Compelling Tolerance

For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. —Matthew 7:2

Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. —Romans 14:1

We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. —Romans 15:1

At first I laughed at the absurdity of the internal contradictions in the conversation that is being thrust upon us:

If these bills become law, we could see same-sex couples being denied service not just by photographers and florists, but also restaurants and hotels and pretty much anyone else who can tie their discrimination to a religious belief.

Many on the left and right can agree that nobody should be unnecessarily forced to violate their conscience. But in order to violate a Christian’s conscience, the government would have to force them to affirm something in which they don’t believe. This is why the first line of analysis here has to be whether society really believes that baking a wedding cake or arranging flowers or taking pictures (or providing any other service) is an affirmation. This case simply has not been made, nor can it be, because it defies logic.  If you lined up 100 married couples and asked them if their florist “affirmed” their wedding, they would be baffled by the question.

Then I was amazed, wondering what combination of intellectual/spiritual blindness could keep people from seeing they were conflating legal and spiritual issues and making a hash of both.

Then, as I listened in on the conversation, I was frustrated by the lack of openness by those pushing the conversation to the idea they might be wrong in any way—even as they criticize their critics for their alleged close-mindedness.

I listened further and I was concerned with the carelessness with which believers talked about one another.


Now I am frightened at the coming reign of legal and/or emotional terror.

Because there is no limiting principle once people become enamored with the idea that tolerance can be compelled.

Or shamed.

The entire panoply of religious pluralism is under daily legal attack and now we’re shaming Christians.

From a Twitter follower today:

so if we follow this thru the Xian vendor should n’t provide service for divorced folks if x spouse is living or maybe blk ppl

My response:

It isn’t your place to take believers into the weeds in search of shoulds.

Her response:

if vendor is that sensitive they should b n another business.

My response:

And what do you want to do about that? Abridge their freedom to decide their practice according to their own conscience?

My Twitter friend probably doesn’t realize she is inviting some external authority—most likely the government—to become the arbiter of religious doctrine.

And after that, there is no going back.

When will people learn that compelling tolerance destroys it?

And liberty with it.


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