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.

1 comment:

Steve said...

You are quite right. The answer is, of course, that Christian providers of goods or services should not do anything to facilitate adulterous unions, or relationships based on fornication, either. We are not, however, under any moral obligation to enquire whether anyone is using anything we may supply to facilitate sin. We are entitled to assume (and possibly required by charity to do so) that people are acting in a morally correct way unless something comes to our attention which indicates they are not. If a woman comes into a Christian cake shop and asks for a cake for her wedding to a man, then there is nothing to put the owner on suspicion. Of course if she asks for a cake for her "marriage" to another woman, then it is well beyond suspicion, it is a certainty that the ceremony is illicit. Undoubtedly there would be cases where a Christian would, through personal knowledge, or voluntary disclosure, know that the marriage was a second and thereby potentially adulterous one. In those cases they should not sell the cake either. I personally will not attend wedding ceremonies to which I have been invited which Jesus teaches are adulterous. Going to the ceremony would be to honor it. It is unfortunate that Christians did not make a bigger political stand about exemptions from so-called anti-discrimination laws when they started protecting people on the grounds of "marital status". The fact that there is a bigger opposition to serving homosexuals may come from the fact that their sins are of a worse kind, given that they involve sexual acts that should never be performed under any circumstances, rather than one which has been diverted from its proper purpose.