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Perhaps Love Bakes a Cake

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It is a culture war that has raged in churches and courtrooms, in parades and fast food places. Now in the most bizarre turn of all, the “gay marriage” battle is being fought in bakeries across the country.

It is a story that’s in the news again this week, but we’ve seen it several times now: A bakery declines to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing Christian conviction. The gay couple files complaints of discrimination with the media and state. Both sides rush to stake out their battle lines – gay rights activists bring boycotts and threats against the business owners while Christians raise the rallying cry of religious freedom. The conversation ripples outward with both sides becoming louder and louder. Everyone involved believes they themselves are the victim of discrimination.

While many Christians see this as a disturbing indicator of mounting persecution, I see it as a disturbing indicator that somewhere along the way we got confused about what it means to be followers of Jesus. And now we have these culture war skirmishes where we exchange volleys of Bible verses but don’t look at all like Him.

As I watch the story pass through the news cycle every few months, I wish that we could change its course.

The bakers’ argument is simple yet problematic – “I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin… The Bible tells us to flee from sin. I don’t think making a cake for it helps.”

But there’s simply no Biblical command for Christians to deny services to those whose actions you believe to be sinful.

If there was, who could Christians serve? If all the Christians who believe gay marriage is sinful followed this precedent, where would it stop? Christian landlords would refuse to provide a home for gay couples to live in. Christian shop owners would deny selling groceries and household goods that gay couples would use to live their gay lives. Christian employers could even decline to hire gay people, knowing that they would use their wages to support their “lifetime of sin”.

Here our hypocrisy is on display. Where is the refusal to do business with any other people deemed “sinful” by your interpretation of the Bible? If you believe premarital sex is sinful, do you decline a wedding cake to any couple who had premarital sex? What about couples that are divorced and remarried ? What about couples who are of mixed faith – “unequally yoked”? Or couples who aren’t Christians at all – after all, without faith it is impossible to please God? By this standard, these Christian bakers would have to carefully vet each prospective couple to make sure that they will have a Godly marriage free from sin, perhaps have them sign a Statement of Faith. How else could the bakers be sure that they’re “fleeing from sin” rather than “helping somebody celebrate it”?

But if we continue this line of thinking, who CAN Christians do business with? Should a Christian landlord rent a home to non-Christians who will live there “in sin”? Should a Christian restaurant owner turn away any guests that are likely to commit gluttony? What of materialism and greed and consumerism? They’re all strongly condemned in the Bible – far more than gay marriage. Should a Christian retailer turn away any customer whose purchases support a life of THOSE sins?

This is where the “cake debates” reveal a larger problem. We’ve reduced Biblical ideas of sin and godliness to a small handful of sexual “issues” where we plant our flags and fight to the death – abortion, gay marriage, pornography, premarital sex. The great majority of our words are spent arguing about these things to the neglect of a holistic view of Christian living. In the process, we make people into props for our debates and eliminate the potential for any meaningful relationship.

We’ve taken the whole of the Bible and somehow turned a few verses into an excuse for discrimination.

Christians have an undeniable double-standard in how we treat people who we believe to be sinful. I don’t think this double-standard is simply an oversight or a mistake on the part of some Christians. It reveals a systemic problem that’s wholly taken for granted: when we draw our circles in the sand, gay people are on the outside. Always. It’s veiled in terms of “Biblical marriage” and “personal belief” and “religious liberty”, but when it’s directed only at the gay community I can’t help but wonder if it’s just bigotry baptised in the language of religion.

I fully affirm the freedom to practice religion and to worship God without government interference. But discrimination against gays is simply not an act of worship to God nor a sacrament of the Christian faith. While I recognize each individual Christian’s right to their own conscience, this shows us how far Christianity has been hijacked by political interests. When Christians have become convinced that refusing service to gay couples is actually an act of service to God, something is wrong.

Contrary to the narrative being spun by some conservatives, this isn’t a case of being denied the “right to believe what we believe.”

You can believe that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman for life – nobody’s going to penalize you for that. Where Christians get in trouble is when we try to make everyone else live by those same beliefs. But freedom is a two-way street, and there are laws established to protect that freedom for all citizens. These laws that some Christians see as persecution of their faith are the very same laws protecting them from discrimination.

Suppose that the headlines read “Athiest Baker Refuses Wedding Cake to Christian Couple.” The uproar would be deafening. Every conservative Christian and political news outlet would be outraged. If it happens to us, we want to call it persecution. But when we do it to others, we want to call it “religious liberty.” We can’t have it both ways, and I find these fear-mongering cries of persecution to be simply dishonest.

It is interesting to note that the Bible actually addresses this scenario in I Peter 4“If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler [that is, a Christian who tries to make non-Christians conform to Christian standards]. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” Perhaps this isn’t a new phenomenon after all. Perhaps from the beginning we’ve had this tendency to push our views on other people and then suppose that we are being persecuted for it.

What has been conspicuously absent in all this talk of the Bible and Christian values and pleasing God is any mention of Jesus.

It’d be easy to wrap this up with talking of how Jesus was a “friend of sinners”, and how Christians should follow His example by befriending sinful gay people. But I think that’d still be missing the point. And it’s simpler, even, than that.

Christianity is a religion of love and of grace. Whenever morality becomes elevated above love we have veered away from the meaning of the faith.

Perhaps the most Christian thing of all is to love God and love our neighbors.

Perhaps Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs.

Perhaps Love covers a multitude of sins.

Perhaps Love doesn’t demand that everyone live up to our standards.

Perhaps Love gives with no strings attached

Perhaps Love meets people where they are and cares about them as people instead of issues.

Perhaps Love bakes a cake.

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Note: This blog is visited by a diversity of readers – Christian and nonreligious, LGBTQI and straight, conservative and progressive. Please read the comment policy before commenting.  Any comments that are deemed hurtful or rude may be deleted at my sole discretion (this includes comments comparing gay marriage to predatory acts, and comments referring to gay people as “the homosexuals”). 

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  • Nice

    Beautifully said….

  • http://www.identityrenewed.com/ Teryn O’Brien

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue lately. I do agree that America is a special case, in that we supposedly believe in the right for all people to pursue happiness. And yet, many Christians in America believe that that’s only true for conservative, white, Christian, straight people. Christianity has become so political it’s hard to know what God Himself would want anymore. America isn’t a theocracy. It’s a democracy. We must tread carefully, if we want to maintain our own rights. Because a democracy says that all have rights (not just the elite few or the moral majority or whatever you call yourself).
    I also see the hypocrisy in Christians who point the finger at homosexuals, and yet live blatantly selfish, sinful lives. I think homosexuality has become the scapegoat for our own lax in morality. “Well, at least we aren’t that,” we tell ourselves (when we’ll look at porn and are unfaithful to our spouses, when we won’t stand up against injustices like human trafficking–often linked to the porn industry, when we treat others who are different with contempt and ridicule, when we show no love whatsoever in any of our actions, when our churches are falling apart because people aren’t allowed to be honest or broken without feeling like outcasts and alone). This isn’t what Jesus intended.

    • Logan81

      I think you hit the nail on the head with the “At least we aren’t that” argument. I haven’t seen a lot of concrete numbers, but most sources estimate that only around 5% of the population is LGBT. That makes a REALLY appealing scapegoat for the general population. Something tells me that Jesus doesn’t condone the behavior of “picking on the little guy,” though….

      • http://www.identityrenewed.com/ Teryn O’Brien

        You’re so right! The majority often uses the minority to make themselves feel better.

        • Snooterpoot

          Some people have a need to feel superior to someone, anyone, in order to feel good about themselves.

    • Brenda

      YES!

  • http://abbyfahmi.com/ Abby Fahmi

    Or takes photos.

    My husband is a professional photographer. We’ve talked about this very thing. What will he do?
    Well, a few months back, he traded services with a co-worker, the co-worker resealed our driveway and my husband took pictures of his family. The only “problem”?
    His co-worker isn’t married and he and his girlfriend had recently had a baby “out of wedlock,” and *worst of all* they are living together.
    And that’s when it hit me, personally.
    If my husband doesn’t find it offensive to take photos for this co-worker, why would he have trouble taking photos for a gay or lesbian couple?
    I think he’s still working through it himself, which is ok with me. But I saw the parallel, and I realized how hypocritical it would be for him to deny his photography services to a friend, if they asked, just because he doesn’t agree with their “lifestyle” (Sorry, using buzzwords, I know, just trying to keep it relatable).

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Abby, thank you so, so much for this comment. I have quite a few photographer friends, and I’ve had this conversation with a few of them. I intentionally didn’t bring that aspect into this post, but I’m glad you did. Your story seems to hint at my suspicion that our avoidance of “sin” is often tangled up in our discomfort with “others”.

    • Karissa

      I’m a photographer as well. And a Christian. I have quite a few gay friends (after all, we are supposed to love the world and show Jesus’ love to them, right?!) I had one of these friends ask me if I would take photos of him and his boyfriend…I hesitantly agreed because we are good friends…we ended up not doing the shoot for various reasons, but I did gain quite a bit of stress from thinking about that potential shoot. How would I set up poses? What would I do if they wanted to kiss? (I have a negative gut-reaction to same-sex PDA…actually most PDA, but especially the same-sex variation). I’m not sure, but I don’t *think* I would turn down a same-sex shoot, even from strangers; BUT I don’t think they would WANT me to shoot their event, etc…That negative gut-reaction could make my photos less than my best. They would not be getting as good of a product out of me as they would from someone that fully accepts that lifestyle. I love love my gay friends; I do not love the lifestyle.
      …That is my thoughts right now!

      • Snooterpoot

        Being gay is not a lifestyle. If you love your gay friends how can you say you do not love some nebulous, undefined “lifestyle?”

        • OtterMatt

          Care to share the evidence for that assertion? I mean, besides the obvious one about how you WANT it to be true, but I don’t think you’ll see much of anything scientific helping you purport that it’s anything but a choice.

          • okflowerchild

            So, you figure being gay is something people just decide, because, you know, society makes it so easy to be gay. So,when did YOU decide to be “straight?”

