Thursday, 12 September 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Hamfisted Jackboot

Blog and Mablog

So the Supreme Court of New Mexico has determined that a wedding photographer does not have the right to decline a job shooting a homosexual wedding ceremony. This is obviously a hamfisted jackboot, to coin a phrase, but there are a few nuances that we believers have to work through. Because we have refused to distinguish sins from crimes, we are rapidly coming to the place where it is a criminal offense to act as though there is such a thing as sin at all.

First, the issue is not that Christians are acting like an economic transaction with a homosexual is spiritually defiling. It is not. If I had a hardware store, I would be happy to sell a hammer to a homosexual. I would be happy to sell a hammer to a homosexual couple who were going to use it to hammer up the crepe paper bunting at the reception. I don’t care. They give me ten bucks, I give them the hammer, and I am not contaminated by the exchange. If I sold them some cotter pins, I might feel an urge to explain them, but would be happy to sell them.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it. The apostle Paul teaches us explicitly that we are not entailed in the sin when we live in the same world with unbelievers, rub shoulders with them, and do business with them (1 Cor. 5:10). I think Christians should be happy to do business with homosexuals. No problemo, as we bilingual people say.

But doing business is not the issue here.
Christian photographers, florists, caterers, etc. are absolutely right to refuse to do such events. And the reason for this is the reason these professions are being singled out in these court cases in the first place. This is not about economic exchange, but is rather about mandated social approval. The demand is we must all applaud.

And is the reason why photographers and florists are going to be at the center of this next round of fights. The homosexual agenda is not to make us do business with them. The point is to make us approve of them.

You see, a good wedding photographer’s job is to make the event glorious, to make it look good. His job is to make the couple look happy — when his God, his Bible, his church, his wife, and his conscience all tell them that they are unhappy and miserable by definition. When he does his job well, he adorns the event. In order for him to show up and adorn such an event as this, he has to violate his conscience in order to do so.

The issue is not the camera, the issue is the celebration.Some Christians think we must be absolutely separate, and think that it would be morally problematic to sell them the hammer — for is that not “enabling” them? Well, yes it is, but the apostle Paul told us not to worry about enabling. He said that we had to draw the line at approving. This is why we must not fellowship with anyone who calls himself a brother and is living immorally (1 Cor. 5:11-13). To do that would communicate approval, Paul says we must not.

Now it also happens that I also believe that a Christian hardware store owner should have the legal right to refuse service to anybody. No shirt, no hammer. No girl, no hammer. If he is being over-scrupulous, as I think he is, I still think that he ought to be allowed to be that way in a free country. Christians could take different approaches on the hammer questions. But I don’t think there really are different approaches for us on the business of celebration.

Certain businesses that surround weddings are celebratory in their very nature, and people who are good at this sort of thing are good at entering into the celebrations of relative strangers who came to them asking them to “do” their event. Christians who are good at celebrating with their customers in this way are being told that it is mandatory for them to celebrate something that God has declared must never be celebrated. And that is why this is an issue.

But conduct a thought experiment. Suppose the photographers in question here lose on appeal (I trust that they will appeal), and they must either get out of photography or do homosexual weddings. Suppose further they figure out a way to do such weddings, do a competent job, while at the same time communicating the fact that they do not approve at all. Suppose that all the CDs of photo thumbnails that they deliver to their homosexual customers contain files of evangelistic tracts written for homosexuals, outlining the way of repentance and the gospel of grace.

Do you think there will be lawsuits designed to make them stop that form of testimony? You bet there will be, because the point is to force us all to approve. This homosexual agenda knows what their end game is. They will not rest until they are surrounded with the sounds of mandatory and universal applause.

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