religious freedom 2In a segment last week on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart talked about the recent spate of anti-gay laws. In it, he spoke about Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of the Arizona bill and Republic opposition to the laws in general. He was not all that happy with their response, since none of them seemed to oppose it on moral grounds. Instead, their problems stemmed from possible financial concerns. More and more, it’s been pointed out how disastrous these laws could be for tourism (like jeopardizing Arizona’s hosting of the 2015 Superbowl, for instance). And, of course, they are not helping the Republican Party in the lead-up to this year’s mid-term elections. Stewart feels we should oppose these laws because they are “morally repugnant”.

He’s right, you know. Speaking out against something as disgusting as legalized discrimination only because it makes you look bad or it hurts your pocket-book does not speak well of your moral compass. In a perfect world, people would take a moral stand against such things. But, we don’t live in a perfect world and my pragmatic side says a win is win no matter how you get there. All this has raised a question in my mind: should we be satisfied with  the fact that these laws seem to be dying a relatively quick death or should we be upset at the reasons behind that death?

This is one those questions I struggle with. Because, no, we shouldn’t be; yet saying so feels a lot like passing judgment. Having been on the recieving end of that kind of judgment, I can promise you it’s not fun. It certainly doesn’t bring about the kind of change that’s needed. If anything, it causes the person being judged to dig in even deeper and that’s not what any of us want,

Since this is an allegedly Christian blog, I ask “What is the Christian response to this query?” Could it be that we take the “win” (such as it is) and shut up? Or do we shout our disapproval from the rooftops, demanding that our opponents not only do what we want, but do it for the reasons we want? In other words, do we take what we can get and write off our brothers and sisters who disagree with us or act like spoiled children? I’m not exactly what you’d call a New Testament scholar, but neither one of those sounds much like the man who said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe the answer is a little of both. By that, I mean we “take the win” as graciously as possible and direct our further efforts toward lovingly helping  those who believe these laws are necessary to see that they are, in fact, “morally repugnant” (and I include marriage laws and pointedly excluding LGBT people as a protected class in that classification) . Doing anything else will only drive the wedge that separates us deeper.