serious problems for religious freedom (and cakes)
There are some serious problems going on in our world today. Our rights are being eroded before our very eyes and one day soon we may be unable to make our own decisions about even the simplest matters. I have read that some cake makers (here and here) are afraid the day has come when they can no longer reject customers on the basis of their race, religion, age or sexual orientation. Let us explore the plight of the cake makers in an unbiased way to understand the immense difficulties Christians face trying to practice their benevolent religion.
pondering parallel restrictions of religious freedom in history
Let’s imagine you are a good Christian landowner from years gone by. You have purchased some slaves to toil on your land. There is talk of abolition of slavery. Heathens! It is your god God-given right to own slaves. It says so clearly in the Bible and all church leaders support this. It goes without saying that if slavery is abolished, you would lose your right to freely practice your religion!
asserting religious freedom in a consistent manner
Let’s imagine you are a good Christian cake baker. Obviously you only want to bake cakes for people who aren’t sinners. Your god God doesn’t want you profit from sin. For ALL wedding cakes you need to draw up a questionnaire for your customers to check they have never had sex with another living person. Because otherwise, the union is sinful. You put a notice on your window, “No wedding cakes for first time non-virgins or remarriages without death certificates“.
choosing the correct interpretation for your religious freedom
Let’s imagine you are a good Christian cake baker. A Christian homosexual couple come into your shop and ask for wedding cake to help them celebrate their upcoming nuptials. You tell them it’s against your religion: you are sure your god God thinks their union is sinful. They tell you this is impossible because they are of the same religion and the god God has assured them their union is not sinful. They ask you to point to the passage in the Bible that declares homosexual marriage is a sin. You ramble about the god God creating man and woman, and quote some passages relating to promiscuity. You concede that that Bible mentions nothing about homosexual marriage, but remain hopeful that the interpretation you follow is correct.
moral of the stories
There are always ignorant people who are quick to judge and delighted to discriminate against their fellow human beings, all too often in the name of invisible gods who ‘revealed’ themselves only in their culture. Before you choose to become one of those silly people, reflect on whether there are any lessons from history about religious perspective on issues with Biblical coverage; reflect on whether you are being truly consistent with your brand of discrimination against perceived immorality (or just picking on the one historically vilified section of society currently receiving publicity); and please check that your same religious instruction book isn’t open to any other thoughts on the matter. And if none of that means anything to you, please remember that unless someone is forcing you into a homosexual marriage against your will and beliefs, your own freedom of religious expression is not actually affected.
Thanks to Clare Flourish for the inspiring post.