An open letter to the Government of the State of Indiana from a wedding vendor.
Much has been made in recent days of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and how it protects the the religious freedoms of those who serve couples on their special day.
My statement is very simple: I don’t need your protection in this area.
As a struggling small business in a small town in the Hoosier State I welcome everyone who selects me as their photographer, whether that be for a wedding, portrait session, or otherwise. My business has grown from a hobby pretending to be a business - to the real deal. I collect and pay sales taxes, have been a member of the chamber of commerce, pay property taxes on all the camera gear that I use, make sure my business interests are insured, and somehow still manage to pay the rent for my studio every month.
If I chose to be as selective in who my clients were as you think I am, I would likely have very few clients to serve. From a raw business standpoint - the more marriages there are, the larger my client base can be.
What I have chosen is for the Ten Commandments to serve as a guide as how I should live my life, not as a book of rules which I should be using to judge others.
One of the most thoughtful commentaries on recent days has been provided by Reverend Brent Wright, Paster of the Broad Ripple UMC. He says, “The Pharisees were disgusted at Jesus’ lack of religious purity, at his libertine social boundaries, and at his disdain for the rules of his own religion. They were disturbed by his willingness to associate with the filthy and the despicable. They insisted on their right to refuse service to the unclean, to marginalize those contaminated by what they self-righteously labeled ‘sin.’ They loved interpreting scripture in ways that led Jesus to call them hypocrites for worrying about specks in ‘sinners’ eyes while ignoring logs in their own.
The Pharisees’ perversion, which mutated what was surely a sincere pursuit of faithfulness into its exact opposite, should cause you to reconsider your support of RFRA and of your sense of ‘purity’ that calls on you to discriminate against LGBT people in general." Full text HERE.
Underneath his blog a commenter wrote to the affect - Yes, Jesus forgave the sins of the prostitute and told her to “go and sin no more.” And further the poster seemingly believes that if you choose to associate with a sinner without telling them to sin no more - you are in fact encouraging sin.
I say to you it is quite different. Jesus associated with the sinner, loved her and forgave her sin. The only thing that us as humans are qualified to do, is to associate with, and to love. We need to let God take care of the rest.
Your religious freedom act encourages neither - association and inclusion, or love of fellow human.
My suggestion? If you want to protect me - protect my clients.
Do a better job of making sure brides aren’t crying on their wedding day because their cake is delivered crooked. Make sure florists are delivering what they promise. Oh and make sure no one has to take their photographer to small claims court to get their pictures. (I have seen all of this happen).
Happy clients are paying clients, no matter their persuasion. Paying clients mean I get to collect sales tax for you, and to buy a new camera so that my county can collect tax on that.
And you can then go back to the government’s job of spending our tax dollars wisely.