What If Jesus Had Been More Like The Arizona House Of Representatives?

Jesus feeds 5000(Painting by Eric Feather)

By now you’ve probably heard that the Arizona House of Representatives voted 33-27 in support of a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to the gay community if doing so is against their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Religious beliefs being, in this case, code for the Christian faith.

Fortunately, this draconian bill appears destined for a veto, but it got me to wondering, “What if Jesus had been more like the Arizona House of Representatives?”

In other words, in the minds of those who support this bill, their Christian faith demands they refuse service to people they believe to be sinners.

Well, what if we applied that sort of ethos to the gospels? What if refusing to serve sinners was, in fact, a Christian ethic? Would that change the teaching and actions of Jesus? And if so, how?

For starters, the Sermon on the Mount would sound a bit different.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Would need to be changed to something more like,

But I tell you, have nothing to do with your enemies and denounce those who disagree with you…If you love those who don’t love you, what reward will you get? Are not sinners to be shunned? And if you serve people you don’t agree with, are you not subliminally supporting their ideas and way of life? Do not the pagans do that? Be judgmental and exclude others, therefore, as the Pharisees and Sadducees judge and exclude others.

Remember that leper Jesus embraced and healed? No more miracle service for him. Lepers in the Bible get leprosy because they sinned or their parents sinned. So they must be avoided at all costs, for their own good and the good of the community.

The woman caught in adultery would have died, pummeled to death under a pile of stones. She was a sinner and undeserving of any advocacy service Jesus could provide her.

Poor Zacchaeus would probably still be stuck up in that tree, or at least bereft a good story to tell about a famous dinner guest. After all, by going to his house for dinner, wasn’t Jesus supporting Zacchaeus’ corrupt tax collector lifestyle?

That demon possessed boy? Still possessed by Satan. People only get possessed by demons in the Bible because they’ve sinned and welcomed the Prince of Darkness into their lives. Jesus can’t be in the business of offering exorcisms to sinners.

And last, but certainly not least, and most damning of all those miraculous feedings of crowds of four and five thousand people? Gone. For one, there were definitely sinners in that crowd and “worse” yet, statistically, there were definitely some gay folks waiting to be fed. Jesus can’t be serving them lunch.

Of course, there are many other changes that would need to be made, but long story short, if Jesus was more like Arizona House of Representatives, the gospels would be a very different story with very different news to share.

But to be fair, I don’t personally know anyone in Arizona who is supporting this bill. Maybe the people in Arizona and elsewhwere supporting this bill do have religious beliefs that keep them from serving the gay community.

But what I do know is those beliefs aren’t Christian.

In fact, they’re fundamentally antithetical to the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.


Grace and peace,

Zack Hunt

  • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

    Great post but the discussion is purely academic, of course. We all know the real Jesus — the Jesus of the gospels — wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected in any conservative state. Voters would write him off for his pacificism and call him a socialist.

    • Tom LeGrand

      Elected? I doubt he could even get an interview for a job as a pastor.

    • Freedom’sBell

      Could you refresh my memory? At which party’s last national convention was God booed by the delegates?

      You bias is splattered all over your face. Jesus still loves you. ‘Go and sin no more.’

      • jordin

        At which party’s presidential primary debate was a candidate’s suggestion that America “do unto other countries as we would have them do unto us” met with boos?

        • Freedom’sBell

          Is your favorite British Prime Minister Chamberlain? No country has done more to lift people out of poverty and free people from dictators than the US. It will be interesting to see how much of the USSR Obama lets Putin take back. He certainly didn’t do much for the Christians slaughtered in Egypt, Syria or Sudan.

  • Tom LeGrand

    Never disappointing! Zach, I don’t know that I have the know-how to speak to the legality or constitutionality of this bill…or the Hobby Lobby battle…or any other constitutional issue. But I think that we have to speak for the “religious liberty” that this bill is alleged to protect. Even if we have the right to refuse to serve (and that’s a huge IF in this life/liberty/pursuit of happiness society that is supposedly our ideal)…WHY WOULD WE? What is possibly being accomplished in Christ’s name, other than defaming the actual name of Christ? To paraphrase Jonathan Merritt, we cannot reach those that we are not willing to serve.

  • Don

    I think we all know that Jesus would feed everyone one. The question I have is, would he attend a gay wedding? Would he bake some weed brownies in his little bakery shop?

