McMillan: Refusing service to gay couples is against Christian values

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(Graphic Illustration by Falyn Sebastian | The Collegian)

Adah McMillan, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the court case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis on Feb. 22, which is similar to the 2018 case Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Both cases host homophobic Christians trying to get the government to let them refuse service to gay couples. 

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Lorie Smith, the owner of 303 Creative, is a web designer who wants to expand her business into wedding sites, but she wants to decline service to any gay couple that would try to hire her because of her Christian religious beliefs. This violates Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws, so Smith is taking her case to the next level to challenge the law on the basis of the free speech clause in the First Amendment. 

We’ll see what the Supreme Court says about this eventually, but regardless of whether the secular laws of this nation are OK with Smith’s actions, the laws of Christianity definitely aren’t. No matter what sin someone has committed, the teachings of Christianity encourage love and kindness to every person. 

I write this as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I try to draw from only the Bible and values that are common across all denominations of Christianity.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is harmful to members of the LGBTQ+ community.

According to an American Progress article, which was written around the time of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, “Research has shown that discrimination, prejudice and stigma can lead to negative health outcomes, including higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse as well as an increased risk for physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease.”

The Bible is very clear about its stance on harming people. The verse 1 Peter 1:22 says, “See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” You don’t harm people that you love, and if you’re being a good Christian, you love everyone. 

“Jesus never forced people to obey him. He never even shamed anyone for their sins.”

Jesus Christ was a perfect example of love and kindness, especially when it came to sinners. An example of Christ’s charity that seems particularly relevant in this conversation is when he turned water into wine.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Jesus’s mother was going to a wedding, and she told Jesus they didn’t have any wine at the wedding and asked for his help. So he had some people get six containers of water, and he turned the water into wine for the wedding. 

This miracle didn’t save lives or convert millions or anything dramatic — Jesus was just doing a nice thing for a random wedding. If the combination of weddings and alcohol has remained somewhat constant over time, we can assume Jesus was likely enabling people to get “drunk with wine, wherein is excess,” which is not a good thing for the righteous, according to Ephesians 5:18. Jesus did this nice thing for his mom and her friends despite the possibility of sin. 

Jesus never forced people to obey him. He never even shamed anyone for their sins. When a woman caught committing adultery was brought before him, he was asked if she should be stoned as the Law of Moses commanded. He said, as written in John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

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The Pharisees and scribes who had caught the woman dispersed because they knew they had definitely sinned. The only person there who hadn’t sinned and had the right to throw a stone at her was Jesus, and he let her go free with no stoning whatsoever. 

“People who cite Christianity when refusing service to gay couples are misrepresenting the religion and committing sin themselves. It is not a violation of your religious freedom to require you to treat people equally.”

Even if you are a very righteous person who always does your best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, you don’t have any right to judge or condemn other people. If according to you, gay people are all going to burn in hell someday, that’s their problem, not yours. Your problem is your own salvation, and one of the conditions of that salvation is learning how to be nice to people. 

Joshua 24:15 says, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It’s your decision to practice your version of Christianity, but you don’t get to push that decision onto other people. 

I understand if certain religious groups don’t allow LGBTQ+ people to participate in certain church-sanctioned ceremonies because of their beliefs. If your church believes gay marriage is wrong, it’s fair for them to refuse to marry a gay couple. According to their beliefs, that would be violating the sanctity of the ceremony and not be valid. 

With that said, the disclusion of LGBTQ+ people should never occur in secular settings that do not include religious ceremonies. Regardless of whether that discrimination is against the law, it is against Christian principles that are key to all of its branches and denominations. 

People who cite Christianity when refusing service to gay couples are misrepresenting the religion and committing sin themselves. It is not a violation of your religious freedom to require you to treat people equally. 

Reach Adah McMillan at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @mcadahmillan.