It’s a Sermon on the Mount moment for Christians and some don’t even recognize it. A fb friend alerted me to this piece.
Three in ten (30%) Americans say they think it should be permissible for a small business owner in their state to refuse to provide services to gay or lesbian people if doing so violates their religious beliefs, while two-thirds (67%) say they should not be allowed to do so.
By contrast, there is generally less support for allowing small business owners to refuse to serve African Americans, Jews, Muslims, and atheists, if serving these groups would violate the owner’s religious beliefs. However, the number of Americans who support religiously based refusals to serve each of these groups has increased in the last five years.
Jesus seemed to have something to say about people we consider bad:
‘You have heard that it was said,
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
But I say to you,
do not resist an evildoer.
But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek,
turn the other also;
and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat,
give your cloak as well;
and if anyone forces you to go one mile,
go also the second mile. (Matthew 5:39-42)
The Lord would seem to suggest that when a same-sex couple asks a Christian baker for a wedding cake, a believer is obligated to provide a two-for-one opportunity.
There doesn’t really seem to be any other way out. The worst case scenario (one I disagree with) is that people who disagree with us are evildoers. In that situation we are obligated by the teaching of Jesus to go that extra mile. More often, people who think, live, or love differently are far milder than the worst evildoers. They might even be more virtuous than us. The solution seems the same. We offer our service in duplicate.
Why? Because people who are different from us don’t contaminate us. Small-hearted individuals have no influence to build the Reign of God. They can only give a tattered witness of their Lord. Their morality is narcissistic. If they persist, they are unfit for duty in the field hospital, the peripheries, and the wilderness. They will sit at their small table with a few confreres and demand to be serviced. They typify the Church of Maintenance. They have abandoned the mission.
Personal holiness is a discipline we work in cooperation with God. But it is not the end point of the Gospel. Jesus entrusted his disciples with a mission to preach to and baptize the whole world. All creation, if you take the Mark 16 mandatum. We don’t set aside aspirations for holiness, but in the greater context, Christians have received a wider and greater aim.