I think it’s instructive to remember how the average person is processing the national debate over legal gay marriage and religious liberty. It is very clear that many people aren’t even aware of what exactly the dispute is about.
A recent discussion on “The View” is a case in point (see video above). The panel was discussing the Christian bakers in Oregon who were recently fined $135,000 for refusing to participate in a lesbian wedding.
Raven-Symoné argues that these Christians deserve to be penalized because they discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. Symoné argues further that this behavior is no different than racial discrimination in the Jim Crow South. The Christian bakers won’t serve gay people just like white racists refused to serve black people. At least that’s how Symoné explains it.
But this is a terrible misunderstanding of the situation. These Christian bakers are not refusing to serve gay people because they are gay. They had in fact already served this lesbian couple in their bakery. These Christians have always been happy to serve gays and lesbians, and they did! They simply cannot in good conscience participate in a lesbian wedding. Their Christian beliefs prohibit them from doing that.
These cases aren’t going away. They are going to continue to come up around the country. And it remains to be seen how the courts will rule. In the meantime, it’s important for people to stop giving the impression that Christians are trying to institute some new regime of Jim Crow style segregation. That is not what is going on here.
Christians want to do business with all kinds of people no matter their sexual orientation. Christians are simply asking not to be coerced by the state into participating in gay weddings. Candace Cameron Bure did a great job explaining that in the video above. I hope that message gets through.
Think about how insane refusing to serve an interracial wedding sounds. That’s how you all sound to the rest of the world.
If that’s how the world sees it, then it just shows how blind the rest of the world is. They have eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear.
Muslims and Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses think the very same thing.
dr. james willingham
Just think how you sound to God who said. Romans 1:26,27, For this reason ‘God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.'” (ESV) SBC Voices is presenting the testimony of a Lesbian who said she could never get away from Romans one, that the convicting power of that passage was a factor in her turning from lesbianism.
I’m not convinced that there’s a God, nor am I convinced that if a God were to exist it’d be the Christian version, and lastly I’m also not convinced that–if the Christian God exists–I should trust a very old set of books to accurately convey his message.
I’m as concerned about how I sound to your God as you’re concerned about how you sound to Allah.
dr. james willingham
Having been met by the God I serve, when I was an Atheist, and finding the same confirmed in history, etc., I am not a great fan of Allah, to say the least. And I have done some study of the matter. A paper I wrote at Columbia in ’71 was on the subject, “Intellectuals of the Western Sudan.” It was mostly concerned with the leading Black Moslem scholar in the realms of Islam, one Ahmed Baba, the rare jewel learning as he was called. he taught at the university mosque of Timbucktu and was then carried off by the Moroccans to teach at the Mosque Universitys of Marrakech.
If God doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t really matter one way or the other. And yet, here you are.
Another major difference is that the Jim Crow laws were enforced by the government. Business owners who wanted to serve all persons could be fined and punished by the government if they did so. Apples and oranges to this situation, where the couple in question could have walked a couple of blocks and used another baker. This whole situation is about punishing Christians for not having the same ideas about sexuality as 21st century western culture.
Travis, most of the world thinks YOU are the insane one. You might want to get out more.
There is a conflict in rights here and so the conclusion one draws is based on which right seems paramount.
Do not forget there is some history, Bob Jones U. prohibited interracial dating (let alone interracial marriage) based on their understanding of Scripture. And before that some states had so-called miscengenation laws that prohibited the “mixing of the races” in lawful marriage until the Supreme Court ruled in the Loving case. These are sad stains on the history of some states and some believers that are fairly recent. So more than a few see this as the same kind of injustice.
To add to the confusion, some want to redefine religious liberty as the freedom to worship as one pleases. That idea scares me a lot. If that idea ever becomes the law of the land, expect religious persecution on a scale we have not seen in a long time in the USA.
I am also concerned about the scale of the penalty imposed, it is incredibly punitive and is clearly being done to set an example so no one else in that state does something similar. In reaction, I think business owners will just not say why they are not willing to do something or just claim they are too busy or similar.
I thought the size of the fine was eye popping myself but the size of the fine is commensurate with other fines handed down in OR for violations of discrimination law. In a recent religious discrimination case a Christian woman was awarded $325K:
The [Oregon] agency contends Andrew W. Engel repeatedly “badgered” Susan Muhleman about the three-day [Scientology] conference despite her concerns that it would conflict with her Christian beliefs. He also turned down her request to attend secular training instead, investigators said.
So the State of Oregon takes discrimination seriously. I’m glad to see it.
