The state of Indiana has passed what the media is calling a “religious freedom law.” In a truly extraordinary display of cruelty to the English language, the law protects people from having their religious freedom “burdened substantially” by what one assumes are – at least in Indiana – inconsequential matters like the rights and freedoms of others.
One potential outcome of this legislation is causing a furor. It is now possible for devout business owners and employees to refuse to serve gay or lesbian persons and/or same sex couples if doing so would “substantial burden” their religious beliefs.
Predictably, a firestorm of protest has greeted the law’s passing. Companies have threatened to cancel business deals, conventions are threatening to move, and the usual list of Hollywood stars are announcing that they will refuse to shine – at least in Indiana.
I would like to suggest we take a different approach. Rather than opposing this law, let’s do the opposite! To avoid religious hypocrisy, let’s insist that these business persons be forced to refuse to serve any individual whose actions go against their faith. And in order to assist them in achieving this state of purity, I am happy to provide this biblically sourced list of those who must not be served. In addition to gays and lesbians, it includes any of the following:
- Those who eat bacon, cheeseburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, shrimp, or meatballs with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
- Men who are now or who have ever been drunk. Only men who have mothers may be refused service. Any man who can provide documentary proof he never had a mother may still be served (as long as he also never had a cheeseburger of course.) Women who are drunk may still be served, even if they have mothers (but not if they have a cheeseburger.)
- Anyone who worships a false god. (Lists of false gods are easily available, but yes, they would likely include the Kardashians, Dr. Oz and One Direction.)
- Men who are not circumcised. OK, the test for this might be a tad embarrassing at the check-out counter but hey, we’re talking about religion here! Besides, it gives whole new meaning to the term “check out counter.”
- All magicians – of both genders – with or without mothers.
- Anyone who tries to convert people to another religion. This would include all evangelicals, about 40% of Indiana’s population.
- Anyone who refuses to control his or her bull in public. (What they do to their bulls in private is entirely up to them and – one assumes – their bulls.)
There are other groups who may not be served, but this list will likely ensure that those business persons involved will very quickly no longer be business persons. This will ensure that they will never again be “substantially burdened” and will be free to practice their religion as Jesus did his – in poverty.
It will also mean that the rest of us will never have to deal with them – at least in Indiana.