says:

            Please where in your Bible did God first created ADAM AND STEVE? MY OWN BIBLE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN WAS ONLY ADAM AND EVE AND THIRD PARTY WAS SATAN.
            Secondly those so much CHILDREN you talked about was given to birth by a woman and it they are product of man and woman, nothing more!!!!
            My question still remains if u don’t like man and woman union why would two adult men be living with a little girl (not biological their)born of another woman? I bet no place in Bible I can find that.
            PLEASE CAN SOMEONE READ WHAT HAPPEN TO SODOM AND GOMORRAH AND WHY IS IT A REFERENCE IN THE BIBLE?

          2. Joe Langer says:

            Silver, she is saying that according to your faith, God created everyone. And no, in your Bible or anyone else’s, Satan is not mentioned as being in the Garden of Eden. You may believe that the serpent represents Satan, but the name Satan doesn’t come up until much later in the Bible.

            The parts of the Bible that talk about Sodom and Gomorrah are not explicit in the causes of God’s wrath, and so there are many interpretations.

          3. Amber Fry says:

            Not to mention Sodom and Gomorrah was about the disrespect towards the households and rape more than anything else.

        2. Joe Langer says:

          Homosexuals are only about 10% of the population. That number is not growing because of acceptance, it stays the same because that is the rate of natural occurrence. Gays are not trying to convert anyone, they just want to be accepted for who they are, and left alone by people like you.

        3. hsw says:

          So in addition to all the other things you disapprove of, you disapprove of adoption? The child a heterosexual couple adopts is also not biologically theirs.

          When the men who wrote your bible were alive, life was physically difficult, and many children didn’t survive to adulthood. Now the world is overpopulated, and with the exception of a few truly disturbed fundamentalists, very few people believe that “going forth and multiplying” is a mandate.

          As someone else suggested earlier, if you’re going to argue, learn how.

          1. Brother John says:

            Bravo, hsw!! Well written and to the point.

        4. Amber Fry says:

          No one is forcing anyone else to not marry the other gender. Where is that coming from? Is this why so many homophobes exist now? Please, they just want the right to be together, not take yours away to marry who you want. One of the reasons marriage was put in place was to help take care of women who were forbidden to work and earn their own keep so many years ago, both in the middle east and in England. Plenty of changes have been made that women can make their own way which is why the rules for marriage should change. It’s also the reason fewer people really want to get married these days. Society has shifted. Religions that don’t shift with it end up fizzling out eventually.

    3. Joe Langer says:

      Again, Silver, it’s none of your business what they do with their bodies. Leave it to God. If you’re right He’ll take care of it, if your wrong He’ll take care of you.

      1. Amber Fry says:

        This is what the more angry, aggressive religious types need to keep in mind. If they are wrong God will take care of it. If you are wrong then he will take care of you. Very well said Joe.

  55. C@ says:

    I have been following this post and I have to say at the beginning it was warming my heart, because there was very forward discussion and acceptance. However, I see that a few people have been going further down the spiral.

    It is my OPINION that if Jesus hung out with prostitutes this could have easily included gays. Jesus did not judge he offered the way to salvation. Did he ask people to go to church every Sunday? I believe he offered them the flaws with the current religion.

    I don’t believe he would approve of the way this discussion has been going. Jesus (God) are the way of love and probably wouldn’t condone any of the hatred that this thread is inspiring.

    Remember, Gospel of John 7:53-8:11?
    Or maybe Luke 7:36-50?

    I think people getting defensive about the passages in the Bible and feeling persecuted need to read. Read the Bible (whatever version you believe in) and really think about the Lessons. Not JUST ONE PASSAGE that confirms your beliefs, but passage after passage. One line is easy to misinterpret… but the message (believer or not) stands tall in my mind- Love. Forgiveness. Lighten your burdens with belief.

    Leave the judgements up to God. Live your life as a better person and THAT is all that was intended.

  56. strumquiver (daryll J Alt says:

    From the words of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Mitakuye Oyasin-We are all related. I walk the Red Road, but believe Christ(the Pale One or Peacewalker) walked this ground. In my heart, spiritual walkers, be we Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Shamanic practitioners, or (insert other religious affiliation here) have a duty to treat each other with respect. As Marriane Williamson says, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.”

    I use that preface to clarify my response to the initial question, to which, I sadly respond yes. That a privately owned company offers a specific health plan which may exclude certain drugs, procedures, or practices should be their decision. That a privately held company chooses to limit it’s client base may not be the best business practice, but should be their right.

    My overriding concern is that we have become, or continue to be, a culture that operates in fear based experience. I pray that each of us would follow the Beauty Path, making each step we take, and each decision we make be directed towards creating a more beautiful world.

