(This blog first appeared last week on my parenting blog Will Settle For Chocolate )
In all my years of parenting, I’ve never had to try to explain or make sense of what has gone on this week in the government and talk it out with my kids. Living in a modern world, the discrimination that occurs today mostly is personal, and thankfully, while it resides in the news often, it is not as heavily prevalent that it is what it used to be as in the days of black segregation. We don’t live in the backward days of believing that one human is vastly inferior to another. Again, there are always exceptions to everything, but in general, we have made headway. We are not a post-slavery nation, we are a nation of cultural diversity. Or so I thought.
I have never been so ashamed to be both a Hoosier and a Christian than I am today. The state of Indiana has taken drastic measures to send us back decades in time to a place where it is LEGAL to discriminate based upon what someone believes is morally acceptable about another person, or if they frankly just don’t like them. I cannot begin to fathom all the injustice that this will welcome in. I am in shock that we, as a people, have decided that this is a good idea.
Actually, we as a people didn’t decide this. Lawmakers did. They do NOT speak for me, nor do they speak for anyone I have talked to thus far. It’s a cowardly and criminal legislation that was signed today by a governor who does not deserve the office. To put one Hoosier above another? How can you sit in office and be for us and our well-being with that kind of signature gracing a disgraceful piece of paper?
How do I, as a mom, explain this to my kids? How do I explain that, yes, it’s now OK for businesses to not serve certain people, all because they don’t like what a person may or may not do in their own private life; to not serve them because of who they are, what they represent, or because they don’t share the same personal beliefs? Moreover, I worry about the not too distant damage this will do to a generation of kids who could actually believe it is right, just and legal to discriminate against another human being.
When I talked to my kids about this, they were horrified. My son had his mouth agape. My daughter was so incensed she was ready to go head to head with lawmakers. She’s 14. I’ve taught my kids that it is NEVER OK to EVER be mean or discriminate against another person for any reason. I don’t care if you think you are right or not, it’s simply not OK. Ever. This law just made a liar out of me. It’s now “legal.”
I have a lot of Christian friends. I am a Christian. I don’t even want to know if you are for this, because if you are, I’m afraid I will have just learned a truth about you that will have ruined a friendship, maybe to the very core of it.
There is no part of the Bible that says that we are to beat others and wound them, harm them, deny them rights, nor to belittle and degrade them by refusing to serve them or their “kind.” Churches who will be praising this legislation this Sunday should be ashamed of themselves. Jesus himself took sides with the lowly and the shady. He stood up for the prostitute and said “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Anyone who decides to use this law for their own benefit needs to understand one thing. It was clearly preached and taught that sin is sin. No ONE sin is higher or worse than another. All sin is equal. Unless you are without sin, you are no more morally upright than anyone else. Deciding to declare yourself so is itself a sin. Who are you to judge another?
This is very rangy and opinionated and frustrating. I’m not sure how I am to really explain this to my kids. So I decided today as we were talking about it that I wasn’t going to. There is nothing to explain. It’s wrong. Period. Even grown-ups elected to sit in government screw up. Maybe they were getting heat and peer pressure. Maybe doing the right thing was harder than doing this.
I decided to make a teaching moment out of it.
“Doing the right thing is hard. Sometimes it’s harder yet when you are doing something opposite of what everyone else is in agreement about. Never forget this, and how you feel about the injustice. People matter. If you ever err on the side of anything, err on the side of loving people, loving them and their faults, the flaws, the things that they don’t have right yet. Love them. Period. If you spend your life and energy loving, you will never end up in a place where you have made a choice like these lawmakers did today. If you never do all the things you dream of, at least you will have loved and given a hand and been a help to those around you, and that, THAT, is a very good life to have led.”
If you are using the Bible to hurt other people, you are using it wrong. “Love does no harm to its neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10