So, I don’t talk politics on this blog, and I only talk about religion in regards to my own personal faith. But the past two weeks in Indiana, everyone has been talking about religion and religious freedom. It’s made me sad, not because I think these things shouldn’t be talked about, but because so often the discourse seems to break down into name-calling and assumptions. The nation is making assumptions about my state, and Hoosiers are making assumptions about each other. And it hurts. It hurts because I love my state, I love my faith, and I love my friends.
There’s been a lot of speculations from both liberal and conservative Christians about what God thinks about religious freedom, the current religious freedom protection act, and the definition of marriage. Depending on who you ask, this is either a big win for Jesus, or it’s against everything He stood for. Interpretations of the Bible and the Christian faith are as diverse as the millions of people that make up my state. And that only makes this issue more complicated.
What is the answer? What is the solution that allows Americans to freely practice their faith without the rights of others being violated? I honestly don’t know.
This is what I do know. Legislation, or the repealing of legislation, won’t change people’s hearts. You can’t legislate people into believing in Christ any more that you can legislate people into accepting gay marriage. Many of our laws find their basis in morals, but you cannot legislate morality. Many of my fellow Christ-followers want to make our country a “Christian nation,” but even doing that won’t make this a nation full of Christians. It’s absurd to think that passing laws that force our values on others will move us to that point.
Here’s what I believe: I believe that the transformation of hearts only comes through love. The perfect love of Jesus Christ transforms the hearts of sinners into people who want to love as He loved. There is no law you can pass that will change that fact. People are coming to Christ in countries where practicing Christianity can get them killed. That takes a power and a love that is stronger than legislation.
As a Christian, my number one concern isn’t “What legislation can we pass that will conform people’s actions to match my beliefs?” I certainly have opinions on politics that are shaped by my faith, but I don’t see political action as a means to spread my faith throughout the country. The truth of the gospel — that Christ payed the price for my sins by dying in my place — enables me to love the person that’s different than me. To love the one that I don’t agree with. To love the one that the world, or even the Church, has branded as unlovable. That’s more powerful that the Indiana state legislature, Mike Pence, or the RFRA. And frankly, God doesn’t need their help to achieve His purposes.
Gaining or losing religious freedoms won’t affect who I am or Who I follow. And while I appreciate the freedoms I have as an American, the freedom I have found in Christ is much greater, and there’s no governing body on this earth that can take it away.
I have dear friends who are on both sides of this argument. What does my faith tell me to do? Love them. Because perfect love casts out fear.