Does this look like Jim Crow to you? (part 2)

All eyes were on Arizona this week to see if Gov. Jan Brewer would sign or veto a controversial bill relating to religious liberty. Supporters of the bill had hoped that it would have given legal recourse to Christians (and others) who decline to participate in gay wedding celebrations. Opponents of the bill painted it as the resurrection of Jim Crow and as a cynical attempt to enact legal discrimination against gay people.

As you no doubt have heard by now, Gov. Brewer vetoed the bill last night. Many Christians who are concerned about religious liberty are no doubt disappointed by this news. In my view, however, the debate surrounding the bill has been even more disturbing that the actual defeat of the bill. Why? Because nearly every media outlet covering the controversy has treated the bill as if it were self-evidently growing out of animus and bigotry.

Even my favorite political program, “Morning Joe,” dismissed religious liberty concerns out of hand and misrepresented the bill as an attempt keep business owners from having to serve gays. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What was the real motivation for this bill? Was it really just an attempt to enact a new Jim Crow regime aimed at homosexuals? For anyone paying attention to what’s been going on around the country, the answer to that question is clearly “no.” As I argued yesterday, Christian business owners are happy to serve gay people. They just don’t want the government to impose coercive penalties on them for refusing to participate in gay wedding celebrations. That’s the issue.

If you doubt this is the case, let’s put a face on what has been happening to Christian business owners around the country. Aaron and Melissa Klein owned a storefront bakery in Gresham, Oregon—a business that they had been operating for about eight years in their community. Throughout the life of the business, Aaron says that he and his wife were happy to serve the gay people who came into his store on a weekly basis. (See their story in the videos above and below.)

In January of 2013, a young woman and her mother visited the store and asked Aaron to bake a cake for the young woman’s forthcoming nuptials. As Aaron began taking down her information, he asked the names of the bride and the groom. The girl giggled and said, “Well, actually it’s two brides.” Aaron apologized and told the young woman that he doesn’t do gay weddings because of his Christian faith. The girl and her mother left the store outraged at his refusal.

After leaving the store, they reported the Klein’s to the state of Oregon, who just last week found that the Klein’s were in violation of Oregon’s anti-discrimination statute. Now they are subject to fines and penalties under Oregon law. Over the last year, gay rights activists protested the Klein’s store with public demonstrations. Eventually, the protestors used “militant, mafia style tactics” and forced the Klein’s to close their storefront and to move their business into their home.

Does this sound like Jim Crow to you? The Klein’s were happy to serve gays and to bake cakes for them. In fact, they emphasized to reporters that they don’t hate gay people. They love gay people. They just didn’t want to involve their business in a gay wedding celebration. Why? Because their Christian conviction prevented them from participating. They could not help a lesbian couple to celebrate what their conscience tells them they cannot celebrate.

The Klein’s have lost their storefront. The penalties they are facing may drive them out of business. Even though they have served gay people in their store, they are now being branded as hateful and intolerant bigots. I ask you. Who in this scenario needs protection? The lesbian couple leveraged the coercive power of the state against the Klein’s, and the Klein’s have nearly lost everything because of their Christian conviction. If anything, it’s the Klein’s, not the lesbians who need some kind of provision in the law to protect them from this kind of intrusion into their conscience.

That’s exactly what proponents of the Arizona law were trying to do. They wanted to provide a way for Christians not to be subject to the coercive power of the state like the Klein’s were simply for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

The Arizona bill is dead, but this issue is not dead. Christian business owners around the country will have some very tough decisions to make. Either violate their conscience and participate in gay weddings, or obey their conscience and face the coercive power of the state. Unless some accommodation is made for them, a great injustice will continue to unfold right before our very eyes.

41 Responses to Does this look like Jim Crow to you? (part 2)

  1. andrew alladin February 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    These are the birth pangs of the new moral order that is now replacing Christianity as the moral standard in Western societies. Sexual pleasure is the highest god of this new moral order and its worshippers see themselves as having been delivered “out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Christendom and the slavery of Christianity sexual morality.) This god will have no other gods before it and its worshippers will exhaust themselves (and us) in seeking
    to ensure that everyone obey its truths.

