Religious Liberty and Partaking In and Standing Against Sin

Religious Liberty and Partaking In and Standing Against Sin

A. In a general biblical sense, to partake in sin requires knowledge of the intent or actual committal of the sin.  It is to do any or any combination of the following:

(1) do the specific sin oneself along with another person

(2) explicitly receive the person’s act as righteous and thus encourage him to do or continue in the act

(3) communicate happiness that the person intends or has committed the sin

(4) authorize the person to do the sinful act

B. With respect to same sex marriage and homosexuality it is to do any or any combination of the following:

(1) to authorize or require issuance of a marriage license to a same sex couple is to partake in their sin.

(2) to communicate happiness and agreement with the legalization of same sex marriage is to partake in the sin of any such marriage

(3) to tell a homosexual that they should have a legal right to marry is to partake in their sin if they so marry

(4) to support or allow adoption of children by a homosexual couple is to partake in their sin

(5) to support or allow assignment of foster care children to a homosexual couple is to partake in their sin

(6) to file or record a marriage license in a data system or cabinet is not to partake in their sin

(7) to rent or sell permanent or temporary housing to a homosexual couple is not to partake in their sin

(8) to issue government benefits is not to partake in their sin as benefits are given to meet the needs of a claimed dependent. The government restricts who one can claim as a dependent. But that restriction is a matter of government decision.  The government could expand the pool of claimants to cousins for example. The government does not do so because of monetary concerns. Moreover, the benefit is given despite the sin not because of the sin. The purpose of the benefit is not to reward nor validate the sin but rather to take care of human basic needs. For example, the purpose of giving social security benefits from a deceased legal spouse account is not to reward the sin but rather to provide financial support to the livelihood of the remaining legal spouse. As indicated above, the government could allow a person to declare a cousin to receive their social security benefits; the government does not do so due to monetary resource concerns.

(9) to issue employer healthcare benefits is not to participate in the employee sin since the purpose of the healthcare is not to reward or validate the sin but rather to provide for the healthcare needs of a human associated with the employee. The above discussion on government benefits regarding human relationship (e.g., cousins) and the nature of the benefit apply also to employer benefits.

(10) to provide “off the shelf” wedding photography, wedding food/catering/cake, wedding transportation and similar services to homosexual wedding events is not to partake in homosexual sin. Providing such services does not authorize nor does it necessarily indicate one’s agreement with the homosexual activity. Business owners should be able to state in their contracts their position on such issues. They should also be able to post in their stores and on their websites, etc. their position if they so desire.

Moreover, because there is a close nexus between providing such services and the evil of homosexuality, the business should be able to decide based on individualized religious conscience whether to provide such services; this includes customization of wedding cakes.  The reason is that Christians not only have an obligation not to partake in  evil but also do stand against or protest against evil.  Moreover, the US Constitution gives citizens the right to peacefully protest against evil/wrongs in our nation.

But there is no nexus to serving a same sex couple at a restaurant when the restaurant is not asked to do so specifically in honor of the wedding. In the lack of such a nexus, the restaurant should be required to service the couple; the same goes for other services.

The provisions of this article are highly different from refusing to provide service to an interracial couple. The reason for the difference is that there is no nexus to evil. The reason there is no nexus to evil is that an interracial marriage is not evil even if some racist think it is.

C. With respect to other matters it is to do any or any combination of the following:

(1) to provide, pay for, or refer a person for abortion services, including abortive contraception, except where the life of the mother is clearly in danger is to partake in sin

(2) to provide, pay for, or refer for non-abortive contraceptive services is not to partake in sin. To provide such service is not to authorize nor does it necessarily intend to encourage sexual activity. It merely provides the receiver with the privacy and liberty to choose to use the contraception for righteous or unrighteous purposes without having to reveal details of their lifestyle and medical condition. For example, suppose a spouse has contracted a disease in a sexual organ for which a contraceptive device provides a measure of protection to the other spouse, then a spouse should be able to use his or her healthcare plan and/or other sources to procure appropriate protection. In all cases, such services may include education on alternatives and procedures for avoiding perceived or actual need for contraception. Any employer should be able to include such training as part of its human resource and financial management programs, including discouraging and warning against sexual activity by single persons. We should be mindful that God gives people, single or married, the liberty but not the right to sin; we should so do as well. This is why giving a same sex couple a form without an authorizing official name/signature is not to authorize a same sex marriage. On the other hand to affix an official’s name/signature is to authorize the same sex marriage. The former gives them the liberty to sin and provides a uniform method for tracking and filing both righteous and unrighteous marriages. The latter actually authorizes the sin and therefore partakes in it. Similarly, giving a conceptive service/device gives the person the liberty to sin if they so do. It does not authorize them to sin.

A 2013 Hobby Lobby  US Supreme Court decision supports the right of closely held for profit corporation not to provide certain contraceptive services.

D. To fail to tell a person that an act is sinful when they know or should know it is wrong is not to partake in that person’s sin.

Scriptures: Genesis 12:10-20; 1 Corinthians 5:2, 6; Romans 1:32; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 5:7; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1John 2:10; 2John 1:10-11; Revelation 2:14

Religious Liberty

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