Religious Freedom

When I was a kid growing up in Indiana the incredible excitement surrounding basketball, especially the High School basketball tournament, was called Hoosier Hysteria.

The passion for the game stemmed in part from the inclusion of all schools in a single class tournament where a smaller rural school might knock off a big city giant. Like Milan did in 1954 when they defeated Muncie Central. Incidently, the movie Hoosiers was based on that game.

However, it seems Hoosier Hysteria has changed. Not just in the game of basketball, but in the passion coming from the state of Indiana. Almost unbelievably the rage is over the “Religious Freedom Bill” signed by Governor Pence and how it might somehow negatively impact homosexuals!

Since Indianapolis is hosting the NCAA Final Four, this issue has been front and center in the news. Every day. Every station. By everyone! Celebrities, companies, politicians, as well as state and local governments have condemned the legislation.

Author Stephen King called the bill “gay discrimination.” New York Mayor, Bill deBlasio opined it was “disgraceful.” Former NBA great and sports analyst, Charles Barclay said, “Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me.” He then said the Final Four ought to be moved from Indianapolis. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, strongly opposed the bill calling it “dangerous” and “discrimination wrapped in the cloak of religiosity.” Even Miley Cyrus took to Twitter and called Governor Pence a name we can’t repeat here.

The hysteria is ridiculous, and is trumped-up by far-left progressives with a social agenda bent on redefining marriage, normalizing aberrant behavior and attacking the personal religious beliefs of Christians.

It is well documented that 19 other states, including Florida, Missouri and Texas have bills very similar to the one passed in Indiana. Illinois has such a bill that Barack Obama voted for in 1998 when he was a state Senator! In 1993, President Clinton signed a federal RFRA bill that shares similar language as all 20 states. As the Washington Post correctly writes, “It prohibits the government from “substantially burdening” individuals’ exercise of religion unless it is for a “compelling government interest” and is doing so in the least restrictive means.”

In reflecting on the hysteria surrendering the Freedom of Religion bill and the hand wringing over its supposed consequences, consider these thoughts.

Our forefathers came to this land seeking freedom of religion. That basic right founded in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is under severe attack today. I am accused of being intolerant for holding conscientious, Bible beliefs regarding morality, sexuality and marriage. Where is the tolerance for my Christian faith?

Why do homosexual activists want to shut down businesses operated by Christians, like florists, bakeries and photographers because their faith will not allow them to participate in celebrating same-sex marriages? Is there no other business that will oblige them? Or is it a means to push their propaganda?

As a preacher of the gospel of Christ, I am exempt from performing same-sex marriages, at least so far. Why not the Photographer? The Caterer? And the Wedding Planner?

As my friend, Wilson Adams, posted on facebook this Hoosier Hysteria “is a phony firestorm driven by the homosexual agenda.”

As Christians, let us remain faithful to God’s Word. Let us exercise our freedom in Christ, but never use it as a license to disrespect or demean others, regardless of our opposition to their beliefs or lifestyle.

May we speak the Truth. Yet, declare it with love. Let us share the gospel who are in desperate need of God’s saving grace. And may we be guided by Peter’s bold response to the authorities, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under America, Culture

15 responses to “HOOSIER HYSTERIA

  1. Billie

    I am just wondering when God is going to have enough of our sinful ways. Maybe this is it. Just a thought. My prayers go out to all of our Christians preachers and teachers.

  2. Our country is founded on freedom (Just the view of an Army Wife here). People should have the freedom to marry as they choose. It is not our place to judge others sin. The Lord will handle that job and I do not envy him of it. In turn people should have the right to not participate in the celebration of others sin.

  3. It is impossible to compare a bill that is being drafted in 2015 with a bill from 1993. The entire atmosphere surrounding homosexuality was different. People didn’t come out due to fear of their safety, or even of losing their life. You asked ” Is there no other business that will oblige them?”. The problem with this logic is that in some areas, there really might not be but one baker, florist, pharmacist, or whatever. Also, where is that line? If it is okay for a florist to choose not to do flowers for a gay wedding, is it also okay for a pharmacist not to fill the order for a gay man?