The show had to know ahead of time where Mrs. Bure’s views were on the subject. This is more pandering to the sexual revolutionaries to further convince the public that anyone not willing to specifically make a cake, or flower arrangement or any product/service for a gay wedding specifically, is a bigot and on par with racists.
I can’t view the youtube clip, but I’m sure Ms. Symone’ got more of the speaking time and was utilizing emotional statements for her argument, rather than the facts in these cases. (where the business owners have all previously made products for gays, just not weddings)
She was close, but not quite there. The analogous situation would be bakers refusing to bake cakes for interracial weddings, while being perfectly happy to bake cakes for black people in general. Just as the bakers in Oregon are happy to bake cakes for gay individuals, but not for same-sex weddings.
To make the analogy even more complete, suppose that the bakers refusing to bake cakes for interracial weddings are doing so for religious reasons; they believe (albeit pretty obviously incorrectly) that such weddings are contrary to what the bible teaches.
Agreed. Though it is interesting that she made the comparison the interracial marriage as she has publically stated that she does not identify as African-American, nor does she identify her sexual orientation as hetero or homosexual. Hardly makes you have a qualified opinion when you’re basically just sampling from everything on the table at a Chinese buffet.
Side note: this presents an obvious line of questioning for Republican presidential candidates. Get them to support religious liberty w.r.t. refusing to serve gay couples but deny religious liberty w.r.t. refusing to serve interracial couples. Then hammer them on the inconsistency until they say something like, “Well, the Bible is fine with interracial marriage but not same-sex marriage”. Then ask, “So you only support religious liberty for Christians?”
I understand the point about picking and choosing, but the argument has been made that interracial marriage and same-sex marriage are not parallels, but society sees them as such.
On another side note, did you catch the piece from Denny on the white woman from Idaho that identifies as black? That’s the same as identifying as gay/transgender, etc. right?
Ultimately, the hatred this gay couple showed towards the bakery owner’s FAR OUTWEIGHS the fact that the bakery owners would not bake a cake for their wedding. As a result of the baker’s decision, the couple STILL GOT MARRIED (even though they were “suffering severely from the ‘rejection'”), STILL HAD A CAKE AT THEIR WEDDING (baked by someone who was able and willing to do so)…and now will have $135,000 to add to their bank account. That just sounds so incredibly painful to me (not). Meanwhile, the bakers have lost their business, may lose their home, have been demoralized by the media…because they love God and want to be true to Him! I think the award should have gone the other way!!! The bakers were not allowed the “FREE EXERCISE” of their religion…still clueless to how the courts determined that the individual rights of the gay couple outweighed the individual rights of the Christian baker! Candice Cameron Bure did not back down…and she knew she was in enemy territory. Raven-Symone sounded uneducated and full of soundbites from the media…any one with education could tell who was looking at facts and who was dealing on an emotional level only.
Blacks who couldn’t get lunch at Woolworth’s still managed to get it somewhere else. Just sayin’.
And all the legislation and laws of the land have not helped to rid the world of racism!
You sure about that? Clearly we still have racism. But, just as clearly, it’s less prevalent than it once was. How can you be certain civil rights legislation didn’t play a part in making that happen?
In any case, the laws intent wasn’t to end racism, but to end peoples’ ability to act on their racism in the marketplace in ways that negatively effect blacks. That has largely been achieved.
I mentioned Woolworth’s because you seemed to be arguing the discrimination against the gay couple was permissible because they managed to get a cake somewhere else. Even in the segregated south it wasn’t impossible for a black person to buy a sandwich. You just couldn’t do it at Woolworth’s.
A cake is not a religion. It’s food. A bakery is not a religion. It’s a business.
Baking a cake for a homosexual does not mean you’re endorsing their lifestyle or celebration. And refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual, regardless of the event, is not exercising your religion. It’s discrimination.
Customers can legally discriminate. Christians do this all the time against all types of businesses through boycotts, etc…it’s all legal.
I discriminate. Not on the basis of race or orientation. But on the basis of quality, quantity, etc…
Again, as a business, you are not allowed to discriminate against a customers race or orientation. It doesn’t matter what that customer is celebrating – you cannot discriminate against them.
We also need to remember, this bakery was ok with baking cakes that celebrated other sins…
Its a good thing they just discriminated against the wedding and not the couple, then.
I look at the ‘profit’ involved, made by offering goods and services to the PUBLIC. It seems to me that once people have entered into the market place with something to sell to the public, there is an understanding that it is a good to be sold to anyone in the public, with certain exemptions for maturity, sanity, legal limitations.
