[02/23: Today Powers has published ANOTHER fluff piece along with partner in church-wussification Jonathan Merritt, this one regarding a similar law that's being proposed in Arizona. Since her attempt at exegesis worked out so well, this time she tries to use "logic." Someone please tell this woman to stop before she hurts herself. Meanwhile, read Russell Moore's measured response here. And Al Mohler's here.]
Many of you may have been following the recent defeat of a bill in the Kansas State Senate (after passing in the House) that would protect Christian business-owners from lawsuit and potential financial ruin for refusing to lend their services to gay “weddings.” Unfortunately, this defeat has met with sanctimonious approval from a number of alleged Christians.
Among them is columnist Kirsten Powers, whose conversion to Christianity from her hard-core secular New York background was recently highlighted in Christianity Today. Conservatives passed the testimony around as an intriguing story. Of course I was pleased to see another soul won to Christ, but Powers’s testimony in that article and also in this video raised some red flags for me. I was concerned by her very evident discomfort with conservative politics in general and her relief at finding “other Christians who were like me—very progressive-minded.” She clearly now believes that she can be a Christian and keep most of her favorite liberal security blankets at the same time (except maybe for being pro-abortion). Tim Keller was the pastor who initially influenced her to become a Christian, but while he’s almost certainly more conservative than she is, he’s not the best pastor to provide hard-edged clarity of political thought to a Democrat who needs a wake-up call. (In fact, I heard a sermon where Keller said “moving” or “changing” in your politics is a sign of Christian maturity no matter which direction you’re moving—presumably becoming even more conservative doesn’t count. ;) )
Anyway, all those worries are coming home to roost in Powers’s shallow, childish little rant about the fact that conservative Christians (shocker!) thought the Kansas bill was a good idea, in which she proves that she still doesn’t grok Christian morality and enlists the aid of outright liberal pastors like Adam Hamilton and Andy Stanley in the process. Where to start?
Okay, even setting aside my personal libertarian streak, which leads me to believe that private business-owners should be allowed to refuse service to anyone for any reason whatsoever (and see how long they survive in the free market), look at the constant equivocation between “serving gays” and “serving gay couples.” It’s misleading readers about the actual nature of the bill. To call it a “Jim Crow law” is ludicrous. The wording is very clear and specific—this is about so-called “weddings,” not just people walking in to buy stuff who happen to be gay. Also, Powers tips her own political hand throughout with her smirking, matter-of-fact references to “most married people” and “getting married,” innocently void of quotes around “married.” “Why, what? Haven’t you ever heard of two people getting married before?” Oy vey, where’s Peter Falk when you need him?
Worst of all is her cringe-worthy attempt to do a little bit of amateur exegesis, with some help from her favorite aforementioned clueless pastors:
Whether Christians have the legal right to discriminate should be a moot point because Christianity doesn’t prohibit serving a gay couple getting married. Jesus calls his followers to be servants to all. Nor does the Bible call service to another an affirmation.
Adam Hamilton, pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, the largest church in Kansas, pointed out to me what all Christians should know: “Jesus routinely healed, fed and ministered to people whose personal lifestyle he likely disagreed with.” This put Jesus at odds with religious leaders, who believed they were sullied by associating with the “wrong” people.
Evangelical pastor Andy Stanley leads North Point Ministries, the second largest church in the U.S. He told me he finds it “offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law.” He said, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”
Christians serve unrepentant murderers through prison ministry. So why can’t they provide a service for a same-sex marriage?
Some claim it’s because marriage is so sacred. But double standards abound. Christian bakers don’t interrogate wedding clients to make sure their behavior comports with the Bible. If they did, they’d be out of business. Stanley said, “Jesus taught that if a person is divorced and gets remarried, it’s adultery. So if (Christians) don’t have a problem doing business with people getting remarried, why refuse to do business with gays and lesbians.”
Maybe they should just ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” I think he’d bake the cake.
Some pastors really need to do the Church’s collective IQ a favor and stop thinking out loud. For starters, there’s the oh-so-tired attempted “gotcha” line about baking a cake for a re-marriage. I realize this is a contentious issue within the Church, but at least one position that has some solid biblical backing is that Jesus allows for divorce under the exception of infidelity. So for all the baker knows, it could be a “legit” remarriage. Furthermore, it’s not a “double standard” to absolve Christian business-owners from interrogating their clients to make sure no product is used unbiblically, yet argue they should be free to withhold their services when the client is rubbing their faces in it. God doesn’t hold you accountable for what you don’t know. But to deny Christian business-owners the right of conscience when the choice is dropped in their lap is to leave them vulnerable to the remorseless thuggery of the homosexual activist. And that way lies anarcho-tyranny. Is that really the America we want?
Another line plucked from the carnage: “Christians serve unrepentant murderers through prison ministry. So why can’t they provide a service for a same-sex marriage?” You mean like baking a cake for the unrepentant murderer to celebrate the anniversary of his crime, complete with figurines of himself killing the victim with his weapon of choice? And pink frosted letters spelling out: “For your special day”? What’s that you say? Prison ministries don’t do that? Well golly gee, I wonder why not!
And if I see one more liberal using and abusing the “Jesus rubbed shoulders with sinners” angle, I’m going to tear my hair out. At no point did Jesus facilitate a sinner in his sin. He called out people’s sin and told them to repent of it. This isn’t about “not feeding/serving people we disagree with,” this is about “not legitimizing sin.” Let me know when you find the verse where Jesus does that.
“What would Jesus do?” No, Pastor Stanley, no, Pastor Hamilton, no Kirsten dear, Jesus wouldn’t bake the cake. Jesus would say, “Repent.”