The following is borrowed entirely from a recent blog written by my good friend and ministerial colleague, Joe Kay, Associate Minister of Nexus Church, a United Church of Christ, in Hamilton, Ohio:
Some self-described Christians are refusing to serve gay people.
The president’s spokeswoman was denied service by a restaurant owner with deeply held beliefs.
Our society is fraying. The refuse-to-serve mentality is spreading, leading us to a dark place.
As Gandhi taught, an eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind.
We don’t have to continue down this road blindly. We can light another way. But if we want to be that light, we can’t reject, shun or demean anyone.
We must do what Jesus did. We must love, serve and respect everyone without exception.
Last weekend, a group from Nexus participated in Cincinnati’s Pride Parade. A man walked through the crowd carrying a sign that said “Jesus Is Coming.” He told us we were doomed.
We had to decide how to respond. Do we ignore him? Argue with him? We chose kindness. We smiled, said hello and offered him a bottle of water. He was free to turn it down, but he accepted it.
We didn’t attack his views but respectfully explained ours – Jesus is already here, calling us to love everyone. We then wished the man a blessed day as he went on his way.
Serving others doesn’t mean endorsing their beliefs; it’s about recognizing and respecting them as a child of God.
To refuse service is to deny the image of God within each of us.
Some self-described Christians argue that living their faith means shunning those who believe differently. They’re flat-out wrong. If love is your core value, then every act of kindness and service is an expression of faith, not a rejection of it.
There are many ways to advocate for our beliefs. Demeaning others isn’t one of them.
Shunning doesn’t help anyone grow or change. Only love can do that.
Refusing service doesn’t fulfill our faith. Only love can do that.
We don’t vanquish darkness by bringing more darkness into the world. Only love can do that.
That is the way, the truth and the light that can lead us to a better place.