Yesterday, I posted a link to an article by Rachel Held Evans on walking the second mile. It was re-posted by a few people and generated several comments on the different people’s posts.
One of the themes I saw in the comments was the idea that serving at a gay wedding is equivalent to “bowing to an idol of sin” and that Christians shouldn’t be forced to do so. I spent some time thinking about this. I began to craft a response in the Facebook comments, but I quickly realized that I was writing too many words to be a comment1. I decided to make it a blog post.
For the sake of this argument, I’ve decided to just take the following assertions at face value2:
- Gay marriage is sinful.
- It is a compromise of belief for someone to serve at a gay wedding.
- Gay couples are targeting Christian wedding service providers by attempting to hire the providers for their weddings and then suing said providers when they refuse service.
Let’s say all those things are true. Christians being targeted for their beliefs and sued sounds like legitimate religious persecution to me. What should the Christian response be?
Should we try to change the law to prevent this persecution? Should we hire lawyers and defend our constitutional right in court? Should we take a public stand for our beliefs and “fight back” against the culture?
Here’s what Jesus has to say:
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
We’re supposed to be persecuted. If we really believe that serving at a gay wedding is a compromise of our moral beliefs, then we should graciously refuse and then welcome the persecution (e.g. lawsuits) that comes our way without fighting back. Not fighting back probably means settling out of court and paying whatever amount of damages are requested (if not more). Again, Jesus said,
…if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.3
We need to remember that those of us who are called to follow Jesus are called to follow him above all other things. We should be Christian primarily and American secondarily. It is very American to want to stand up and defend our rights, but the Christian response is to lay down our lives (the rights go with our lives). The American founders fought their oppressors, our founder told us to love our enemies.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8