          • Chris King

            As a gay man, raised in a very sheltered Baptist pastor’s household alongside 5 very masculine, redneck brothers, I assure you it’s NOT a choice. Who in their right mind would choose this? No one I know. Of course, my first hand perspective means nothing to someone like OtterMatt who no doubt has all the answers.

          • Snooterpoot

            Educate yourself, OtterMatt. The fact is that no study has found any evidence whatsoever that sexual orientation is a choice.

            If you believe it is a choice, then you do it. Right now. Choose to be emotionally and physically attracted to someone of your own sex. Choose to fall in love and make a commitment to someone of your own sex.

            Can’t do it? Then why the hell do you think we can?

            Have you ever asked someone who is GLBT if they chose their sexual orientation, or did you just repeat the same old lies that have been perpetuated by bigots for centuries?

          • Jim B.

            OK wise guy – can you or Anyone show the Evidence that there is some genetic source to “gayness” !?
            “I was born this way” – Where are the studies / proof ?

            I’ll grant the “possibility” of some hereditary factors – and distortions of normal biological processes – but there is ample reason to see that much Environmental / influential and “personal responses” affects all our behaviors. Choices are not always consciously made or known. People have many (deep) reasons for why they act like they do – even psychology/ new-age science believes this.

            Or do you think that you have no personal control over your actions!?

            The Issue – is Moral and Spiritual — not Scientific or even Legal! Whether or not we agree on “causes” – it is about regulating / restraining / choosing to alter Your Behavior!

            Can you choose Not to act on any of your (inbred) impulses ? – sexual, prideful, hurtful, destructive, selfish, envious, cruel or any other sinful attitudes and instincts that we humans share in??
            How you answer this question shows what you/ we/ or I know

            of the Gospel and of following Jesus…

  • seanallenparfitt

    Micah, thank you for addressing this issue. I am used to hearing comments on this from my non-Christian gay friends, but not from straight Christians. You did a good job exposing the flaw in these cake-maker’s logic. As a gay man myself, who hopes to marry his partner, I am acutely aware of the discrimination so often handed out by Christians citing Bible verses. However they will attend weddings of previously-divorced folks and baby showers of single mothers. It hurts that my homosexuality is given a special rank in their book of shunning. Even if I was “living in sin”, the hypocrisy is just too much. Thank you for bee a friend to people, regardless of who they are or what “lifestyle” they chose to live.

    • Brenda

      Precisely!!

      What caused me to question what I actually believed (in addition to reading many good blogs like this), was seeing the response within a Christian group to affairs/divorce/triangles that were so complex as to boggle the mind – and, which I have never witnessed amongst my non-Christian friends. It made me reconsider everything right down to “what IS the difference between Christians and non-Christians??!” It seems that heterosexual Christian sexual practices get a “pass” no matter how many Scripture verses/commandments are being violated – but homosexual practices are, as we would say in my mother tongue (German),”überalles verboten”.
      May God bless you my brother.

    • jj1954

      Hey Sean, rest assured there are many Christians out here who love you and everyone else, including the LGBT community. The so-called Christians who are promoting discrimination against gays aren’t living Jesus’s teachings, they’re living their own personal prejudices. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus say personally that homosexuality is a sin. Paul does in Corinthians, but he wasn’t even born when Jesus was alive so how would he know exactly what Jesus thought. His letters were all based on third party stories and I have to believe he added some of his own feelings into the mix. Jesus did teach us to love everyone, your neighbour, your enemy, sinners, everyone. He also taught us that God was the only One who was in a position to judge, “Let ye without sin cast the first stone…”. These “Christians” may believe there aren’t any real gay Christians, but we know that’s not true, and we also know that their groups are filled with real sinners and hypocrites. I call it selective Christianity. So I hope you can find confidence in knowing that for every one of these sad examples of supposed Christianity,there are so many more of us who know you are just as much a true child of God as anyone else and deserve all the rights and freedoms that the rest of us enjoy. God bless you and I hope you get to enjoy your wedding soon!!

      • Aaron

        Permission by omission? Jesus didn’t talk about bestiality, murder, pedophilia or any number of other sins either. Does that mean they’re ok?

        • Snooterpoot

          So, you are comparing a loving, committed relationship by two people of the same sex, which harms no one, to bestiality, murder and pedophilia, which are in and of themselves sick or harmful and do cause harm? And you wonder why we get absolutely furious at you?

          Why is it that you people are so obsessed with bestiality and pedophilia? And why do you spend so much time thinking about the intimate activity of strangers? You call us sick. That is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

          • Aaron

            I’m not comparing them. They are all sin, just like gluttony, greed, stealing, coveting, on and on and on. One sin is not greater than another sin in God’s eyes. They all separate us from God, Period. Homosexuality is a sin, as pointed out in the bible over and over again. Either you believe the bible or you don’t. That is entirely up to you. But it is in there, just like the other sins mentioned. I didn’t compare them. I just pointed out the ignorance in your argument that just because Jesus doesn’t mention it doesn’t mean it’s permissible. There is no such thing as permission by omission. But the argument above is saying that exactly. Homosexuality is a sin, there’s no way around it. My point is since Jesus didn’t mention these other sins does that make them permissible?
            And to imply that homosexuality doesn’t harm anyone, once again, you’re wrong. Homosexuality harms the practicing homosexual. You could argue that there are several sins that don’t hurt the sinner, but you’d be wrong. Sin separates us from our Creator. Do you have the freedom to sin, absolutely. But don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt someone. It hurts the sinner. We may be free to do as we please but we are not free from the consequences.
            Feel free to attack me personally by making accusations, etc. It just continues to show that you don’t have an argument.
            So what say you? Does the fact that Jesus doesn’t mention these other acts, behaviors, lifestyles, or whatever you want to call them, does that mean they are permissible?

  • http://www.faithmeetsworld.com/ Rob Grayson

    Thanks for approaching this so thoughtfully. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

  • http://ReWritingDad.com/ Chad Miller

    As always, Michah, you approach this with great thoughtfulness and obvious love for humanity.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Thank you so much for this.

    As a Christian man who is both married and gay, I’m ambivalent about the whole topic. On the one hand, I believe that discrimination based on sexual orientation should never be tolerated for all of the flawed-logic reasons you stated (as well as other reasons). But on the other hand, I’m really uncomfortable that LGBT demands for inclusion too often cross the line into attempts to marginalize those who would discriminate against us. We know what it’s like to be kicked to the margins…turnabout is not cool.

    On a different note, unfortunately some Christians are actively fighting to keep housing and employment discrimination legal. They are fighting against “the normalization of homosexuality”. What you’ve expressed as a-bridge-too-far is actually happening. The US Counsel of Catholic Bishops, for example, is fighting the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) currently being considered by congress. Their rationale: “[W]e cannot support a bill, like ENDA, that would legally affirm and specially protect any sexual conduct outside of marriage.” I fail to understand how hiring a gay person affirms gay sex…but there it is

    • Snooterpoot

      “… LGBT demands for inclusion too often cross the line into attempts to marginalize those who would discriminateagainst us.”

      Really? Let’s try a thought experiment.

      African Americans’ demands for inclusion too often cross the line into attempts to marginalize those who would discriminate against them.

      Religiously mixed couples’ demands for inclusion too often cross the line into
      attempts to marginalize those who would discriminate against them.

      Interracial couples’ demands for inclusion too often cross the line into
      attempts to marginalize those who would discriminate against them.

      Atheists’ demands for inclusion too often cross the line into
      attempts to marginalize those who would discriminate against them.

      And on, and on, and on.

      How much allowance is appropriate for providers of public accomodations, or businesses, or landlords, any of whom could claim religious objections to these people, ethnic groups, etc.?

      I do not see a minority’s demands for recognition of their human, civil and legal rights as marginalizing anyone else. In fact, I think these demands illustrate the marginalizing of the despised people.

      I think lots of people disguise hatred behind a mask of religous freedom in order to avoid the requirements of the law. I don’t think any peaceful reaction to them is unreasonable.

      No one ever won recognition of their rights by sitting down and shutting up.

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        Some people think that giving conservative Christians “a taste of their own medicine” is a good thing. I don’t. It won’t slake our thirst for justice and it won’t lead to reconciliation. Some gay people aren’t interested in reconciling with this who have inflicted so much harm (and continue to do so).

        I am interested in reconciliation.

        I think there are important lessons to be learned from Rwanda and South Africa. Reconciliation benefits everybody – especially those who have been harmed.

        Best to you,
        Ford

        • Snooterpoot

          Um, did I say anything about giving anyone a taste of their own medicine?

          My comment was essentially about allowing proprietors of public accommodations the right to discriminate against people, who are protected by law, by claiming it violates their religious beliefs. Where does that end? Can proprietors refuse to serve Muslims? Rastafarians? Hindus? Racial minorities?

          It’s not about giving anyone a taste of their own medicine. People either obey the law or they don’t. If they don’t then they do not have an intrinsic right to operate a business or other public accommodation.

          I grew up in the south during the 1950s and 1960s. I well remember the signs in businesses that said “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” in an attempt to deny African Americans access to the services or goods they offered. In my opinion proprietors who refuse to provide goods or services to same-sex couples are of the same mindset.

          Reconciliation in South Africa occurred after the pro-Apartheid citizens admitted to their bigotry and asked for forgiveness. It’s not a one-way street.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Hi Snooterpoot (awesome alias) –
            I’m not sure what you’re objecting to in my comments. I don’t believe that discrimination based on sexual orientation should ever be tolerated. I also think it’s possible to demand justice without marginalizing others. I don’t see where we disagree. Can you help me understand?

          • Snooterpoot

            Perhaps I misread your comment, but it seemed to me, by mentioning giving Christians a “taste of their own medicine,” that you were saying that people who are homosexual are motivated more by a desire for revenge than by a desire for equality.

            I get lots of comments on “Snooterpoot.” I actually snagged it from a television program (can’t remember which one) in which a woman called her toddler Snooterpoot. My hunch was that it would be a unique screen name, so I’ve used it since then.

