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April 08, 2015

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#3: Just tell them you can't accommodate them because you have "a conflict." You don't have to specify what kind of conflict it is.

I read an article recently that I tend to agree with. Jesus said if a someone ask you to walk a mile, walk two. He was referencing the times Roman soldiers would tell a Jew to stop what they are found and carry his stuff. The requirement was up to one mile. The Jews did not agree with the Romans and how they had taken over. But Jesus said don't just do what is required, do more. I feel that this is the essence of how we as Christians should deal with any person, all the time. It seems to solve the issue entirely. If a gay person does decide he wants to know about Jesus and having a relationship with him, it may just be the Christian baker who was above all loving, whom he asks. And it should be. I am an evangelical Christian and agree homosexuality is against Gods design. However, Unless I am participating in a homosexual act myself, I am not guilty of sinning, only of loving and doing as Jesus has commanded.

I like point three about each vendor ultimately deciding What their conscience dictates.
Is it like Sarah mentioned above and the line is drawn at homosexual behavior?
Or Does my conscience not allow me to participate in anything that may be seen as condoning ssm?
The problem with the "go two" argument is that carrying a soldiers stuff doesn't, in itself, have moral implications.

For me I'm trying to figure out how to keep the Gospel central in a culture that is not only pluralistic but allows me to vote my conscience. I don't want to compromise truth and I don't want to distract from the Gospel...

Sarah, Brett Kunkle addressed the "go two miles" argument today on STR's Facebook page. Just a heads up.

Selling someone a standard product, such as a catalog flower arrangement or a generic wedding cake, is not a matter of conscience.

No, refusing to sell such things in the context of a same sex wedding is just passive aggressive behavior.

We know it and we know that you know it.

It's like refusing to sell the happy same-sex couple a tank of gas when they show up to your Christian gas station in a car trailing tin cans and emblazoned with'JUST MARRIED!'

Selling them the gas doesn't say you approve.

On the other hand, maybe a custom cake personalized for the couple could be rightly refused. And a wedding photographer is (or should be) an artist.

These kinds of case cross the line into speech and he can ALREADY refuse to say what he doesn't believe by the same logic that a Republican speech writer can refuse to work for a Democrat.

No need to 'restore' any freedoms.

Certainly no need to create any new ones.

What happened to Brett's video? I was just "liking" it, when it got removed. What's going on?

Rebecca, the video is still up there. It's also here on the blog.

Tim

Would you agree that a Gay person be forced to attend a Christian Wedding to photograph the event? Remember, it's not just about cakes. It's about forcing someone to participate in something they can't support on religions grounds.

Should the Gay baker be required to, in their own handwriting, pip "For this reason shall a man leave his father and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh?" Notice Man, Wife clearly a hetero couple. Add to that the top of the cake will have a man and woman.

Has to go both ways, and right now it's activism on the part of the Gays.

So the winning strategy is to equivocate and avoid stating your policy for as long as possible, until you get down to the wire? But then you might miss out on the ADF photoshoot! The global martyrdom tour! The hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Real Americans all across the country!

So don't be afraid to expand your business into the persecution industry. There's killer profits to be made there.

@Sarah, just so you realize, 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 they 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.

Sarah there are a couple things wrong with your argument. First, the Roman soldiers had the power of the sword and state to force compliance. They were not asking. Second, Jesus would have never commanded us to do that which was a sin. The soldiers request may have been unjust, but it was not sinful. These Christian bakers/ florists/photographers are declining to participate so as to avoid committing a transgression of God's law.

@Tim, in Colorado one can refuse to bake an anti-gay cake, but not a pro-gay cake. This creates a strange situation in which freedom of religion and speech is granted if the state agrees with the objection, but denied if the state disagrees with objection. It seems to me that the crux of the matter is not whether homosexuality is right or wrong, it is not even about if refusing this service is right or wrong. It is a question of whether freedom of religion and speech in this country is real or imagined.

Robert,

Not all 'participation' is equal.

We're dealing with what's known as a public accommodation.

Opening a public accommodation obligates you to serve everybody.

Various laws define everybody in different ways but what's common is the goal which is to prevent discrimination (The bad kind. Don't start up.). We want the public to be able to use public accommodations. You don't keep me out of your shop; I don't keep you out of mine.

Selling someone a standard product is not participating in what they plan to use it for. If you could make the flower arrangement or make the cake (flour arrangement) without knowing who it was for then you gotta sell it to whoever wants it.

On the other hand, helping people write, for example, their personal wedding vows is not a public accommodation. You could not do this without sitting down and getting to know them. The same would go for a wedding photographer.

But probably not for a florist or a wedding cake baker. You can make 3 wedding cakes or flower arrangements at the same time and not know who's getting which one. You are not saying anything by selling one of them to the next person that walks in the door.

