Governing Fairly




I recently heard a story about some Christian bakers who stood up for traditional marriage by refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The gay couple sued them, won and caused the family to lose their business and to go into bankruptcy. In a similar case, Kim Davis, a county clerk, was imprisoned for not licencing gay marriages. Many applaud these Christians for standing up for their beliefs in the midst of trials. I also find their stories to be an encouragement to stand up for the truth and justice of the Bible. But many people also feel that the government should not allow these Christians to be persecuted. I disagree. Firstly, because these examples of refusal are illegal, so prosecuting them is actually the right thing to do. Also, God counts all people, including gay people, as equal. We should all desire a government that is objective and fair, not one that shows partiality. Although a Christian myself, I feel that when people make stands of this kind they are dishonouring God by acting unfairly, unpatriotically and unlawfully.
Stores can refuse service, but it is illegal to discriminate. It’s understandable that the Christian couple didn’t support and didn’t want to pour their passion into the gay wedding. Baking a wedding cake is an extravagant expression of creativity. It’s understandable to want to be able to support that project. But in order to avoid discriminating, businesses need to publicly announce their values. 
Even convenience stores need to post notices that they can’t serve people without shirts or shoes. Because the bakers had no sign posted that they don’t bake cakes for gay weddings, their refusal of service was discriminatory and illegal. 
The Bible is clear that we should respect and obey our governing authorities. Romans 13:1 says “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God”. In addition, we know to “live peaceably with all, so far as it depends on you”. When people rebel against authorities to “defend their faith” often they forget that they are actually acting against God by doing this. 
The Bible is also clear on another point. Sex between two people of the same gender is wrong. Leviticus 18:22 leaves no room for doubt. But in Canada and America gay marriage is legal. So how can we live in accordance with God’s laws of living within the country’s laws when the laws of the country go against God's laws? 
In Babylon, Daniel faced the same question. He needed to submit to the authorities, but he also needed to live within God’s laws. But instead of standing against the king or authorities, he stood with the king and was even the king’s advisor. But when the laws went directly against God’s laws, Daniel took the higher road. Most laws don’t force something, instead, they either allow or forbid something. Just because something is allowed does not mean you should do it; take the higher road. 
My Mom had an example of this. She said we were supposed to obey her rules, but if we went to a friend’s house we were supposed to obey their rules also. We weren’t allowed to jump on furniture, but if our friends were, we still weren’t supposed to jump on the couch. At home, we were allowed to help ourselves to fruit, but if our friends weren’t allowed snacks between meals, we had to make sure to honour their rules. So we always had to go with the higher rule.
Going with the higher rule doesn’t make one any better though. And God doesn’t love gay or lesbian people any less than Christians. He counts everyone, and every sin, as equal. Christ is our example; he loved, hung out with, and ministered to the sinners. Jesus served people even when he disagreed with their lifestyle. We should follow that example and treat everyone equally. Refusing to bake a cake wasn’t a loving choice. 
When God created us, he loved us enough to give us freedom. He didn’t only give us a “good” side of the brain. But, God also put consequences in place to encourage us to choose beneficial things.  One of the things we are allowed to choose is how we use our sexuality. He let us choose. 
God’s design for freedom of choice is similar to how I think the government should work. They should enable us to live freely, but have laws in place to encourage us to choose well and not harm others. We should have complete freedom, right up until our freedom starts hindering the freedom of others. Part of Kim Davis’s job was to issue marriage licenses. Another part of the job is to know the marriage laws and issue licences accordingly. She knew the laws but still refused to issue licences to gay couples, based on her personal convictions. She was obstructing the laws of the land. That is illegal and she went to prison. 
Some complain when Christians are locked up for their beliefs. They say that the government needs to change its legislation to be more in favour of Christians. I, however, don’t think that the government should legislate right vs wrong on moral issues. Rather, they should decide what each person’s rights are and how far those rights go. 
When one looks at history, I think we can agree that a fair government is best.The feudal system of government has a very bad rap. It favoured one set of people by giving the elite a higher percentage of votes than the rest of the population. That is a very obvious bias. Socialism, on the other hand, sets out to make everyone equal. Admirable, but flawed. It is flawed because, generally, it sets one religion or ideology as more important, outlawing all countering opinions. That’s another kind of bias.  If you are working for a government that favours you, then you’re not actually working for your country or the best version of it. 
We need to speak out for fairness for all people. We need to strive for true equality; to help all sides realize that their side cannot and should not be favoured. Martin Niemoller said “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” We need the government to be unbiased, because someday it may not be biased in our favour. 
For several reasons, I feel that people who stand against the government and show favouritism should be punished. Firstly because the Bible says to obey the governing authorities. The laws currently do not force something that is contrary to God’s law, so we, as Christians, are obligated to obey. The law also states that all are equal and should receive equal treatment and rights. Favouring one group over another is then doubly unlawful. Furthermore, everyone is equal, so everyone should be punished equally. The government should be unbiased. Everyone wants a system that favours them. But as Chirstians we need to follow Jesus example and champion all people.



Comments

  1. A very interesting perspective, Duncan, and one that I have thought a little bit about before. I think I will think about it some more to see if I agree or not, because now I'm all in a muddle lol! Thank you for writing this! :) Good job!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Cap! Definitely, think on it. This article has been about 3 years in the making and I've wrestled long and hard on the ideas.

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