Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona recently vetoed a bill that passed in both the State House and Senate that would have given business owners the right to deny their services to the gay community. The bill also would have allowed employers and landlords the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation so long as such discrimination was an expression of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Many Christians feel they are being persecuted, discriminated against" ... their religious freedom denied them because they are not free to legally discriminate against gays.
The persecution of Christians has had a long history. There was once a time when Christians were free to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs in the hanging, drowning, and burning of witches. ("Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18). It's estimated that 60,000-100,000 witches were convicted and executed in the 16th and 17th centuries. By some estimates it's in the millions. But that all came to an end when government stripped Christians of that religious freedom.
Of course, Christians were still free in other ways to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs, their highly prized God-given right to own slaves being chief among them. Every Bible-reading Christian knew very well that slave ownership was biblically sanctioned, that it was God's Bible-thumping plan that some of us were made to be slaves and some of us made to be slave owners:
-- When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21)
-- Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. (1 Peter 2:18)
-- Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (Colossians 3:22)
-- Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. (Ephesians 6:5)
But not long after being stripped of the religious freedom to burn witches, the right to own slaves was on the government's chopping block. Once again, Christians were being persecuted. And so to preserve their religious freedom in the face of this discriminative onslaught, they fought to the death in a civil war for the freedom to exercise their God-given right to own people.
And now we have the decision of Arizona's Governor to veto a bill that would have allowed Christians the religious freedom to legally discriminate against gays -- more government intrusion disallowing Christians the freedom to practice their faith.
When will the persecution of these poor Christians ever end?