    We need to understand that “the American people” are mostly unbelievers who are lost in sin, captive to the world and to the ruler of this age. That’s theology, not an insult. Hence Morning Joe’s dismissal of religious liberty concerns and our fellow citizens’ seemingly overnight reversal on attitudes towards behavior that even pagan Romans and Greeks did not celebrate and venerate as we are doing with gay marriage and gay adoptions. This is judgment upon our society and alas there is no secret Rapture to spare us as unbelievers exhaust themselves in their pursuit of unquenchable sexual pleasures.

    • Rob February 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

      Well said. I will say that following this blog lately has left me quite depressed at the country that will be handed to my children. Our job as Christian parents will continue to get increasingly tougher.

  2. buddyglass February 27, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

    The narrative I’ve seen presented is that both the Arizona and Kansas bills contained overly broad language and would have safeguarded much more than the right of business owners to abstain from participating in same-sex weddings.

    Is that narrative incorrect? I haven’t taken the time to actually read the bills and come to my own conclusion, so it’s an honest question.

    If that narrative is correct then its hard to argue the issue is merely over the right of business owners to abstain from participating in same-sex weddings. If that were the case then the bills would have been written so as to address that specific situation. But they weren’t. Presumably for a reason. My guess is that it’s because, in fact, the bills’ authors wanted to safeguard more than just the right of business owners to abstain from participating in same-sex weddings.

    The Kleins and Ms. Stutzman may be willing to serve gays when doing so doesn’t require them to participate in a same-sex wedding, but not all business owners (and land lords, and employers) are so progressive. The bills coming out of state legislatures seem to be designed to protect not only the Kleins and Stutzmans of the world, but also folks who are truly bigoted. If the truly were broad enough to protect these kinds of discrimination then it seems somewhat disingenuous to pretend the issue is only about situations like what the Kleins are facing.

    • Esther O'Reilly February 28, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      I have read the text of both bills. Both of them are specifically tailored to religious objections, but the Arizona bill is worded more broadly than the Kansas bill. The Kansas bill specified that no owner should be forced to acknowledge a marriage/civil union as valid. Neither bill specified “same-sex” in particular, and there are legal reasons why they couldn’t. Because of the current state of constitutional interpretation (which I detest, but it’s just the way it is), a bill that singled out one class of people in so many words could be struck down at the federal level. So the wording had to be looser for the bills to have a chance at passing at all. Now, sticking to “weddings/civil unions” in particular with the Kansas bill makes it a little more obvious that this is designed to protect the consciences of people being forced to recognize same-sex unions. The language of the Arizona bill applied to religious objections in general. So it still means that the owner would have to provide a more substantial reason than “I dislike homosexuals” to deny them service. He would have to prove that his freedom of religion was being impinged upon. Some of the scenarios Powers was proposing would also still be illegal, e.g. the Muslim refusing medicine to a woman without her face covered.

  3. Paul Reed February 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    “Christian business owners around the country will have some very tough decisions to make.”

    Not really. The can simply not offer wedding cakes. And honestly, if they have to, they can close their store and work doing something else. Many Christians in the past and even today live in fear of being killed. The people in this post are not exactly on the battle lines and won’t end up in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. We are greatly blowing this out of proportion. When the law does force their hand, we’ll see where their heart really is in this matter.

    • Randall Seale March 1, 2014 at 3:04 am #

      @ Paul Reed

      Followers of Jesus Christ of all people should have an appreciation of freedom won by blood. The freedom of religion known in America wasn’t free. It does not follow that because “many Christians in the past and even today live in fear of being killed” that we downplay the governmental seizure of our brothers and sisters’ property. There is no honor in taking a ‘ho-hum’ approach to blood-bought freedom.

      The issue at hand is more than wedding cakes or wedding photos. It is whether or our gov’t will (attempt to) force followers of Jesus Christ to violate our faith. It is God’s will that His people “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Tim. 2:2). This is not done when the gov’t fines, etc one in the labor of their hands.

      The people at the center of this are very much on a battle line and “the law” is forcing their hand. Our role is to be “partners with those so treated.” (Heb. 10:33).

  4. Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Anybody want to start a donation pool to help pay the fines for these people?

  5. Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Ben Domenech has a pretty good point about how the market would react in his piece.

