I’m sitting at home today enjoying my religious freedom. Specifically, it’s Good Friday and a public holiday so I’m free to do anything I like. Except of course to go to work. Or be loud. Or socialize. Or wear bright colors. Or listen to music. Or engage in marital relations. The list goes on and on of what I shouldn’t do on Good Friday which makes me wonder just what all the recent talk about religious freedom in places like Arkansas and Indiana is really all about!
I’m not a Christian though, so I guess I’m free to do anything I want today. Except perhaps to turn gay, get married, and take a honeymoon trip to Indiana to get some pizza to celebrate because that might upset someone else’s version of freedom to not like my version of freedom.
Boy, this is complex. I wonder what Jesus would do in a situation like that?
Imagine it, Jesus is sitting there in a little pizzeria in Indiana, enjoying a delicious slice of bacon-lovers pizza, sipping a glass of ice-water-he-turned-to-wine-cooler. He doesn’t really care for the restaurant per se, the air-conditioning makes him freeze in his tunic and sandals, and a big gold cross on the wall kind of freaks him out. But the owner seems like she’s a nice enough Christian, and there’s something about their bacon he just can’t resist, so he pops in once in a while to carbo-load before going on one of his long walks in the desert to talk to his Old Man.
The door swings open and two nice-looking ladies walk in smiling, holding hands, cooing at each other. The owner of the place is also a nice-looking lady, but she looks at them cautiously as she asks them how she can help them. They tell her they’re getting married this year since Indiana made same-sex marriage legal last year, and they always dreamed of having a bacon-pizza-bonanza-themed wedding party. They heard that this place was the best in town so they wanted to check it out.
The owner’s face turns ash-white and she looks away from them as crosses herself. She starts slipping ‘Reserved’ signs onto the tables as she tells them politely that she can’t help them. The smiles on the couple’s faces fade into weary and disappointed frowns as they ask why. The owner stops, looks them in the eye and says it’s because of her religion. An awkward silence falls for a moment until the only man eating in the place clears his throat. They all look over at him, a kind of hippy-looking guy wearing some sort of dress. He looks at them, emanating some sort of mysterious, serene charisma, and says . . . ?
Fill in the blank. What do you think Jesus would say?
Would he tell the gay couple they were going to burn in hellfire for breaking some of the rules of the old testament? Then again, the temple priests said Jesus broke some old rules too when he did his healing jobs on the Sabbath and fell in love with bacon. Or would Jesus tell the owner she should love her neighbor and do to others as she wants them to do to her as is taught in the Gospels?
I’ve actually read the whole Bible from cover to cover. Given the impression I had from others and the media influences before I read it, I thought it would be full of anti-gay sentiment. In fact, it’s hardly mentioned at all. There are only a few references in the old testament (seven to be exact) saying homosexuality is a sin, but it’s never mentioned in the new testament. Compared to all the hundreds of references about the sins of money, and much worse more and much more frequently the evils of being a woman, I really wonder what all the fuss is about if someone is gay or not. It’s mentioned even less than the sins of eating bacon. Hmmm.
I guess the real question is not what would Jesus say, but what would you say? It basically boils down to whether you think a person can discriminate against another person in a public place based on their private beliefs. Maybe I hate ladies who wear loud shoes since I find them incredibly annoying when they’re walking behind me on a street, but does that mean I won’t help them when they come to me as a customer in a place where I work?
I remember many cafes when I was growing up that had signs stating, ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service’. Was that legal? If so, can I just make any sign I want to, say like ‘no high heels, no headscarves, no help’?
It’s Good Friday today and millions of Christians around the world are taking a day of rest to respect Jesus’s sacrifice for man’s sins. I respect that. There are also millions of homosexuals around the world who are also respecting and observing Good Friday. There are also millions of non-christian and anti-baconites of all kinds practicing their own beliefs on Fridays. Why should one group have any more freedom than the other group to do as they like as long as they don’t harm the other group?
That’s the golden rule found in all walks of life and all religions as far as I know. In addition to the Bible, I’ve read the Qur’an, the Tao, the I-Ching, and I’m now working my way through the Book of Mormon. The main message is always the same: love one another and love life.
Ok, enough preaching from me on this Good Friday. I’m going to spend my day off doing some spring cleaning. My talented wife is going to the theater to audition to be in a play. Does that makes us sinners on Good Friday? Not in my book, and I hope you respect that.
I wish you all a happy Friday wherever you are believing and doing whatever makes you happy.