Thanks to our progressive government, Christians are suddenly confronted with conundrums that once belonged in the category of “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”
Due to new laws allowing gay marriage, Christian bakers, innkeepers, florists, photographers and caterers are suddenly forced to answer a question once thought unthinkable, “Is it a sin for a Christian business owner to provide a service for a gay couple?”
It is a Sin
Discover Annapolis Trolley Cars has determined to go out of business rather than compromise their Christian convictions. They believe it is a sin to provide a trolley ride to gay couples as they believe they would be participating in a sinful activity: gay marriage.
It is Not a Sin
Some would argue that providing a wedding service for a gay couple is no different than providing a service for any other sinner. Certainly Discover Annapolis Trolleys has provided a ride for some couples who were having affairs. We can assume that Discover Trolleys gave a wedding tour to couples who were unequally yoked, therefore, providing a service for a gay wedding couple should be no different.
Health and Human Services insists that Christian owned Hobby Lobby provide insurance for employees who can purchase abortifacient birth control pills.
It is a Sin
Hobby Lobby concluded they cannot comply with our government’s demand and they are willing to face draconian fines for their stance. They simply cannot violate their Christian conscience as they believe that providing abortifacients for employees is a sin.
It is Not Sin
Some would argue that Hobby Lobby already “pays for abortions” every time they pay their taxes to the government which provides 1/3 of Planned Parenthoods revenue. Furthermore, employers provide compensation to employees who use that money for other nefarious purposes. This is no different.
What Does the Bible Say?
There is not a specific Bible verse that tells us exactly what to do in this situation. Therefore, we must examine all of the indirect verses that apply and draw careful conclusions. Let’s examine two verses:
Verse One: Jesus responded plainly to the question of paying taxes to a lousy government. We are to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s (Mark 12:17). It is certain that the Roman government was using tax dollars to commit atrocious sins including the murder of Jewish people.
Verse Two: When Peter and John were commanded by the authorities to stop preaching the Gospel, they refused (Acts 4:18-20). If the government commands something God forbids, we cannot obey. Similarly, if the government forbids something God commands, then we cannot comply. With those two verses in mind, is providing a service for a person who is sinning a sin? This is where it gets tricky.
Sin Depends on the Scenario
If I sell a gun to a person who uses it for nefarious purposes, I am not sinning.
If I hold the jacket of a man so he can take better aim at innocent civilians, I am sinning.
If I pay my taxes to Caesar and he uses them for evil purposes, I am not sinning.
If I am the cashier at the grocery store who rings up a gay couple, I am not sinning.
If I collect the garbage for the home of a gay couple, I am not sinning.
If I am a doctor who operates on a practicing homosexual, I am not sinning.
If I perform the wedding for a gay couple, I am sinning. Why? To perform a wedding service for a gay couple would be a direct violation of the commandment that marriage should be heterosexual.
If I bake a cake, provide a suite or take a picture for someone who is sinning, am I complicit in their sin? There are God-fearing Christians who will arrive at two different conclusions.
An Issue of Conscience?
One thing is certain, Christians are going to disagree. The question then becomes, “How will I respond to someone who responds to this question with a different answer than mine?”
May I suggest that this issue falls underneath the category of adiaphora, a big fancy word that means the issue is not clear cut? The Germans called unclear Biblical issues “mitteldinge,” middle things; issues that are neither commanded nor forbidden by God.
As we wrangle through brave new world issues, let us strive to be Biblical, but let us also strive to love those who arrive at different conclusions than we do on issues that are adiaphora.