          • Mike

            Snoot: Not all are “bigots” or “haters” who disagree with your views. They have the same constitutional right to disagree and say “no thanks” to hosting those weddings in their churches. They also have a right to refuse business that they simply don’t want to do (unless they are employed by the government). Christian & Jewish physicians are often persecuted because of their stance on not taking part in abortions. Seems like intolerance and sheer hatred is now clearly being demonstrated in the Homosexual camp. I have homosexual friends and business acquaintances that I try to serve and look out for just like any one else. In high school more than once, I stepped in and defended homosexual kids who were being bullied by idiots. However, I don’t have to accept your view..ever. Many homosexuals are not saying “don’t mistreat me” anymore, it’s we will do what we want, where we want..including your private property, church or place of business. That is simply not acceptable..and borders on hate. Jesus is the model of love and grace.. yet, He told the woman caught in adultery, “..go your way and sin no more”. Love also tells the truth–even when it is uncomfortable and tough (for me too). Choosing to practice homosexual sex IS a lifestyle..same-sex attraction may not be.

          • Snooterpoot

            Churches are protected by the First Amendment. No one is challenging that. And no one is saying that you don’t have a right to disagree. Certainly you have that right. But you don’t have a right to escape the repercussions of expressing that belief, and that is what you, and others of your ilk, think it should be.

            What we are saying is that if the law requires that a business, which is not a person and has no religious beliefs, is required to provide its goods and services to everyone equally, including same-sex couples, it must follow the law.

            Mike, pointing out the intolerance of others does not make us intolerant. That’s just the latest tactic of some Christians who are playing the victim game. If it wasn’t so nauseating it would be hilarious.

            Now, how are physicians “persecuted” for not performing abortions? Is picketing their clinic persecution? Is picketing their homes persecution? Is putting up Wanted posters with their names and addresses persecution? Because, Mike, those are the tactics the pro-birthers use against physicians who choose to honor the reproductive decisions of their patients. Let’s include death threats, and outright murder, with that, too. So, Mike, do tell us how they are persecuted.

            There you go with that “lifestyle” bull scat that many of you use as a pejorative. It is a slur, it is offensive, and it makes us angry. You say that you are not a bigot or a hater, then you turn right around and say that our very being is an affront to God, and that our intimacy, WHICH IS NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS, is an abomination.

            Your comment reveals you as a hypocrite who hates us, Mike. Go ahead and try to hide behind your holy book so you don’t have to admit it to yourself. Others, however, see right through you.

            One more thing. Not all Christians or Christian denominations agree with your interpretation of the scripture. What makes your interpretation the only correct one among millions of others? You don’t reflect the love of God. You reflect the odious, self righteousness of people who get their jollies condemning others. Am I angry? You bet I am. I am sick to death of you and people who share your chosen theology haughtily looking down on people whom you do not know, and who have done you no harm, and using God as your justification.

  • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

    BAM. Truth bomb right here.

  • Emily R

    THANK you. I couldn’t agree with this more. I have some [Christian] wedding photographer friends who, when the issue was brought up, simply said “Sure. Why wouldn’t we photograph a gay couple’s wedding? It makes no difference to us.” I feel like Christians have pigeon-holed being gay as the only “sin” that matters to them; the only sin that they’re going to fight back against. Where does it end? Should we stop selling groceries to alcoholics or adulterers? There’s no logic there, and more importantly, no LOVE in that type of behavior.

  • Becks

    Really enjoyed this article. Very well said

  • Meri

    Love this so much! I think it could be very easy to segue into American Christians’s interesting spin on capitalism and business (that would be a fun conversation!). But I really think you hit the nail on the head here. Thank you so much for all your thoughts on these types of “issues.” God is doing great things through your words!

  • http://lostreef.blogspot.com/ Virgil T. Morant

    Elaine Huguenin, the photographer in New Mexico who recently lost the appeal of the case where she refused to photograph a homosexual couple’s commitment ceremony, said that she would provide her services to homosexuals for virtually any other setting: she specifically objected to providing the photographs for the commitment ceremony. There really is a clearer distinction than you allow between providing services generally to people who are sinners (which is everybody of course) or even people who are committed to this or that particular sin, on the one hand, and providing a service for an event that specifically celebrates or “makes official” the sin. Surely it is clear how photographing someone who happens to be a practicing homosexual for, say, a college yearbook is materially different from photographing a same-sex marriage (or “commitment”) ceremony.

    In the concurring opinion in the Elaine Photography case, Justice Bosson wrote, after having presented a legal argument and conclusion, “All of which, I assume, is little comfort to the Huguenins, who now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” Those who refer to this as persecution might want to spend a little time conversing with people who have been fed to beasts, beheaded, locked up and beaten, or shot to death before they continue calling it persecution. That word is being thrown around a bit lightly. Nonetheless, is this now the next call, the next fight that should be waged, when those who want to refuse these very narrow services just want to live by the beliefs that give their lives meaning? When there are other photographers and other bakers a block away? Is it really a matter to take so lightly, the government compelling so specific a matter of conscience and belief as this?

    If, by the way, you think any kind of “what next?” argument should be considered, as in, should a restaurant then refuse service to one who seems gluttonous, then that kind of argument should be considered in the other direction too. Would it be, then, any more far-fetched than the gluttony example to imagine that a minister who refuses to officiate over a ceremony might get hauled into court and the court choose to hear the case rather than dismiss it? Too far-fetched to imagine a day where a plaintiff in such an action might actually prevail? There’s a disturbing kind of “we are winning this cultural war, and therefore you are required to act the way the culture dictates” trend in all of this. Also disturbing is the notion and judgment, however implied or stated outright, that people like Elaine Huguenin are failing to love their neighbors as the Lord commanded.

    • Joy

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. Everyone overlooks the fact that she refused only to do a “wedding” that she felt was sinful. She didn’t refuse gay customers for other events AND I believe gave them a list of other good photographers. Somehow people always like to gloss over that. That is the dividing line, gay “marriage” is not something a Christian should support. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat with sinners or provide them business. But marriage is different…

  • Mary Martin

    MIcah, many thoughts, brother. Basically, disagree with you but wanted to do it carefully and respectfully, too. So I reblogged you on my blog.

    http://iconobaptist.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/baking-a-cake-for-a-gay-wedding/

  • Angie K

    This is simply great. Thanks for putting this voice out there. Sharing.

  • Shimobe

    Suppose we did see a headline that read “Atheist Baker Refuses Wedding Cake to Christian Couple”? So what? I’m a Christian, and that wouldn’t offend me. Stores and vendors of all kinds have always reserved the right to refuse service to anyone. I wouldn’t want to make an atheist baker uncomfortable in that way, and it should be that individual’s right to refuse, based on his/her personal beliefs. Atheists’ personal beliefs should be respected just as much as Christian beliefs are, in America. That’s what America is all about.

    Now, should Christians be loving and treat people with kindness? Of course. That’s a huge part of what being a Christian is all about. But other belief systems are not focused on loving others, and we need to let those people follow their beliefs also, as long as they’re not violating anybody’s non-religious civil rights.

  • Bill Garske

    I applaud any Christian who takes a stand against evil. (Yes, homosexuality is evil. If you have a problem with that, you can read the Bible sometime. I would recommend all of it.) The reason evil has increased so quickly in this country is because Christians refuse to take a stand. To think that acceptance will improve the situation is ridiculous.

    • Brenda

      For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds… I only know by heart that in the KJV. “Taking a stand” is carnal warfare. Prayer is spiritual warfare. What would happen if we took less public stands and just spent all that time praying? How would evil advance then?

  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    I’m with you on this. I get that many Christians, due to their interpretation of Scripture, believe that same-sex marriages are outside of God’s will. This is an important consideration if you’re a pastor officiating a wedding, because you’re essentially saying “I believe God has willed this and will bless it.” It’s a much less important consideration if you’re baking a cake, taking pictures, etc. because all you’re doing is providing a service, not commenting on whether or not God approves of the union. If you do want to restrict your services to customers that meet your standards, it still seems awfully unfair to single out gay folks. Have you ever baked a cake for some guy and the woman he left his wife for? What about a couple where one member is a Christian and the other is not? Or, if you have a conservative understanding of gender roles, what abour a feminist straight couple? If you wanted to be really consistent, you could start a business called “Sally’s Straight Virgin Christian Couples’ Wedding Boutique” or something, but I doubt you’d get much business.

    However, with all that being saId, it meant a lot to me when I got married that those who were involved in taking pictures, providing the food, baking the cake etc… were generally excited about my wedding. If they had believed, for whatever reason, that my marriage was not worth celebrating, I doubt that I would have given them my business. I realize that in small towns it’s not always possible to find gay-affirming businesses, but where such exist I suspect they are a better option for most gay couples, even if other businesses are forced to serve them.

  • williedeutsch

    The logic of this post broke down when you equated serving gays with helping them celebrate something which many believe is wrong. There is a big difference between serving gays as one of a bunch of people in the run of the mill of regular life and putting in a lot of time and energy in serving them as they celebrate something which many Christians believe is specifically wrong.

    Of course refusing to serve one couple when there are other vendors to go to is much less unloving by any standard than the coordinated response of the gay community which was to target the business and its customers to force them out of business. The piece almost reads as a “they deserved it piece.” I bet the response of the gays to the Christians who conscientiously objected had a much more damaging impact on the Christians than the gays.

    • FangBanger

      Why should they hunt up another bakery? They liked this one. Gay people are sick of Christian bigotry and oppression. Again- were it any other type of couple, regardless of their sin, these Christians would have served them happily and taken their money. Yet they reserved non-service to a specific, targeted “sin”, as Micah points out. Why is this so difficult to understand for Christians? What is it about this particular ‘sin’ that makes Christians into illogical and irrational bigots?

