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April 08, 2015

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So Brett says, "..It's not immoral for a Jew to carry a Roman soldier's equipment..."

Equipment that conceivably was used to harm others? Equipment that would sustain the soldier in his work supporting the empire? That sounds more immoral to me than letting two adults who love each other get married.

“That sounds more immoral to me than letting two adults who love each other get married.”

Hi Ragtime,

Why stop at two? Doesn’t it sound more immoral to you than letting three or four adults who love each other get married? If not, why not?

It's a false equivalency Blanko. If three or more people want to join in some kind of "union," I say God be with you. I'm from the hippie days and I've never seen those "open marriages" last longer than a year or two. Doesn't work. On the other hand, I have known gay people who have been in long,stable, monogamous relationships. Their bonding legally doesn't hurt my hetero marriage one iota.

RagTime, you need to catch up! People are openly admitting how same-sex marriage will change the institution of marriage now. And they're for it. Like here or here, for example.

You assert that "the Roman law requiring early Christians to carry a Roman's belongings for a mile" is different from "a law requiring bakeries not to discriminate by baking a cake for same-sex couples" because "carrying belongings for a mile" is amoral--it's not an immoral act--but a same-sex wedding is immoral--not an amoral act.

The flaw should be obvious--Christian bakers are not being required to get gay married themselves--which is the immoral act... they're being asked to bake a cake--which is an amoral act.

Baking a cake is as amoral as being required to carry someone else's belongings for a mile...

Christ didn't say, "carry the Roman's belongings for two miles--unless the Roman is traveling to some activity that we find immoral, like a gay wedding!" The end result/morality of the activity that the act of carrying the belongings to (akin to baking a cake for a gay wedding in modern day) wasn't even an issue.

You intolerant, narrowminded religious bigots!

Some years ago, my husband did a construction job for an East Indian family who were friends of ours. They were very pleased with the work and then asked him to build them a special prayer bench for the Hindu shrine in their home.

I am curious what the response from any of you might have been...

Would carrying a Roman soldier's equipment really be an amoral (3:22) act to a Jew at that time?

Ragtime, you don't understand the scripture in question. The behavior that Jesus prescribed was actually a way of showing disapproval of the individual's behavior, but without the use of violence. For instance, turning the other cheek would have been an insult, a way of saying "that was wimpy, try again." Going two miles would have been much the same. It was a way of shaming your opponent without using violence to do it. Jesus did not approve of the Roman empire and he was teaching his followers how to stand up against it without the use of violence, while still showing disapproval.

I'm actually not for certain Brett took the easiest approach to debunking this blog post. Matthew 5 is the passage she used as the foundation of her argument. If she misinterpreted the passage, her entire argument falls apart.

Indeed, the author of that "Bake for them two" blog post completely warps the meaning of Matthew 5 to try to get scriptural backing for her personal idea. This is a prime example of proof texting (going to the text with an idea and trying to prove it). Almost no one has recognized it in the comments of that article, which is not surprising, considering most people don't know how to properly interpret the Bible or even just simply read passages in context. Never read a Bible verse! (or passage, in this case)

Jesus was instructing Jews to not react to common injustices with evil, but rather to "turn the other cheek" and treat them better than they deserve.

The strange thing is that the author said that if a same-sex couple come to you and ask for one cake, you should bake them two. But in the passage, Jesus says you should go above and beyond, but only when someone treats you unjustly. So are the same-sex couple doing something unjustly to the Christian? This absurdity is lost on the Biblically illiterate.

I won't even go down the road, as Brett did in his video, of all the situations that Jesus obviously didn't have in mind (carving two idols for a pagan instead of one). I don't think it's necessary to go down that path, since the author's argument falls apart when you realize how badly she misinterpreted the Matthew 5 passage.

The blog post is a well-written, emotionally-appealing piece that unfortunately is all based on a misinterpretation of Matthew 5. Sadly, she is leading many people astray who, like her, don't know how to interpret scripture properly.

John makes a great point there. In fact, it makes me wonder how the baker could shame the homosexual person suing them because they will not bake the cake? Perhaps handing over the keys to the bakery and putting it in the person's name? Here, you take it. If someone was so unscrupulous as to ruin someone's livelihood, they might see things in a different light.

That might be a tad exaggerated but captures the idea. I think a great example of how Christians were able to apply Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5 is when the mayor of Houston subpoenaed all the sermons, they sent her thousands of Bibles and sermons galore, flooding her office.

1. Brett (the guy in the video) responds by questioning if someone "forces you to steal, then will you steal two?" and "If someone asks you to make a pornographic movie, then would you make two?" Or if you are asked as a carpenter to "make an idol, then would you make two?"

My response: Being forced to steal is both illegal and immoral. Making a pornographic movie is immoral and might be illegal. Both of these examples, therefore, are irrelevant and falicious arguments. The act of baking a cake is neither illegal nor immoral, unlike stealing and making a pornographic film.

Carving an idol....this one is a bit more complicated as the Scriptures have much to say about idolatry, with nearly all passages warning us to not make idols for ourselves to worship. However, the New Testament speaks of the foolishness of idols and their lack of real meaning.

Additionally, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 this:

"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 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. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people."

This passage warns against associating with those who claim to be believers but are immoral, idolaters, etc. Paul himself says that he did not "at all" mean "the people of this world who are immoral...or idolaters" when he wrote to avoid associating with "sexually immoral people."

This passage, then, actually bolsters my argument that we as Christians can hang out with those whom we deem "immoral," but not hang out with those who claim to follow Christ yet live as hypocrites. So, I throw out the idol example as irrelevant too, but it does open up some interesting tangents.

2. Brett says that in Matthew 5, "the act of carrying soldiers equipment is amoral," implying that baking a cake is immoral and therefore different than carrying soldiers' equipment.

