I've been reading a few of the comments generated by Rachel Held Evans' latest blog post, entitled "For the sake of the gospel, drop the persecution complex." As of this morning, there are 687 --- a high number among faith-based blogs where readership --- and comments --- always spike dramatically when same-sex marriage or other LGBTQ issues are under consideration.
Some days you'd conclude that sex is the only thing Christians think about, although Confederate battle flags have been coming in a close second lately.
Anyhow, Evans --- who grew up Southern Baptist but now worships among Episcopalians --- has become a popular opinionator among folks transitioning from the somewhat harsh approach to LGBT people prevalent within the fundamentalist and evangelical wings of Christianity toward a more liberal outlook. And a popular whipping-post for grumpy old men because (a) she has no formal theological training and (b) far worse, is a woman.
Anyhow, the conversation always seems to shift --- when persecution of heterosexual Christians in the United States is under consideration --- to those poor souls crucified on confectionary crosses or spiked by rose-bedecked floral picks when they decline to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, or arrange the flowers, or provide the venue.
One common misunderstanding in these conversations is that LGBT people want to do business with people who fear that dealing with us commercially will endanger their salvation or send the wrong message to their brothers and sisters in the pews. Trust me, we don't.
As a rule, these confrontations occur purely by accident. A lesbian couple, for example, sets of out to commission a cake, sees a bakery sign that doesn't indicate they're unwelcome, goes in --- and bang. Next thing you know, reporters are descending.
Many if not most of these painful confrontations could be avoided with appropriate signage.
Adding "Christian" to the title of your business would be one idea if you'd rather we didn't enter and inconvenience you --- Cecil's Christian Confectionary, for example. Or Farrah's Faith-based Floral Emporium.
Posting a Bible verse out front probably would do it, too. Doesn't really make much difference which verse, since these signs are rarely read --- just spotting a sign with a Bible verse on it usually is enough to cause those of us who have experienced aversion therapy with the Good Book as principal weapon to know trouble when we see it. Most likely we'll say "oops," turn around and walk away.
Just trying to be helpful .... And keep in mind that I'm not writing about businesses that really do sell products directed toward a specifically Christian clientele or to those whose signage reflects personal faith rather than a wish to make a point on this or that issue of the day.