Sorry, Christians – Under Religious Freedom Laws, the Bible Also Requires You to Refuse Service to Adulterers

art-confederate-gay-marriedPublic outrage over the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts that have passed in 21 states, so far, appears to be the latest sign of a massive shift toward support for gay civil rights. It also suggests people looked past Republican rhetoric and saw these laws for what they’re really meant to be — licenses for right-wing Christians to discriminate against gays, particularly Christians in the wedding business who want to refuse to bake cakes and provide floral arrangements for same-sex weddings based on moral grounds.

It is not only petty to withhold wedding flowers and cakes from a particular class of sinners, it is also unlawful on its face. RFRAs not only violate public-accommodation laws and would arguably be unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, their use of religion to single out a particular class of people runs afoul of the separation of church and state — the legal barrier that prevents our democratic republic from sliding into theocracy. It’s as un-American to discriminate against gays based on the Old Testament as it would be to restrict gay rights based on Sharia law, for example.

RFRAs are just the latest flimflams in the religious right’s long-running con job on its followers about homosexuality. For decades now, grifters like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and the folks who run anti-gay hate groups like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council have sheared millions of dollars off their flocks by promoting the lie that there is no sin more grievous than being gay.

The controversy over RFRAs has exposed the depth to which this deception has permeated the culture. This week, for example, CNN’s Gary Tuchman traveled 200 miles from the network’s Atlanta base in Georgia — one of 15 states where RFRAs are in the works — and interviewed a florist in Jeff Davis County who explained why she would refuse to sell floral arrangements for gay weddings:

“[Jesus] died on the cross for me, so that’s the least I can do for Him,” said florist Melissa Jeffcoat… Asked by Tuchman if she’d serve adulterers and other Biblically-defined “sinners,” Ms. Jeffcoat said she would, adding: “[Homosexuality] is just a different kind of sin to me and I don’t believe in it.”

This is, of course, wrong. Cheating on one’s spouse is hands down the most damnable sexual sin in the Bible — far worse, qualitatively, than being gay. For example, while being gay is not mentioned in the Ten Commandments, as was noted here in 2010, adultery is forbidden twice. The Seventh Commandment is unambiguous: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…” it says, in part. Even the act of lusting after someone else’s spouse is worse than the sin of being gay — a sin that did not even rate a mention in the Top Ten. Working on Sunday, cursing, disrespecting your parents, stealing and idolatry are all sins more heinous than being gay.

It gets worse for the Melissa Jeffcoats of this world. When Jesus died on the cross, in that sacrifice he repealed a long list of abominations in the Old Testament — including Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” — and replaced them with a New Covenant in which all the old sins were forgiven. The only laws he left extant were the Ten Commandments, which means the laws against adultery were left sacrosanct. While Jesus was silent on the subject of homosexuality, Paul warned against it in his letters — but then Paul was opposed to sexual activity of any sort.

The Christianist right occupies a parallel universe, of course, and even if there were a forum for debate, there is no point in using logic to argue with bigots. Still, if Christians in the wedding business were at least morally consistent, they would also refuse to provide services for second marriages of adulterers.

But that would be problematic. While gay people are relatively rare — just 2 percent of the population is gay — given the fact that about half of dual-gender marriages end in divorce and adultery is a leading factor in these splits, the number of straight adulterers who remarry is quite high. From a business point of view the bottom line apparently tops the word of God. Christians who refused to provide flowers and cakes for adulterers’ second marriage ceremonies would be giving up a hefty share of the wedding market.

6 Comments

  • Michael Baggett
    April 4, 2015 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    All this talk about who Christians should and should not discriminate against, all these verses getting thrown around and everyone forgets this one – Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If that’s not the bible saying not to discriminate then I don’t know what the hell that means. The WHOLE of the LAW is FULFILLED by following this one simple rule (Christians hate it) (sounds like click bait don’t it)

  • Joe Munoz
    April 5, 2015 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    When God stated that when a man and a woman joined together, they became ONE flesh, He very succinctly established what marriage is, one man and one woman, joined exclusively, for life (since a body which divides in half dies). This then establishes that ANY other union, be it between a man/woman who is already joined to another, or between a man and a woman who are not joined for life, or between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, is sin; they are all adulterous relations. Paul was not opposed to sexual activity of any sort, he was opposed to any sexual activity outside of marriage and any activity which would keep one from doing the work God set them.

    Yes, Christians are called to love their neighbor as themselves, but you seem to be confusing love with a sick co-dependent relationship where ALL things are allowed and no word of dissent or correction can take place. Even Jesus did not practice the kind of love you describe. When He came upon the woman at the well, He pointed out to her that her lifestyle was wrong. If she had not repented, their interaction would have ended right there.

  • TerryInElPaso
    April 5, 2015 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    ” If she had not repented, their interaction would have ended right there.”

    Don’t know what flavor of Bible you’re using but in my Bible Jesus still loved the woman forever and never gave up on her, it’s not how he operates.

    I remain amazed at the generations old hatred of homosexuals by supposed Christians who were told in no uncertain terms not to throw the first stone and yet they never ever hold the sins of adultery and divorce to the same standards and especially in much higher numbers than there are homosexuals in the world. But I certainly don’t expect someone who believes as you do to see the hypocracy.

    When you drive the last of the millennials out of your churches with your works of hate, hypocracy and bigotry don’t come crying that it’s the fault of the Gays, after all you just keep throwing stones instead of love and your pews are emptier with each passing hearse.

  • April 9, 2015 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Obviously I agree with every word, but I’m scratching my head over the graphic. The 21 states that have proposed these laws include Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, New Mexico and others, along with some Southern states. Places with similar provisions include Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, and more. How about a basketball, or something that represents Indiana?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Acts

  • Daniel C. Lagerman
    April 12, 2015 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article!

  • Koch Industries for Pres, 2016!
    April 19, 2015 - 4:45 am | Permalink

    Waren’t de Vassel one o’ them Romans?
    “un-American to discriminate against gays based on the Old Testament as it would be to restrict gay rights based on Sharia law”
    So we can’t feed gays to the lions?
    No Honor killings by public stoning?
    We can’t drown a few witches to lighten up the long boring winters?
    We all miss the Old Time Religion. It was more fun.

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