I need to know exactly what someone means before I can respond intelligently. Well, that’s true for everybody, but let’s just say I have jumped the hurdle of understanding why it matters. Nine times out of ten there is a valid point in there somewhere that I can find common ground with. Or at least wrap my mind around enough to respond with respect. Over and over I see people arguing for the religious rights of Christian businesses, and maybe I am missing something. Please help me. Because I think I know, but maybe I am wrong.
Let’s set the religious liberty issue aside for a moment. This cake shop can still refuse all sorts of things, right? For example, they can refuse to make a vagina cake. I think they also could have lied and said they were too busy on that particular day. I bet they can even have a gimmick where all their cakes come with a tiny bible verse on them! That feels like religious freedom. But specifically, they cannot refuse service based on the sexual orientation of their customers. And really, that part seems fair enough.
I’m going to assume the owners do not feel they refused a lesbian couple service simply for being gay. I am going to also assume that if these two women had come in to buy a dozen brownies or a birthday cake they would have been helped. If I am wrong about that, then there is nothing left to discuss here. So let’s assume we agree. Now we have to bring religion back to the table. Because let’s face it, religion is why we can’t get along in this scenario. Or in ten thousand other scenarios.
The owners are Christians. They believe that god allows marriage only between a man and a woman. Therefore, if they provide a cake that will be used in a marriage between two women, the owners will be violating god’s law. I don’t know why, but Christians with weaker faith often apply weird rules like this. And who are we to cause them to sin? It is important to point out that not all Christian bakers feel this way. So clearly there is room for questions. And I have plenty.
If it is a sin to provide a cake for a gay wedding, is it because god does not recognize this as a Christian union? And if the marriage is not a Christian ceremony, why would it matter? What does it really mean for a Christian to provide a cake for something separate from the church? If I buy cookies, do I have to prove that I won’t take them to my Satanic Singles group? Because I will. Is god such a dick that my deceptive cookie purchase could land Sweet Cakes in hell….for eternity? That seems harsh.
Maybe they could just pray over each item that goes out and ask god to send a blessing. Imagine what god could do with a blessed cake at a lesbian wedding! I don’t know either, but when I was a Christian that was the kind of thing people would say while the rest of us nodded our heads and said “Amen!” But I know this: Sweet Cakes could have taken the sexual deviants’ money, prayed over the cake, then saved themselves that hefty $135,000 court fine. And I don’t even have a business degree. I bet god could get onboard with that. And if not, they could always ask for forgiveness. Just to be sure. You don’t want to mess around with hell.
But even if it is a Christian ceremony, is it really a sin to make the cake? I suppose if it feels wrong to the individual I can wrap my mind around it being their right. But ONLY if we are talking about a Christian wedding. I am all for letting churches decide among themselves how they treat their own in regards to acknowledging Christian unions. Who cares? If the pastor or church organist refuses to participate and host a religious ceremony for the gay couple at church- that’s okay.
But if this extends to Christian business owners, is there a questionnaire couples have to fill out at Sweet Cakes to ensure they honor god’s laws about marriage? Divorce, adultery, premarital sex, other religions, atheists…..is there something heterosexual couples in these categories sign? Do they have to promise to go forth and sin no more? Clergy often require premarital counseling. They usually will not perform the ceremony unless the couple is committed to living out their marriage according to god’s word. And yes, same-sex couples do have an obstacle on this one. Except now they can go somewhere else, just like every other couple.
If a business is honestly concerned about making a cake for couples who do not honor god’s version of marriage- I promise you, Sweet Cakes, the sin has been committed again and again. And if you believe your god punishes you for such things, then making wedding cakes is probably not the best business for you to be in. Melissa, are you sure you are following god’s path? If so, why did he send you into a career that causes you to sin so much? Do you think maybe an ancestor pissed him off? Because sometimes that screws over future generations. Or maybe he does love you, but you missed one of his “signs.” I bet that’s why he sent those women into your shop. To lead you here. Maybe if you are reading this it is because he is speaking to you through me about that “cakes with a bible verse” idea. He does work in mysterious ways.
Businesses cannot run like a church and follow the law. And I see no evidence that any rights are being violated. I am left with two conclusions. Businesses and others who demand their religious freedom be recognized in these cases are either dishonest bigots who disguise their hate as religion; or they believe that we live in a Christian nation where everyone, regardless of faith, must follow the laws of the Christian bible. The answer is probably both. If either of these things apply to you, then get the fuck out of here and go find that debate. But spoiler alert: to win it, you will have to leave the country. America will never be a theocracy. Best of luck to you in your journey with god.