I learned a lot from being a Christian. Growing up, being part of the Church and learning what the Bible taught helped me form a lot of my own ethical ideas and beliefs. For instance, one particular passage has always stuck with me: Matthew 7:16-20. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” To me, as an LGBT person who often struggles with whether I’m doing the right thing or not, this passage has given me a lot of comfort. It is also something I use to determine whether the actions of others are worth supporting.
Here’s the deal. If what you’re doing is good, you should not be afraid to stand up for it. I someone does not want their name attached to something, then you should probably wonder what exactly they’re hiding from. Anonymous charity aside, never be afraid to stand up for what is right. It’s that simple.
For religious people, this is a tenet of their faith. So I was surprised to learn that there are some religious people who are hiding their work in Indiana from view. After signing SB101, the new religious freedom bill in the state that allows for discrimination based on religious grounds, the people who worked to get the bill passed and attending its signing have not been forthcoming about their presence there. The IndyStar, a local paper which has done some stellar reporting on the bill, no one knows who attended that important ceremony. In fact, they have taken direct action to hide themselves from public scrutiny.
The event was closed to the public and the press. His staff even told a reporter to leave the governor’s office lobby/waiting area during the ceremony. And when asked for a list of attendees, they declined, promising a photograph would be posted on Pence’s Twitter account.
His office then declined to identify those in the photo.
Pretty shady, huh? This kind of obfuscation isn’t just suspicious politically. It also goes against everything the Bible teaches people to do. People who are afraid to stand up for their faith aren’t looked on too well in the Bible. Just ask St. Peter.
Part of the reason why Pence and the people who attended the ceremony may be hiding themselves under a bushel may be because of their own dishonesty. Pence has said countless times that the bill is about ensuring tolerance is a two way street in the state. I agree that tolerance should extend to everyone, both religious and LGBT. But some of the people at the signing disagree.
The Advocate, which report on a lot of LGBT news, has published an article identifying some people in the Twitter photo Pence’s office put up. Included in the photo are anti-gay campaigners who make no bones about the fact that they want to discriminate against gays. Micah Clark advocates for ex-gay therapy. Curt Smith also promotes ex-gay therapy. And Eric Miller is a lobbyist and director of Advance America, an anti-LGBT organization. All are vocal Christians, so why would they hide their involvement in something that is supposedly good?
Maybe because their agenda is exactly what Pence has claimed this bill isn’t about: discriminating against the LGBT community. Those are the kinds of fruits they have actively sought out so it’s reasonable to think that anything they were involved in creating would bear that fruit.
Don’t be deceived by the hollow promises that people like Pence and his cronies only want to protect religious freedom. What they do shows that they are lying. They tried to hide their desire to discriminate from everyone, but it isn’t working. Their fruits are rotten and stink to high heaven. And heaven is most assuredly noticing.