News & Politics

What Would Jesus Say About SB 101?

The Living Bible

Who Would Jesus Refuse?

It’s not often that I page through a Bible, searching for verses. It’s not often I boil with indignation over people taking Jesus’ name in vain. But damn, Indiana, if you didn’t get me going this morning, by passing Senate Bill 101, described by Lambda Legal as a “deeply flawed bill designed to allow private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against anyone in Indiana on religious grounds.”

So here’s my Bible—white cover, gold embossed letters, given to me by my grandmother for my Catholic confirmation, three decades ago. I know some queer people look at this text and roll their eyes, or see it as a source of pain, judgment, or fear.

Not me. Scriptures don’t hurt people. People hurt people.

Though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, though you’re more likely to find me reading a book about Tibetan Buddhism than The Holy Bible, I hold many of Jesus’ essential teachings close to my heart. Teachings like Mark 12:32, “You must love others as much as yourself.” Jesus named this the second most important commandment. The first most important? Mark 12:30, “You must love [God] with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.” Common theme: love.

Senate Bill 101 is a manifestation of fear, hate, judgment, and exclusion, in the name of a religion that’s named after a guy who preached only love. How does that make any sense?* How does denying services to someone express Jesus’ commandment to love? Love cannot manifest as fear, hate, judgment, or exclusion.

[*Side note: I’m sure supporters of SB 101 have an answer to this question. I’m equally sure a certain beloved prophet who said, “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16) would shake his head at that answer.]

What is SB 101 preaching, Indiana? It’s okay to refuse services to people, if you deem those people sinful? It’s okay to dehumanize? It’s okay to judge others? What happened to Luke 6:37, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”? What about John 8:7, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone” or, you know, be the first to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a queer couple?

Jesus is mad at you, Indiana. SO mad. Like overturning the money-changers’ tables in the temple mad. (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; John 2:13-22.)

But don’t worry. When you finally find the courage to chase fear out of your heart, when you turn your actions into living, breathing manifestations of divine love for all creatures on Earth, Jesus will forgive you. He’s cool like that.

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