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(RNS) Donald and Evelyn Knapp own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where local officials say they could face misdemeanor charges for refusing to marry same-sex couples. RNS photo courtesy Alliance Defending Freedom.

Hitching Post a reminder that “We can do better”

[todaysdate]

By Corbin Croy

The Hitching Post, which is a shotgun wedding spot located right next to the court house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is the recent target of homosexual discrimination. The Hitching Post is a for-profit business that is owned by a religious minister. The controversy is that as a business the Hitching Post should not discriminate against homosexuals, but as a minister, who has protected religious freedoms, he objects to marrying homosexuals.

Now, let me lay out my political biases here. I am a Libertarian. I will try to make these arguments according to a virtue theory of ethics which means that I will assume that I know what is best for each party, or what each party’s best interests are, and make my conclusions based on those assumptions. I will admit that I am somewhat of an idealist when it comes to matters like this and what I “wish” could happen will not likely happen, and so a real world solution might still be needed. That said, here is why I think both Christians and homosexuals can do better on this issue.

Christians can do better by actually making a good case for their position. Do they object to homosexuality because it is wrong, or because the Bible tells them it is wrong? Regardless of your fears and angst, I simply do not think we will ever be at that stage where the government is going to force churches to marry homosexuals. The problem, as was the problem with Hobby Lobby, is that we have for-profit companies trying to function like a church. Admittedly the problem is bigger then this, but for the Christian, this is the problem that you should understand. The law is the law, and to act like your religious duties exempt you from the law causes serious concern for the non-religious, and the religious practitioners of other faiths. Conservative Christians had no problem citing the illegality of children immigrants fleeing their country earlier this year, why can they not take their own medicine in other circumstances?

I get that the law is unfair. I disagree with discrimination laws. In all areas of life we are free to discriminate except in one: the law sees all people as equals. Now-a-days we try to make people’s belief and perspectives to be illegal. Should companies be allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices? Sure. Should companies be allowed to discriminate their customers based on natural non-volitional orientations? Absolutely! Why? Because, guess what? They cannot exist unless we give them our money. The market can more then handle these kinds of problems. Hiring practices, fair, and unsafe work environments can all be handled through labor unions. And if a company does not want to provide services to people of color, other religions, or gender then by God let them open themselves up for a whole bunch of competition. (Should medical and emergency services be non-discriminatory? Yes, but let’s not get too off track.)

The point is that you are fighting the wrong battle. The threat against you is not the government trying to force churches to marry homosexuals. The threat against you is the alliance between government and religion. The threat is the law is not allowing itself to be broken because you have a good religious reason. Ask yourself this: would you be OK with an Islamic company following their sharia observances as a part of their business policy?

Christian, consider this: God has given you a business. You are responsible for it on a kingdom level. Your business is to be a light to the world. A testimony of Jesus Christ; the personal relationship you have with him and the devotion you have for his teachings. You pray for God to send you good customers, but you also pray that God will send you those who need Jesus, because that is what a good Christian business owner should do. If you can agree that as a Christian your responsibilities as a business owner mean more then just the day to day concern of making profit and taking people money then you have seriously dropped the ball in concern with homosexuality. God is bringing people to your door that you can share the Bible with and tell them how much they need Jesus and how their life is full of sin, and what do you do? You kick them out of your shop and say that you will not do business with them.

Let’s be honest. You can do better. Do you really think that any self-respecting homosexual is going to want to be married by a minister who has just told them that they are going to hell, that their “life choices” are sinful, and that they need to repent and accept Jesus into their hearts? God has given you this opportunity to be a good Christian to these sinners, and you are dropping the ball. Why not share the Gospel with these willfully depraved and see what happens? How about instead of putting your rights on the line, you put your faith where your mouth is. What might happen?

“Oh,” you might say to yourself, “they are too hardened to listen to me, and I will only be throwing my pearls before the swine,” or “It’s not my job to be the Holy Spirit.” *Cough* coward *cough* Perhaps, your lack of resolve is not due to your deep concern for respecting the role of the Holy Spirit, but perhaps it is because you know that you have no good reason to refuse service to a homosexual. If you did then I think you should man up and show some integrity for your faith. I am calling you out. I dare you to accept giving services to homosexuals, even marriage ceremonies, if need be, and use those opportunities to share your beliefs, convictions, and message of salvation with those people, and leave nothing out. Tell them how they are sinners. Tell them how God is going to send them to hell for getting married. Tell them all about how Jesus died for them, and see if they really want to use your services when it is all over. If they do, then you will have aided in their trespass, but you would have planted that seed, because they will have implicitly consented to your message, and if they do not then you will have gotten what you wanted and that is to not serve them, and you will have fulfilled your duty as a good Christian business owner.

To all LGBT and allies, you can do better. I understand that there is a big legal machine at work right now which may or may not represent you, and I understand that in many cases you are actually the victim and so to say that you can do better might imply that you are complicit in the treatment that happens to you. I am not saying this. I consider myself an ally. I do not think homosexuality is a sin. I believe in marriage equality, and I support any movement that seek to treat LGBT persons as equals. However, that said, suing people and trying to use the law to force others to service you is simply a low blow and a move unbecoming of a virtuous person.

It is not a victory for the LGBT community when the law is used to force a business owner to make you a cake, or to marry you contrary to his or her beliefs. No one is winning in this battle. Is it wrong that churches will not perform marriage ceremonies on homosexuals? Yes. Is it wrong that business owners refuse services to homosexuals? Yes. These are very wrong things. And I hate that we live in a society where we would even think these things are right or good, and we do them in broad day light, and boldly proclaim to the media that we are okay with this kind of discrimination, and we flock to those who peddle this kind of garbage. I wish that these kinds of people simply did not exist sometimes. But they do, and they have to be respected as well.

Let them be exposed. Let them peddle their hate and bigotry and be seen in the public eye for who they really are. The more you try to force the issue the less we will see these narrow minded people for who they really are. The more you will show yourself to be the threat that fuels their fears. Don’t roll over. Don’t let them get away with it. Use the media. Use the Internet. Use your blogs, YouTube, tweets, and whatever you can to let people know what is happening, but don’t use petty discrimination laws against businesses? Why?

Because you can do better. Because your enemy is not the business owner refusing to service you. Your enemy is the one fighting your ideological battle for votes and constituency. He is the one robbing you of your virtue and integrity. So what if you can get your big brother to beat up the bullies that pick on you. It does not prove bullying wrong, nor does it prove that you were ever right. It only proves that the powers that be like you more then someone else. In the end, that is really not a battle worth fighting over. Because, as time will tell, the powers that be can be rather fickle and self-serving.

LGBT and allies: Why would you want someone who hates you to sell you a car, or to bake you a cake, or to perform your marriage ceremony? Don’t settle for second best. You deserve to win this in a fair fight, because you are worth it, and because your cause is a good one. Christian: Why would you want a sinner to go somewhere else for business? Why would you turn away someone God brings to you to hear the good news? Don’t hide behind your rights and your business. Your faith is more precious than that.

As a last piece of information, consider who is supposedly championing the “moral high ground” in this battle. A shotgun wedding chapel who has never shown any qualms in the past about marrying anyone for any reason. For your information, my parents got married at the Hitching Post, and guess what? It ended in divorce. Do they balk at any other indiscretion? Nope. Why this one?

About Corbin Croy

Corbin Croy was born in Spokane and grew up in Post Falls. In 1998 he got married at the age of 18 and moved to Coeur d’Alene. Together they have four children, and try to live as simply and honestly as possible.

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