We have a multi-faith wedding happening at our home this summer and religion is a consideration for sure. At latest count, there will be Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists – in addition to many unbelievers of any stripe.
Among the self-identified faithful, there will be practicing and non-practicing adherents. But we are making provisions for all practicing guests, as best we can. No pork, for example.
In the joyful throes of wedding planning, I’ve also heard these comments:
“We won’t be drinking wine, but it’s fine to serve it.” (A lovely accommodation in light of the Muslim practice of no alcohol.)
“I won’t be dancing. It’s against my religion.” (Fine, but I know other people in your faith tradition who dance.)
I have joked that it’s against my religion not to have a chilled cocktail about an hour before the wedding, but obviously that is more of a preference than a religious practice. . . .
Which brings me to Indiana. Indiana business owners who object to same-sex couples, for example, now have a legal right to deny them services. In other words, if I own a dry cleaning business, I can refuse to clean the shirts of gay people – married or not. Or something like that.
It was against Jewish law in Jesus’ day to touch lepers and bleeding women, and yet he did it for the sake of the greater law of love. If we believe the Bible, Jesus spoke against stoning an adulterer, socialized with Samaritans, and was okay with his followers picking grain on the Sabbath – all in violation of his religion’s law.
What would Jesus say to the bakery owner who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple for religious reasons? (“It’s against my religion for same-sex couples to marry.“) Or to the nursery school owner who refuses to allow a mixed-race child to attend that school – again for religious reasons. (“It’s against my religion for races to intermarry.”) Or the restaurant owner who refuses to rent the party room to a Hindu family for their daughter’s graduation. (“It’s against my religion to do business with someone who worships multiple gods.“)
If I’m to understand Jesus correctly, I believe it’s against my religion to refuse to serve my neighbor.