Thursday, April 2, 2015

Trying Desperately to Mind My Own Business

For several millennia now, "mind your own business" has been powerful advice. Followers of this admonition have reaped the benefits of a less complicated, less stressful and more fulfilling life. People who practice minding their own business have generally been admired and respected by their peers, sought out for guidance and council, and with few exceptions been highly regarded by society. But in 2015, it has grown nearly impossible to mind one's own business, because everyone else seems determined to get all up in it. This takes several annoying forms.

First, the government seems hellbent on getting tangled up in nearly every corner of my business. From monitoring my phone calls and emails to tracking my social media interactions, even to taking away my God-given right to a Big-Gulp, my government is determined to do for me what my mother did for the first 18 years of my life. My mother's detective-like skills were arrayed against me out of maternal love. The government's oversight and overreach is "for my own good" and for the greater societal good, I'm told by my liberal friends. "Yes, you must buy health insurance Doug whether you want to or not because...well, because we know what's best for you."

But it's not just the government, everyone wants to tell me what to do, what to think and even what I can and cannot say. The growing list of words and phrases that have suddenly been judged to be hurtful or triggering has grown faster than the national debt. It seems like practically every thing that comes out of my mouth anymore can be taken as a micro-aggression by some marginalized group or another. Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the tiresome cultural clash between homosexuals and Christians.

Full disclosure...I am a Christian, I am not a homosexual. So, there is a good possiblity that what I am about to say will offend someone. Someone reading this might feel micro-aggressed at some point in the next paragraph or two, so if your constitution isn't sufficiently blessed with self confidence, I would suggest that you stop reading immediately.

When this Indiana law thing broke last week, it caught me totally by surprise. I didn't know the first thing about the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." So, I had to do a bunch of reading. My opinion coalesced around the notion that the RFRA might very well have been well-intended but might possibly result in descrimination. Still, the response of the gay rights community seemed over the top with hysteria. I mean, come on people. Gay marriage has gone from a pipe dream to a reality in ten short years, the gay lifestyle is celebrated from Hollywood to Academia, gay people are amoung the most successful, high earning demographics known to exist in the free world. But to see them screaming in the streets, you would think that the prospect of being denied a wedding cake by some baker in Gary was about to usher in the Age of Darkness. It's like, the gay rights movement can't take "yes" for an answer. They seem determined not to rest until every single solitary person in America is forced to celebrate them! Instead of organizing boycotts of the entire State of Indiana, how about you try a different baker and let the marketplace punish the knuckle-dragger?

And the Christians? Holy overreaction, Batman! Why, we can't make a cake for a gay couple because that would tell the world that we approve of gay marriage. Sure. Just like when you made that cake for the Stein's last week told the world that you approve of Judaism. Or when you baked that three layer beauty a month ago for that hard partying couple from Indianapolis told the world that you approve of heavy drinking and dirty dancing. If providing a product or service to a customer equals moral and spiritual approval of that customer's conduct, then I'm thinking that every Christian business needs to come up with a rather extensive questionaire to give to all potential prospects....

1. Have you ever, or do you ever plan to break one of the Ten Commandments while using this product or service? If so, put this survey down and exit the building.

Not exactly a viable business plan.

Listen, I get the fact that there is a huge divide between homosexuality and evangelical Christianity, one that does not lend itself to quick fixes. There seems to me to be a rather clear scriptural basis for the proposition that homosexuality is a sin and not part of God's plan for his creation. But I find no reason why that fact precludes me from being friends with gays, or doing business with gays. Nobody died and made me judge and jury of other people's lives. I happen to be a sinner who lives in a world full of other sinners. Hell, I'm up to my elbows in sinners here. While I like to think my sins aren't as bad as my neighbors, that's not up to me. It's none of my business, actually. Scripture tells me that the entirety of God's laws can be summed up in two of love God with all my heart, and to love my neighbor as myself. That sounds a lot easier and more fun than organizing boycotts.

Or maybe, we all need to just mind our own business.