FAITH & GAY RIGHTS: Missouri megachurch pastor urging congregation to vote to repeal anti-discrimination laws.

FAITH & GAY RIGHTS: Missouri megachurch pastor urging congregation to vote to repeal anti-discrimination laws. March 25, 2015


Seriously, everywhere I live religious assholery seems to follow in my wake.  I’m cursed, I think.  First my home state of Arkansas has been overrun by theocrats wasting the state’s money, now a megachurch in Springfield, MO, where I went to college, is urging the community to repeal the city’s anti-discrimination laws.  Oh, not all of them, mind you.  You still can’t discriminate against black people or women through your business, even if you want to do it for religious reasons.  But gays?  Fuck those guys, they’re just like alcoholics and adulterers:

The Rev. John Lindell has spoken. He did it from one of the most powerful places in Southwest Missouri — the pulpit of James River Church, where he leads an Assemblies of God congregation that often tops 9,000 worshipers on Sundays.

In a March 15 sermon, Lindell urged congregants to repeal Springfield’s sexual orientation and gender identity law on April 7.

“It is possible for someone who has practiced a life of adultery to stop,” he said in the sermon. “It is possible for someone who has been a life-long alcoholic to stop. It is possible for somebody who has a cutting tongue and a big mouth to stop. It is possible for someone who is engaged in homosexual behavior to stop.”

Awesome, another church telling its congregation how to vote.  It’s against the law.  They should lose their tax exempt status, but they won’t because Christians get a pass on the same laws the rest of us have to follow in this country.  Joy.

News flash: loving another consenting adult is a good thing.  It brings happiness into the world.  The same cannot be said of adultery or alcoholism.  That’s like saying people can choose to stop being thieves, just like they can choose to stop giving charitably to the poor.  The two aren’t related.  One of them people shouldn’t want to stop.

But even if that weren’t so, your argument makes no sense.  You know who businesses have to serve (assuming they’re not being unruly)?  Adulterers, alcoholics, and even assholes with big mouths and sharp tongues (which is good news for you, John Lindell).

Got any other stellar arguments handed straight to you from an all-wise god?

He urged Christians living in the city limits of Springfield to vote to repeal the law and to leave church with a Yes-On-Repeal yard sign. Lindell hit two main points: the Bible is clear in its condemnation of homosexuality as sin and the ordinance is an infringement on the religious rights of Christians who believe so.

It doesn’t fucking matter what the bible says.  If the bible said businesses shouldn’t serve black people, too bad.  Laws need to be based on what makes for a healthy and equal society.  If the bible issues commands that undermine that standard it’s the bible that gets to take a hike, not the healthy and equal society.

And if you think laws saying businesses which use public roads and utilities to make their money have to serve all citizens equally are an infringement on the rights of the religious, then you also must think anti-discrimination laws infringe on the rights of the racist.  Neither is true.  It’s not your right to discriminate in America.  Your water fountains must be available to all customers, including the LGBT customers and the racial minorities.

Let me make this clear: institutionalized discrimination is an attack.  Saying you’re not allowed to discriminate is not.  You want to act like the true attack is your god-given right and it just ain’t so – and it’s very telling that it only appears to be Christians of Lindell’s ilk who are incapable of grasping this cosmically simple concept.

I will point out, again, that this has already been ruled on.  In 1968 a South Carolina restaurant owner did argue before the SCOTUS that he shouldn’t have to serve black people on account of his religious beliefs.  The man was Maurice Bessinger who owned Piggie Park BBQ.

The attorney representing the petitioners suing Piggie Park also addressed in court the “First Amendment religious privilege claim that petitioner asserted that his religion required him” to deny service to black customers.

“I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”

Even though Bessinger was trying to skirt the Civil Rights Act using the exact same argument as companies like Hobby Lobby trying to skirt the healthcare laws and of various Christian-owned stores seeking to discriminate against gay people, the SCOTUS ruled 8-0 against him (Justice Marshall recused himself).

I suspect John Lindell would’ve voted in favor of Maurice Bessinger.  After all, this was an infringement on his rights as a Christian, right?  You need to choose: either religious beliefs can be used to exempt people from anti-discrimination laws or they can’t.  They can’t just be used to discriminate against some people.

Stop discriminating.  It wasn’t right when we did it to blacks, to women, or to anybody else and it’s not right now.  If your religion is turning you into someone who not only wants to discriminate, which is bad enough, but who wants to claim it as their right, your religion has made you into a terrible person who lives, at least in part, to make other people miserable.  Want to know why Christianity is losing ground?  Find a mirror and give it a good, long look.

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