    • Grazer #E2H

      I absolutely believe he would attend a gay wedding if he was invited. I see nothing in his actions from the gospels that he would go “sorry, you’re gay” He’d probably go just because he knew it would send some Christians into a an apocalyptic fit of rage

      • Jim

        I think Jesus would say, “What’s gay?” Since the idea of “gay” and “straight” is an invention of the last hundred years or so.

        • Anthony

          This is revisionism.

          • Herm

            so? is not forgiveness also revisionism?

      • Freedom’sBell

        Do you consider homosexuality a sin? Are there other sins you celebrate?

        • Herm

          it may be cliche and over used but the truth is Jesus who I choose to be like loves and celebrates the sinner without loving the sin. “go and sin no more”

          • Freedom’sBell

            Do you consider marriage a celebration? Are you being weak, dare i say mean, to see a friend celebrating sin and risking their eternal life and not mention an alternative?

          • Herm

            I’m sorry I was not clear, the ceremony, to me, is the celebration but the marriage is a contract between two consenting adults or, also, the bonding together (welding,soldering or cluing) of two materials. There is no marriage in Heaven!

      • jordin

        If he did go, there’d be plenty of booze to go around.

        • Herm

          The good stuff!

  • Bart Massey


  • Sharideth

    Nailed it.

  • Demosthenes

    In fifty years, the phrase “religious liberty” will sound like “states’ rights” sounds today.

  • dallas756

    So- we’ve labeled homosexuality as ‘sin’. (which I’m not arguing) Do we all sin? Of course. But whereas I think most everyone would agree that stealing, lying or cheating are ‘sinful’ – even if we’ve done those things; many people do not view homosexuality as sinful at all.

    I actually work in the wedding industry as a videographer. According to this article I am actually being “un-Christian” if I turned down services to a homosexual couple. That WHAT I film is completely separate from my faith life. Now, what if a pornography company approached me to film a video? According to the principle above, it would be “un-Christian” of me to turn them down – even if I was available – because although I view pornography as sinful, my prospective client does not. It is part of who they are. And since – according to this article – Jesus would clearly not refuse service to anyone despite their beliefs which are contradictory to mine, I should see that I’m actually being “Jesus-like” by filming for this client.

    And this is where so much of contemporary Christianity is missing the mark. We’re convinced that there has to be a compromising point that makes everyone happy. So that we can still be Christians but also the world will love us. I see so many authors, pastors and bloggers struggling to find the right way to frame things so that suddenly the entire secular world will exclaim “Oh, when you put it that way, Christians are so awesome!” We’ve created this Jesus that deep down is just ‘cool with everything’ because that’s “love”, right?

    Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the world. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Does this mean we’re to be parading around with signs and screaming at the gay pride parade? No. That if I own a hardware store, I shouldn’t sell a shovel to a homosexual? No. But would Jesus officiate a homosexual wedding? If I get to heaven and he tells me “yes, actually I would have.” then call me wrong. But based on the information He has given me in his Word, I get the idea homosexuality is something His Father wasn’t too fond of. Thus, while I believe Jesus would have fully welcomed the homosexual to his table, just as He graciously does for ALL of us, I don’t think he would participate in celebrating their sinfulness (officiate a wedding) using “love” and “tolerance” as an excuse.

    • Shelby Maddox

      Amen. If you really love someone, don’t let them destroy themselves. If you really hate someone, help them destroy themselves.

    • Tom LeGrand

      Do you shoot the weddings of those who have had sex outside of marriage? Have been divorced? Have lived with one another before the wedding?


      I would view the pornography as a separate issue, because that is far outside the scope of your business and its purpose. I see your point, but it doesn’t seem like an apples-to-apples comparison.

      • Marcus

        “Do you shoot the weddings of those who have had sex outside of marriage? Have been divorced? Have lived with one another before the wedding?”

        The difference, in these cases (seeing aside divorce for a moment), is that getting married is the *right* thing to do. If a couple has seed outside of marriage and then chooses to get married, that is *good*. If a couple lives together unmarried and then decides to get married, that is *good*. These are things we as Christians can take part in joyfully.

        If a couple wants to publicly affirm their sinful lifestyle, that is not something a Christian should be part of. Whatever that sinful lifestyle might be.

        Serving someone in a restaurant is not an affirmation of their lifestyle. Contributing too or even attending a wedding *is*, by definition, affirmation of that union.

        This is an obvious distinction. So obvious that I can only conclude that people who argue against bills like this in the manner portrayed above are both being willfully disingenuous, and believe that we, as Christians, should be offering our full endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle choice.

