Arizona veto demands Christians love ‘the sin’

The First Amendment protects the right to wear a tattoo reading “Jesus Stinks.” But can a tattoo artist declining to ink that for a customer then be sued for denying the customer’s right to free speech? No.

The question today is whether for religious reasons a vendor declining to participate in a same-sex marriage violates the law?

At the heart of this question is whether the state can compel you to participate in that which you sincerely believe to be a sin.

The Arizona governor just vetoed a bill protecting individuals that decline to participate in activities the individual sincerely believes to be sinful; much like conscientious objectors are allowed to opt out of combat duty. This law was prompted by recent law suits brought against Christian vendors who declined to participate in same-sex marriages. It is important to note that these vendors did not refuse service to anyone on the basis of sexual orientation. These vendors do business with gays and lesbians. They merely draw the line at same-sex weddings because it is viewed as active sin. Is the state now going to delve into religion and tell us what is and what is not sin?

The human condition is an orientation toward sin. But there is a difference between being a sinner and expecting a vendor to join you in sinful behavior. A person of sincere conscience should have the right to decline participation in that which they believe to be active sin.

Attempts to draw parallels between the Arizona law and “Jim Crow” laws passed by Democrats in the South, fail. The key is understanding the distinction between the sinner and the sin. There is nothing sinful about one’s race or color. Black or white, gay or straight, we are all sinners because we are human. “Jim Crow” said because you exist, you are excluded. Christians say because you are a sinner you are included. But Christians also say love the sinner, hate the sin.

What the Arizona governor did, and I fear what the government will ultimately do, is demand Christians to love not just the sinner, but the sin as well. For the Christian, to do otherwise will surely risk bankruptcy and use of the machinery of the state (Orwell’s Ministry of Love) to compel that love.