Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Guest Blog: Reflections on Indiana Law by Donna Savage

NOTE; This guest blog article was written by a dear friend of mine, Donna Savage. I worked with her for many years at Vineyard Music Group. She is a follower of Jesus, and a friend, and she is Gay. 

I ask that you, my readers, listen to what she has to share and please, dear ones, temper your comments with much love. I will post a blog here later in the week with my own thoughts and comments about this post.



I find it interesting as I read and listen to the different opinions on the whole Indiana "Religious Freedom Restoration" ordeal. The proponents for this law consistently speak of how this law protects people of faith in juxtaposition to the liberal's agenda of tolerance.

Can I just say that there are many, many liberals who are people of faith. I am a person of faith. Yet, because I am also a lesbian, am I automatically considered a liberal... with no faith? I'll be the first to say that many of my viewpoints are liberal. I, however, hold many conservative viewpoints, as well. There is a delicate balancing act I find myself in as I try to live authentically in community with both my liberal and conservative friends.

What I would like you to hear, is that as a liberal, I do not take my relationship with God lightly. If you know me well, you know that my faith in God is not only central in my life, it is based on my understanding and belief of, not only God's love for me, but his love for all of us. When I hear comments about this law that polarize the sides, as people of faith vs. the liberals, I struggle with trying not to be offended. Namely, because as I have said, I am a person of faith, as well as, a lesbian, as well as, a liberal-conservative.

If I lived in Indiana, the religious freedom law would not protect me as a person of faith. Although I have faith, I would still be penalized due to being a lesbian. Not all "people of faith" are being protected by this law. The reality is that doctrinal interpretations have now been attached to our legal system. Today it is legal to not sell to a gay person... tomorrow, will it be legal to kill a gay person for being gay? (There is an initiative being proposed for that very thing here in California! It's not as far fetched as you may think!) This subtle law in Indiana only protects a segment of Americans. It merely protects the faith or beliefs of a certain group of people, who hold a certain doctrine. In my understanding, this is discriminatory.

And this law, in my opinion, is the antithesis of the words written in our constitution, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,..."

If there are laws to keep me out of the public market place due to our differences in doctrine, than that is discrimination and I am not being treated as an equal.

Governor Pence said, "There needs to be tolerance on both sides."

The difference in our tolerance is this: the laws that enable me to marry the person I love does not ask or compel a heterosexual to become a homosexual for my marriage to take place. It merely provides me with the same civil liberties and rights that heterosexuals enjoy. I promise that if I ever get married, I will never require my heterosexual friends to become homosexuals! I not only tolerate your heterosexuality, I think it's great... for you! However, with this law, which protects business owners who hold the doctrine or viewpoint that who I am is sinful and therefore, they are not required to treat me as an equal and sell their goods to me... unless, of course, I stop sinning and become a heterosexual like them, is just... intolerant and quite frankly, ugly.

I think it is safe to say, if I should get married, and I am protected under the law to do so, you as a heterosexual, will not die. However, hypothetically speaking, every store owner in any given city in Indiana could legally hold this religious freedom restoration viewpoint and be protected by the law in doing so. If I, as a liberal lesbian, lived there and could not buy food, I could literally die of starvation. How can that ever be ok? Their faith/doctrine is now protected over and above my right to life? Exaggerated... yes, but now a possibility. In my mind, there is a huge difference between the tolerance we are asking each other to live by.

There is an ugliness that this law shadows. It doesn't protect people's beliefs, it protects their judgments.

As a Christian, as a lesbian, as an American, and as a human being, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is offensive to me. I applaud any person or organization who protests, boycotts, or advocates against this law in Indiana or in any other state in our country. Remember Martin Luther King's words, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This law is a threat to justice everywhere.

-Donna Savage


Steve Kline said...

Some thoughts on the issue of this law.

1. Discrimination is a part of the marketplace and a right that should be protected. Don't agree? As just one example, think about the price of a good. The price itself is discriminatory. Those that are poor cannot afford the price and therefore can't buy the good. Is that classism? Hardly anyone would say that it is. What I have acquired by God's gift is mine to do with as He directs me and I please. Therefore, no one should tell me who to hire, who to sell to, who to give to, etc.

2. As a Christian, I am called to love my neighbor, which includes my enemy. A basic way to do this is to treat everyone equally in my daily conduct, including my business. Therefore, I would not practice discrimination based on someone's personhood (gender, race, nationality, etc). And, where possible and directed by the Lord I would make accommodations for the poor. It is love for the unloved that sets Christians apart.

3. Therefore, while the right to discrimination (the right to free association that is in the Constitution) should not be infringed upon by the government, as a Christian I believe that I have no right to discriminate in the manner that the baker or photographer that have sparked this law are doing. Are they also asking if their customers are idolaters, liars, sexually immoral, virgins, etc. etc. Does this disqualify them from Christian marriage and being their customer? Where does the Bible say that Christians should only do business with Christians? While the business owners should not be forced to do business with anyone, it seems patently unChristian to me to discriminate in this way.

4. All of the above relates to my functioning in the world that God has created but, for me, is a separate issue from fellowship and oneness in the body of Christ. From my study of the Word, I can't fellowship in the Body with a practicing, unrepentant homosexual because that person is refusing to walk in the light (perhaps you feel differently). But, that in no way means I can't and shouldn't love all in every day practice, which includes baking a cake for them or taking their picture.

A J MacDonald Jr said...

I can't agree with you Donna. I was tolerant of this, and I once made the same arguments you did, until I realized it's not about LGBTs and gay marriage at all. It's about calling wrong right and right wrong, which is exactly what you're doing in your article.

the alternative1 said...

this is no doubt a highly debateable topic and there will be many opinions espoused from both sides-I throw my hands up and say--Lord you alone know the right answer to this whole issue and you are living inside of me--you cause me to function according to your will and I WILL follow.

Lo Loughner said...

None of us can profess being a follower of Jesus and condone sin which we might be engaged in. We all struggle with behavior which the bible deems as sin, and we are all called to repent of that behavior and allow our Jesus to heal and restore us. We cross the line of not being a follower of Jesus when we condone any behavior which the bible clearly states is a behavior which is contrary to Christ.

Regarding all the political and societal agendas mentioned in this article: I do not expect the secular government (as Rome during the biblical era of time) to be my answer or our answers to any issue in our culture. Jesus is the sole and only Source for any individual within a society. We (Christians) are called to bring Jesus and His attributes and invitations of His life to the world in His love (how He defines love) while living lives as a holy sacrifice unto our Jesus to God's glory: Romans 12:1-2: "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Unknown said...

No discussion should take place without definition of terms. What does one mean by "person of faith"?
What does one mean by "Christian"?

Keith Giles said...

I would challenge the assumption that "being homosexual is a sin".

What the NT says is that "those who practice homosexuality will not enter the Kingdom of God", and that's not the same thing as "being" homosexual.

I'm heterosexual and that doesn't mean I share in the fate of those who commit fornication or adultery.

Being attracted to someone - in itself - isn't a sin. We can't help that.

But fornication - which is sex outside of marriage - is a sin according to the NT and that would also include the "practice of homosexuality".

Anonymous said...

Keith, your comment about homosexuality was interesting. For me, I want to love and accept everyone no matter who they are or what they believe, and I certainly do not want to discriminate against anyone. I also believe it is not up to me to say what is and is not a sin. It is for God to say, I am to love others. I would be interested in you expanding a little more on what you mean by the 'practice of homosexuality'. Thanks.