You run a business in a small town in Indiana. You have lived in this town your entire life and you know everyone who lives here. You are a devout Christian and you live your life according to the teachings of Jesus. How can you know if your Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion is being violated?
Let's say that one day, 10 different customers enter your store. Now that your state has passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, you might decide to not to serve certain people because doing so violates your religious beliefs. Which of the following customers would you turn away?
- A teenager that spent time in a juvenile facility for petty larceny.
- A homemaker who needs help with her drinking problem.
- The local state representative who used incendiary mailers to defeat his last opponent.
- A Muslim who attends a mosque in a nearby town.
- The loan officer at the town bank.
- A local pig farmer.
- The town fortune teller and expert on horoscopes.
- A man who is sleeping with his neighbor's wife.
- A woman who has not been baptized.
- A gay man.
So the very simple question is this: Are your basing your decision to serve any particular customer on your religious beliefs, or simply on your personal bias against certain groups of people you feel are sinful?
Here is another way to look at it. Let's say that these same 10 customers enter your store. What possible actions that you could take would you deem inappropriate according to your religious beliefs?
- Looking the other way because the teen is just acting out.
- Selling the homemaker a flask of whiskey.
- Printing the incendiary flyers for the state representative.
- Selling the Muslim a rug that might be used for prayer.
- Co-signing a loan for a friend.
- Buying bacon and homemade sausages to sell to others.
- Asking what is in store for Aquarians today.
- Selling the man a box of condoms.
- Selling the woman a gun.
- Taking an order for a rainbow-colored wedding cake.
You are not God. It is not your task to sit in judgment of others. You are not pouring the whiskey down the woman's throat. You are not defaming a virtuous candidate. You are not forcing people to perform acts of ritual impurity. You are not condoning adultery. And you are not giving a sociopath license to kill. Neither are you putting two men in a bed and telling them to have sex. You are baking a cake. That's it.
If you want to run a business according to your religious principles, fine. But, you don't get to pick which rules of your denomination you will follow and which you will not, because that is not faith - that is discrimination and a violation of basic civil and human rights.