RFRA Statement

RFRA and the Church

Here is Christian Theological Seminary president and SALT's very own Matthew Myer Boulton's statement on Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA):

Christian Theology Seminary (and SALT) believe deeply in religious liberty.  But we witness to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth - the one every Christian disciple seeks to follow - calls us not to a freedom to exclude, or a freedom to discriminate, or a freedom to create an atmosphere where prejudice may flourish.  On the contrary, again and again, Jesus calls us to a freedom of inclusion, equality, justice, and profound respect for the dignity of all.

CTS (and SALT) oppose this act, then, not only because it represents an offense to the spirit of civil rights; not only because it cuts against the best of Hoosier hospitality; and not only because it has created a public relations crisis for the state of Indiana.  We oppose RFRA primarily because it violates the Christian values we hold dear:  values of inclusion, equality, justice, and the dignity of all people, including our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

The Christian Gospels are replete with examples of these values.  In the Gospel According to Luke, in response to the command to 'love your neighbor as yourself,' a lawyer asks Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' It is a clannish question, a question that seeks to draw a circle around one group we are required to love and serve, creating another group we supposedly may exclude as outsiders.  

But Jesus will have none of it.  In his response - the parable of the Good Samaritan - Jesus flips the question on its head, as if to say, 'Don't waste your time asking the clannish question of who your neighbor is; instead, go and BE an excellent neighbor, serving all with mercy and justice.'

Three weeks ago, I was a keynote speaker at a church service rallying against RFRA.  In conversations afterward, many of us who attended, including some of the event's organizers, lamented that it appeared the bill was headed for passage.  I take heart today at the bipartisan, statewide, nationwide outcry against this unwise, unjust legislation.  And I continue to be inspired by the many Christians and other religious people who stand against RFRA as a matter of faith, conviction, and genuine religious liberty.

Real damage has been done, but together we can and must begin the work of repair.  Indeed, for Christians, as we move ever deeper into Holy Week, we can only be challenged and encouraged that God is a God of hope and resurrection.

Matthew Myer Boulton
President and Professor of Theology
Christian Theological Seminary


A big SALT "thank you!" to Matthew and to Christians everyone who love with open minds, open hands, and open hearts!