The recent passage of Senate Bill 101, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, has caused quite a controversy in our state with celebrities like George Takei and the world’s largest gaming convention, GenCon, weighing in. Many on the right have accused them and others on the left of overreacting to the bill, and there may be some truth to that considering that the only RFRA case of note was in 1997 when the City of Boerne vs Flores was struck down as unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. But there are also legitimate concerns that this bill, if law, will encourage Hoosiers to discriminate against others, especially the LGBT community, and claim religious freedom to do so.
However, I am not writing about the legality or political fall out of this bill. I am writing as a former “born again” Christian who has to wonder what honest people of faith wanted from this bill. As a former believer, I understand that many Christians take the Bible as the inerrant word of God and believe that anything not of God is sin. They would argue that, if they were forced to choose between obeying the law of the land and the Law of the Lord, they would easily choose the Lord. That’s why I’m left scratching my head, because I remember this story about these guys – Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego – who obeyed God despite the threat of being burned alive. They weren’t part of a republic, of course, but they felt that if their God was the one true God then they could easily obey him and ignore the consequences from the state. In fact, I think they were thrown into some furnace and still came out okay. Am I right?
So when I consider this controversial bill that has done more to spread the fear of discrimination than the love of Jesus, in light of these three gentlemen, I have to ask these believers: Is the State bigger than your God?