What Religlous Liberty means to me as a Christian.
The above video is from Barbara Green. She, along with her husband is the co-founder of Hobby Lobby.
For those of you that missed some of this, let's catch you up. Hobby Lobby is owned by a Southern Baptist family. Specifically, the Green Family. They believe that their company should be ran on, their words not mine, Scriptural principles.
On Monday, the Supreme Court in the United States ruled that Hobby Lobby can opt out of covering specific types of contraception for employees because of religious reasons. It has opened up a whole debate on the impact of that. Some have been supportive, while others have some extreme concerns about this. Many feel the legal impact on this going forward on this will be setting some precedents. Incidentally, as of this writing, there are now religious groups petitioning the government it be exempt from hiring LGBT people. Here's a sample article.
Now, I'm not going to speak specifically to the decision today. The reason is because we will be doing an Agree or Disagree: The Podcast on the topic. (Shameless plug)We will be speaking to an American who has been following the story closely.
What I do want to speak about is a theme in the debate that Mrs.Green spoke about. It has been a theme not only in this debate, but in other debates around the world. The term is called Religious Liberty.
There has been some interesting discussion around this term. Many on the religious side have argued about their religious rights being violated. The specific concerned seems to be Christians.
Well, I'm a Christian. I also work in the service industry.We have students with some various steps of morality and conviction.My job is to treat them with dignity. Equally. If I don't, I don't have a job.
Let me share a story with you. This will help explain my perception on religious liberty.
A number of years ago,there was a student that approached my desk. I wasn't paying that close attention, but in a strong manly voice, the person spoke,
"Hello, how are you today?"
"Good" I said. I looked up. The manly voice looked quite different. The man was wearing a women's dress, necklace, earrings, and makeup.
Now, I have to be honest. At the tIme, the transgendered group wasn't a group of people I seen a lot of. They were not in my social circle. So, there was some shock to what I was seeing. However, something inside told me that this person was laughed at, picked on and belittled.
Today would not be that day for this person.
The person was in the process of having their records changed to her legal female name. I went to the back to get clarity on this process.
The person I spoke to explained to me the very difficult process mentally, physically , emotionally, and financially one has to go through in making this change. I learned a lot about the process and did my own research on the impact of it.
The "religion"in me could have said this was a sin. And living in Canada, I have the freedom to think that. However, with freedom comes responsibility. I also took the liberty to look closer and gain an understanding on the person, and the persons who make that decision or struggle to make it.
Religious Liberty isn't the permission to shut people out because you don't agree with someone's "lifestyle". Religious Liberty is the opportunity to speak into people's lives in a way your God called you too.
With the same mercy, compassion, understanding, and grace your God has given you everyday.
Yes it's a freedom. But it is also a responsibility too.
Religion our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. And keep one polluted from the world.