Maybe It’s Not About Cake; Maybe It’s About Fear

To my gay and lesbian friends and those who support their freedom to choose who they love. And to my conservative family and friends who believe they have a right to choose how to live out their religious beliefs:

Take a deep breath and look around you.

There is a lot of pain in the world today. Pain and persecution and bigotry and conflict and loss of life and loss of freedom — all in the name of “liberty of conscience”, freedom to believe what we want to believe.

It should break your heart to hear that people are being slaughtered in the Middle East because of their religious beliefs, or that gay men are being thrown off rooftops in Syria. Or that nearly a million unborn children are killed in America every year.

And we in America are attacking one another over the possible intent and impact of one piece of legislation.

I am not political. I’m conservative in most of my views, surprisingly liberal in a few. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I believe the Bible holds the only laws necessary to create a peaceful, orderly, kind society. But we live in a fallen world so we have man-made laws — perhaps too many — designed to encourage morality.

I don’t begin to think I can make sense of the controversy surrounding my state’s recent passage of the religious freedom law (RFRA). I have read the law and explanations of the law and many commentaries on the law, and my opinion is that it is not written specifically to limit LGBT rights and freedoms. Its focus is on the rights and freedoms of people who hold specific religious views.

The intent of my state legislators in putting this law on the books is something I cannot know. The impact of the law on business owners and the people they serve is yet to be seen.

I write this not because I believe the law is correct or even that it is necessary, and I don’t expect to change the minds of those who oppose the law or of those who support it. I write it because I am the Mom of four sons who are part of the Millennial generation. I write it because they are being told what to think, and I want them to think for themselves.

In fact, all of us on both sides of the issue are being told by others who have our ear what we should think. So we are forming an opinion and taking a side without even knowing what we’re standing for or against.

I challenge my sons, in the same way that I challenge any of you who are concerned about this or any action that you believe limits freedom and promotes prejudice:

Be informed. Understand the issue before you take a stand.

I did not do that.

Before taking time to read Senate Bill 568 (You can read a synopsis of the bill here.), I chose sides in the debate. You probably did, too. I let others who share my religious beliefs and my conservative views tell me how to think.

After doing the research, I believe all of us are reacting based on one emotion.

Because really, it’s not about cake; it’s about fear.

  • That I will be made to feel unequal because of my lifestyle.
  • That I could lose my livelihood because of my faith.
  • That I will suffer because others do not hold the same views as mine.

My Bible says only one emotion “casts out fear” — perfect love. We might think we get it, that we know what love is, but our actions and our attitudes say otherwise.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (You can read more in I Corinthians 13)

There’s a whole lot of pain and not enough love in the world. And more than enough injustice. Life isn’t fair.

Can we consider this? Instead of working so hard to defend and protect our personal rights and freedoms in this one issue, can we look outside ourselves and our circle of fear to see how horrifically the rights and freedoms of others in this world are being violated? Maybe the energy, attention and indignation we’ve expended on this one law that most of us haven’t even read could be used to help the many who have no defense.

We might at least have an idea what we are fighting for.

And maybe in taking the focus off ourselves, we can move closer to giving others a glimpse of perfect love.

For my sons.

12 Comments

  1. Ingrid–this is SO wise and beautifully written. I ask the same: that we think carefully, not react, and align ourselves where our conscience and our faith directs rather than simply absorbing the prejudicial messages we are constantly hearing. I ask and hope for the same for the sake of all my sons as well. (And for all our sakes.) Bless you for this brave piece!

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks, Leslie. Your comment carries great weight with me because I know you don’t shy away from the hard issues. I just couldn’t let it go. Leave it to our kids to make us really stop and think about where we stand. Bless you for reading!

  2. Hi Ingrid, I have been trying to be much more careful in getting all worked up by issues such as this one. I, like you tend to the conservative, but I am weary of paging through Facebook and other social media and having my blood pressure rise, just reading the headlines. I have seen tons of stuff come across my FB page on the Indiana issue from both liberal and conservative friends. I have actually not clicked on *any* of the articles or blogs, until I saw yours. 🙂 I knew you would say something balanced, that would still show concern, but would give perspective. So glad I read this today, and I am going to keep ignoring all the hype. (That’s not to say I won’t jump in when/if the issue comes to my home state of Michigan and I can vote or do something tangible.) But I won’t let myself get all stirred up by the debate. At least not this time. Thank you for your wise words and showing us the things that really matter. Blessings to you!

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thank you, Karen! It’s hard not to pay attention when your home state is being maligned and your kids are stating their positions. I needed to sort this out for myself. I’m glad you took time to read it. May love and common sense prevail!

  3. So very well written, Ingrid. Thank you so much for addressing this in such a kind and well thought out way. It is sad that we now have to have laws to tell us how to be decent human beings. I hope you have a happy and blessed Easter with your family.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thank you, Lynn. It sounds so simplistic, but if we could just learn to love and and respect one another, maybe we could live with fewer laws and less conflict. Blessings to you and yours!

  4. emily dunafin

    Thanks Ingrid for the calm, common sense. I tend to get all worked up over things, like it would change things and it’s up to me to shout my beliefs. You give a peaceful look that comes from the peace that passes all understanding. I can feel this in your writing. God is in charge, the devil is a live and well, but we have the knowledge of knowing the rest of the story. Thank you for peacefully letting us see that truth.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks, Emily. Actually, conversations with my sons caused me to stop and ask God how to react to this. Too often I just “join the team”.

  5. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I hope that we don’t react in fear but love. It is indeed important for us to be informed. I want the world to be a better place for my children and grandchildren.

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thanks, Tara. So do I and I fear that if we don’t begin listening and reacting with our heads and our hearts, we’ll leave them with messes to clean up.

  6. Good morning Ingrid – I am featuring this post on the Ruby for Women blog today, with your permission, and will encourage our readers to stop by your blog for a visit. Your perspective is so helpful in sorting through this mess, and I agree completely that we need to understand that much of this controversy is a result of simply not taking the time to figure out what is really happening. I appreciate you having the courage to sort through it and share your thoughts. Nina @ Ruby for Women

    • inkspots53@hotmail.com

      Thank you, Nina. I wasn’t sure if you’d want this one, since it’s a bit outside the inspirational theme. I’m so glad you were willing to use it. I’ve linked to Ruby for Women with this post from Facebook. Blessings!

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