As I wrote a couple years ago, the LGBT movement is one of the definitive battlegrounds of our generation, and Christians must give an answer from a thoroughly Biblical perspective. This fact has been underscored once again by the firestorm erupting across the nation following the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (or RFRA) legislation in Indiana. The narrative from the LGBT community and its supporters insists that this legislation is nothing more than an open door for discrimination against the gay community.
A Brief Examination of the Indiana Legislation
When such strong and vehement claims are being leveled, an examination of the validity of such claims is warranted. Are the claims of radical discrimination justified?
Previously Enacted Legislation
If a fair hearing on these claims is desired, it would only serve the interest of the offended party or parties to openly admit and agree to the fact that this law is almost a direct mirror of a federal law enacted in 1993 and signed by President Clinton. Furthermore, nearly 20 other states have enacted very similar laws because of the dubious nature of the law’s applicability on the state and local level. Therefore, those opposed to this law should also be voicing their outrage against the long-standing federal law (as well as against the laws enacted by the other states). One may fairly ask why this particular legislation has created such upheaval, while the virtually identical federal law has been ignored.
Terminology of the Legislation
With the rhetoric surrounding this issue, one might assume that the Indiana legislation makes particular reference to gays or lesbians or at least to businesses providing service to customers. In fact, it does not. The bill no where makes reference to a particular group or sexual orientation; the terminology in this sense is very general, only referencing individual’s and businesses’ “exercise of religion”. This is an extremely important point.
If the claim is being made that the gay community is the target of this legislation, they must answer how this is accomplished via a bill that never even intimates at sexual orientation, but only “exercise of religion”. The only way that such a bill could conceivably be used to target a particular group would be if one applying it drew a very narrow interpretation from these very broad generalities. This would constitute a misuse of the law. Otherwise, the law would be applied to all without discrimination. If the outrage is over the motive of the legislation, rather than the legislation itself, then argumentation should rest on that point.
Furthermore, this legislation (just like it’s federal predecessor) has very open-ended terminology which allows for much interpretation on the side of restricting the “exercise of religion”. The government may yet restrict the exercise of religion if it:
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
The question of how you might define “compelling governmental interest” begs to be asked.
The Purpose Behind the Rhetoric
If the content and scope of the uproar seems unbalanced or detached in relation to its object, then the motive behind such vitriol must be considered. The LGBT community, in order to further their cause, has adopted the well-proven, if dishonest method that “he who screams the loudest, the longest, wins”. And by winning, I mean, 1.) Make the stubborn dissenters shut up and, 2.) Convince everyone else. This is cultural peer pressure and societal brainwashing. The Indiana legislation is simply another cog to keep this machinery running at full speed.
The validity or truthfulness of the mantra is secondary (and even inconsequential) to the deeper objective of silencing critics and winning minds. Silencing the critics occurs by rabid repetition of a skewed presentation of facts which paints critics in the worst possible light (for which the uproar in Indiana is a suitable example). Winning of the minds occurs simultaneously as the LGBT rhetoric is heard most loudly, most vociferously, and most often, until ultimately (when the critics have all been silenced) their position is the only one left standing in the arena of ideas. Do not be deceived; the goal of LGBT activists is not to prevent discrimination, but to win minds.
However, winning minds and reshaping culture is not of itself the deepest motivation. Why go to such extraordinary lengths and effort to normalize homosexual (or other abhorrent) behavior? Because acceptance provides a means by which to suppress the guilt for their shameful acts. So long as God’s truth is being proclaimed anywhere in opposition to such behavior, the Word does its work and pangs the conscience (Eph. 5:11; Heb. 4:12-13). The deeper goal is to remove all shame and guilt for their behavior by removing the voice of the higher authority who stands in judgment over them (Rom. 7:7-9; Heb. 13:4).
It is this principle which further explains the legions of people who have flocked to defend the supposed “rights” of the LGBT community. Even if they do not share in the same vices, they are complicit in the desire to remove the authority that condemns their unrighteous acts (John 3:18-20). In this example, we can clearly see that a roadblock in this path is the idea of freedom of religion (i.e., public expressions of obedience to God). Those opposing this bill are clearly advocating the end of religious freedom in the name of behavioral freedom.
As we peel back the layers of motivation, we arrive at the core, which underlies everything built upon it. Fallen mankind is always seeking to remove the shame and guilt over his sin; however, this can only happen fully if the source of that shame and guilt is also removed. That is, the law of God. Furthermore, the only way to remove the law of God is to remove the Lawgiver Himself.
In the end, the LGBT apologists (along with many other groups) are seeking to remove the knowledge of God from the consciousness of their mind and from society (Ps. 14:1; Rom. 1:28). This is precisely the process I outlined when I wrote about this issue some three years ago. Where the concept of God remains, He will be re-imagined to be a god that affirms their every passion (I Cor. 10:6-8).
The Source of Hope
Ultimately, mankind will never achieve his goal. We would like to think that we can simply cast off the law along with the concept of a righteous God, and in so doing achieve peace, freedom from guilt, and rest for our souls. The sad truth is that all the way along this journey of rebellion, man is tortured by the guilt of his sin. At the point where he finally convinces himself of utter independence, he incurs the wrath of the One he worked so hard to ignore (Jude 1:14-16).
There is but one way to resolve guilt, avoid condemnation of the Righteous Judge, and find that elusive peace:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.