Tim Cook is right

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in this morning’s Washington Post, “There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.” I think everybody agrees on that. We may disagree about where the largest danger lies.

As far as I can tell, everyone agrees that we must never discriminate against another human being. We must never use race, religion, sexual preference, or any other reason to refuse service to a fellow image bearer of God. God loves all people, and so must we.

The NCAA says it fears that Indiana’s religious freedom bill might negatively impact its fans who attend this weekend’s Final Four in Indianapolis. This seems overwrought. Do they really think a gay couple will be refused entrance into the game or a meal in a restaurant or a room in a hotel? The next time I hear of that happening will be the first.

The real issue in dispute is whether people with a religious objection to an action will be forced to participate in that action. The answer now seems to be yes.

Yesterday Indiana’s embattled governor Mike Pence appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” Stephanopoulos cited a group called Advance America, which said that Indiana’s religious freedom bill means “Christian bakers, florists, and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”

Then Stephanopoulos said, “So this is a Yes or No question. Is Advance America right when they say a florist in Indiana can now refuse to serve a gay couple without fear of punishment?”

I was startled that Stephanopoulos actually used the term “punishment.” He seemed to imply that the florist should be punished for not participating in a gay wedding. Even more telling was that Governor Pence was afraid to answer the question. Six times Stephanopoulos asked a variety of the question. “Just give me a Yes or a No,” he insisted, and each time Pence dodged the question.

So that’s where things stand in our country. It’s hard to think of a more gentle, benign job than a florist. Yet our cultural leaders are now asking whether they should be punished, and the person they elected to protect them is afraid to say. Tim Cook is right, “There’s something very dangerous happening in our states.”

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