    If you believe markets work, if you believe people work, then you should have faith that legitimate bigotry will be punished by the marketplace. So Hobby Lobby and Chick Fil A and all the cakemakers who only make heteronormative cake will see their business drop because they were anti-women or anti-gay or what have you. Giving the government the power to punish them – which really amounts to giving elite trial lawyers that power – is madness if you believe in people and markets. Decisions made by free people within markets will sort themselves out better than giving courts and government and bureaucrats the power to do the sorting. No one will shop at the Nazi store without being judged for shopping at the Nazi store, so we don’t need government to ban the Nazi store.

    One last word regarding the language of opponents of this law, who have been so quick to run to straw man arguments of bigotry and hate: most religions are inherently discriminatory. They discriminate between what is a sin and what is not, between who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, and they guide believers to never participate in furthering a sinful act. It is rather laughable to see the unchurched roll out the line of attack that defense of religious liberty – of preventing government from compelling the religious to participate in something they view as sinful – places proponents on the “wrong side of history.” How droll. If you believe that our reality began with “let there be light!” and will end with “behold, I make all things new”, being on the wrong side of human history is a given.

    • buddyglass February 28, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      “If you believe markets work, if you believe people work, then you should have faith that legitimate bigotry will be punished by the marketplace.”

      This depends on how much the market dislikes bigotry and how much it likes non-bigotry. If you declined to discriminate in the actual Jim Crow South then your business would likely suffer. You’d essentially exchange white customers for black customers while being black-balled in community, both as a business and as an individual.

      Now the situation w.r.t. homosexuality doesn’t approach anything near that severity, but I can imagine some scenarios where “unfair” discrimination against homosexuals might actually be the most pragmatic thing to do from a profit-seeking perspective.

      • Johnny Mason February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

        Except those scenarios haven’t actually happened in Arizona or anywhere else. It is perfectly legal to do what your scenario describes today in Arizona. It is perfectly legal to discriminate against a gay man today in Arizona, and we see no discrimination happening. It was and is not there

        • buddyglass February 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

          How are you proving this negative, i.e. that no discrimination is happening?

          Clearly no widespread and pervasive discrimination is happening. I don’t grant that “no” discrimination is happening. As you note, this is the status quo except in municipalities that have enacted their own protection for homosexuals. This bill would override those local protections when they come into conflict with sincerely held religious beliefs, right?

  6. Matt Martin February 28, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    So they won’t serve cakes that celebrate gay weddings…but they’ll serve cakes that celebrate “divorces, unmarried parents, stem-cell research, non-kosher barbecues and pagan solstice parties”?

    http://www.peacock-panache.com/2013/06/investigation-uncovers-religious.html

    • Brett Cody February 28, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      Matt,
      While your objection is understandable, it is also unfortunately not relevant. I have no idea why someone’s religious beliefs would not mandate a consistent practice of those beliefs, but that is not for the state to regulate. Rather, the state should protect the citizens’ rights to practice their beliefs. Further, every law is ‘discriminatory’ in one way or another. It is unhelpful for the media to grossly misrepresent the bills that were proposed. The problem with this whole issue is that the argument from the media is very appealing, though. Irrelevant, speculative and not based in truth, but appealing.

      • Matt Martin February 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

        Refusing to bake a cake isn’t a belief. It’s nonsense.

        The link adequately demonstrates that deep down there is still some form of bigotry there for they have no problem serving another individuals sinful celebration.

        • Brett Cody February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

          The baker does not have to participate in a homosexual wedding if doing so violates his/her religious beliefs. The link doesn’t adequately demonstrate anything other than the baker not consistently applying his/her beliefs according to the writer’s adjudication. There is also a fallacy in your logic.
          Consider the areas of your life where others could find inconsistencies. Would you mind the state enacting laws that penalize you for practicing your deeply held religious beliefs simply because you were not consistent? It is not unreasonable for the homosexuals to find a different baker to bake their wedding cake rather than *bullying* the bakers that are sincerely trying to practice deeply held beliefs.
          There also are a few details the author of your linked article leaves out. How about the bullying that happened to the baker? I wonder why he left that out? Could it be that the morality of the bullies is not being practiced consistently? If we are splitting hairs here, then refusing to bake a cake is certainly not worthy of the unreasonable reaction from the homosexual community.

    • Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      I fail to see how a non-kosher barbeque would be sinful for a Christian to provide services to. Kosher laws need not apply to Christians with the fulfillment of the law through Christ. Not a conflict here.

      Also, the celebration of stem cells is pretty ambigious. Was it adult or embryonic? Doesn’t say, so that can be scratched as not a conflict.

      So a fiction writer found inconsistencies with a group of people. I imagine the host of that website has been inconsistent in his life as well.

      It’s just more fodder to show that a group of people’s definition of tolerance isn’t agreeing to disagree, but accept my point of view with the heel of my boot in your throat.

  7. Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    It’s not like there are not bakeries or florists that are not pro-SSM. It’s highly probably that in the cases of lfowers or cakes, the governemnt has no grounds to compel a business owner to do so, as there are alternative business that can offer substiturte services.

  8. Kevin W. Bridges February 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    If you won’t sell cakes to certain groups in the public place in which you do business and receive you living and livelihood and the public then rejects you for your actions, you are getting what you have coming to you!!

    I am a Christian, but I don’t believe I should have the right to discriminate as I see fit. Why can’t you make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding and still believe in the biblical view of marriage?

    Jesus frequently spent time in places where “sin” was happening. Did he become contaminated by it or was he condoning it by his participation through his physical presence? No.

    A Christian cake maker should be the best cake maker he can be and kind to all, no matter what! This whole argument is really dumb. Why can’t Christians just be like Jesus and welcoming to all? I just don’t see how one’s conscience is violated by baking a cake for a gay couple! Big deal.

    • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Kevin,
      You make some excellent points! Similar to comments I made, that were not accepted by the moderator. Well stated!

      Masking your judgement as defense of “religious freedom” doesn’t change the heart of what it is. Christ didn’t deem those who were not on the path unworthy of his service, and judge them as being undeserving of his love and grace. How is it that we have fallen so far from Christ that we believe we have the right to do what Christ himself did not?

    • Michael Lynch February 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      Kevin, sounds like you’re late to the party. Most of what you say has been dealt with, but here’s a good post on the issue: http://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/put-an-egg-in-their-shoe.html

  9. Brett Cody February 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Kevin,
    You may be able to lay aside conscience and participate in a homosexual “wedding” with no problem, but you are not free to force others to do so. Further, Christ never participated in sin or celebrated it.

    • Kevin W. Bridges February 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      Brett, who is participating in a homosexual wedding? If you bake cakes and sell them, that’s what you do. The law says you can not discriminate or decide who can buy your cakes and who can not. A lesbian couple are walking down the street and smell a heavenly fragrance from a nearby bakery. They enter the public store (not private) and want to buy some treats and you refuse to sell them anything because it’s obvious from their hand-holding and affection,that they are a lesbian couple. It is wrong for you to discriminate in this way! What moral code are you violating by selling them some treats. NONE! You are wrong, the laws of the country and city ordinances do have a right “to force others to do so” as you put it. If you run a public business selling wedding cakes, then you must be fair to all. You are selling cakes and that it all. You are not “participating in homosexual marriage.”

      • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

        Unless you are planning to either participate in gay sex at the wedding or decide to marry someone of the same sex while you are there, I can’t for the life of me fathom how exactly baking a cake or providing flowers or driving the limo can possibly be considered active participation in the sin of the two people participating in the actual ceremony. Any more so that I can understand how providing counseling to a couple going through divorce (a sin) is participating in their sin. Or hearing the confession of a friend who is struggling with addiction (a sin) and showing him love even though he continues to struggle is you participating in sin.

        What if you took this article and this bill and changed the words. What if instead of saying “same sex marriage” or “gay wedding” or “civil union” you substituted the word “greed”, or “lust”, or “coveting”, or “anger”. These are all sin and in the eyes of God all sin is equal. So why aren’t Christians up in arms that anyone would offer any kind of services to a couple that had premarital sex? Why doesn’t the law make it legal to refuse service to someone who has lust in their heart? or greed? Or who is quick to anger?

        Why do we as Christians continue to want to treat homosexuality different than every other sin? Because it is one we are sure we could never be guilty of and thus it makes us somehow morally superior and makes it much easier for us to justify passing judgement on those who are guilty of that particular sin.

