Oh…you want to use my services? Yeahhhhh, that’s a problem. Look you seem nice and all, but I just can’t do it, because what you…do…and are…is…frowned upon by my religion. But I have an excellent reason for discrim…uh, declining to serve you.
See, my ancestors chose to follow an abridged version of a religion practiced by a desert tribe millennia ago. This tribe had a direct line to the Almighty through a handful of guys who SWORE they spoke directly with the Creator of the Universe, and that He ordered the tribe to do everything these emissaries told them to do, or else He’d smite them.
Which he did, repeatedly, the emissaries claimed whenever things got bad. Sometimes he came through with food and water and protection—they said—but mostly he yelled at them through the emissaries. He was mad they weren’t following his orders to the letter. Whenever they complained, he’d get P.O.ed and let them get sick or suffer or die or be conquered by the other tribes who THEY were trying to conquer. Now, isn’t that a beautiful story?
Anyway, the emissaries presented a TON of laws to the tribe, and you had to follow them or else bad stuff would happen. A few of the good ones were terrific, pretty much stated not to hurt or kill anyone. Good thing the Creator of the Universe told them that.
Much later, some other guy who, and this is my favorite part, hinted that he was the SON of the Creator of the Universe took that tribe’s tenets and added a bunch of new stuff. He didn’t really dump the old rules, but he didn’t stress some as much as others. For example, he said everyone should love and respect each other. He also said that he’d set families against one another, and that he’d die and come back again to judge the living and the dead, sending the ones who displeased him to a horrible flaming underworld. Maybe. I mean, that’s the general consensus about what he said.
Anyway, he died, and CAME BACK. Wow! That’s a guy you want to know, right?
Certainly, well, his friends said it SORT OF looked like him, but not totally. Except for when he did. He hung out for a while and then flew off to this place no one can see where everyone is happy all the time…even though you’re hanging out with that terrifying Creator of the Universe dude who, uh, once killed everyone on earth at the time with a massive flood, because they were evil. The kids too. Evil kids? Sure. Hey, you don’t argue with a guy like that. He must know what he’s doing.
So, the Son of the Creator of the Universe left his followers, and they spread the word about his lessons across the Ancient World. Then this other guy who’d never met him, took all his words and restructured everything to appeal to the Italians who currently ran most of the known world. He underscored some of the older rules again too–which the son never mentioned, actually… Anyway, this new guy became the Son of the Creator of the Universe’s chief PR flack, after he’d spent some time trying to stop the Son’s religion by slaughtering his friends and followers for blasphemy.
No, no! The Son of the Creator of the Universe’s original followers were totally cool with that.
Man oh man, then it took off! Suddenly, the Italians and scads of other people across the Empire were worshiping this poor carpenter. Especially when they were assured they’d go to that happy afterlife place I mentioned.
Well, yes, there were people across the world who’d never heard of this religion or this particular Creator of the Universe, or the emissaries, or the Son of the Creator, or any of the laws…and, well, to their surprise, I heard they all died and went to that horrible flaming underworld to suffer forever, because…
It’s just a shame, really. They should have known better.
But let me get to my main point. Remember when I mentioned my ancestors? Well, somebody told them about this religion and they signed up…or they were forced to convert under pain of death. Either way, they were in, and since then everyone in my family has been told what I just told you, and we’ve accepted it as is, no questions asked. Because really, how COULD you question it? Answer: you can’t. You just can’t.
My ancestors and everyone since took to heart the laws prescribed by the desert tribe and the Son of the Creator in a book that compiles a couple dozen scrolls written in several different languages and eras, after discarding a few other texts that seemed iffy. The book has been edited and re-edited over the last 2,000 years by heretics and firebrands and tyrants and madmen and other men and women who wanted to amass power and wealth by showing the proper interpretation of the words of the Creator of the Universe who no one had spoken with directly for a thousand or so years. But the awesome thing is, it’s still true. Every last syllable. It’s been changed and altered and sifted and translated, but it’s still the same book endorsed by the Creator of the Universe. And you can’t deny that, right?
Anyway, I follow EACH AND EVERY law outlined by this book. Except the odd commandment about clothing or food or menstrual cycles or slavery or…well, okay, there’s quite a few I don’t follow because they don’t mesh well with my modern life and they’re too hard to follow. Sure, some folks still follow ALL the rules, but they’re wrong, because they didn’t listen to the guy who said he was the Son of the Creator of the Universe. Nope, they listened to the guys who said they were his emissaries. CRAZY, huh? SOME people.
As it turns out though, because I believe in all the rules and laws in this book, I also believe some modern laws can’t be followed, because they interfere with my selective reading…Um, I mean my deeply held beliefs.
Now, even though what I’m doing to you might RESEMBLE the discrimination practiced on other groups of people throughout history, it’s really not the same, because… well, like I said. I follow a few specific rules laid down by a bunch of guys who, several thousand years ago, told an isolated desert tribe that the Creator of the Universe put them in charge of everyone and that if they didn’t listen up and do what they said, they’d be slaughtered or punished horribly in the terrible place of torture no one has ever really seen that the Son of the Creator of the Universe may have suggested exists.
Anyway, that’s why I’m refusing to help you with your wedding.
So, honor my freedom of religion, even when it interferes with all the other rights you’re due. You better, because the super-powered Son of the Creator of the Universe will return some day, prove I’m right, and sentence you to an eternity of pain because you tried to get married. Face it, buddy, the facts are on my side.
And remember, the Son of the Creator of the Universe loves you! And so do I!