Panicked or Prophetic: What Will Happen to Christian Businesses in AZ?

jan-brewerWhat is the sound many conservative Christians doing business in Arizona are hearing now?  The sound is of the winds of change.

Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed the controversial SB 1062, which was created to protect business owners from the increasing threats of not serving homosexual clients, based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

Brewer, in her press conference announcing her veto, noted the threat of legal action against conservative Christian business owners has not reached our state.  States such as New Mexico, Colorado and Washington, are however already facing legal actions against business owners who have stood up for their Bible based, conservative beliefs.  These stands have resulted in businesses closing their retail locations and others facing legal actions, against them.

Governor Brewer is correct.  Stories of actions such as those in other states haven’t been heard of in Arizona.  In these instances, I applaud the homosexual community for showing respect and the tolerance they so desire, for the Christian community.  This portion of our community is active, as exemplified in their actions toward influencing the decision made on SB 1062.  Their activism has been respectfully maintained in the arena of legislation and not of vindictive behavior toward businesses.

The concern in vetoing legislation such as SB 1062 is where it may potentially lead.

Brewer’s comments regarding the bill included “The bill was broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences”.  Only specifying the bill “could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine”, a conservative has to wonder what the future might hold in our state.

Understandably, Brewer had to consider the financial effects of signing a bill such as this one.  Prior to vetoing the bill, the Hispanic National Bar Association cancelled its 2015 convention, slated to be held in Phoenix.  Companies who are already a part of the Phoenix landscape and those considering joining the business community in Arizona, spoke out loudly against the bill also.  The governor had to weigh the consequences of years of poor economic growth and the anxiety of other federal situations, which may continue to stunt economic growth in the state.

What the governor may not have weighed is the potential movement toward a less conservative way of thinking in the state.

Certainly, Arizona is far from its ‘gun slinging’, Wild West days.  Contrary to what some think about Arizona, we no longer ride horses to work with ten gallon hats on our heads.

Arizona is a growing state, who has incredible opportunities for everyone.  Arizona has wonderful universities for academic growth, growing art communities, incredible tourism opportunities and much more to offer the nation and the world.

What is of concern in Governor Brewer’s decision is what authority and possible leverage, the vetoing of this bill may give to a more liberal agenda in our state.

Arizona is not alone in the concern for religious protections for the Christian and other conservative communities in our country.  Twelve other states across the country are struggling over similar religious freedom bills in their own legislatures.  This isn’t just an Arizona concern.

There has to be some realization in which state legislatures address the concern of religious freedom of their citizens.  If thirteen out of fifty states in our country are discussing this topic, we need to address whether 25% of the nation is panicked or prophetic.

Liberals would say conservatives are panicked.  If conservatives are panicked, it is not about homosexuals.  It is panic about the rule of law not being upheld and the threat this has on conservatives and those of Christian faiths.

When the Attorney General of the United States directs his state counterparts to not uphold state laws, but to basically use their own judgment on defending laws, there is a severe problem.  This is what conservatives and Christians are most concerned about in our country today.  The “fundamental change” promised by Obama of which he is now delivering.

If most conservatives and Christians were asked their views on same-sex marriage and related topics, their responses would be, more than likely, based on their religious beliefs, whether it is based on the Bible or other religious writings and teachings.

Based on these teachings, most individuals would respond to not agreeing with the activities in this topic, but still express a love for the persons living contrary to the others beliefs.

Christians and like-minded conservatives are not the haters and zealots as the liberal community has painted us to be.  We are people who want to also participate in the business world and our communities and just as in other communities, be known, appreciated and accepted for our beliefs.  Yet recently, the Christian and conservative communities are under attack.

Businesses with values reflective of biblical views are being pushed down due to Obamacare, as with Hobby Lobby and others, as well as being threatened for boycotts due to beliefs, as was Chick-fil-A in the recent past.

These threats to businesses sometime bring changes, small and great, which are disappointing to those of us who support these companies.  Prior to the Chick-fil-A uproar in 2012, the restaurant played Contemporary Christian music in their restaurants.  For those of us who enjoy that genre of music, is was an enjoyable environment.  It would be presumed, for many others patrons who might not listen to Contemporary Christian music regularly, the music was probably a welcome change never realizing it was Christian music.

Since the well-publicized same-sex marriage uproar and Dan T. Cathey’s, Chick-fil-A’s President and COO, need to defend his family’s stand on marriage, the restaurants have moved to instrumental versions of the same genre of music. My teenage daughter was so disappointed in Chick-fil-A’s decision; she emailed them explaining her disappointment.  Their response to her was in the vein of consistency in the management of restaurant entertainment.  Whether consistency or not, it was a change, possibly produced out of the outcry of different ideas and beliefs.

The bottom line for the reasoning of legislation such as SB 1062 and leadership vetoing such bills is where are lines of protection drawn in today’s society?  Who receives protection from those entrusted to provide it?

All citizens should be protected.  There is never a question about that issue.

But if our Constitution is being denigrated, as it is recently, what now will be our guideline for rights?  If the President can “use his pen and phone” to make things he wants happen, eventually this will trickle down to the states.  If Attorney Generals are directed to no longer defend state laws, eventually there will be less and less laws to defend.

And if these decisions are being made by individuals who don’t see and understand all parts of the moral compass and don’t understand all the elements of their constituents’ beliefs, we will lose all sense of direction.  A chaotic society of who is loudest and has the harshest rhetoric will rule the land.

The concern for religious protection, which is granted by the First Amendment, right now sits with small businesses.  What will happen when a same-sex couple enters a Christian church asking to be married by one of their pastors?  If this couple were members of this church, they would understand the church’s biblical standing on marriage and probably not even ask to be married by the pastor.  However, if religious freedom is not upheld, churches may be forced to conduct ceremonies, against their beliefs, due to the threat of ill willed couples.

This is where we may be prophetically heading in our states and country.

This is not where God or our forefathers intended us to be as a free, united, nation.

Tina Drake

Arizona PolitiChick Tina Drake has been teaching and mentoring Junior High and High School students, in churches where she has been active, since her time as a college student, over twenty-five years ago. Tina believes politics and religion can, and should, be discussed together. She says she is a lifelong follower of Christ and believer in the true significance of God's power in each and everyone's life and she believes in the absolute need for God and Christ to be honored and included in the decisions made for our country. Tina continues to mentor students in this age group, along with her husband, multiple times each week. She believes that encouraging people, especially students, to see the need for a relationship with God and Jesus Christ in their everyday life, is an absolute need in her life. Tina volunteers weekly in her children's school, allowing her to witness how today's students are learning and developing in their social, educational, political and spiritual beliefs. Witnessing how students experience life, during the timeframe of Junior High through College, is immensely important to Tina. She believes this age group needs to be mentored, so they will have the tools with which to navigate today's societal pressures to live life without God, rather than with Him. Tina has also been a teacher to women in churches, teaching small groups, as well as speaking to large groups on a variety of spiritual topics. In addition to Spiritual Formation, Tina has been actively following and discussing the many facets of politics. Tina is a graduate of the University of Arizona, having earned a degree in Communication and a minor in Political Science. After college, she worked in the field of Advertising and Marketing, specializing in Media Buying and Planning, as well as directing entire Marketing and Sales departments. She has been a writer for since 2012 and says she enjoys the opportunity to encourage Americans to live out their faith in Jesus Christ, while they stand firm on the principles set forth by our forefathers in their political beliefs.

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