May 7, 2017: Let’s Not Discriminate in the Name of God.

Posted on : May 4th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order allowing people of faith to discriminate based on religion.  Ironically, he refers to this right to discriminate as “Religious Liberty.”   In the last 24 hrs. quite a heated debate has arisen as to what exactly this EO (Executive Order) does and doesn’t do.  Not surprisingly, evangelical conservatives don’t think it goes far enough; and progressive think it goes way too far.

Among other things, it could allow religiously affiliated organizations and institutions to discriminate in the public realm based on one’s religious beliefs. It also could allow religiously affiliated social service agency can deny social services to gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons as long as they or their organization believe serving these persons is in violation of their religious beliefs.  In other words, if a religiously affiliated homeless shelter, of which there are many, decides that trans persons are living in violation of the way God created them, then the shelter could discriminate and not provide services.

Religiously affiliated adoption agencies could have the legal right to discriminate against placing children with gay or lesbian parents or foster parents.  Religiously affiliated companies or companies that are privately owned by individuals will have the right to discriminate based on the owner’s or religious group’s beliefs.  That means, as was celebrated at yesterday’s White House Garden ceremony, that certain religious orders that employ secular people can deny women birth control or any other medications that could cause a fertilized egg to not implant in the uterus or could cause an abortion.  It also means these same companies could deny gay men and other persons who are at risk for HIV infection access to PrEP [Pre-exposure prophylaxis] and PEP [post-exposure prophylaxis].  These two newer drugs are antivirals which are used in stopping the transmission of HIV infection.

This Executive Order and the very concept of “Religious Freedom” or “Religious Liberty” whose sole purpose is to allow for discrimination in the name of God, is beneath God’s dignity…. and ours, too. Once again, we in the progressive, inclusive branch of Christianity find ourselves backed into a horrible corner.  Every time religion and discrimination or religion and oppression are yoked together, we insult God, and we push more and more people away from Christianity.   All of the religious polling from conservative to liberal, including the Pew Charitable Trust, Gallup Poll and the Barna Group, reveal the same data.  Millennials view Christians as hypocrites and are fleeing Christianity in astoundingly high numbers.

This is clearly not what our New Life in Christ is about.  As the Apostle Paul taught the church in Galatia: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  (Galatians 5:1).  It is time, once again, for us in the progressive stream of Christianity to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12)

More on Sunday!




~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Romans 12

The New Life in Christ

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve Christ. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says our God.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Galatians 5: 1

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

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