  4. Roddy

    What about Liars? Cheaters? Those who lust in their heart? Divorced people? People with tatoos? People wearing mixed clothing? Women who cut their hair? People who eat shell fish? SO many things in the Bible are there. Are they going to refuse them all????? If so they will go out of business.

  5. Stephen Segrest

    Dear Ken, I am a conservative, Straight, and most importantly a Christian. I’ve tried my hardest to have a dialogue with you based on Agape Love and God’s Word following Christ’s 2nd most important command. But any “Good Faith” effort by me or anyone else that doesn’t share your views is like talking to a Brick Wall.

    Its so sad that the Christian message on newspaper Front Pages, TV, and WWW this Easter is this issue, and not the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    Each Friday you entitle your message with a phrase coined by Dr. Tony Campolo — who very much disagrees with your messages dealing with gay people.

    • Stephen, and I have answered you many, many times! In good faith! Your question on the second great commandment was the subject of a post and is linked by the word “love” in this post. “Good News” means “gospel” and that is more than just believing on Jesus! It is respecting Jesus’ Word. Obeying His commands. And teaching them to others. Jesus has the final word on this issue. Not me. Or you. Or Tony Campolo! Jesus said marriage is between a man and woman. Period (Matt 19:6-9). And he said, through the Spirit inspired apostle Paul that homosexuality is a sin. (Rom. 1:20-28).

      BTW, just an FYI, I took the title of my Friday column from Dr. S. M, Lockridge, an African-American preacher of the early 20th century.

  6. And that is what makes this country so great – we have the opportunity to express our views even through they may be different.

    Eventually we will come to some common ground and I hope it is sooner than later.

    • Thanks for reading, Paul! And for you’re kind response.

      Of course, we were basically in agreement on the marriage issue for about 5,000 years! Now, if we could just get back to the Biblical definition, that would solve a lot of problems!

  7. Stephen Segrest

    Paul Taubman — Using God’s Word (not just my opinion) your above statement is incorrect. Ken is not like you and me. Ken is a Teacher and Leader which God has a higher standard for.

    I am always reminded of St. Paul on things like this (like Timothy’s circumcision) — where Paul didn’t let Ideology drive the “Big Picture”. Paul used (as us engineers say) a “Work Around”.

  8. Stephen Segrest

    I should have said “popularize” with Dr. Campolo (who personally knew Pastor Lockridge).

    Here is Dr. Campolo “walking the talk” of the “Big Picture”:

  9. Florita King

    Please understand the offense of this to the unbelievers. The Apostle Paul understood it, that’s why he wrote that we are not to refuse associating with the people of the world by creating Christian enclaves of “acceptable people.” How else will they know of if we refuse to come among them or be around them or serve them with kindness and consideration.

    1 Cor. 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[d]

  10. Stephen Segrest

    The central question that Christians must address: Should gay and lesbian people be discriminated against in society? The answer must be a resounding “no.”

    This is the “brick wall” I’ve discussed. You “frame” this issue as to only the sin of homosexuality and gay marriage. You offer no approach to address discrimination other than a ubiquitous (no specifics) “love each other” meme.

    Many of your messages are sometimes just incorrigible — such as bashing President Obama, comparing his “non Christian values” to the “Christian” values of Presidents in African countries (which are executing gays and being brought up in international courts of hate crimes that Obama cites). You demonize today’s gays (which I have family members who are loving parents) to the Roman Monsters 2,000 years ago that “forced” homosexuality on the poor — Danny Cortez (a Baptist Pastor) especially took you to task Biblically on this.

  11. Stephen Segrest

    I will bring up (again) an example. Several years ago, a brave female police officer was killed in a bank robbery. She was gay and had an immediate “family” of her gay partner and children. Her “family” was denied death survivor benefits including health insurance on her partner’s biological children. This isn’t right. This isn’t Christian.

    I asked you, what would you do about this? Is a solution Civil Unions? Your response was no — that Civil Unions would “encourage” the sin of homosexuality.

  12. Stephen Segrest

    Since your original post, Indiana has now re-written the law — prohibiting discrimination based on “race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”

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