      • DustinDopps

        I think you are wrong when you say “were it any other type of couple, regardless of their sin, these Christians would have served them happily…”

        If I was a Christian photographer and someone wanted to hire me to take portraits, I wouldn’t care about sin. But if they wanted to hire me to take pictures of their swingers’ party, I would have a problem with that. Or if they wanted me to take photos of them nude. Or if they wanted me to take photos of a gay wedding.

        Can you not see how these people have problems with specific scenarios, not with a group or class of people?

        If the Westboro Baptist Church wants to hire a gay photographer to take pictures of them holding their “God Hates F@gs” signs, should that photographer be compelled to take part?

        • Snooterpoot

          Let’s do a little thought experiment. If I was a Christian photographer and someone wanted to hire me to take pictures of an interracial wedding, I would have a problem with that. Or if they wanted me to take photos of a Christian and a Jewish wedding I would have a problem with that. Or if they wanted me to take photos of a Muslim wedding, I’d have a problem with that. Don’t you seer how far this ridiculous hiding behind religious beliefs can go?

          There is a difference, DustinDopps, between hiring someone to photograph a “swingers party” and a same-sex wedding. I am amazed you even constructed that analogy.

          The point is that a baker or a photographer who offers services to the public, and whose business is in a state or jurisdiction that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation must obey all the laws and not just the laws they like.

          Baking a cake is not participating in or endorsing a wedding, nor is photographing a wedding. It’s simply a commercial service. The bakery decided they didn’t want to obey the law. The couple who faced their hatred and discrimination made their unlawful and despicable behavior public and they lost their business. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

          I am a 62-year old woman who grew up in the south, and this doesn’t look any different to me than the signs then that said “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” so they could turn away African Americans. It befuddles me that people cannot see that, because it is simply discriminating against people who are different. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 put an end to that foolishness then, and it’s something that ought not to be tolerated now.

          • Pondering

            The difference is that the Bible doesn’t state that being black is an abomination.

          • Snooterpoot

            Are you sure about that? Because I remember my Southern Baptist preacher defending racial segregation with scripture, particularly with the “mark of Cain.”

            There is not one place where the Bible says that being a person who is homosexual is an abomination. You might interpret the Bible as saying that, and that’s your choice, but others, including millions of Christians, disagree with your interpretation.

            And, if you seriously want to talk about abominations we can get into the whole Leviticus chapter 19 list of abominations, if you dare; which I highly doubt, because those abominations are mighty inconvenient to people like you who want to use a few obscure scriptural passages to condemn people of whom you disapprove.

  • J Gascho

    It seems that when I adjust the biblical truths to fit the lifestyle of “doing what is right in my own eyes ” the sin regardless of the nature of it becomes less and less important by blaming other people . If the bible calls a lifestyle or action a sin that is what it is no matter how hard I try to use my ability to justify my agenda.

  • Mike Dunster

    I am a bit puzzled by this, I must confess. For those who believe that homosexuality is wrong, it seems to me that the Bible is quite clear on how we approach this:

    “9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
    12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.””
    I Corinthians 5:9-12, NIV (courtesy of BibleGateway.com)
    So, Paul says that while there may be reason for the church to discipline Christians that do wrong, there is no place for it to judge those outside the church, and definitely not to refuse to associate with them.
    Or am I oversimplifying things? It just sounds rather clear to me.

    • EthanRogati

      I’ve always been confused on this verse. The standard laid out in 1 Corinthians seems different from that of Christ in the Gospels, who sat down and had meals with many people that the Jewish establishment rejected.

  • Hannah

    I think the basic hypocrisy of their actions is what loses any empathy I may have felt for them, and I think you address that hypocrisy well in your post, Micah. Where does it end? Why is homosexuality so special? Why aren’t they screening all their customers for possible moral failings?
    Jesus healed and fed and helped and loved people knowing everything about them because He’s God, Himself being perfect and everyone around Him a sinner, but He never said “Oh, sorry, I’m not healing you because you’re a sinner and I don’t want to encourage your sinful lifestyle”. I mean, in light of that, who do we think we are? Thank GOD that Jesus doesn’t help us only when He thinks we deserve it or because He considers us “pre-approved”.

    • EthanRogati

      He did, however, often say “Go and sin no more”.

      It’s challenging to me to understand what he meant by that. Does that mean that he was healing them despite their sin, specific to what was going on in that moment? Does it mean that they were to sin no more in general?

      I agree with you, Hannah, the healing and feeding and helping and loving was unconditional. I’m just saying that sin wasn’t completely ignored. Maybe after the fact, but it wasn’t totally left out of the picture.

      I don’t know if that makes things clearer or muddier.

    • FangBanger

      He even went a step further- He healed the Centurion’s catamite (sexual companion of the same sex). Then He praised the centurion’s faith as greater than many others. SINNERS, SINNERS, SINNERS. Yet Jesus did not care as apparently He was about humankind, not the religious. In fact, the only time Jesus DID lose his temper was with the religious… Hmmmmm.

  • Martin

    as an American Christian bakery businessman in India, I think this bakery totally missed the heart of the Gospel of Jesus. Tell this lesbian couple to come over here, they can order a cake, and we can sit and chat about Jesus over some coffee. Thanks for writing this, Micah.

  • Byl

    Wow. Thank you. Nothing more to add. Just really grateful for this.

  • lesley

    I am a Christian who believes in continuing revelation about the life details of the central message of our faith, given by Jesus as “The first and great commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart and soul; and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (as I recall memorizing in church school).
    First, love does not mean liking one’s fellow human being and all their choices.
    Second, it DOES mean loving them as humans and wanting what is best in their lives.
    Third, many aspects of sexuality and sexual preference are inborn and run along a continuum, per science and personal observations. Those who are bi-sexual have a choice about how they live. Those who are completely heterosexual or completely gay do not have a choice about whether their partners are of the opposite sex or the same sex.
    Fourth, some Biblical analysis offers explanations for the verses in Leviticus and the writings of St Paul that show they were not condemning the phenomenon of gays wanting to live in spiritually committed relationships, but other phenomena current in the time the writings arose, e.g., the phenomenon of sleeping with temple prostitutes whether one was straight and sleeping with a person of their own gender or the opposite gender, which was/would be a sin as it involves believing in a deity other than God.
    Fifth, when my own congregation was wrestling with the issue of gay marriage, I had an epiphany in Meeting for Worship: Where God places LOVE between two people (consenting adults) and they are led to committing to live their lives together in covenant with God, it is not up to me to judge them, but to God, and for me (if called upon) to help them discern if this is indeed God calling them to the holy state of matrimony. St Paul’s description of love in 1 Cor 13 is one help to this discernment…
    My congregation takes couples (consenting adults) under its care for matrimony, after testing with the couple their leading to this estate, whether they are gay or straight…
    Regardless of the above, thank you, Micah for your post and points about discrimination. I believe those are points that won my niece to repost to her FB page and why I will repost to mine.

  • Paul Reid

    The bible issues a very clear obligation for believers to show neighbourly love to everyone. Even ‘enemies’ are to be deserving of our love. The very term ‘going the mile’ originates in how Christ instructs us to fulfil the laws of an unbelieving, belligerent, political elite.

    At the same time we are never to neglect our prophetic role in society.

    It may be one thing to refuse to serve gas or food to someone because their lifestyle does not accord with your own morals, but something else completely, to withhold your own participation in promoting values contrary to your own beliefs.

    I remember well, at my own mother’s funeral, a colleague came to the church to shake my hand before the service and share his condolences with my family. His religious convictions however meant that he could not participate in the service. When I thought of the effort he had gone to, putting a suit on, journeying from the other side of town, and waiting around just to show the briefest demonstration of compassion I was deeply touched.

    I don’t believe the same guy would bake a celebratory cake for my daughter’s confirmation (it’s probably a sacrilegious act in his eyes). I would not judge him for it either.

  • Celad

    Another implication might be that I would bake a cake for someone to celebrate a successful bank robbery?

  • Brian Hawkins

    As a freedom-loving, libertarian-minded American, I believe a business-owner has the right to deny service to anyone for any reason, including bigotry or without citing any reason at all. So it deeply disturbs me when certain of these cases have tried to legally /force/ a business to serve someone.

    However, as a Christian, I agree with you on this issue. I do think that there are right times to deny service to people for conscience sake (particularly if your business is a gun shop), but too many times people try to claim “Christian convictions” when they know nothing of Christ, and their only conviction is one of political hatred, not Christian holiness.

    This issue has more than two sides, and it really bothers me when it is reduced to a generalized, stereotyped , “Us vs. Them” battle, simply because a person who doesn’t look like Christ, nor sounds like Christ, nor acts like Christ has claimed the title of Christ. I hope we true Christians can love in such a way that even non-Christians will recognize the difference between a regenerated heart, filled and overflowing with the Agape love of God, and a person brought up in a culture of dead Christian religiosity.

    “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    • Snooterpoot

      Freedom-loving sounds a little hypocritical coming from you, since you would apparently restrict the freedom of a despised minority from access to public accommodations.

      Business owners have an obligation to obey the laws, even if they do not agree with them. If they want to refuse service to someone who “violates their religious beliefs” then their option is to find another line of work.

      I hate slippery slope arguments, but where does it stop? If a person says they will refuse service to someone whose skin is a different color because their religion says those people are devils, is that okay? Or how about refusing service to a woman, because a person’s religion says that women are to be treated as subordinate to men?

      I don’t think the argument is a simple “us v.s them.” I think the argument is whether or not a business owner is willing to comply with laws with which s/he disagrees. If not willing, then suffer the consequences.

      • Brian Hawkins

        Who said anything about public accommodations? I’m talking about unlawful government restriction of /private/ business.

        If I understand you right, you think government legislation is a viable solution to moral problems, which is an idea I strongly disagree with, but I request that we hold that debate elsewhere and keep this on topic.

        • Snooterpoot

          Public accommodations are any business or service that is open to the general public. The government has a legitimate interest in regulating (or, as you describe it, restricting) private business.

          If one doesn’t want to proffer goods or services to racial minorities, religious minorities, women, homosexuals or other people then one should consider another line of work. I have lived through, and seen the effects of, “we reserve the right to refuse to serve anyone.” It was ugly and dehumanizing. I would not want to see the United States go back to that shameful era in our history.

