Religious Freedom or Political Correctness

     There was recently a very lively and contentious issue in Arizona with regard to private businesses refusing to serve a certain group of individuals on the grounds that it conflicted with their religious convictions.  Proposed legislation would have provided a private business protection from reprisal if they chose not to serve any customer on religious grounds.
     This column will not focus on the gay issue in Arizona; rather the focal point will be religious freedom vs. political correctness.
     The point will be illustrated by discussing a different but equally deadly sin according to the Bible, i.e. that of being a busybody.
     The Bible teaches that it is honorable to suffer for righteousness sake, but there is no honor in suffering consequences for one’s own actions such as being a murderer, a thief, or a busybody.
     “…But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief…or as a busybody in other people’s matters.”  1 Peter 4:15
     The Greek basis for the term ‘busybody’ is in fact defined as one who busies himself with what does not concern him.  It’s interesting that this definition from the Greek dictionary employs the personal pronoun ‘him’ instead of ‘her’.
     The Apostle Paul also addressed this issue.
     “For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies…note that person and do not keep company with him…”  2 Thessalonians 3:11, 14
     This Scripture passage admonishes one not to keep company with a busybody, or as Paul confirmed in another epistle, one involved in ‘foolish talking’.
     Therefore, if a Christian family business chooses not to serve a busybody, or foolish talker, should the state have the power to override their convictions?
     In the recent Arizona conflict, proponents of the gay community, including Eric Holder, cried foul asserting that civil rights were being violated.  If civil rights are allowed to trump Biblical principles there is a more serious problem than realized.  It’s even more serious when legislation protects those who transgress God’s laws and this great nation is deeply involved in that very thing.
     How many laws have been enacted in the last decade that honor the rights and protect those who are offended by public prayer, or the display of a cross, or the use of the word ‘God’ even though the offended may be in the vast minority.
     In Arizona’s case, the primary opponents of the proposed legislation focused their argument on the perceived negative affects on the state’s economy. 
     The aspect of religious freedom didn’t delve into the real Biblical principle involved.  The Biblical aspect of the issue was in fact a non-issue with Arizona.
     It begins with the acknowledgement of sin or transgression of God’s laws.  In Arizona’s case it was the gay issue.  In our example it is the recognition that being a busybody is a sin.  The next step is to acknowledge that the Bible teaches not to keep company with such.
     So Arizona has spoken and stated that their economy is more important than 1) acknowledging sin as defined by the Bible, and 2) honoring the Christian’s conviction in dealing with such sin.
     Does anyone suppose the results would have been different if another religion, culture, or ideology with a different definition of sin were involved?
     For Arizona it all boiled down to making the decision that would generate the most money for their state.  None of the opponents of the proposed legislation denied that.
     An underlying issue in this case is spiritual adultery.  The economy has become the real American Idol.  The end of this age will be marked by such folly.
     “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”  Revelation 18:3
     The quest for the things of the world will trump the riches of the kingdom of God.  Such will lead to total disaster.
     Listen closely in the distance for the infamous words of James Carville in 1992 describing the environment for the Clinton presidential election – “It’s the economy stupid!”

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