I would hate to be on the Supreme Court for such a case(s) as may be coming along in the not too distant future, (such as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.) I think it is a pity that we may come to this point, that a Christian owned business would have to be told by the courts how they need to deal with certain customers. Have we roots only in the U.S. government or in something even greater? What is our future coming to when we would look hopefully to the government to provide us a crutch in our dealings with the world at large?
Ten years ago we probably would have laughed at the notion that a christian-owned bakery would go to court because it did not want to cater to a gay-wedding. It is not so funny right now.
I understand the concept that a business has the right to refuse service to anyone. From as far back as I can remember I have seen signs saying such in some places. I recall that every time I have seen such a sign there came a feeling over me how bad I would feel to be refused service while others around me were served. What if the proprietor thought I had freaky eyes or a weird hair-do and refused to serve me while others went on being served? Basically, I would feel humiliated, less than human, while others around me continued enjoying their service; they would be laughing as I walked out the door in shame.
Of course a proprietor should have the right to draw certain lines, but I suggest maybe we are too quick to draw lines when it comes to not serving people whose lifestyle we may disagree with. Let us supersede any court decisions and look back to a greater precedent and a greater standard of living to help us determine where we should or should not draw lines when it comes to business dealings.
First, I would present an old testament “precedent,” one which some might not understand how it applies, yet I feel that with some study it could be understood: that a certain servant by the name of Naaman, a great captain of Syria, that his master had grown old and would lean heavily upon Naaman, even whenever he entered into the house of his idol to bow down, thus forcing Naaman to bow also. Naaman asked for some forgiveness in this matter, and the prophet said unto him, “Go in peace…” (see 2 Kings 5, particularly verses 18-19).
Sure, if Naaman’s master had been asking him to do something even worse, maybe Naaman would have been right to refuse, but as it was, the offense seemed rather light, especially considering the fact that Naaman’s heart was not in the act of idol worship, as much as it was in remaining a loyal and dependable servant.
Now for a more contemporary set of standards, one which should more readily guide us in our dealings with a challenging business environment and potentially difficult customers:
- Resist not evil
- If a man sues you for your coat, give him your cloak also
- Who would compel you to go a mile, go two
- Give to him that asketh
- a) Bless them that curse you
b) do good to them that hate you
c) pray for them which despitefully use you
- Be more godly, following your Father’s example, who sends rain on the just and the unjust, who causes the sun to shine on the evil and the good
- Don’t only salute your brethren, but also the heathen
- Be merciful
- Judge not
These standards can be read in more detail in Matthew 5:39-48 and Luke 6:27-37. I dare say that if we were to follow these guidelines more readily than we have, that we would likely not be going to court so much.
The world is heading for trouble. In the meanwhile, we can learn to sympathize a bit more with those we strongly disagree with, or we can increasingly disdain them and distance ourselves from them, in which case we make ourselves easier targets for the inevitable lightning bolts that shall be coming along as we approach and go through the forty-two month storm.
I am not on the Supreme Court, so I cannot ultimately say whether or not a business can discriminate against certain customers because of religious ideals. Nonetheless, as a man who reads the Bible and aspires to follow its guidelines, I do assent for a little more sympathy and compassion going out to those who do not believe as I do, or who do not yet believe as I do.