Monday, April 11, 2016

Gay marriage vs Christian bakers and florists

Regarding the Christian baker/florist vs. gay marriage debate, I would suggest that there are actually at least two separate issues that need to be clearly distinguished.
First is the question of whether we want a government that can force people to support causes with which they disagree (violation of free speech); or can force people to violate sincerely held religious convictions (violation of freedom of religion). Granted, our government already does that to some limited extent--for example, parents who disagree with blood transfusions on religious grounds but whose children are forced to have blood transfusions--but under the Obama administration the interference has become much more intrusive. There must come a point at which such interference becomes clearly unconstitutional.
Second is the question of whether it is actually wrong or sinful for a Christian baker (or florist, etc.) to sell products that will be used in a gay wedding. Christians who say “yes” it is wrong, should ask themselves whether they would sell a wedding cake (or flowers) to someone who divorced his spouse in order to marry someone else—something Jesus clearly calls “adultery.” I’ve never heard of a Christian baker or florist denying services to those in second or third marriages.
Christians should also ask themselves whether they would have the same crisis of conscience if they were the owner of a fast food place and were asked to sell a couple of their special half-pound bacon cheeseburgers to a morbidly obese person, thereby facilitating gluttony—one of the so-called “seven deadly sins.”
The analogy is not exact, but in both cases the owners would be selling a legitimate product (wedding cake, cheeseburgers) which would be used for sinful purposes. I’ve never heard of a Christian who would have a crisis of conscience selling the cheeseburgers to anyone. However one answers these questions, it is important to strive toward being consistent.