The controversial parts of the bills gave pastors and churches the right to refuse to:
• perform gay or lesbian marriages.
• hire (or to fire) those with beliefs against theirs.
• rent out equipment or space to those with beliefs against theirs.
For the church, this is a blow.
Soon after North Carolina and Mississippi’s governors took heat from passing similar bills.
Those favorable to the LGBT viewpoint see laws like this as upholding discrimination.
But on the other side, those in favor of such laws see them as protection of their religious freedom.
For the Church, the fear of what’s happening in Georgia and Virginia could become nationwide. The implications may be anywhere from loosing tax exemption status to lawsuits for some institutions who stand by their biblical convictions.
What’s interesting is that Jesus unambiguously gave us the solution two-thousand years ago.
His advice? Look inward.
Jesus’ whole ministry was set in Roman occupied Palestine. As scholar Kenneth Bailey writes in his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes,
An oppressed community perceives its own faults as dwarfed by the enormity of what it is suffering from others…It takes a brave man or woman to tell the community that it needs salvation from its sins.
He came to a people oppressed and told them the answer to their problems was not God raining down fire on the Romans. It was them coming clean with their own consciences.
His point was to think different–to focus on the bigger problem.
Life is short. The older I get, the more I feel that to be true. But eternity doesn’t end. This was Jesus’ focus.
If we shift our thoughts to the power of God, then our beliefs are anchored in him. If we are the salt and light–as Jesus taught–then our relationship with him is what most affects our time on this earth.
Whether our earthly freedoms come or go, our security is in him.
Perhaps the better question to ask is: where are we putting our trust?