        • Tom LeGrand

          Therein lies the problem. You can’t set aside the issue of divorce if following a hermeneutic that says A is absolutely right while B is basically wrong in all circumstances.

          I don’t necessarily think that you should have to photograph a gay wedding, and I furthermore don’t understand why a gay couple would want you to do so if you are so strongly opposed to it. But let’s drop the farcical notion that this is truly about Christian rights and religious liberty. Have you ever photographed a wedding for non-believers? Do you ask if BOTH people are Christians; and does their faith meet your standard for what Christianity should be?

          Maybe you feel led to ask those questions and I really do not have a problem with that. But if you don’t, then let’s end the charade. If we are going to say “Marriage is THIS, and providing services for any marriage that is not THIS is supporting un-Biblical practices”, then you apply it in every aspect. This is not about support for traditional Biblical marriage. This is about wanting the right to say that you don’t like homosexuality and gay marriage.

          You have every right to say that. But leave the Bible and Jesus out of it, UNLESS you are going to apply that ethic to every couple that walks into your shop. If you believe that view of the Bible, then don’t cherry-pick your issues.

    • Erin

      Just trying to work out your argument in my mind, so don’t shoot me here, but serving a homosexual in a restaurant would not cause you to sin. Filming other people having sex might, though? Pornography is generally considered sinful, so isn’t this apples and oranges?

    • ZackHunt

      Like Erin said, you’re comparing apples and oranges. Serving some you consider sinful is not the same thing as participating in their sin.

      • Anthony

        Serving some you consider sinful is not the same thing as participating, that’s true. Feeding a hungry thief, clothing a greedy person, making a cake for a gay couple, etc., are all acts that Jesus calls on us to do. For that reason, I strongly oppose the now defeated Arizona law.

        But what about giving the lost bank robber a ride to the bank? Would Jesus call on us to do that?

        You can debate whether baking a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage does or does not constitute support all you want, but I’m tired of hearing the absurd argument that Jesus’s call for us to love others means we have to serve others even when doing so makes us complicit in their unrepentant sin.

        The AZ baker who refused to make the wedding cake believed that doing so made her complicit in what she believed to be an event that would foster potentially lifelong unrepentant sin.

        To state that those beliefs “aren’t Christian” is wrong.

    • Herm

      Dallas756, based on the information He has given me as the Word in my heart and mind I am calling you wrong. I would still bake you a cake to celebrate you and yours as merciful neighbors. I would not cater to feed coveting, murder, adultery or anything that subjugates any of God’s creation to the self centered profit of a few in defiance of God’s authority over all. The law is clear when founded purely on loving our beloved Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our merciful neighbor as our self. We physical mortals have made the contract of marriage far too important when Jesus expressly tells us there is no marriage in Heaven. I will celebrate with any consenting adults by sharing my gifted services without having to share what they might do between themselves. Jesus is my, your and their sufficient judge so if you and they do not threaten the sanctity of me and mine I need react no further. I am free to be tolerant and loving of all even when all I physically know is imperfect. Only Who I know in my heart and mind is perfect.

    • Paula Fether

      Well said!

  • Ty

    “But I tell you, have nothing to do with your enemies and denounce those who disagree with you…”

    Lol. Yes, as usual you don’t fail to reveal your own hypocrisy Zack.

  • http://www.africankelli.com africankelli

    We are called to love all. Jesus’ message was clear.
    As an Arizonan, I can only hope this nonsense will be vetoed Friday. As a Christian, I can only hope we can all stop the conversation about how discrimination is a freedom, and ooops! How this bill may influence our economy with the upcoming Super Bowl.
    This isn’t about freedoms or finances. It is about opening our hearts and doors and minds and being more loving to all.

  • DB

    “By now you’ve probably heard that the Arizona House of Representatives voted 33-27 in support of a bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to the gay community if doing so is against their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    by now, you’ve probably heard that nothing like this actually happened

    On the issue of Arizona’s SB 1062, there are some revisions to the existing laws, which are Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1493 & 41-1493.01. I have highlighted those revisions below, by way of comparison to the existing law. The changes are in all caps, and the current laws remain substantially unchanged.

    Be sure to feel the hate, discrimination, bigotry, intolerance, and oppression that will obviously be visited upon certain groups of people if these revisions are signed into law. (hint: it’s not there)

    Current Arizona Revised Statute 41-1493 reads:
    “Exercise of religion” means the ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

    The potentially revised version reads:
    “Exercise of religion” means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

    Current law reads:
    “Person” includes a religious assembly or institution.

