This post is the opinion of Rev. Melissa Fain. It is written outside the general ideal of Fig Tree Christian, the focus of which is biblical education over and above current events.
I've been making Disciples uncomfortable over the past twenty-four hours. No big names. Just personal friends who are cheering the General Church on.
What happened? Well, a bill happened. Darnit Indiana! Look what I've been reduced to! For the first time, and hopefully the last time, you got me talking about politics on a page that is supposed to be void of politics. Governor Mike Pence signed SB 101, or Religious Freedom Restoration Act, (RFRA).
It all came to a head yesterday when the General Church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Pence saying they would consider a location other than Indianapolis for the 2017 General Assembly if he signed the bill. Well, he signed the bill.
Mother of Mary and all that is sacred! Now I feel the need to share why I made others uncomfortable, and maybe expand it a little further.
For me, this all started with Chick-Fil-A, or rather, the boycott of Chick-Fil-A. This was possibly the first huge moment of religious beliefs going up against LGBT issues. Truett Cathy said some things I don't exactly agree with, and among other groups, the Disciples of Christ announced a boycott of all Chick-Fil-As. It backfired. In response, people came in droves to support Chick-Fil-A, and some people ate there for the very first time. The backfiring isn't my point. During the whole fiasco Rev. Julie Richardson-Brown posted to her blog, talking about someone named Hollie. Hollie was pleading people not to boycott Chick-Fil-A. Why? Because she was a lesbian who managed one of the many restaurants. Basically, standing up for LGBT rights by boycotting would hurt a Lesbian small business owner.
Reading the post, written in 2012, I was done. I swore to God and my husband. "I am done boycotting things. From now on I'm going to be a supporter!" So far, I've been true to my word. I changed my coffee to Fair Trade and Conservation International. I try to support farms that treat their animals decently while they are alive. I raise up great voices when I hear them.
Now this. Are we believing this will bring wholeness in a fragmented world? (For you non-DoC this is our most recent war cry.) Or, are we at the point that the Body of Christ is so irreparably broken, we just need to cut ourselves free. Yay! Something else to boycott. Let's remember how good this is while businesses that accept everyone loses the income for being located in Indiana. No, you're right. Everyone should be punished for the actions of a room full of lawmakers.
[Breathe Melissa. Deep breathes.] Let me make two points. Take them or leave them.
Producers Choosing Consumers is Wrong
I love how conservatives can get all up in arms because a musician doesn't want their music played by a specific Conservative personality. They make the valid point, that it is legal for them to play that music with or without the band's permission. As long as they pay the proper fees, the song is theirs to use. Meanwhile, they can't see how two-sided it is that a wedding cake (Produced by a baker) can be purchased by anyone (the consumer.) The baker doesn't like it? That's not how goods and services work. A product is put out into the world to be purchased by whatever consumer wishes to consume it.
Let's take Fig Tree, for example. What comes out of Fig Tree is a product. The product are meditations, prayers, images, and songs. If I said, "This site is not for Catholics, and Catholics don't have permission to look at it," that would be silly. (Full disclosure, we've had a guest meditation written by a Catholic. It's just a silly example.) The point it, the product of Fig Tree can be consumed by anyone as long as the product lasts. Wedding cakes and songs are products that can be used by anyone who wishes to purchase them. You are not supporting a person's marriage by allowing them to purchase your product. You are selling them a cake. Period.
Instead of Boycotting Indiana...
To the General Church of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),
Please, can we stop separating and drawing apart. Consider our call, "Wholeness in a fragmenting world." Instead of jumping straight to running away, how can we find wholeness in this fragmented situation? Perhaps we stay in Indianapolis, and make goods and services come exclusively from "open to all" businesses. Perhaps we can educate the area on why the bill is not appropriate. There is so much potential for healing, especially when the DoC is headquartered in Indianapolis.
Please don't do this. Give me something to support.