Religious Freedom, Cakes, & WWJD

We’re fortunate to live in a country where we can choose to participate in a religion or not. Drive down a street in just about any town all across our fruited plains in this great country and you’ll see churches. You and I can pick and choose where we go to church or if we even want to attend church or not.

How’s that for freedom? Is this a great country or what?

Back in the early 1990s along came something called the religious freedom law. You can ask ten people what it means and get 10 different answers. It’s been around in one form or the other since 1993 when President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. I know some folks on the right are checking Google about this because Clinton was the devil to them before Obama was the devil to them. They are asking the question, “How could Bill Clinton do anything even remotely religious?”

States felt they needed their own versions of the Federal law, so they started passing laws. I believe there are about 21 states that have some form of a religious freedom law. You may have recently heard about Indiana’s law. It’s causing the state a lot of problems and rightly so. Many folks believe the bill was nothing but a backdoor way to discriminate against gays. It’s kind of like the same way conservatives keep introducing bills to chip away at abortion rights.

This is 2015, and there’s a growing number of people who want religious freedom as long as they can make the rules and define the freedom.

Why don’t we shed a little Christianity on the whole Religious Freedom thing. Prepare yourself – I may get a little “preachy” from here on.

I’ve been a Christian for many years, and I’ve grown tired of the bad name some are giving to Christians. Full disclosure – I have not been perfect in my Christian life, but I am forgiven.

Christians seem to be their own worst enemies, and some Christian hypocrites are out in full force during the debate of the religious freedom law. They seem to have forgotten Mark 12:31 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you are a “Christian” business owner and you don’t want to sell a cake or make flower arrangements because the customer is gay, what does that say about you and your religion? What does it say about the church you attend? What does it say about your beliefs?

Who or what groups will you discriminate against next?

It would be funny if the same gay person who wanted a cake showed up at your church this Easter Sunday.

Many Christians believe that being gay means gay people are sinners. Face it folks, we all sin. We’re all sinners. We all fall short. In Romans 3:23 we find that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

In the book of Matthew we even find, “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.”

OMG – Jesus ate with sinners! Wowser! The fact is Jesus loves gay people. He loves you. He loves me. If I kept score, Christians have hurt me more in my life than the gay people I know.

I think it’s time the “holier than thou” Christians ask themselves the big question: “What would Jesus do?”

## WWJD ##



  1. […] this month I wrote about religious freedom, saying at the end of my column with I think it’s time the “holier than thou” Christians ask […]

  2. My, my Craig your delicate fee-fees are set to to hyper-sensitive. The fact remains that the Federal RFRA pointedly bars discrimination against LGBTs. The Indiana law does not. Is that substantive enough for you, Dad?

  3. Perhaps this is quite overblown.

    If there’s already a federal RFRA in place, why did Indiana pass its own RFRA?

    Great question. In a 1997 Supreme Court case (City of Boerne v. Flores), the court held that federal RFRA was generally inapplicable against state and local laws. Since then, a number of states have enacted their own RFRA statutes: Indiana became the twentieth to do so. Other states have state court rulings that provide RFRA-like protections.

    Using the Indiana law as a ‘wedge issue’ would not be without precedent. BTW, Schumer was solidly behind the federal RFRA.

    As to those asserting that the state law is vastly different than the federal law there is this.

    • Craig – Thank you for your comments. I like what CBS News’ Scott Pelley said last night about Indiana’s bill:
      “In fact, Madison wrote all 10 articles of the Bill of Rights in 482 words, about half the space of the one Indiana law. Indiana now proposes to fix the law by adding more words.”

      See more at:

      • Pelly misses that the court opinions deciding what the Bill of Rights means go into the 10’s of thousands of words ad infinitum ad nauseam.

    • No surprise that Craig argues from the rightwingnut position.

      “The right to religious liberty, like most fundamental rights, is not absolute. The law is very clear that religious liberty rights secured under state RFRAs or under the Indiana or U.S. Constitutions cannot be secured by shifting material costs to third party rights-holders. The proposed legislation should not be enacted because it does not limit the scope of religious liberty rights in cases where they undermine other important rights to public health, equality, or security.

      For instance, when a state police officer sought an exemption from working as a riverboat gaming agent because he had a religious objection to gambling, an Indiana court rejected this challenge, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted that, “law enforcement agencies need the cooperation of all members…Firefighters must extinguish all fires, even those in places of worship that the firefighter regards as heretical.”
      In a Supreme Court case, an Amish employer challenged on religious grounds the requirement to pay Social Security taxes on behalf of his employees. The court rejected the exemption, noting the harm it would impose on others.”

      The whole thing is quite brief. #6 brings into question Schumer’s current support for the Federal RFRA. What is his feeling these days?

      • No surprise Doug, given your track record elsewhere, that you would lead with an ad hominem in lieu of substantive commentary.

    • 11 page pdf, go to page 5, footnote 24. From 2-27-15 Schumer et al have withdrawn their support.

  4. Amen!

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