I do not believe in censoring and I believe differences of opinion are essential to growing as people. Yesterday, my friend and co-blogger Scott wrote a post that my other friend, Bob Chapman, took issue with. I invited Bob write a response. Below is that response.
So, how should a person of devout belief who owns a store act when a customer wishes to make a purchase for something that you feel goes against your beliefs?
Scott Fritzsche gave one answer to this question. Is his answer the only answer from the point of view of faith?
My initial answer to Mr. Fritzsche on the blog post was an answer looking at the question from a legal standpoint. However, I am going to answer this time from the standpoint of faith. Let’s use the law as Paul said to use it, as our nanny preparing us for grace, and move on to looking at this from the point of view of Scripture.
So, how did Jesus teach those outside his community of faith? There are multiple examples of Jesus being engaging and welcoming of those who were outside the community.
In one case, Jesus engaged with a Samaritan woman. Which is more surprising for a Jewish male when Jesus lived: talking to a woman or talking to a Samaritan? Yet, Jesus actually identified himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman at the well. This was a shamed person living with a man outside of marriage. Who else did Jesus directly self-identify as the Messiah?
In another case, Jesus called a Canaanite woman a dog (or maybe a bitch who was pestering him?). Yet, Jesus granted her request by healing her daughter.
Does this sound like not engaging with someone outside your tradition because that person isn’t living the way you would like? Is that what Jesus did?
I wonder how Barronelle Stutzman would react if, for an important life event, a person of a progressive position with whom she had done business with for around a decade decide to stop doing business with her support of her support of something on an election ballot. Washington State has had a few things besides marijuana that has separated the liberals and the conservatives in the state:
- Support for Clint Didier. I don’t know if Stutzman supported Didier, but he is a religious conservative living in a nearby county.
- Saying that she voted against Referendum 74 (Benton County rejected gay marriage with 63% of the voters).
- Having an Ellen Craswell for Governor sign in her front yard back in the 1990s?
My guess is that Stutzman would not care to listen to anything the progressive had to say to her again. Maybe that is one of the reasons for Summary of the Law?
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
If we are to be leaven to change the world, we have to be living with people in the world. We have to be taking part in what is going on in the world. We have to treat others with the same respect with which we want to be treated. Only then will our point of view be given a hearing.
As a whole, the people of Washington State are among the least religious in the country. Can Christians, whether progressive or conservative, afford to alienate those who aren’t Christians in such a climate?
There is also another reason to treat others with the same respect with which we would want to be treated. We just might be wrong. Being wrong from a position of faith is still being wrong.
Has Stutzman considered the implications of what it might mean for “…the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18.1)?
(As some of you are having a knee-jerk reaction right now, I’ll remind you that the definition of homosexuality does not require a person to have sexual relations with another person of the same sex, only to love a person of the same sex. And David’s statement in 2 Samuel 1 about Jonathan should give you even more pause when you know the actual definition of homosexuality.)
Maybe, in the end, Stutzman needs to consider what Paul said. “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13.2).
Actually, that is good advice for all of us. It isn’t enough to be right or mean well. Do we love? My guess is that all of us come up short in that department. God isn’t finished with any of us yet, I’m afraid.
(All scripture quoted from the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Edition.)
Robert Chapman is an active Episcopalian living in Everett, Washington—about 30 miles north of Seattle. He has been a technical communicator for 25 years, mostly working for IT and aerospace firms during that time. When he can’t do it, he dreams about riding his Honda VTX 1800 motorcycle through the second best scenery in the United States (only second to West Virginia).