          The owners of the bakery decided they could ignore a law that they didn’t like. That resulted in widespread publicity of their decision. The public spoke and the owners had to close their business.

          All they had to do to remain open was obey the law. They chose not to do that. I have no pity for them or for anyone else who claims some sort of “religious objection” to refuse business from someone whom they don’t like. It’s as simple as that.

          • Brian Hawkins

            You’re essentially saying, “Yes, government legislation is the solution to man’s immorality. ” And I still strongly disagree.

            Bringing us back to topic, is anyone in this story really blameless? Would it have been so hard to find another baker? Honestly! Is a wedding cake really worth destroying someone’s business? How is that acceptable? On the other hand, as Micah has aptly pointed out, would it really have been so hard to simply bake a cake? In the context of their disagreement, why couldn’t the bakers use this as an opportunity to show love?

            I see several sides to this story, where you seem to only see one. I see gay people whose feelings were hurt, and I see bakers whose livelihood was destroyed. If we are going to call out the bigotry in one, mustn’t an objective viewer also recognize the vindictiveness in the other?

          • Snooterpoot

            The bakery owners chose to ignore a law they didn’t like. Their choice got publicized. The public demonstrated its opinion and they lost their business. It is really that simple.

            Where did I say that “government legislation is the solution to mans’ immorality?” I did not say that. I did say that the government has a legitimate interest in regulating private business. In my opinion, it is the proper role of government to protect the civil rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

            If I go into a commercial enterprise, and I am told my business will be refused because I am black, gay, latino, Jewish, Muslim, or any other legally protected class, and the law says that enterprise must serve everyone equally, you’re damned right I’m going to raise hell, and I won’t feel a bit of remorse for doing so.

            If people want to open a business or commercial enterprise of any sort they’d better be prepared to conform to all the applicable laws, not just the ones they like.

          • curious

            did they refuse to serve them at all because they were gay? or did they refuse to participate in an event they thought was wrong? I think there is an important distinction.

          • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

            Baking a wedding cake doesn’t constitute participating in marriage. If you think gay marriage is wrong, don’t get gay married. But attempting to not “enable” something you believe is wrong just doesn’t work (nor should it be the goal of the Christian.)

            For more on that, see this: http://redemptionpictures.com/2014/01/31/sin-shalom-love/

  • Shannon

    Beautifully said, and just in time for pride week in my hometown. Thank you – I cried in a good way.
    Sometimes, I think about what it would be like if the church practiced grace with queers. The congregation would run into the streets during the pride parade, shouting, ” Rejoice with us, we’ve found you, and we have missed you so, so much.”

  • http://myjourney-struggler.blogspot.com/ Marcus

    First off, let me say I am a gay male. I am not there yet, but want to walk away from my sin and live for God, even if that means remaining celibate for the rest of my life. You may doubt I am gay after what I say, but I assure you I am.

    As a gay man, I disagree with you. You cannot equate baking a cake for a gay wedding with baking one for a sinful heterosexual couple. God does not approve of or sanction gay marriage. He says homosexuality is an abomination, and you cannot dare to say He would sanction same-sex marriage. He does sanction and ordained marriage between a man and a woman, and I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that only Christian couples can marry, so to expect a Christian to bake a cake for a wedding that God does not recognize…. I’m sorry, terrible point to make, and I do like your blog and what you’re trying to do.

    There have been similar cases: Tshirt printing company asked to print gay pride parade shirts and refused… do you have any idea how vile and sinful those are? I wouldn’t even want to go to one, and I am gay… the photographers who refused to photograph a gay wedding, and got in trouble…..ironically, I find lesbianism gross, and sure wouldn’t want to photograph one for that reason alone, but a Christian shouldn’t be forced to do so.

    There IS a gay agenda in this country. What I call the militant gays want our sin not just tolerated, but totally accepted. There are gays and liberals who want kids as young as Kindergarteners taught gay sex education.

    I agree the church needs to love more. Its pathetic that I can’t stand up in my church and ask for prayer for my sin, for fear of being ostracized and shunned. It sucks that I have sat in the church pew silently struggling with a sin that I was afraid to tell anyone about. So yes, the church needs to love gay people more and reach out, but that doesn’t mean lying down and letting the militant gays walk all over the church and get their political agenda shoved down everyone’s throats.

    If we keep on the way we are going, there will come a day when no one can refuse employment to a gay person, no matter how they are living…..not even churches, Christian schools, and other Christian organizations. Preachers will get fined or jailed for refusing to perform gay marriages, or for daring to say homosexuality is a sin. This isn’t conjecture or a scary story that will never happen….. We are well on our way. I have seen and heard a lot from my years living as a gay man in the shadows. I have read a lot of gay publications, talked to people, heard stuff….. And if Christians lie down and let the gay agenda happen, they will lose their freedoms.

    And you know what? If the shoe was on the other foot, our corrupt politicians and everyone else who is going against the Christians in this case would have a far different view. What if a gay baker was asked to make a cake that had an anti-gay sentiment on it……. He would be defended for refusing to do so. How about a gay tshirt printing company being asked to print a tshirt saying marriage is between one man and one woman? Everyone would defend his right to refuse.

    We cannot be a free country and demand Christians cave to requests like this. And I have a theory…. There is so much of this going on, it makes me wonder if some of these people are deliberately seeking out Christian companies so they can cause scene and sue for discrimination…… there is an element in this country that seems to delight in blowing things like this up.

    So I am sorry, but I think you’re wrong on this one. Yes, guys like me need more love and need to be reached out to by Christians, but Christians don’t need to bake cakes, etc for weddings that, though the state may recognize, God does not, and never will.

  • Average Christian

    This article was really helpful. My church was going toward that fair trade coffee sales stuff. . but now I feel like its silly to buy certain coffee and not others out of concern for poor working conditions and child labor, after all there’s even fewer verses about that in the Bible than marriage or homosexuality. Micah, you let us off the hook, and made life easier. We can ignore the culture and I get cheaper coffee. Standing for something is so “unChristian” when the world says its really OK. Being nice is so, well, nice. We aren’t here to make waves. If we are nice and loving, people will naturally follow Jesus Christ, after all He healed the sick, and feed thousands and they loved him so much they all made him King of Israel, a member of the Sanhedrin and a Delegate to Rome. I always kind of felt like William Wilberforce was too extreme anyway with all his economic and political opposition to slavery . . . after all, its kind of in the Bible right? He should have loved the traders out of the industry instead of mixing his faith in with England’s culture wars year after year. Thanks ! I get it now.

  • Drought

    I think you have a lot of good insights, but it does break down a little in one regard. The Bakers are refusing to help with a specific ceremony that they consider immoral and wrong. I like to turn it on it’s head and ask this question. If the tables were reversed, and a Church decided it was going to host a special seminar on the immorality of Homosexuality; and if they decided to go to a Bakery that just so happened to be owned by a gay couple and asked them to bake 400 cupcakes that had crossed out rainbows on them, would the bakery be within their rights to refuse this order?

    • Ann

      Would a bakery be allowed to refuse an order for a white supremacy group of cupcakes with swastikas? Civil liberty groups would take the side of the customer.

    • Snooterpoot

      No, I don’t think the bakery would be within its rights to refuse the order. Businesses must comply with all of the laws, not just the ones with which they agree. No special exemptions should be allowed to accommodate biases, no matter what side of the issue one happens to support.

  • John Dallman

    Modern “Conservative Christianity” seems to be simply a question of using very selective biblical literalism as a an attempted justification for reactionary prejudice.

  • Rebecca Erwin

    I often get in trouble with this kind of thinking. I am a harmony/justice oriented person and as such, I voice the incongruity of alienating one sin while glossing over another. Thanks for the validation.

  • Nic Meyers

    Nail on the head. It embarrasses me when “Christians” walk out of a movie with a gay couple in it, but have no qualms about watching a sex-romp movie. Double standard much? And so many other things! My friend, Tony Gambino, got a lot of flack from Christians for featuring a lesbian couple’s engagement session on his photography blog. Sad sad sad. My hope is that by the time my kids are grown, they will think of these issues like we think of “colored only” water fountains: absolutely ridiculous and a shameful part of our past!

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    Great post.

    We recently had an interesting case in the UK where a Christian couple who ran a Bed & Breakfast were successfully sued for refusing to let their rooms to gay couples. I felt sorry for them though, because they also refused to let their rooms to un married straight couples, so there was at least a thread of integrity there, but the ruling went against them.

    I think refusing to bake cakes for gay couples sounds faintly ridiculous, but then I’m from a different culture, so it’s not always easy for me to see the nuances of these cases in the US. I like your application of 1 Peter here.

  • Jimmy

    What I seem missing in this entire discussion is that marriage is considered by many Christians to be a sacrament. Is demanding a Christian bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding any different, really, from demanding a Christian pet shop owner sell animals to people who want to sacrifice them to idols? If a Christian truly believes marriage to be a sacrament, on what basis can anyone force them to violate their conscience?should we force Christian pharmacies to sell birth control or abortifacients?

    What if a bakery were owned by a gay couple, and a person came in asking for a cake that said “marriage is one man and one woman”? Should the gay couple be compelled to provide a product for a ritual with which they do not agree?

    As a Christian and a libertarian, I think people should be able to do what they want, no matter how much it offends someone, as long as it hurts no one. The God of the universe loves us enough to allow us complete and total free will. But likewise, people should be able to refuse anything they do not want to do, as long as it hurts no one. There are hundreds of service providers, and if someone doesn’t want to make me a cake for whatever reason, it’ll find someone who will. Other than being offended, no harm has been done to me. It isn’t that hard. What we don’t need is people trying to get government, which is force, to make people “get their minds right.” Because once that door is open, what is used to force change in one group might be used to force change in yours the next.

