Yesterday was a disappointing day to live in Indiana. I say "disappointing" and not "sad" because I take solace in the belief that it won’t be long before the judicial system exposes the newly-signed bill for what it is: sanctioned bigotry. I was pleased at least that the Indianapolis Star seems as shocked as the rest of us. They are correct in that the business of packaging up fear of the unknown and selling it as progress is alive and well.
There are a lot of angles we could take on this, but I’ll offer two. One, we can easily see the hypocrisy of the bill by simply imagining the opposite. Imagine, for example, a law that allowed business owners to refuse service to Christians under the auspices of religious freedom. Imagine the uproar! Imagine the indignation! Surely we’d never do such a thing… right? Thus, even a basic thought exercise exposes the new legislation as a sham. The law is not about protecting liberties, it is about allowing others to take them away.
The second angle I'd offer is this: If you haven’t noticed, the forces of oppression and persecution are back in the world and stronger than they’ve been in decades; the voices for light and liberty are getting marginalized. At just the time we need the world to see America at its most free, we give the world a glimpse of us at our worst. I hope we don’t pay for such glimpses in the future. I fear there will be a reckoning.
We need to start to decide what we stand for. America in my mind is about the idea that, even if I don’t agree with you, I will not only tolerate you – I will seek to understand you. I will create fellowship with you.
Our history has been one long struggle to challenge ourselves to live up to this idea. When our elected officials are the chief opponents to the tolerance, fellowship, and freedom the rest of us are working to create, well, we have a problem.
It is increasingly clear to me that “leadership” and “politics” have been almost entirely separated in our country. For the many of us seeking to create a better, more free, more abundant world, government is the least likely source for support. As always, the leadership we’re looking for is mainly in the mirror.