Thursday, February 20, 2014

Andy Stanley's spinning moral compass

In a USA Today article, Kirsten Powers compared proposed legislation protecting the religious liberty of businesses and individuals to "Jim Crow" laws. Of course, that's a scurrilous comparison.
However, her opinion isn't terribly significant. She's just a layperson and newbie churchgoer. More significant is Andy Stanley's position. Although I've seen some Christians associate her position with Tim Keller, I also her deny that she's a member of his church. 
In her article, the pastor she cites in support of her position isn't Tim Keller but Andy Stanley. From what I've read, he's a 55-year-old graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary who pastors the second largest church in America–although the raw statistic is somewhat misleading inasmuch as the attendance figures are spread out over five different campuses. 
Powers quotes him saying:
He told me he finds it "offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law." He said, "Serving people we don't see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn't see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn't want to sell its products to a gay couple, it's their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it."
Stanley said, "Jesus taught that if a person is divorced and gets remarried, it's adultery. So if (Christians) don't have a problem doing business with people getting remarried, why refuse to do business with gays and lesbians."
A few comments are in order:
i) Jesus didn't make the unqualified statement that if somebody gets a divorce and remarries, that's adultery. To the contrary, Matthew includes infidelity as a legitimate ground for divorce. Stanley fails to draw an elementary distinction between the innocent party and the guilty party. Is he that biblically illiterate? 
ii) He also fails to distinguish between penitent and impenitent sinners. Likewise, someone might divorce and remarry prior to converting to Christianity.
iii) A Christian businessman doesn't automatically know a customer's marital history. By contrast, if homosexuals overtly indicate that they want a bakery to make a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage, then they've gone out of their way to make the business aware of the situation.
iv) There's nothing hypocritical about Christians picking their battles. The fact that you can't fight everything doesn't mean you shouldn't fight anything. 
v) Why does Stanley assume this is only about Christians? What about, say, Hassidic Jews?
vi) This isn't just a matter of doing business with sinners, where their sin is incidental to the transaction. A homosexual buying a loaf of bread and a homosexual ordering a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage are hardly equivalent. 
vii) Is a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage ceremony a Christian "service" for homosexuals. Christian service involves acting in the best interests of others. Acting on their behalf, for their well-being. Helping them. Attending to their needs. 
Let's take a few comparisons:
Suppose a child pornographer goes to a Christian photo print shop to process some pictures he downloaded of kiddy porn. Does Stanley think the Christian businessman should produce professional quality glossies of the customer's kiddy porn, because "serving people we don't see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity"?
Suppose the teenage daughter of a Muslim-American couple is gang-raped. Suppose her brother performs an honor-killing because his sister bought dishonor on her family by allowing herself to be gang-raped.
Suppose they approach a Christian defense attorney. Does Stanley think the lawyer has an obligation to take the case and get his client acquitted ("justified homicide") as a Christian service to those we don't see eye to eye with?
Suppose Hawaii legalized hard drugs. Suppose a junkie tried to order heroine or cocaine from a Christian pharmacist. Does Stanley think the pharmacist should fill the order because "serving people we don't see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity"?
vii) What does Stanley even mean by saying "If a bakery doesn't want to sell its products to a gay couple, it's their business." Isn't that precisely what the proposed legislation was designed to protect? Isn't that precisely what homosexual activists reject? 

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