    The potentially revised version reads:

    In Arizona Revised Statue 41-1493.01, current law reads:
    Except as provided in subsection C, government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

    The potentially revised version reads:
    Except as provided in subsection C, OF THIS SECTION, STATE ACTION shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

    Current law reads:
    Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is both:
    1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
    2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    The potentially revised version reads:
    STATE ACTION may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if THE OPPOSING PARTY demonstrates that application of the burden to the PERSON’S EXERCISE OF RELIGION IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE is both:
    1. In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
    2. The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    Current law reads:
    A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.

    The potentially revised version reads:
    A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDING. THE PERSON ASSERTING SUCH A CLAIM OR DEFENSE MAY OBTAIN APPROPRIATE RELIEF. A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover
    attorney fees and costs.

    Current law reads:
    In this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

    The potentially revised version reads:
    FOR THE PURPOSES OF this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

    A final section is added to the potentially revised version, that is not present in the current law (it provides a definition of “state action”), and it reads:

    So in light of the current hysterics surrounding Arizona’s SB 1062, this is very much worth reading… The letter, signed by professors at eleven different law schools (including Harvard, Stanford, George Mason, Notre Dame, and Pepperdine), begins by stating:

    “Dear Gov. Brewer:

    SB1062, which amends Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is on your desk
    for signature. The bill has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics. We write because we believe that you should make your decision on the basis of accurate information.

    Some of us are Republicans; some of us are Democrats. Some of us are religious; some of us are not. Some of us oppose same-sex marriage; some of us support it. Nine of the eleven signers of this letter believe that you should sign the bill; two are unsure. But all of us believe that many criticisms of the Arizona bill are deeply misleading.

    The federal government and eighteen states have Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs). Another twelve or thirteen states interpret their state constitutions to provide similar protections. These laws enact a uniform standard to be interpreted and applied to individual cases by courts. They say that before the government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.

    That standard makes sense. We should not punish people for practicing their religions unless we have a very good reason. Arizona has had a RFRA for nearly fifteen years now; the federal government has had one since 1993; and RFRA’s standard was the constitutional standard for the entire country from 1963 to 1990. There have been relatively few cases; if you knew little about the Arizona RFRA until the current controversy, that is because it has had no disruptive effect in Arizona. Few people had heard of the federal RFRA before the current litigation over contraception and the Affordable Care Act.”

    For your edification, read the rest at the supplied link.


    My take: Those who despise personal liberty have duped the unwitting masses into bullying others into submission to their agenda by means of embracing a demonstrably false narrative, and watched those so duped happily repeating cries of “bigotry” and “discrimination” as they join in a fight that militates against their own freedom. Those who despise personal liberty snort in derision at individuals who are so easily manipulated and controlled, and laugh all the way to their next feeding at the trough of power.

    And if you’ve read this far, i’ll finally add something controversial: Here’s the bottom line when it comes to Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062 and the minor yet important revisions to Arizona Revised Statutes 41-1493 & 41-1493.01 that it offers… The political left in this country (“liberals”/leftists/progressives/totalitarians/contra-liberty types) saw these revisions, and quite rightly, for what they are—a challenge to the employer mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Thus, and unable to deploy their usual “go to” by proclaiming the legislation to be racist, they did the next best thing in the current social climate, and loudly proclaimed that the legislation was “anti-gay”. This set the agenda that so many in this country (and probably around the world) willingly swallowed without a second thought, thus framing the debate around “refusal of service,” sending up the cries of “bigotry,” “hate,” and “discrimination,” and claiming that the LGBT community would be harmed by this legislation when none of that could be further from the truth. Sadly, the LGBT community is being used as pawns by those who crave unlimited power, and there is real harm in that fact. It matters not to the left. Any challenges to ObamaCare will not be tolerated. When it comes to the current crisis, that is the absolute bottom line.

  • Jason

    You miss the point entirely. Sorry, but you do. The folks bringing these lawsuits are looking to punish Christians. They are vindictive, and as far from tolerant as it is possible to get. For example, the gay couple at the center of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision acknowledged that there were other service providers who would agree to meet their request, but sued anyway. Of COURSE Jesus would feed gay people. But he never met with sinners and then said “It’s all good here, no changes necessary in your life.” It was rather, “Turn, repent, go and sin no more.” Right?

