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Dave Granlund cartoon

Dave Granlund Cartoon: Liberty for who?

The irony of conservatives effort to allegedly ‘preserve’ religious liberty is that they are actually inflicting one person’s religion on others through their business activities. The concept that other people should be forced to accept one person’s bias is discussed in the Bible, and conservatives are taking a position opposite of what is taught in the New Testament.

Romans 14 nails Christians to the cross of behavior. Nowhere in the New Testament is the definition of what it means to be a Christian better explained than in this single chapter. Paul, in his letter to the Romans explains to Christians:

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Romans 14: 10-13
New International Version¹

2015 APR_DSC0001 (182)Both before and after this passage Paul offers examples of what he means by ‘passing judgement.’ The examples make it clear that the issue is not about what issues a Christian can condemn or protest regarding someone else’s choices, but that no Christian has the authority to judge another person.

The Religious Liberty laws passed in Indiana and other states emphasize the ‘right’ of a person to impose his or her religious beliefs on others who do not share those beliefs. The assumption is that a person can judge someone else’s personal choices, judge them as sinners, then refuse that person access to their products or services. This is in violation of the teachings of how a Christian is obligated to behave.

Applying the full meaning of Romans 14 to the situation, a Christian business person should not only accept another person’s lifestyle choices, and not judge them, but they should do everything possible to accommodate that person and their choices. Paul emphasizes to the Romans that a Christians obligation is to make peace, not conflict:

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14: 19
New International Version

The Religious Liberty laws are actually anti-Christian laws.

¹(KING JAMES VERSION – Romans 14:10-13)
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.