RonH


@Robert,
I would emphatically say that a gay person-photographer should not be forced against their conscience to attend/photograph anyone’s wedding. I agree with you that it “goes both ways.” Your example is a good test case. Some folks have been trying this by calling bakeries that are known to support SSM and asking the baker to make a cake with anti-LGBT language and then are refused service by the baker. I think your example is better, because it does not directly use inflammatory language (in our current culture milieu) but simply says positively and essentially “Marriage is the union between one man and one woman.” It would be interesting if that same message on a wedding cake would receive refusal of service by the SSM supporting bakeries. That test-case would not allow the state to appeal to “hate speech” in its allowance of the SSM bakery to refuse service and would focus more on the issues surrounding the first amendment and RFRA and justify the principles the state would use to evaluate/judge the test-case you used and Christian bakers/photographers, etc. being free to not participate in SS weddings.
Also, this all has seemed to me to be activism, because I cannot see why someone would want another person to do something for them that the other person does not celebrate, not excited about, or wants to do. That fact (and the litigious nature of this whole issue) makes me think that it is more than mere activism. Those who are suing are suing on principle that their civil rights have been violated in some way. And if that’s the assumption, then one would not care if someone wants to or not want to provide some service and how that would affect their quality/nature of service, the business’s refusal to do so is unjust and must be addressed, here legally. I think that would be their response. I think the test-case you proposed helps to drawl out some of the issues with the response that this is essentially a violation of their rights via unjust discrimination and that businesses should be forced to provide services even if it violates the business owner’s conscience. I think the first amendment and RFRA provide sufficient balancing tests for the courts to evaluate these case and shouldn’t be construed as blank checks for business to do whatever they want and/or win their cases, which is how it has been construed in the media for the most part.

On the other hand, maybe a custom cake personalized for the couple could be rightly refused. And a wedding photographer is (or should be) an artist. These kinds of case cross the line into speech and he can ALREADY refuse to say what he doesn't believe

Ron, I wish that were true, but the Supreme Court disagreed with you when they let the ruling against Elane Photography by the New Mexico Supreme Court stand. That court had called her compelled speech "the price of citizenship." If you don't think that's a proper "price of citizenship," then I hope you'll change your mind about RFRAs.

It seems like there are actually more options on the table here. Is serving the gay couple or attending the same-sex wedding and/or reception an option as a Christian?

I'm wondering why vendors seem to lose all freedom of conscience when it comes to these matters. Why is the customer entitled to trample all over the vendor?
So if a black man has a catering company he has to by law cater the klan luncheon because he's a caterer?
Does a photographer not only have to photograph the wedding but the consummation because someone demands it? Does a doctor have to perform an abortion because he or she happens to be a doctor? This is absurd? Where does it stop? Whose conscience are we required to heed if not our own? This is full blown statist tyranny.

I really would have more sympathy with the anti-SSM Christians if they were consistent, i.e., checking to make sure both partners in a hetero couple were scriptually divorced; that neither had pre-marital sex, etc.

@RonH

"No need to 'restore' any freedoms. Certainly no need to create any new ones."

Apparently the New Mexico Supreme Court disagrees with you.

@ RagTime,

I am completely consistent. I've never asked a same-sex couple if they are a same-sex couple, just like I've never asked a heterosexual couple if either was divorced or the reason for the divorce.

RagTime, I discussed that here after a post where I explained the Christian view of going against your conscience.

Test. (Comment didn't go through on another post. Wondering if I was banned for some incomprehensible reason.)

How many gay people are being successfully evangelized by this approach, in your estimation? Any?

Suppose you refuse to do a gay reception, then the following happens.

A man in your community finds a younger, more sexy woman and starts to cheat on his wife. Eventually, he divorces his wife and moves in with the other girl, hurting the former wife and children, who are angry and bewildered, feeling betrayed.

Then the man decides to marry the younger woman. This is the sort of thing that Jesus talked about as being adultery.

Then the man comes to you, and asks you to do his wedding, and you say yes. You are then saying, in effect, well, your sins are not as bad as the gay marriage.

That is the problem I have with this whole conscience thing.

Would it be possible for the baker/florist/photog to change their business model to a "private shopping club" concept in which only members could shop/receive services?

The private shopping club could then accept or refuse members based on whatever criteria they choose.

They would probably get a considerable amount of negative attention. But, the real issue, right now is the threat of legal action.

If they could legally create a business model that isn't beholden to the public accommodation laws, their success or failure as a business would be determined by the market rather than government interference.

In so doing, they could honor the requirements of the law as well as their consciences.

I doubt that it would be easy. But, is this possible?

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