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This is a follow-up to a post I wrote yesterday about the city of East Lansing, MI banning a Charlotte, MI farmer from their farmer’s market because the farmer won’t allow gay marriages to be held at his farm.  (The Charlotte farmer is suing the city of East Lansing)

Via a helpful Facebook conversation about my article, I found the crux of the debate revolves around if providing a marriage is a business service or not.  The “pro East Lansing” side feels the Charlotte farmer is denying gay couples a business service in the public business sphere by not allowing them to wed on his property so he is guilty of discrimination.

1. If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, then he would be guilty of discrimination

If the farmer was unwilling to sell vegetables to gay couples, he would then be guilty of discrimination and the penalties therein.  As a farmer, his business in the public sector is farming.  In this case with the farmer’s market, it is selling vegetables.  He is not denying gay couples the right to buy his vegetables, nor is he denying Muslims, Hindus, or people having sex outside of marriage the opportunity to buy his vegetables either–all groups of people that a Christian would theoretically not allow to marry on their property because they don’t align with a Christian / biblical sacred wedding ceremony.

2. A wedding is a sacred worship service, not a public business service

I would never expect a Catholic Church, Jewish Synagogue, or Hindu Temple to allow me and my wife to marry in their building, or on their members’ private property.  The reason for this is because all of these groups see a wedding as a sacred worship service, something that is uniquely derived from their faith and religious tradition, not as the legal or business transaction which many in secular society see it as today.  I have officiated many weddings, but no one would call me a bigot if I was unwilling to officiate a Hindu wedding.  This would be the same as asking me to worship Hindu gods in my Sunday morning church service.  Hindus have the full American right to worship their gods, but the day the government comes in like the Gestapo and tells me that I too must worship those gods in my church, or in any part of my life, is the day American freedom dies at the door.

It’s not just about “gods” in the traditional religious sense, it’s that these wedding ceremonies are worship services for each of these religious groups.  The Catholic Church has every right to not allow me a Catholic wedding because I’m not Catholic!  I don’t ascribe to their beliefs about theology, God, the Church, and so on, and a wedding under their authority means we have both agreed this is the direction I and my spouse are living and pursuing.  It doesn’t mean we hate each other, far from it, but to say they must officiate my wedding is illogical and very un-American.  All of the same holds true for gay weddings, which I treat the same as I do two heterosexual people having sex outside of marriage.  The fact that two people have not agreed to follow the Bible’s design for sex does not mean that I am a bigot toward them, but it does mean I’m not going to hold the Bible over their marriage, which is the only thing I can do as a Bible-believing pastor when I officiate a wedding.  Like Hindu gods, the way we live out sexuality is a god as well.  I can’t “bless” a wedding like I carry magic pixy dust around in my pocket and I choose who to throw it on, I can only pray over (and “bless” in that sense) a wedding that is in line with the God I’m praying to (in line with God’s design for sex and marriage laid out in the Bible).  It would be a lie for me, and for the people getting married, for me to try to be so inconsistent before them and before God.  It would be as strange as singing Sunday morning worship songs to Krishna in my church.

In this East Lansing farmer’s market example, it’s like East Lansing heard that the Hindus wouldn’t let me do my wedding on their property because I’m a Christian and now have banned the Hindu farmer from their market because of it. That would be indefensible discrimination against that Hindu farmer, which I feel they are doing to this farmer from Charlotte.  They are discriminating against anyone who doesn’t hold to East Lansing’s religious views of marriage.

 

 

Ever see the movie Gladiator? All that “Christians fed to the lions” stuff really happened! These were the Christians going around with the newly written books of the New Testament saying that 6 people that everyone would have known (most importantly, Jesus) had risen from the dead.  Being lion food is not much of a reward…makes one wonder what motivated them?

Easter Sunday is coming, which has a lot of people thinking about resurrection from the dead.  Two Sundays ago, I preached on how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead (and smelly) for 4 days (John 11).  This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the religious leaders to kill Jesus once and for all (John 11:47-53).  It’s sort of hard to disprove a religion where people keep coming back from the dead, after all.

This got me thinking about the significance of the other New Testament accounts of people being raised from the dead, and wondering if other religions made these same claims.  It’s sort of going “all in” once you say that 6 local “Average Joe” types that everyone knew had risen from the dead in spectacular, public fashion, most of them at their very public funerals, and you try circulating that story in the very town you claim it happened. (Knowing your reward for circulating it was persecution, torture, and death by the Roman authorities)

I did a little research…okay I posted in on my Facebook page…to see if other faiths/religions made such audacious claims of local people coming back from the dead or not.  If your God is able to make dead people come back to life, that’s a pretty good claim of authenticity. Continue Reading…

I came across a Fox News article today about how Rollins College in Winter Park, FL shut down a four person dorm room Bible study being led by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  The college states the Bible study was only shut down because of a rule where groups can’t meet in the resident halls, but can meet in other parts of the campus.  The bigger story though is that InterVarsity was (quoting the article) de-recognized as an official campus organization after they refused to comply with the college’s non-discrimination policy. 

While InterVarsity welcomes all students and faculty to join their group, they require leaders to be followers of Christ. The college maintains that requirement is a violation of their non-discrimination policy.

I am not normally one to go up in arms over the 10 Commandments being taken down from court houses, prayer being taken out of schools, or losing sleep over the conspiracy-theory photos passed around the Internet of American concentration camps that are “being prepared for Christians.”  But this story about Rollins College is so ridiculous in its logic and hypocrisy I had to say something about it. Continue Reading…