    • virginia

      I love this Jimmy. Christian and libertarian, me too! Why would anyone want to hire a photographer, baker etc. who objected to their wedding anyway? The only reason I can think of would be to bully someone into doing what they wanted and to delight in the other person’s discomfort. Sick and kind of smells exactly like what they accuse the Christians of doing. Live and let live, right?

      • Snooterpoot

        Both of you are wrong. If a business can refuse to offer its services to same-sex couples, what is to prevent them from using a religious justification to deny its services to people of color? Or to women? Or to practitioners of other religions?

        It is not bullying to expect someone to follow the law. People cannot hide behind their religious beliefs to cloak their bigotry. I’ve seen it before, Virginia, and that dog won’t hunt.

        • virginia

          Enough of you Snooterpoot. If the law is infallible, then gay people should just be quiet and accept the states that tell them gay marriage is illegal, right? Oh… what’s that? Laws can be unjust, sometimes? Well, then maybe you should cool your jets and listen to what we are saying, which is that our laws need to have a balanced respect for the individual and the common good.

          • Snooterpoot

            And the common good is refusing to do business with people you don’t like?

  • Adam

    Author. You make some statements about what the Bible states yet you obviously haven’t an idea of the Bibles statements or more importantly it’s principles.

    • Snooterpoot

      So, because the author doesn’t agree with your interpretation of the Bible you accuse him of being ignorant. That’s pretty damned arrogant.

  • JJNYC

    Give me a break. I’m so tired of the double standard coming from Christian “experts”. Hypocrisy? Please.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    LGBTQ people are on the margins. I’d hope the Body of Christ might be able to remember that Christians used to be there too. Frankly, I think Jesus is pleased when his people have gay and lesbian relationships.

  • virginia

    This is not quite as simple as you make it sound. I actually agree with you on the cake issue. I also agree that most Christians operate with a double standard when it comes to the issue of homosexuality and that is wrong. However, there is a difference between tolerating a lifestyle (which, frankly, we are all required to do for one another in a civilized society) and forcing someone to participate in a religious service that violates their conscience. The law allows for people to opt out of military service and for medical professionals to abstain from performing abortions if it violates their faith. So, doesn’t it make sense that we allow similar protections for those who would be directly involved in the marriage ceremony, something they consider to be a religious sacrament? For example, photographers who are required to witness, photograph and, usually, advertise those photos as part of their business. Photographers have been sued over this already and it’s troubling. This is where it starts to feel like bullying and the religious freedom argument is valid. We should be able to reach a middle ground that protects gay people from denial of service and also protects religious freedom.

    • Snooterpoot

      First, homosexuality is not a “lifestyle,” and I do wish uninformed people would quit using that term. Homosexuality is a regularly occurring facet of normal human sexual orientation. It has nothing to do with some “lifestyle” choice. It is something one is born with, just as heterosexuality is something one is born with.

      Second, how dare you “tolerate” me? I am a human being, as worthy of respect and dignity as everyone else.

      Third, baking a cake is not “being directly involved in the marriage ceremony.” It’s baking a cake! Did this business bake cakes for marriages between people who had been divorced? Did they bake cakes for marriages between people who practice two different religions? The hypocrisy of refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding is astounding.

      Fourth, photographers are not required to display or advertise photos they have taken at any occasion. Where in the world did you come up with that idea? And photographing an event is not participating in it unless the photographer is part of the wedding party. My hobby is nature photography. I certainly do not become part of birds enjoying the food I put out for them, and I do not become part of the beautiful autumn colors of the trees where I live. Your point here is a red herring.

      Fifth, any business that is open to the public must follow all the laws, not just the ones with which they agree. If they refuse to do that they should find another way of supporting themselves. I don’t find it troubling at all when a business is sued for failing to obey the law.

      People are not being denied their religious freedom, Virginia. A business is not a religious organization; it is a public accommodation and no one should suffer discrimination simply because a business owner finds them icky.

      I am a 62-year old woman who grew up in the south. I have seen this type of “religious freedom” argument before. It was ugly then, and it is ugly now.

      • virginia

        Oh, get off it. You obviously didn’t read my post very carefully and you like to argue about semantics.

        First, I’m sorry you’re so offended by the word lifestyle and that you assume it means I don’t know homosexuality is something one is born with. Your problem; not mine. Second, never mind, I think even just tolerating you would be an ambitious goal. Third, I was pretty clear that I agree with the author about the cake baking so, not sure where you’re coming from there. Fourth, I know several photographers and have discussed this issue with them. It’s really not for you to decide if attending and photographing a wedding constitutes participating in it. That is the whole point of religious freedom. As to posting photos, It would be pretty strange for them to consistently post photos of weddings they cover on their blog and NOT post the ones from gay weddings. I guess you’ll tell me you don’t see how this could be problematic for them but I’ll give more credibility to the people I know in the industry. Fifth, you make my point. There IS legal precedent in the medical profession for religious exemptions. The argument is only ugly, if you make lot’s of cynical, ugly assumptions about people who disagree with you.

        • Snooterpoot

          Yeah, you think you ought to “tolerate” me, then you get uglier.

          The bottom line is this. They are in a business that serves the public. They laws where they are say they cannot discriminate against same-sex couples. They did, and they lost their business.

          “Lifestyle” is not just offensive to me. You and everyone else should stop using it if you really respect people who are homosexual, which, by you rant here, is rather suspect.

          This is not about disagreeing with me. This is also not about some bull scat claim of religious freedom. “Religious freedom” in cases like this is simple a shield to hide behind.

          You have a lot of nerve calling me cynical.

  • anonymous

    ahhhh this was beautiful, and lovely, and calming. i am so grateful for the ability to find gems of solidarity like this on the internet. bless your kind heart and your graceful talent with words.

  • Amanda

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

  • herewegokids

    The real harm is when someone, like I read one of these bakers did, “grasps her friend (the gay guy) by the hand and said sadly, ‘I can’t do your wedding cake, b/c of my relationship w/ Jesus!!’ ” Wow.

  • jj1954

    I would love for one of you know-it-all Christians to tell me where Jesus is quoted specifically in the New Testament (not Paul who wasn’t even born when Jesus was alive and all his stories were from third parties) that being gay is a sin. He identified several other sins, why wouldn’t he have included this one if it was so important to him? And forget the OT, Jesus replaced that with His death on the cross.

    • Aaron

      Did Jesus address pedophilia? Did Jesus address bestiality? There are many sins Jesus didn’t deal with directly. Are you suggesting permission by omission? If so then I guess murder is acceptable since Jesus didn’t address murder.

      • jj1954

        He addressed the Ten Commandments. Where do get the idea that He thought being gay is a sin?

  • OtterMatt

    >Suppose that the headlines read “Athiest Baker Refuses Wedding Cake to
    Christian Couple.” The uproar would be deafening.

    If you honestly believe that it would even be SEEN in the media, I have a hard time accepting that you’ve lived in this country. If you want to have your Rob Bell moment and live Love At All Costs, then fine. I wish you luck. Personally, I have no stomach for people who say that maybe it’s okay to go against what you know is right and condone sin just this ONE time. I’m sure it won’t happen again.

    There’s a BIG difference between not accepting a person and simply refusing to participate in sinful acts. In fact, if you actually read the articles about the issues in question, you’ll see that’s exactly what’s happened. They didn’t refuse service outright, they simply refused to PARTICIPATE in the wedding that offended their beliefs.

    Since you seem to have so much trouble with people quoting Scripture (I can’t help but notice the MASSIVE irony blinkers you’re wearing, by the way…), I won’t waste my time, but I will say you could stand to grow a spiritual pair. I can’t wait to see what you DO decide is worth actually standing firm on.

    • AMH29

      If you honestly believe that it would even be SEEN in the media, I have a hard time accepting that you’ve lived in this country.

      Seriously? Have you seen stories about the high school student in small town North Carolina who had to fight her school to start an atheist club when there were already other religious clubs on campus? Then the day before her first meeting her family announced she wasn’t going to have the club after all because the entire family had received so many threats of harm that they were fearful for their safety. That was this week.
      Have you heard of Fox News? The state of Arizona? If you think there would be no mention of atheists trying to “persecute” Christians in the American media, then you aren’t paying attention.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      You saw it. This is it.

  • Natalie

    I have yet to meet a homosexual that believes their lifestyle is sinful, which makes ‘loving the sinner’ somewhat of a moot point. The issue at hand is not forgiveness, but equality and acceptance. Therein lies the problem. On the contrary I have met gluttons, materialistic people, and couples pregnant out of wedlock, who will readily admit they have sinned and need forgiveness. Most homosexuals are incredibly offended or hurt if you consider them to be living in sin. Thus, it is a subject matter not easily compared to any other. This is the only fault I found with what was otherwise a really great post on the topic.

    • Snooterpoot

      Judgmental much, Natalie? Please cite every sentence that Jesus Christ said about homosexuality.

      People who are GLBT take offense about accusations about our “living in sin” because it is judgmental, self-righteous and downright wrong.

      “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a canard. It’s something people like you use to justify your hatred of people who are different because you are simply unable to separate the person who is created in God’s image from the ugly hatred you feel for us.

