Against My Religion

We have a multi-faith wedding happening at our home this summer andMap of Indiana religion is a consideration for sure.  At latest count, there will be Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists – in addition to many unbelievers of any stripe.

Among the self-identified faithful, there will be practicing and non-practicing adherents.  But we are making provisions for all practicing guests, as best we can.  No pork, for example.

In the joyful throes of wedding planning, I’ve also heard these comments:

We won’t be drinking wine, but it’s fine to serve it.”  (A lovely accommodation in light of the Muslim practice of no alcohol.)

I won’t be dancing.  It’s against my religion.”  (Fine, but I know other people in your faith tradition who dance.)

I have joked that it’s against my religion not to have a chilled cocktail about an hour before the wedding, but obviously that is more of a preference than a religious practice. . . .

Which brings me to Indiana.  Indiana business owners who object to same-sex couples, for example, now have a legal right to deny them services.  In other words, if I own a dry cleaning business, I can refuse to clean the shirts of gay people – married or not.  Or something like that.

It was against Jewish law in Jesus’ day to touch lepers and bleeding women, and yet he did it for the sake of the greater law of love.  If we believe the Bible, Jesus spoke against stoning an adulterer, socialized with Samaritans, and was okay with his followers picking grain on the Sabbath – all in violation of his religion’s law.

What would Jesus say to the bakery owner who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple for religious reasons? (“It’s against my religion for same-sex couples to marry.“) Or to the nursery school owner who refuses to allow a mixed-race child to attend that school – again for religious reasons.  (“It’s against my religion for races to intermarry.”)  Or the restaurant owner who refuses to rent the party room to a Hindu family for their daughter’s graduation.  (“It’s against my religion to do business with someone who worships multiple gods.“)

If I’m to understand Jesus correctly, I believe it’s against my religion to refuse to serve my neighbor.

7 responses to “Against My Religion

  1. Yes!! It is against my religion to refuse to serve another… How can I love my neighbor and not serve them? And if I can’t, then how can I love God?


  2. Absolutely perfect. Thank you.


  3. virginiahollis

    our son is married to a Muslim woman, the mother of 3 of our grandchildren. we work to get along and respect one another’s beliefs.


  4. So. Should a Jewish deli be forced to serve bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches? Or should people who are “bacon – loving activists” demand that Jewish delis serve blt’s?


    • With all due respect, you are talking about which products to sell. I’m talking about which people can buy the products.

      A Jewish deli would not sell certain products (eg bacon) but I believe they should do business with anyone who comes through their doors in terms of race, creed, gender, or orientation.


  5. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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