A Christian bakery in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland has been told by government authorities that it faces a discrimination lawsuit for refusing to bake a cake with cartoon characters Bert and Ernie holding a sign that says, “Support Gay Marriage.” The bakery owners insist it would be against their conscience to do so since they are Christians who oppose gay marriage.
What is freedom of religion worth if you can’t exercise it openly and freely? It’s a contradiction in terms to give citizens the freedom of religion and then force them to do things against their beliefs under the force of law.
The issue is about forcing Christian institutions, businesses and individuals to do things against what they believe the Bible teaches. Forced conformity to laws that abrogate the Bible will clearly have its consequences on a nation. Those who turn their backs on the God of the Bible do not realize what they are doing to their nation. Nations that reject God are rejected by Him. If that’s the game people want to play, its they who will suffer along with everyone living in their godless countries.
I don’t mean to sound forceful but that’s the weight of the teachings of the Scriptures. Speaking to Israel, God said…
II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
A Christian bakery firm which refused to make a cake supporting gay marriage with a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie has been warned it will be taken to court unless it apologises and pays immediate compensation.
Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was told by a Government equalities agency that it was guilty of “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” for its stance on the Sesame Street-themed dessert.
But the family-run firm said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” over the cake insisting it was “what God would want us to do”.
The row erupted after it cancelled a £36.50 order to bake a novelty cake featuring the characters arm in arm under the slogan “support gay marriage” in May, saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.
Daniel McArthur, general manager of the firm, said it would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of same-sex marriage, and go against his conscience.
But the Equality Commission wrote to the firm insisting that the refusal amounted to discrimination against the customer, Gareth Lee, who wanted the cake for an event to mark International Day Against Homophobia.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK in which same-sex marriage is not legal, a stance recently confirmed by a vote in the province’s devolved Assembly.
Amid widespread media attention and even questions in Parliament over the case of the cake, the Commission sought further legal advice to clarify its position.
In a 16-page letter, the Commission said it was “now clear” that the decision not to bake the Bert and Ernie cake was a breach of equality laws and that it must back down and compensate Mr Lee for his hurt feelings or face legal action.
It accepts that gay marriage remains a contentious political question in Northern Ireland and that there are religious objections. It added that the fact that the McArthur family’s stance was motivated by their faith was enough to make it a case of religious as well as sexual orientation discrimination.
“This letter … is to be understood as a letter of claim which, in the absence of both an immediate acknowledgement that there has been an unlawful breach of the equality laws set out above and an unconditional offer of adequate recompense to Mr Lee, will be followed by litigation,” it warns.
Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, which is supporting the firm, said: “It is simply baffling for a body supposedly working for equality to be threatening a Christian family with legal action, all because of a cake.
“The Equality Commission has taken four months to dream up new grounds on which to pursue the McArthur family, claiming that they’ve breached political discrimination laws.
“If supporting same-sex marriage is a protected political opinion, so is supporting traditional marriage. Yet the Commission clearly favours one view over another and is prepared to litigate to prove it.
“Is the Commission seriously saying that all business owners have to be willing to promote every political cause or campaign, no matter how much they disagree with it? Does a printer have no right to refuse to print posters for the BNP or Islamic State?
“The Commission is throwing the kitchen sink at this case, and is wasting tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money in the process.”
Christians should be able to opt-out of performing services that they deem oppose their Christian beliefs. There are plenty of non-Christian owned bakeries that could produce the cake the gay rights advocates want. Freedom of religion and expression demands the respect of those who purport it. Would you force a person who gets sick on chocolate cake to eat it anyway because a law says they have to? That’s what’s happening here. Gay rights advocates, go to a bakery that isn’t Christian-owned and I’m sure you will be served cakes with your gay slogans, but don’t come to a Christian bakery and expect to be served. And woe to those government leaders who will force such a thing. It’s better to be in God’s favor rather than his wrath.