  • Aaron

    This is an interesting read and a solid argument against discrimination. I agree with the arguments and premise if business owners were refusing to do business with homosexuals just because they are homosexuals. But that is not what is going on here. These businesses are refusing to support an event they believe is wholly unholy. They aren’t refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual who wants to celebrate a birthday or a new job or any of the other dozen reasons people buy cakes. Baking a birthday cake for an unmarried, cohabitating couple’s child isn’t supporting that couple living together, it’s supporting that birthday. But baking a cake for an event that celebrates the very thing that God deems sin is supporting that sin.
    Suppose the KKK wanted them to bake a cake for an upcoming rally complete with burning cross and hanging tree. Should they be allowed to refuse that cake? Suppose the skinheads wanted a cake with a swastika. Should they be allowed to refuse that cake? What if the Man/Child Love society wanted a cake, should they be required to make that cake? We could go on and on about the types of cakes that wouldn’t be controversial for them to refuse to bake. So why is refusing to bake a cake for something against their religious convictions wrong?
    To be clear, they are NOT refusing to serve homosexuals. They are refusing to support one single event that is against their faith. If a homosexual couple came in to buy cupcakes for their child’s birthday, not one of these businesses would refuse them. This is NOT a case of discrimination, it is a case of these business owners having the right to exercise their religious freedom. To further hammer my argument home, would YOU bake a cake celebrating any of the many sins in the bible? Would you bake a cake celebrating pornography, murder, adultery, lying, stealing, gluttony, etc., etc., etc.? Yes, we all sin. We all have sins that we struggle with and that we stumble often in those sins. But I don’t see anyone baking me a cake and celebrating that sin with me.
    As believers, we can’t be sucked into these veiled arguments that erode our core beliefs, beliefs supported biblically. And before you label me as not showing the love of Christ or a homophobe, never once will I ever support not showing love to any individual. My best friend of nearly 30 years is homosexual. His entire family disowned him. He spends every major holiday with me and my family. My mother has adopted him as one of her own. My brothers treat him as a brother. My children call him uncle. And I tell him every time I see him that I love him. But he also knows my stance on his lifestyle and what the bible has to say about it.
    Be awake on this issue believers. This isn’t discrimination, this is standing by their principles. Comparing this to the civil rights movement is ridiculous and inaccurate. I’ll say it again, they are NOT refusing services to homosexuals, they are refusing to support one event that is against their religious convictions.

    • Snooterpoot

      You are flat out wrong. This business refused to offer their services to people simply because they are who they are. The rest of your comments is simply rephrasing the same tired arguments some Christians have been using for centuries to justify their hatred of someone who is different.

      I am a 62-year old woman who grew up in the south. I heard these same arguments to support segregation and discriminating against African Americans.

      It’s absolute self serving, self-righteous bull scat.

  • jj1954

    Aaron, since you appear to be, by your comments, one of the Christians that believe homosexuality is a sin, could you please answer my question/comment below re: direct quotation of Christ saying this?

  • AMH29

    Thank you for this. I am not Christian, and I am growing very weary of cries of “persecution” from Christians who don’t seem to realize that they are the vast majority in this country and in our political representation. They are in no danger of losing their religious freedom. I love your example of the atheist baker refusing to serve a Christian couple, because that’s what I’ve been yelling at the TV for weeks. Luckily, I have some great Christian friends who have been posting blogs like yours and Rachel Held Evans’ that have reminded me of how good and reasonable Christian people can be, and that often the loudest voices in any debate are the most extreme. I truly enjoyed this post and will continue to follow you as a voice of reason.

    • DrewTwoFish

      The death rattle of the straight white male Christian power structure? Reminds me of how Michael Dunn compared himself to a rape victim. (I’d send you the link but I think Disqus balks at links.)

  • Aaron

    You deleted my post? I wasn’t disrespectful, vulgar, or rude. My comments expressed a valid argument, one you couldn’t refute and you deleted it. So this isn’t for open discussion and dialogue? If someone makes a valid argument in a respectful, articulate manner but one that differs from your opinion and expresses something that you can’t refute, you just delete it? Wow, so much for open dialogue. You just exposed who you truly are and it saddens me greatly!

    • virginia

      He deleted one of my posts too, which was in response to a woman who was aggressive and insulting toward me. Didn’t delete that woman’s post. Incidentally, that woman agreed with his point of view so I guess she was allowed to be rude.

  • Jane

    As christians have we forgotten what being a christian is all about? While I do believe love the sinner, hate the sin, our primary heart issue should be to honor God. I too believe that people are born gay, just like I was born into alcholoism. We might not have a choice as to what tempts us, but sin is sin and we have a choice with the power of Jesus Christ to repent, turn from our sins and into his arms, that is, if we want to abide in Christ and call ourselves followers of Jesus. I have to face my temptations daily and make a choice to either follow my flesh or follow God. God doesn’t say desiring the opposite sex is a sin, but living in a homosexual lifestyle is. If we are to preach the good news, to tell others about Jesus, why not take the opportunities God presents to us as photographers, artists, bakers, to love on the gay community but speak the truth about sin, repentance and God’s love to them. But, we have to be very careful that our loving actions do not become a stumbling block that may imply we believe homosexual relationships are ok in God’s eyes. The bible is very very clear on this. Just like it is clear on adultry, drunkeness, fornication, and so on. If we practice such things, we will not inherit the kingdom of God. But, if we repent of these practices, we are washed made new through the blood of Jesus. I too walked in sin, I too practied habitual sins of drunkeness and sex outside of marriage. But, I made a commitment to Christ, asked for his forgivenss, and he changed me. I have been forgiven and I have been made new. I am so thankful christians loved on me while I was in sin, but also, they never made me feel as if I was”ok” with God. We shouldn’t turn our backs on people , but also, we can not deny the entire truth about repentance. If we are abiding in Christ, living off the power of the Holy Spirit, confessing our sins, and being honest about our temptations, then we allow Jesus to transforms us more and more into his image and not our own. But, are we bold enough to tell that to the homosexual community? Do we fear men more than God? Are we afraid of being called “haters”, “unloving”? Sin is a big deal to God, if it wasn’t then why did he send His Son to die for it?

    • Snooterpoot

      Seriously, Jane? You are comparing being gay to being an alcoholic? Do you really think that love and alcoholism are in any way, shape or form related? Because, dear Jane, sexual orientation is about with whom we fall in love.

      To even infer that my personhood is sinful is insulting. Why is it that some of you cannot see that? And why is it that you keep repeating the canard “hate the sin, love the sinner” when you talk about me and people who are like me?

      Finally, who are you to say that you know who or what is acceptable in God’s eyes? Isn’t that proclaiming to know the mind of God? Isn’t that the sin of blasphemy? Why is it that you and people like you are simply unable to accept the idea that God created us the way we are, as part of his wonderful gift of diversity?

      • jj1954

        There are many Christians out here who completely agree with your thinking, and can’t understand how these so-called Christians can promote such hatred and intolerance of another human being. It goes against absolutely everything Jesus taught us. I’m straight but I found Jane’s comparison of being gay to a disease like alcoholism so insulting and judgemental, both sins in God’s eyes, even to myself, let alone what you must have felt. Have faith, God and most of His followers, even the Pope, knows that everyone is created equal and in the image of Our Creator. I don’t believe He makes mistakes, so I hope you can fill up the space in your heart taken up by this garbage with the love from all of us who do love and support you. I pray for the day when sexual orientation isn’t an issue at all, just taken for granted that we’re all different and all the same. God bless.

        • Pondering

          I thought Jane’s comment was brilliant…except the part about being “born into” alcoholism and homosexuality. I have both conditions in my extended family and I love those family members as much as the rest. But I never bought the thinking that removes personal responsibility from sin. Alcoholism results from a lack of self control and dysfunctional means of dealing with life. Homosexuality results from a twisted upbringing involving confused sex roles for examples and the choice is made to remain in that dysfunction rather than deal with and correct it. The rest of Jane’s comment was spot on.

          • Snooterpoot

            You don’t study much outside your comfort zone, do you?

            Alcoholism is a disease. While it may not have a genetic cause it does tend to be hereditary, as I have seen in my own family.

            Homosexuality is not a result of “twisted upbringing involving confused sex roles.” That bull scat was disproved years ago, and your statement is an assertion of fact when it is, in actuality, merely your uninformed opinion.

            It sounds to me like you enjoy willful ignorance, because then you can justify your biases without bothering to seek the truth.

            I’m not going to bother debating with you. Based on your comment here it is quite obvious to me that you have no interest in respectful or factual debate.

          • jj1954

            Pondering, it feels as if you are deliberately trying to stir up trouble here or you are just living in the dark ages. Being gay is no more a disease like alcoholism than your being straight is. Try NOT being straight even for a week and see how impossible it is, just as it would be for a gay person. It’s all in our brains, something we cannot or would most of us want to change. Jesus taught us to love EVERYONE, not just who we felt like at the moment. He also told us not to judge anyone else, that was only God’s privilege. Perhaps you could spend more time practicing these teachings than promoting the falsehood that being gay is a sin. As I said earlier, Jesus never spoke about homosexuality Himself. This was not his lesson.

            I’m getting tired of trying to explain what should be obvious to a Christian if they had read the Bible seriously and objectively without bringing any personal prejudices, either self-manifested or learned, into it. So I’m finished this discussion with you. I need to spend my time actually living Jesus’s message and being happy and all this hate mongering by supposed Christians is bringing me down. I will pray for you instead. God bless.

    • jj1954

      Jane, Jesus never said a word about living in a homosexual lifestyle being a sin. Paul did in Corinthians, but he wasn’t even born when Jesus lived, all his stories were from anonymous third parties. The OT didn’t apply Jesus came and died for our sins. I wish you and your type of Christians would stop quoting Jesus for something He never taught. It is totally disrespectful of Him and what He really taught.

  • Joel Solliday

    Micah misunderstands and misjudges conservative Christians. If an atheist baker refused service to Christians, in 99.9999 % of the cases, the conservative Christians I know would simply go to another baker. There would be no lawsuit. Would Micah also advocate for Christian ministers (like bakers and photographers) to cooperatively perform weddings for any who ask for their service, whether homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists or polyamorists? All in the name of reaching out to or hanging with sinners? Once again, Christians get deprived of respect and rights and a fellow believer disparages them as hypocrites with double standards. It is NOT Christians here who are forcing everyone else live by their standards. The opposite is the case. This bill ONLY sought to fairly protect the rights and liberties of any business of any faith and not to force anything on others.But it makes you popular to bash conservative Christians, so have at it. We conservatives are largely a forgiving people of grace though you would rather believe the harsh stereotypes. And why didn’t you criticize the NFL for intimidating and threatening to punish Arizona (revoking the Super Bowl) if a politician does not do their bidding? That is where the graceless legalism is. But Christians lose out in the policy-making realm AND get disrespected and disparaged to boot–even from their own. It is both freedom and moral fiber that you don’t seem to appreciate, Micah.