        Perhaps a more mature and enlightened Christian can explain that to me…

        • Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

          Perhaps your pressuposition to the definition of “participate” is acute. What you may consider to be participation, may not be what everyone else thinks of it. My wedding we had lots of participants and it wasn’t just the pastor or the consumation of the marriage. We had the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, videographer, photographer, a few musicians/singers, a bagpiper (yes that’s right), and a florist and a cake provider/baker. I consider all those people to have participated/supported my wedding

          Just like how many Christians stay away from alcohol as a whole. Scripture speaks of drunkeness, not of abstinence from drinking altogether. I may not take the same stance of completely avoiding a single drink as some people/denominations take towards it, but I’m not going to say they have no reason to do so.

          • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

            Ian,
            See to me the wedding is between the husband, the wife, and God. Those are the three that are participating in the wedding. Unless you invited the bagpiper (very cool by the way) to come forward and share his vows for your marriage, everyone else is just there to watch. I don’t believe the bible says that the wedding is ceremony between the husband and the wife and God and the baker and the guy who services the Xerox machine that made copies of the invitations.

            Regardless of the semantics differences in how we view the word “participation” that still does not explain to me why a law has to be specifically written to protect “religious freedom” from same-sex marriages But I believe I have finally figured out I am looking for that answer in the wrong place… But thank you for the interesting discussion.

            • Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

              If the baker failed to deliver the cake to your wedding, would you be disappointed? Would it be even a slight buzzkill? That’s where I come from with my definition of participate. If I’d find a level of disapointment if they weren’t able to particiapte/provide in my wedding. That’s all.

              I personally feel that the 1st Amendment should cover my faith based objection on deciding to not make a SSM cake, a divorce cake, or a whatever the Bible says is a sinful behavior. I believe there are plenty of other business that would be glad to take the business away from me if that was the case.

        • Johnny Mason February 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

          Andy, if your friend is struggling with addiction and you help him with that addiction, are you loving them?

          • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

            Johnny,
            Well so I can answer the question you asked or I can answer the question you intended to ask… I think what you intended with your question was to infer if I help him purchase or pursue his addition, not if I help him overcome his addition.

            So obviously the answer is no supporting or celebrating his addition is not loving him. However, if I continue to provide him support and love and use the talents and gifts God has provided me to speak into his life every change I get, even though I know he is not backing away from his addiction does that mean I am praising him for or celebrating or supporting his addiction? Or does that mean I am continuing to love him? If I decide as an addict he is not worthy of my love, and support and service does that mean I am loving him as a friend and Christian should? The question works both ways…

            See to me the crux of this issue is this… The people we are discussing have chosen to say refusing to provide service to a same sex marriage/union is a religious stance based on the fact that if they provide this service it is basically them providing approval of, or condoning the sin. The problem as I see it is they don’t take that same moral stance against all sin, which God specifically declared as being equal. So if I am going to take a moral stand on serving a homosexual couple’s union, but not take the same moral stand against other sin I have a hard time seeing that as religious freedom and not bigotry.

            To make matters worse they say they are perfectly happy to serve gays for anything else just not for this. Really? So I don’t mind their sin, as long as they aren’t getting married? (By the way that was shared by the author of this story in Twitter I don’t believe that was part of the original post). So not only don’t they treat all sin with the same moral outrage they don’t even treat the same sin with the same moral outrage in all instances. I just don’t get that…

      • Brett Cody February 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

        Kevin,
        You are jumping from one wholly different scenario to another that is not related. Participating in the celebration of a homosexual “wedding” is wholly different from selling a baked treat to a passer-by homosexual customer. We agree that it is not ethically right for a baker to refuse to sell treats to homosexuals. However, forcing someone to participate–that is, use their creativity and expressive talent–to endorse and celebrate (which is inherent in the nature of providing their service) a homosexual “wedding” is indeed a different scenario altogether.

        Also, you may want to reconsider employing the concept of ‘fairness’. You may have to reap that later if you sow it now. Rather, consider what is just. It is just for the state to protect the rights of its citizens to practice their deeply held beliefs. A good example I have read lately is that it would not be just to force a pro-life plumber to fix the plumbing at an abortion clinic. There are probably other plumbers who can do the same job.