    • Herm

      “The folks bringing these lawsuits” are not necessarily Christian or Christ like. I would have to say say from observation the services who tout they are and reject those folks are not necessarily Christian or Christ like either. Jesus ate with, served and accepted as a disciple Matthew. Jesus could despise tax collecting and still love the tax collector by sharing His gift of love. Jesus made being a child of His Father more attractive when He demonstrated before the entire world that tax collecting didn’t rub off.

    • Paula Fether

      I agree, Jason. We need no laws to force people to violate their consciences so someone else isn’t offended. In a free market such places would just go out of business anyway. And if we can’t blame all Muslims– or sexual deviants– for the actions of a few, then the same holds true for Christians. So some Christians think other Christians are making a bad example; fine. Leave them to God instead of the courts. But you are exactly right: this was a targeted attack, an intent to make an example.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    But Zack, if God could make the food in the mouths of the Israelites turn rotten when they rebelled against him, surely the same could happen to unrepentant sinners who ate the multiplied bread from Jesus. You just need to think of God as more powerful and angrier and then everything will make sense! ;)

  • Dave

    So If I’m a Christian landlord that doesn’t want to rent out my building to an abortion clinic or strip-club I should be forced to? Aren’t there some business dealings that we should be legally allowed to not participate in due to our own religious beliefs?

    • Herm

      … if it’s legal within all the auspices of the community’s C,C and Rs that’s the price for the privilege to risk to profit from business. There is a price to be paid for the privilege of living under the nurture and parental authority of our Father in Heaven as Their child. Luke 10:27

  • Herm

    I ask simply that you clear your heart and mind of all previous influences, including mine, to invite the Holy Spirit to be your sole soul guide. While focusing on His leadership open your heart, mind and Bible in a quiet place to read, in order, the following: Deuteronomy 5:11-21, I John 3:4, Luke 10:25-37, Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:12-17, James 2:1-13. James was the brother of Jesus and the accepted head of the Christian church on Earth after Jesus’ ascension.

    Close your Bible and “judge” mercifully for yourself who sins most, or at all, according to those criteria; the rejecting baker or the open LBGT client. Define “sin” according to the Word as Jesus after having stripped away the distracting words of our modern day Pharisees and teachers of the law.

    Are relationships between consenting adults mine to judge if they don’t lead me or mine into pain, death or sin?

    Some of us have pled in prayer directly to God to take the sinful demons from us and the sinful nature defined by Him He did; the sinful nature defined by Man He did not. To my knowledge after a lifetime of concerned diligence and caring study no one has been cured of their gayness by God. At the same time I have witnessed in my own life and many, many lives around me those who have, solely because of their plea full prayer alone and directly to God, miraculously changed to become loving of their God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind and
    simultaneously becoming loving of all their neighbors who show them mercy as
    much as they love themselves.

    I cannot nor wish to condemn you. You and I are His to judge mercifully. Keep up the diligent study and we will certainly throughout eternity share one heart and one mind with Him. I love you! I love the gay! I love the baker!

    • Aunt Tasty

      Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of coming to the Scripture (or anything else at all) emptied out of all of our lives, our histories, our “raising”, our knowledge, or our traditions. We just don’t. It would be super interesting, though!
      Jesus loves all the parties, also. You, me, the baker, the person who is gay, and Zack. :-)

      • Herm

        Aunt Tasty, fortunately because of your interest there is a Way. By the way you speak I know that you hate the world’s influence and are super interested in how, or maybe if, He will fill the cup that is you to overflowing; pushing out all those distractions. He is teaching you and me how to love one another without sibling rivalry. I see it as so by your expressed mannerisms and that you gave me the “time of day”, thank you. I will answer your question phrased as a statement. Yes, He has managed to empty out those failing self centered legal influences from my past and replaced them with a love and sense of belonging to the whole of His. It began with recognizing His hand intervening in my entire self centered world (I would not have if I had not been looking). The next step was beginning a conversation addressed to (in the King James tradition) our Father who art if Heaven. The next reality step I remember was having an out and out swearing argument with Him telling Him directly to His face that He couldn’t possibly exist and allow this to happen. From there I learned the significance of resting in Him at least once a week from the necessary strengthening struggles of this world’s work week. Now I recognize and communicate with Him every moment and especially so when

        • Aunt Tasty

          Of course I’d bake you a cake. Cakes for all!

      • NavVet

        Matthew 5, 15, 19, 22

  • NavVet

    As I recall Jesus cleaned the temple. So much for your commerce theological nonsense. You would made an excellent “Seeker of Smooth Things” in Jesus day.