    • Snooterpoot

      No, Micah does not misunderstand or misjudge conservative Christians. It would be as wrong for an atheist baker to refuse to bake a cake for a Christian wedding as it is for a conservative Christian baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. And in some places, Joel, it is not practical to simply go to another baker.

      No one is asking a Christian minister, or a priest or rabbi whose faith does not support same-sex marriages to offer that rite to us or to any other people who do not meet their theological requirements. The First Amendment specifically protects their right to do that, and your offering that comment is a red herring and has no bearing on this discussion.

      I don’t see that any Christian is being deprived of any right. You guys are free to hate us. You are free to disparage us. In most places you are free to refuse our business (but hopefully for not much longer). You are not free, however, to be free from the repercussions of exercising your freedom, and that’s what a lot of you seem to want.

      As for you conservative Christians being a forgiving lot, well, I just don’t see it in everyday life. I see a lot of hatred. I see a lot of abuse. I see a lot of refusing to follow the commandments of Christ to love your neighbors. I see a lot of people who think that having the Westboro Baptist Church protest at the funerals of fallen service members or veterans is just fine. I simply do not see a lot of forgiveness or love coming from believers like you, even though you like to believe you offer it.

      I didn’t criticize the NFL because they were standing up for the dignity of all people, not just the people who meet your approval. It is quite revealing that you didn’t see that aspect at all.

      Your “moral fiber” is your own. My morality says that oppressing and discriminating against people of whom you disapprove is ethically and morally indefensible.

      You talk about “hanging out with sinners.” Pot, meet kettle.

      • DrewTwoFish

        Yes, isn’t it amazing how 21st Christians can hardly bear to have their feelings hurt without screaming bloody murder? Stack this up against the oppression and persecution that LBGT’s have endured at their hands for hundreds of years. When someone finally stands up to the bully and dares push back, the bully quickly dons the cloak of victimhood. It’s pretty rich.

        (When I grew up as a Christian it wasn’t about fighting for our “rights.” It was more about putting the welfare of others before ours.)

  • Pathological79

    I believe that the baker is foolish in his reasoning of refusing service to a same-sex couple; however, I feel that the handling of this situation causes a slippery slope. To go to the “extreme” end of this, what is to stop a KKK couple from suing a black photographer for refusing to photograph their wedding? Would you be comfortable with photographing/baking a cake for a Polygamist couple? Could a Gay/Lesbian photographer refuse their services to the Westboro Baptist Church? If you think this is far-fetched, don’t forget about Judge Tonya Parker (while her reasons were sound, she still refused to marry people based on their sexual preference).
    Its a very tough position and most people on either side only see it one way.
    On one hand, I want the LGBT community to have access to all the same services I have and I don’t want a repeat of the ’50s/’60s.
    On the other hand, I don’t believe it is the governments job to order someone to violate what they believe (whether or not that belief is wrong).
    The world is not so black-and-white.

    • Snooterpoot

      I think it is fairly clear cut, Pathological79. If the law says a business cannot discriminate against protected classes, whether the classes are racial, gender, religious, ethnic or sexual orientation, then the businesses must follow the law. If they refuse, then they suffer the legal and social repercussions of that refusal.

      I think your comment offers some red herrings. For one thing, a polygamist couple is just that – a couple. Polygamists can legally marry one person, at least for now. For another, I’ve never heard of a KKK wedding, but if a couple belongs to the KKK, and the law in their jurisdiction requires that a business must be open to whatever group a person chooses to associate himself with, then the business must offer the same services to them as it offers to anyone else. They might find it distasteful, just as I would find doing business with any other bigot distasteful, but they and I would be obligated to follow the law.

      I’m not sure what your reference to Judge Sonya Parker is about. Her judicial duties do not require that she performs wedding ceremonies for anyone, and she doesn’t. It doesn’t matter if a couple is same sex or opposite sex. She is consistent in her judicial activities. She did not refuse to perform wedding ceremonies because of “sexual preference.”

      I think it is the government’s job to regulate business, and this is, when all is said and done, what this is about. A business is not a religious entity, and its owners do not present it as such. It is an entity for which the sole purpose is to serve the public, and in so doing that, to make a profit. Unregulated business has proven time after time that it is quite willing to discriminate against people whom they find icky. I grew up in the 60s. I saw it happen every day. I think it is a legitimate function of government to protect the civil rights of its individual citizens.

  • Eric

    In the case of a couple who has had premarital sex, they could go on in their unwedded state and continue in a disapproved state before God. But the fact that they are making things right by committing to one another, sanctifying themselves through marriage, I would gladly celebrate with them. In fact, considering how God feels when a sinner repents and makes changes, I would bake them 10 cakes. Because no longer will they be having illegitimate intercourse in God’s sight. Not so with a same sex couple. Their bond is sinful before and after being wed. Homosexuality is a sin that according to the scriptures, will keep the practicers of it from inheriting God’s Kingdom. (1Cor 6:9-11) As for the denying of the necessities of life to a sinner (homosexuals mentioned here), such as food and shelter, it is obvious that this flys in the face of what Bible principles teach. Cakes intended for celebrations are not necessary for the sinners life. They only seem necessary it seems for their feeling joyous over their scripturally unholy union. I as a man who loves God and his righteous standards, would not bake a cake for these people with the knowledge that it would be a principle feature of their celebrating a rebellious and unrighteous ceremony. They should be ashamed. I want them to be ashamed. In that case they would be one step closer to pleasing God. It would thus make no sense, and from this perspective it would actually be wrong for me to personally bake them a cake.

    • Snooterpoot

      Nice little Catch-22 you set up there, Eric. Sexual intimacy is okay when a couple is married but not okay when they are not. You would deny same sex couples the right to marry, so our sexual intimacy would always be sinful in your eyes.

      Your interpretation of the scriptures is just one among millions. If it gives you comfort, then good for you. I don’t think it’s right or proper, however, for you to insist that everyone adopt your interpretation.

      Your comment is far from loving. Your comment is hateful and disrespectful. Is that what Jesus demanded of you? Or did he demand that you act in a kind and loving manner to everyone? Remember when he said, paraphrased, that whatever was done to him was done to everyone?

      How about concentrating on the hundreds of verses that charge Christians with feeding the poor and taking care of the sick, the elderly and those who are imprisoned instead of concentrating on the six passages that people like you use to condemn people like me? The world would certainly be a better place if you and your ilk did that.

  • samariajahiri

    This was fantastic! Though I think the author missed the point. I don’t think bakeries are refusing service necessarily because of the sin factor, I think they are refusing service based on the “What is marriage?” factor. Couples living together out of wedlock and unequally yoked couples are “living in sin” but Christians still consider those unions to be a MARRIAGE (a union with complementary genders). Therefore, it is not a question of picking and choosing whose sin is more grievous, but rather a question of “What do Christians consider an actual marriage and what do they consider a culturally created farce?” Notice that all the Christians who refuse WEDDING services to gay couples ALWAYS articulate a desire to serve them for other needs (birthday cakes, shower cakes, cookies, other baked goods). Would a church daycare be happy to teach a gay couple’s child? Absolutely! Would they be ok performing a wedding service for said couple? Absolutely not!

    There is a major difference.

    So we see that it is not the sin that creates the refusal to service, but the demand to blatantly contradict how a Christian would define marriage.

    • Snooterpoot

      The bakeries are absolutely refusing service based on their interpretation of the “sin factor.” It’s really obvious. If the law says they must offer their goods and services to everyone equally, and that includes same sex couples, then that’s what they have to do. It isn’t up to them to decide what marriage is. The law defines that. If they refuse to obey the law then they must be willing to suffer the legal and social ramifications of that refusal.

      It’s just baking a freaking cake! It is not endorsing or participating in something of which they disapprove. Why is it so hard for some of you to see that? And why do you think a loving god would approve of such a biased and bigoted practice?

      • samariajahiri

        “And why do you think a loving god would approve of such a biased and bigoted practice?” Where did I say that? Point it out to me. Give specific citations.

        There is a difference between trying to understand the multiple faucets of an argument and adapting that argument. I am trying to approach this topic with logic, not reactionary, emotional ignorance. If you want to dismiss the approach these Christian bakers are taking, you need to understand fully where they are coming from. This article does not seem to.

        Christians, Jews and Muslims all agree that it is not legality that defines what marriage is, but God/Allah. God trumps law. Certainly the law of the land can choose to acknowledge gay marriage and give full benefits to gay marriage, but you cannot force a people group to acknowledge that union as marriage (as they define it), no matter how hard you snort through your nostrils and stamp your feet. To them, you are just noise without substance.

        • samariajahiri

          “It’s just baking a freaking cake! It is not endorsing or participating in something of which they disapprove.” Au contraire. Most bakers/photographers would agree that their whole heart and soul goes into their work. I don’t think “It’s just a freaking cake!” would bode well with them. It isn’t “just a cake”. It is hours of hard work, born of their creative process, and perhaps a lifetime of training. The author, then, is right in questioning their approval of other unions that would otherwise be deemed as “sinful”. Though, I maintain that it is not the sin that is the point.

          • Snooterpoot

            So, they wouldn’t bake a cake for atheists? Or for a couple when one or both has been divorced? How about for people who refuse to follow the hundreds of verses of scripture that tell us to care for the poor, the sick, the elderly and those who are imprisoned?

            It is the selective refusal that makes me angry. I find these people to be self righteous and hypocritical.

        • Snooterpoot

          You didn’t say that. I did, because as I see it that’s what it is. You are not the subject of this odious practice.

          It’s easy to say don’t be emotional when you are not the person whose love is not being acknowledged, and when you are not the person whose commitment is being denigrated. Yes, I am angry. And it’s not like I don’t have a right to be angry.

          In this case of the bakery, it’s really as simple as I have stated. The law requires that they offer their goods and services to same sex couples, just as they would to opposite sex couples. They didn’t. And the bakery is a business, profit driven, not a church. It is, again, hypocritical to choose one set of “sinners” to shun while ignoring others.

          In the USA, God does not trump the law. If people don’t like that they still have to live with it.