Do Christians Get to Choose who to Serve?
In Arkansas, HB1228 is about to hit our governor’s desk to be signed in to law. Should he sign it, it would allow people and businesses to refuse to serve others based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
There are many things that I believe are wrong with this bill (it has a slope so slippery, you could slide from here to the gulf coast on it), but what is so surprising about the bill is the support it has gotten from many Christians. I didn’t realize that anyone who is Christian thought that we get to choose who we serve.
I get that as a business owner, you may want the ability to choose who you do and do not serve. And perhaps at times, religious beliefs play into that. But I don’t think you can claim to be Christian AND refuse to serve people. It’s just not theologically sound.
Jesus never refused to serve anyone.
Not the leper
Not the hemorrhaging woman
Not the woman at the well who had been married five times
Not the Centurian solider whose daughter was dying
Not the Gentiles who didn’t keep the Jewish laws
Not the hungry
Not the blind
It’s of one of the hard things about being Christian–loving people that are hard for us to love and serving people that we don’t really want to serve. Loving people who don’t follow our rules. Serving people who believe differently than we do. It’s a part of the whole journey with Jesus thing.
So if you want to make the poor business decision of refusing service to people you don’t like, then best of luck to you. But don’t bring Jesus into it. Being Christian doesn’t give us the right to refuse to serve anyone. It means we are compelled and commanded to serve them all.
–Rev. Anne Russ