        • Kevin W. Bridges February 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

          Brett,

          It’s actually not so different. This business represented themselves to be in the “wedding cake” business. In this city/state, same sex marriages are recognized and laws exist that prohibit business from discriminating against any customer based on several things including sexual orientation.

          The bakery may have been ignorant of the law, but ignorance is not an excuse. If their Christian convictions would not allow them to open a public storefront and sell cakes to everyone, so be it. But they don’t have a religious freedom that allows for them to open a public establishment and advertise for the sale of wedding cakes as they define marriage. If they wanted to do that, they should have opened a “private cake club” and made membership a requirement contingent on certain beliefs to get in, etc. But then you and I know they would not have been in business very long with that model. They want their “cake” and eat it too.

          • Johnny Mason February 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

            So Kevin, if Westboro Baptist Church wanted a gay owner who rents conference rooms to host their “God hates f*gs” seminar, you would be fine forcing the gay owner to service that request, since the owner is prohibited from discriminating based on religion.

            • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

              I am not Kevin obviously, but the unfortunate answer to this is yes…

            • Kevin W. Bridges February 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

              Johnny,

              It has less to do with what I think than it does with the law. If you don’t like the laws…vote!

              I guess I would have to say, “yes” to your example if I understand it. If the owner of a business in the public rents conference rooms to the entire public regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. because the laws say so and he will not rent one to Westboro because he does not like their conference content, then he is wrong and is violating the anti-discrimination laws.

              People rent rooms from Christian hotel owners all the time for activities that may be immoral, but if your going to be in the public hotel business, you don’t get to decide who you will sell a room too.

  10. Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

    Brett,
    Neither did Christ withhold his “services” (love, grace, compassion, and most importantly the message of salvation) from those who sinned or who did not believe in him or who weren’t from the right part of the world. He met the sinner (and that includes you and I) where he/she was. He did not force the sinner to search for Him but rather went to them to provide his services. By baking a cake how exactly is it that you personally would be participating in the act of sin?

    I think it so so anti-Jesus to think that before we as Christians can participate in the world the world must first rid it self of sin. Jesus didn’t say we had to be rid of sin in order to be saved he came to us in spite of our sin. This idea that our Christian religion has developed that when God called us to “love everyone” he didn’t mean “them”, or “that group”, or the ones that don’t yet believe is so far against the teachings of Christ it sounds more like the laws of the Pharisees.

    The idea that you can pick and choose what sin you find morally wrong and against your conscience is absurd. When Christ told the crowd that he without sin cast the first stone, he was talking to you and me. So when you are ready to really stand for something in your “conscience” you might want to try this on for size: “I will refuse you service because I know you have sin. You know how I know you have sin? Because only one man walked this earth that didn’t, and I am pretty sure you aren’t him. So until you come to my establishment free from all sin you might as well just keep walking.” See if you wanted to say you are protecting “religious freedom” and holding to your “conscience” that would be your stand. But it isn’t your stand because you are treating this sin differently, and I don’t believe that is how God says he sees sin… The verse doesn’t say “love everyone, except….”

    • Ian Shaw February 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      The apostle Paul said, “all things may be lawful, but not all things are profitable.”

      While you might have no issue baking a cake specifically for a homosexual wedding, others may. Who are you to say that their conviction is misplaced? They may not feel it’s be profitable for them to do so. That’s between them and God. To compell them via the government to do so otherwise is nonsense and your to attempt to judge their hearts on the matter is even less Christ-like.

      Let me ask you this. Suppose Gosnell wanted to celebrate murdering his 100th baby and he called your bakery. He told you exactly why he wanted the cake and had something horrible in mind for the text on the cake. Would you have no qualms whatsoever about baking and selling him a cake?If not, how can you take a stand to find fault in others for their qualms and decision not to provide an item for that kind of a celebration?

      • Andy Atencio February 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

        Wow your logic in your question is so flawed I don’t even know where to begin…

        First off in the states where this has become an issue there are two laws in play. One law states that homosexual, same-sex couples are allowed to be married in that state through a legal process, which has nothing to do with religious beliefs. Secondly there are laws in place for the fair treatment of 1) all consumers, but also 2) protected classes based on many different things including race, religion, sex, oh yeah and sexual preference.

