Self-Indulgent Liberty

The Scripture reading from the Letter to the Galatians for this Sunday, June 30, says, “Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

In contrast to that fundamental Christian principle, the Trump Justice Department seeks to support discrimination and bigotry in the name of religious liberty. They are distorting the very foundation of Christian faith into a tool for division, judgment and hate.

In claiming that religious liberty protects a person from having to serve another human being whom the server finds objectionable, this claim simply denies that Jesus commanded his followers to love their neighbor.

When Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” he didn’t qualify it. He didn’t say, “…if your neighbor agrees with you,” or “…if you approve of their beliefs or identity.” He didn’t say “love them only if they agree to think, believe and act like you.”

No. He gave no loophole, no exceptions, no room for distancing yourself from people whose existence disturbs your prejudices.

A purported “liberty” that allows me to look with contempt on others is nothing more than a blind, self-indulgence that the Apostle warned against. I am not fooled by this religious cover for justifying hate and fear.

Scripture teaches that no one part of the body can say to another, “I don’t need you.” We’re all human. We’re all different. We all belong.