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Good Intentions, Bad Outcomes

Life has many frustrations.

one of the greatest for me is the fact that I get very little credit for all my good intentions. If only people knew how patient, organized, and romantic I intend to be.  I even give myself pep talks when I know I need to step up my game.

But for some reason I have a hard time translating that into my actual life.  So, despite the way I know I intend to be, my friends, colleagues, and wife live in the reality that I’m still somewhat impatient, often unorganized, and romantically lost.

I suppose there is some comfort in knowing I’m not the only one to suffer this affliction.

If intentions mattered, Jimmy Carter’s presidency would have been our nation’s finest hour, the Donner Party “shortcut” would have actually gotten them to California sooner, and everyone would have enjoyed that safe, luxurious passage across the Atlantic on the Titanic.

But one of the many things that separates the adults from the children is the ability to look at the situation for what it is separate from what it was intended to be.

Such is the dilemma many are facing in the growing feud over religious freedom and same-sex “marriage”; the latest episode prompted by A&E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson over his statements about homosexuality.

While there are lots of people firmly embedded on one side or another of this issue, there are a number of people genuinely troubled because they support same-sex “marriage” but also truly believe in religious freedom.

The tension between the two is bothering them.

So they look to strike a balance.

They heard the assurances from those promoting same-sex “marriage”, and they can easily imagine a world in which gay people can get married at the same time that institutions that hold a natural view of marriage continue to thrive. They don’t accept the idea that religious freedom has to go away in order for gay people to get “married”.

In theory, they would be right.

But that’s the challenge.  We live in reality, not in theory.

In reality, proponents of sexual liberation generally and same-sex “marriage” specifically are creating very real harm to religious freedom.

Is that because legions of gay people have conspired to destroy rights of conscience?


No one claims to be opposed to religious freedom just like no one claims to be for discrimination. The devil is in the details.

When proponents of same-sex “marriage” say they support religious freedom, they aren’t lying, they’re just not clarifying.  So with the very best of intentions, they try to be advocates for both.

But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The company selling thalidomide in the 1950’s wasn’t trying to kill babies and cause severe deformities, they were trying to help expectant mothers with morning sickness.  But that didn’t make the harm any less real. There comes a point when you have to accept responsibility for certain outcomes even if you didn’t intend them.

Proponents of sexual liberation aren’t trying to destroy religious freedom, they’re trying to end discrimination.

But now we know what that actually means in real people’s lives.  A world free of discrimination, as they understand it, requires people to choose between their livelihood and their conscience.  It forces photographers, florists, inn-keepers, bakeries, and many, many more to do things that violate their conscience or get out of business.

Did this movement set out to take away people’s freedoms, interfere with people’s ability to make a living, and make it harder for faith based ministries to serve their communities?

Does it matter?

The facts are what they are.

Unless you’re just afraid of conflict, actions speak louder than words. Especially in politics.

If you’re conflicted over the Duck Dynasty/Chick-fil-A/florist/photographer/baker issues because you desperately want to strike a balance between gay marriage and religious freedom stop listening to arguments and start looking at the facts.

At the end of the day, you are going to be judged by your actions and not your intentions.   Don’t be afraid to do the same.

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