        So when I as a proprietor of a public business establish myself as such I must obtain was is called a business license. This license provides me with a) the right to conduct business in a specific jurisdiction (typically at a local government level) and b) makes it clear that I as a business I am required to conform to all laws governing my business including laws about service and discrimination. That means that I am not allowed to refuse service to anyone on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, physical disability and yes once again there is that pesky sexual preference one. There is no law which says being homosexual is not legal, in fact being homosexual is a legally protected class. That means if I choose to start a business and provide a service I CANNOT refuse service based on a person’s sexual preference any more than I can because of the color of their skin.

        On the other hand your completely illogical example provides recourse to me as a business owner. I simply pick up the phone and call 911 to report the man as having threatened to kill his son, which oh by the way there just happens to be a law against. Let me ask you a question… what if Abraham came in to you shop today and said hey you know God has told me that I need to take my son Issac up on the mountain outside of town and kill him. So what I need is a cake that we can serve at the celebration after I go kill him and have followed God’s word.

        I am not the one saying their convictions are misplaced… I am pretty sure it is the bible saying their convictions are misplaced. They are not being compelled by the government to correct their convictions (misplaced or not), they are being compelled by the government to provide services they have agreed to provide in a way that does not discriminate against an individual or group that is counter to the law. I am not sure why that is so hard to understand. They are not being told by the government to go have gay sex and get married. They are being told that if they want to do business they can no more refuse service to me because I am Hispanic than they can to a young woman because she is pregnant or than they can because a man is homosexual.

        I absolutely agree that I have a perspective of Christ that I don’t believe these people are following, but you know what that is not for me to pass judgement on. However, what is very clear to me is the existing laws on the books are that what they are doing is not legal. And the new laws that have been put forward are very clearly discriminatory against homosexuals. Again if you want to pass a law that governs personal “religious freedom” why does it only specifically address right to refuse service based on one sin and not every sin? Do I judge that as being against what God directs us in the bible to do, yep. So sue me….

        • Randall Seale March 1, 2014 at 2:08 am #

          @Andy Antencio

          You’ve restated the inconsistency that exists between the 1st Amendment and the (as-described) local business license. If the license prohibits the free exercise of one’s religion then it is by definition unconstitutional.

    • Esther O'Reilly February 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Baking a cake SPECIFICALLY FOR A “WEDDING” CEREMONY is indeed a form of legitimizing sin. By arranging the figurines, inscribing the message, etc., etc., you are saying “This celebration is legitimate and natural. This celebration deserves to be adorned, decorated and made to look as good as possible.”

  11. James Bradshaw February 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Brett asks: “Would you mind the state enacting laws that penalize you for practicing your deeply held religious beliefs simply because you were not consistent?”

    What must one do to file as a “conscientious objector” to military service?

    Well … ” In general, the man’s lifestyle prior to making his claim must reflect his current claims” (according to the Selective Service).

    In other words: consistency. If you’ve been arrested numerous times in barroom brawls, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be given CO status.

    Do you not find this reasonable?

    Yet, you want someone to be given exemptions from the law for “values” that they’ve been entirely indifferent about up until that day in the case of this bakery. I don’t think so.

  12. James Bradshaw February 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    One more thing: whatever the law ends up being, my personal sentiment is very close to gay blogger Andrew Sullivan who wrote:

    “Let bigots be bigots. Let gays be gays. And when those values conflict, let’s do all we can not to force the issue. We’re living in a time of drastic change with respect to homosexuality. It is perfectly understandable that many traditional-minded people, especially in the older age brackets, are disconcerted, upset and confused. So give them some space; instead of suing them, talk to them. Try seeing things from their point of view. Appeal to their better nature as Christians. And start defusing by your tolerance the paranoia and hysteria Roger Ailes lives off.”

    No, I would not sue a business like Sweet Cakes, either, as I’ve said. Not only does it guarantee shoddy service (understandably), but furthermore: don’t folks want people to participate because they WANT to (as opposed to being figuratively held at gunpoint?)

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  1. Andrew Sullivan calls for tolerance for Christians | Denny Burk - March 1, 2014

    […] owners who have been subjected to lawsuits and the coercive power of the government (e.g., here and here). For this reason, Sullivan calls for activists to take it easy on the Christians. Threre’s […]

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