Now for ‘services’, IF a business specifies what services ARE offered, and they are offering cakes made for special occasions, then the public assumes it is welcomed to buy the products of these skills . . . and when a group is singled out for ‘we’re sorry, we cannot serve you’, it does recall a time in our country’s history when people of color were not served or accommodated by profit-making businesses.
Does it come down to this: is the point to make money honestly by serving the public OR is the point to use one’s own values system to decide who may and may not be eligible for your publicly-offered products and services ???
There is way too much at stake for this topic to be treated lightly. Let reasonable people gather and discuss the issues involved . . . let’s not make a ‘show’ of something that touches so many hearts and consciences.
Anyone know if there is a way to help them financially?
The buzz is the Kleins have to pay damages because they doxxed the couple.
Stop using the phrase “sexual orientation” and instead use “sexual preference.” “Sexual orientation” is a phrase that gay rights activists created to imply that sexual preference is immutable.
By that metric, “complementarianism” is a term Evangelicals created to imply that their theology is about something other placing women in subordinate roles to men.
problem with your request, SCOTT, is that the phrase ‘sexual preference’ implies that people ‘choose’ . . . but we who do not have same-sex attraction know that we did NOT ‘choose’ what sex we are attracted to,
so you have a problem with your thinking when we ourselves know we did NOT choose.
Perhaps, in time, with much understanding and increased knowledge about what people with same-sex attraction are going through;
then a time will come when people can discuss this in a more meaningful way for everyone involved. . .
in the mean-time, I refuse to judge people who carry a burden that I do not carry myself. If anything, I will pray for them, that they don’t have to endure my unkindness or my pity, but rather my compassion. Their suffering can be great, but as Christian people, let us at least be as honest with them as we can without creating issues that we know are not valid . . . I’m sure some, especially among the young, who were victims of suicide did not ‘prefer’ their circumstances, or the unkindness of a world that could not accept them as they were. We should do no harm against these people. We should care for them as best we can, in the way of our faith.
dr. james willingham
Christiane: Have you ever heard of molestation and seduction of children? Pedophilia has been removed from the lists of pathologies, but having dealt with adults who had been subjected to a pedophile’s attention or to an incestuous adult relative, I can tell you that it certainly disrupts the developmental stages of the child, causing detrimental effects to the person in adulthood. E.g., if it occurs during the industry stage, as one developmental psychologist put it, then the adult has trouble holding down a job. I know of several cases where the evidence of such situations was most convincing. Same sex attraction in the age of childhood, especially in that period where they have not developed sexual identities or even know what such a thing is, appears to be the result of a natural curiosity which a pedophile, etc., takes advantage of. If they are allowed to continue their sexual development in attraction for the opposite sex, same sex ideas become passing fads, so to speak, just like a child who wants to marry her father or a son wants to marry his mother. One researcher in a Western State found evidence suggestive of the fact that in the latter case of a strong causal relationship between serial murderers who were seduced by their mothers.
Same sex attraction could be the result of a fixation caused by a seduction at the age in which that is a normal part of development. But God is clear that He does not intend for people to continue in such a way. SBC Voices had an example the other day, where the person writing said she could never get away from the remarks in Romans 1. The Bible, being the word of God written, certainly has the last word for us.
Hi Dr. JAMES,
yes, I did casework for Family Services in my city when I first came out of university, and I also had a student who was victimized by a family member when I taught in the inner city. The perpetrators who harm children knowingly belong in a category that my comment did not refer to. And some victims of molestation will not be able to have normal lives with a spouse, no. The comment I made was intended to speak of innocent people who became aware of having same-sex attraction and did not choose that attraction.
We have, in our own Christian communities, those who prey on children and young people and we must be vigilant in our protection of the young from predators. I am concerned in my above comment with those among our Christian people who ‘target’ those innocent people who are ‘different’ and persecute them. I know that is NOT what our faith is about and I ask for all of us to at least try to have open discussions and approach people who are ‘different’ with compassion and kindness, because many of them suffer and have suffered. What I am saying, is at least let them not suffer at the hands of Christian people . . . let them receive instead some kindness and care from those who would follow ‘the Great Physician’.
As to those who harm children, that is a legal matter. I also commend those social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and ministers who have the ability to work with pedophiles and those who molest others . . . that ability to try to help people with such pathologies is a special gift that is only given to some among us. Not all can work with such people. And yet, they must be treated for their sickness, while also protecting the innocent from their aberrant behaviors. I do see a difference. And I do understand what you are saying also. The one thing I believe Christians must do is NOT to shield and protect molesters and predators; but instead try to get therapy for the sake of victims.
Thanks for communication, Dr. JAMES.