Spending two weeks reading the book of Leviticus has been an interesting sojourn, given the recent political and social climate: especially, the current fight over who can refuse service to whom, and why. And now we have before us, bills on both state and national levels to protect a small business’ right to refuse service to people whose conduct violates the business folks’ religion.
Opponents of the SB1062, a religious freedom bill, urged Gov. Brewer to veto the bill during a protest rally at the state Capitol, Feb. 21, 2014.Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic/AP
For the wonder and greatness of all America is – she is not a Christian nation – or a theocracy. Nor, is our culture tied as firmly to the Bible as we have been to Poor Richard’s Almanac. Don’t get me wrong: I am proud of all our nation enjoys because of many faithful, intelligent, wise men and women who worshipped Christ. And I deeply regret how many times we not only could have done better – we did wrong, using the Bible as a weapon that was not ours to wield.
Now, though, I see a wee bit of difference between the right our church enjoys to teach and practice that marriage is between one man and one woman, and a business, run by Christians, refusing to sell a service or product to some one believes differently.
“I will always stand up for my pastor’s right to say ‘I’m not going to perform a gay marriage,’ and I will have to take whatever comes with that, basically, and I don’t expect anybody to feel sorry for me because of it,” [Kirsten Powers] said.
“Sometimes I hear a lot of Christians talking in a very self-pitying way, like ‘woe is us because this is the way society is going,’” she said. “That’s not religious persecution by the state. That is the society basically saying ‘we have different views than you have.’” (Dueling Pundits)
Because of these different views, I think it’s also time remember that while suffering [well] for our convictions may be new to us – it's not to those who have gone before us.
Reading in Leviticus, all twenty-seven chapters of clear commands, and their references to what the Lord Jesus said, I don’t see how the church can affirm same-sex marriages. Yet, many do, and this is splitting apart churches – emptying pews of people on all sides of the debate who have had it with hypocrites. ( Anne Rice: Letting Go of Religion)
That’s the freedom of no state-enforced religion!
But, how is the church to be salt and light in generation that passionately believes in its right to pursue what they believe is right?
Here again, Leviticus – God’s commands to HIS priests, and His people on how to live in a pagan land -- is as simple, intimate and unequivocal about service as it is sex. (See Leviticus 19) And frankly, I wish our consciences were as mortified about our own propensity to put our selves above serving the poor and the aliens -- as we are over the choices people make who have yet to choose God. (Joshua 24:15)
For now, my job remains: try to figure out how to be useful to this generation, and
· Live so [my] descendants will know I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 23:42-43)