Religious Liberty is Neither
The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” – John 4:9 (NRSV)
This week we celebrate freedom, remembering those who fought and continue to fight for liberty and justice for all. That’s why I’m deeply concerned about so-called “religious liberty.”
To me, “religious liberty” is bigotry masquerading as religion, specifically targeting the LGBTQ community. It goes like this: “I disagree with who you are, even though your identity poses no actual threat to me or to anyone; I claim religion as my excuse for not treating you as an equal.”
Everyone is at liberty to have bigoted ideas, but we are not free to act on those ideas in the public square. If you are in the business of serving the public, you can’t play favorites. That’s not how America is supposed to work.
More importantly, it’s contrary to the mission and values of Jesus who turned no one away.
Holy One, if Jesus served, and was served by, people of different faith, values and customs, who are we to do otherwise?
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series publishe by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first book, The Spinner Prince available now.