    Ta-desh-te- Walk in Beauty

    1. Joe Langer says:

      I disagree, it is only their right when it is their health care. This is one of the reasons employers need to taken out of the health care system. A single payer health care system would solve the problem.

      1. strumquiver (daryll J Alt says:

        Joe: Thank you for your reply. In another life, far far away, I worked for a corporation as a Business Analyst in the Human Resources department, responsible for the implementation, management, and delivery of a variety of health plans for several thousand people. It would be an excellent topic for another forum. Walk in Beauty

  57. eliud colbath says:

    When I mentioned the word law l was t as talking about the old testament.not civil law.God’s made us perfect but we intercom with our chemicals in everything.example G. M.O. God likes variety.can you imagine if all avionics or flowers were the same color.when we make a salad we mix it with all kinds of vegetables.um does it taste good .the veggie compliment each other.I propose we become a salad.the human salad.God loves salads.thats why he created them. GOD BLESS YOU.

  58. Kelly says:

    Christians are not under the Old Testament law. If you are a true Christian you follow the laws Jesus gave, which were only two. Love YOUR God and love your neighbor, on these two hang all of the law.

  59. eliud colbath says:

    You are not under the law.you are in Christ.

  60. hsw says:

    Actually, I’m not. I can’t speak for others.

  61. eliud colbath says:

    Look up in the bible Romans 10:4

  62. hsw says:

    Can you loan me one?

  63. Joe Langer says:

    Don’t stop at reading just one verse, read Romans 10 from the beginning, and keep reading through 11. You will find it saying that God does not condemn as easily as he is often made out to.

  64. Adam says:

    Christian beliefs are different from discrimination. One can have whatever belief they want, but when they start acting upon those beliefs and excluding segments of the society (gays, blacks, foreigners, women, to mention a few), that is when it becomes ugly. Imagine a person whose personal Cristian values include the belief that blacks descend from Cain, and that all blacks are marked by God as being criminals. That would be his problem, but when he refuses to give blacks a job, it is discrimination; imagine a civil servant (paid by tax-payers) who refuses to issue a birth certificate, or a certificate of marriage, or a house deed to a gay or lesbian couple. That is discrimination. Lesbians are tax-paying citizens and deserve the same service provided to heterosexuals; imagine a muslim cab driver who refuses to stop for Christians because Christians eat pork. That is discrimination. The cab driver has a license issued by the city or state to provide a service to citizens of that city or state. Discrimination can be based on religious beliefs too. Those examples all differ from one not allowing someone into his/her house because of their skin color, sexual orientation, religion, political party, or position on abortion. That is his or her house, private property.

  65. KJ says:

    I’m really glad to finally see people pushing back against Christian oppression. For years Christianity has been shoved in the faces of our populous, on billboards, radio broadcasts, and they’ve even gone so far as to shoehorn god into the pledge of allegiance and onto our money. Only Christians get special treatment, and now that someone is finally telling them to step back and stop enforcing their bronze age beliefs on people, they scream religious persecution! You want to see religious persecution? Look no further than your own religion’s history. Read up about the hundreds of years spent burning heretics. Tell me about how you have been persecuted after reading that.

  66. eliud colbath says:

    Look up in the bible Romans 10:4.if you believe your being persecuted try living in a Moslum country where if your gay your head comes off.yes your right about the past.there has been much bad in all religion.Christianity is love in Christ.persecution is done by persons that are misled.A true Christian that really knows follows Christ command to love one another as he loved us.No judgement at all.The Bible says that we can not even judge our selves. MOST christians have evolved.Radical Islam has not.The majority of Islam are good people.Love them.I truly believe this are the teachings of Christ.God Bless you.

  67. Brother John says:

    Is it any wonder that Christians are “under attack”, or at the very least, mocked by both non-believers and adherents of other religions? The “men and women of God” in the linked video are waving and reading from the Holy Bible. Not the Quran, Upanishads, Vedas or the Bhagavad Gita. Before dismissing them as “not really Christians”, watch the whole video.

    Take note of the crowds some of them attract. Thousands and thousands of “believers” swaying with their arms raised, witnessing the healing power of God. Holy Crap!! This is just a sampling of the televangelists, many of whom have become very wealthy through their ministries. There are many, many more evangelists (without the “tele”), spouting similar gibberish to faithful congregants that is, fortunately, not broadcast (but unfortunately believed and repeated by their congregations).

    What other major religions have charlatans like these as their representatives? Might devout adherents of other religions think of them as heretics and blasphemers? One of my favourite parts starts at 4:25… Rodney and Ken are channeling funny stories in Biblebabble and some of the congregants are laughing along with them. This may just be nervous laughter though.

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