My response: I just flat out disagree with his logic here. Baking a cake is amoral too. The Jews were being severely persecuted by the Romans, who were pagans. The act of carrying the weapons of persecution for the "evil ones" is amoral, but would have been perceived as immoral by the Jews (aiding and abetting the evil enemy who has taken over their land). Jesus in this exact passage/context says "Do not resist the evil ones" (Matthew 5:38). Therefore, we too should not "resist" and can bake a cake, which is an amoral action, which does not mean we necessarily agree with what they are doing.

3. Brett then concludes his argument that the blogger says we should bake cakes "for everyone who asks." So, then, would you bake a cake for a brother & sister for an incestuous wedding? Or a “group wedding” (polygamy)? Or if a white supremacist comes and asks you to “write anti-black comments on the cake?”

My response: The blogger did not imply that we should bake cakes for everyone who asks. And even if she said that/meant it, she could rightfully disagree with these examples without being inconsistent in her argument because of these reasons:
Brett again uses fallacious analogies. Incestuous weddings are illegal. Despite this, one could still bake a cake since, as previously argued, the action of baking the cake is amoral even if others perceive it as immoral since we are aiding and abetting the enemy. Same deal for the polygamy example.

However, the white supremacist example is different. Here, the baker is being asked to do something immoral, sinful, and illegal (much like the porno movie example). A Christian baker should refuse to participate in writing hate messages on cakes because the baker should not be doing anything that would truly oppress others.

4. Brett wraps up by stating that “Jesus’ teaching does not apply to this situation” because we would be “encouraging their sinful behavior” and therefore “we are not required to bake two cakes.”

My response: On the contrary. Jesus’ teaching completely relates to this situation. Other Jews at the time of the Sermon on the Mount would have viewed the Jew who willingly and generously goes the extra mile for the evil persecutor of the Jews as someone who is “encouraging sinful behavior.” That Jew would have been carrying the soldiers’ weapons of oppression and gear. He would have been seen as someone who sides with the enemy, who helps that horrible, sinful behavior, and as someone who hangs out—perhaps even befriends—the pagans and immoral.

As a result, I don’t agree with a single argument Brett makes and I still stand with the original article that argues that if a gay couple asks us to bake a cake, we should bake for them two.

Erica, as I mentioned in my previous post, the Matthew 5 passage is taken completely out of context in the "Bake for them two" blog post. Jesus was not saying to do anything an unbeliever asks you to do, then even more. We must read the all around the passage to get the proper context.

So for you to still stand with the original article means you are agreeing with the author's misinterpreted approach to Matthew 5.

Other arguments in that blog post may or may not stand, but they do not stand on Biblical backing from Matthew 5.

All I did to realize that Matthew 5 was misinterpreted was to take the time to study commentaries: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/5-38.htm

John,

Not only that, but baking a cake can be seen as immoral if it is used to bring praise or glory to sinful acts.

If a person asks you to make a sign that says "Kill all the gays", should we make two? Of course not. Promoting killing innocent people is wrong! Likewise, promoting any sinful behavior as good/right/not sinful is pretty much the definition of false witness.

"If a person asks you to make a sign that says "Kill all the gays", should we make two?"

That is not a fair comparison, because there is no law that says that people must make these signs - but there are laws about non-discrimination.

This is a difficult concept for many of us to understand - especially if we are over 50 and grew up in an era where Christian values prevailed. Now they are under attack - as they were long ago.

"Bake for them two" is not condoning immoral behavior. It is making the best of being in a difficult situation.

Where did Jesus say Christians mustn't participate in marriage ceremonies they didn't agree with?

Much is being made of the blogger's "misinterpretation" of Scripture, while nothing is being made of the fact that neither Jesus nor his disciples ever suggested that Christ followers are somehow morally obligated to abstain from marriage ceremonies they don't agree with.

In other words, the burden of proof is in the wrong place. The problem isn't the blogger misusing Scripture; the problem remains with the baker, who has absolutely no support for her position whatsoever.

brgulker, I'm not sure this your argument is sound. Your argument is based on the fact that neither Jesus or his disciples suggested to abstain from same-sex marriage ceremonies. But we all know that just because they didn't explicitly mention it doesn't mean they automatically approved of it. Jesus never mentioned the immorality of child rape, so should we assume he had no opinion on it? Obviously not.

A better outlook on this would be to look elsewhere in scripture, and we can get some ideas on what Jesus and his disciples would have said, if they did speak about it.

Something specific that Jesus did say about marriage is in Matthew 19. We also know that God declared in the Old Covenant that homosexuality was immoral. Since Jesus was born under the Old Covenant, he would have had that view as well. So if God's view is that homosexuality is a departure from his perfect design for sexuality, and his view is that marriage is designed for a man and a woman, we begin to see why some Christians would be convinced that a same-sex marriage ceremony is dishonoring to God.

Further, you must leave room for each Christian's conscience. Paul wrote specifically about this in Romans 14.

I'm seeing a lot of "she has misunderstood the true meaning of the passage" without any actual further explanation of that "true meaning". Anyway, I take dispute with the notion of "true meaning" itself, as if Jesus spoke in terms that only through adhering to a traditional interpretation can you properly understand his message. It's nonsense. Jesus spoke to the everyday man, not to biblical scholars or people with only a specific perspective. If there is a clear interpretation to be seen here then it shouldn't be difficult to explain, it should really be quite straightforward. The notion of submission and acceptance, in love, to do those things that are asked of you even though you feel uncomfortable with them, is a pretty simple concept to understand. To counter this all I see is "you're misinterpreting it" followed by silence. It seems to refute the idea of "bake for them two" we have to jump through some rather convoluted biblical hoops, and even still I'm yet to see a convincing argument.

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