Why the Ashers Gay Cake Case Proves our Freedom is Under Threat

PA
The following is  my article in Premier yesterday.
Let me add a few thoughts.
I expected the militant secularists and humanists to take great delight in this.  But it is interesting that more rational and less bigoted people immediately saw the stupidity and danger of the decision – read these articles from  The TelegraphThe Guardian and The Spectator  as examples.  However it is profoundly disappointing that some professing Christians just don’t seem to grasp what is going on.    It is incredible that in order to avoid the extremes of what they perceive to be right wing cultural Christians taking advantage of this judgement to cry persecution, some Christians actually excuse this judgement.   We are truly living in the mad, mad, mad, world where Christians argue that the law of the Land overturns the Law of God – and where they defend the fact that a lovely Christian couple are being prosecuted by the State for refusing to promote a message which they do not agree with, which is opposed to the law of the Land (SSM is illegal in Northern Ireland), and more importantly which is opposed to the Law of God.   The point that we need to grasp is that we are not standing up just for our rights to live according to our faith – we are standing up everyone’s rights.  Because without freedom of religion, all of our other freedoms are in danger of disappearing.
Here is the article:
By: David Robertson | 24th October 2016

David Robertson responds to the news that a Christian run bakery in Northern Ireland has lost an appeal against a ruling that it discriminated against a gay man by refusing to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan.

 

We have finally arrived. We said that we would get here but we did not expect it to be so soon.

The Ashers Bakery decision given today is a real signpost to the promised secular nirvana where in the UK we now have a system of state doctrine that must be obeyed.

For those who are not aware of this case my original post provides the basic background. This interview  in Solas Magazine, that we conducted with Daniel and Amy McArthur shows what a lovely and thoughtful couple they are, and the dangers that have come from the Equalities Commission pursuing them.

The judges have today declared that the bakers were not allowed to provide a service only to people who agreed with their religious beliefs. The only problem with that perfectly reasonable statement is that it is arguing against something the McArthurs were not doing. They did not say that no homosexuals would be served. The judges were wrong because Ashers were not saying we will only provide a service for those who agree with our religious beliefs. They were prepared to provide a cake for anyone and indeed for any occasion. But they were not prepared to decorate that cake with a message that they profoundly disagreed with.

Rather than saying they would not provide a service to people they disagreed with, they were saying that they would not provide a service they disagreed with. The fact that three intelligent people trained in law could not work out the distinction is more than a little disturbing.

The judges went on to say: “The fact that a baker provides a cake for a particular team or portrays witches on a Halloween cake does not indicate any support for either” as though this were some kind of brilliant point in law and logic. By this criteria if a member of the BNP (a legal British party) goes into a Jewish bakers and asks for a cake with a Swastika (a legal symbol) to be baked, the baker would not be able to refuse. If a Muslim baker was asked to bake one with a cartoon of Mohammed it would be illegal to refuse. If an atheist baker was asked to bake one with John 3:16 or Psalm 14:1 then it would be illegal to refuse.

After all, in the eyes of the court, providing a cake with a particular message on it does not indicate any support for that message. But we all know that that is not how the Law works. When some people wanted to post on London buses “some people are ex-gay – get over it” Boris Johnson banned them. When the Scottish Christian Party asked for leaflets to be printed, the print company refused.

The judgement states that the key question in the whole case is “Did the claimant, on the prescribed ground, receive less favourable treatment than others?” In one sense the answer is clearly no.  Ashers would not put that message on their cake for anyone – so everyone was treated the same. In another sense the answer is yes – and so it should be. I should be allowed to refuse to provide services that I profoundly disagree with which my company will not provide to anyone. If I run a print company and someone comes and asks me to print a pornographic booklet, in the eyes of the law am I obliged to do so?

The law in Britain is now moving towards a great inequality

 

The reality is that the law in Britain is now moving towards a great inequality. It favours one set of beliefs over others.

In this case a government funded agency paid over £40,000 to pursue a bakery because they refused to put a message on one of their cakes. A message that advocated something that is currently illegal in Northern Ireland. Imagine a Christian went into a bakery run by a gay couple and asked for a cake with a message ‘support traditional marriage’. If this was refused do you think for a moment that the Equalities Commission would have funded a case against them, or that the court would have decided in their favour?

Many of us know what it is like to be discriminated against. I have been refused meeting spaces in hotels, cafés and other public areas because of my religious beliefs – which are, as yet, not illegal.  But if things carry on as they have been doing – the day will come.

I have just returned from speaking at a school where I was asked by a group of pupils doing a project on same sex marriage to give the Christian position. We had a great hour of discussion and exchange of views. By the end I think all of them had heard a position they had never heard before and some were even persuaded! But in the name of ‘equality’ I am sure that these kinds of opportunities will be banned. Whatever happens different points of view must not be heard, and if the law has to be used to enforce that intolerance in the name of tolerance, then so be it. In the brave new world of today’s secular Britain, in the eyes of the law, some are more equal than others.

There are some Christians who seem to enjoy self-flagellating themselves over this issue. Just suck it up they say. Don’t make a fuss. What does it matter anyway?

They don’t seem to grasp that this is not about protecting the Church. It’s about religious freedom, upon which all other freedoms in our society depend. Once you absolutise the state and make it God then real freedom soon disappears.

Once you absolutise the state and make it God then real freedom soon disappears

To his credit and to their shame, the gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has a much better understanding than some Christians. In his response – which he has sent to several Christian groups, he argues cogently and coherently that the key issue here is the question of freedom of speech.

The McArthurs were faced with a petty and vindictive campaign, funded by the government and fueled by the hate mobs on social media. The plaintiff could easily have taken his cake and gone elsewhere to get the message displayed, (if a baker said to me that they did not want to put a Bible verse on a cake then I would just shrug my shoulders and take my business elsewhere – that’s their choice and loss!)

But no, the opportunity to impose the new morality on anyone who does not agree has to be taken. There has to be an opportunity for ‘victimhood’, ‘hurt feelings’ and for government, legal and other establishment organisations to virtue signal and say how right on they are with the programme! A senior lawyer once told me that judges don’t lead the culture, they just reflect it by spending their time trying to catch up with the zeitgeist in order to demonstrate how cool and modern they are!

When I asked the question about whether Jewish bakers should be forced to bake a cake with a Nazi message, a leading Humanist tweeted “are Nazis a protected group now?”. His message inadvertently sums up the problem. Its not that homosexuals are a protected group (in this case Ashers were not refusing to serve homosexuals), its that the new state doctrine of same sex marriage is now a protected belief. Any who dare to question this doctrine (or others coming soon to a court near you) will be found guilty of heresy, sedition and blasphemy against the (un) Holy State.

The message here is not one that can be put on a cake. It is not even one about discrimination against Christians. It is simply the message that if we live in country where the state can dictate to businesses what political messages they should promote, we no longer live in a country where freedom of thought, speech and religion has any real meaning. God have mercy.

Footnote:  After writing this article the thought struck me how fatuous the judgement of the judges is.  They commented that because you decorate a cake with a witch does not mean you support witchcraft.  Actually if I was a baker and I did not want to decorate a cake with a witch because I regard witchcraft as evil, then I should be free not to do so.  Or is the court saying that we now have to support witchcraft?  Is this what we have come to? 

Another footnote – I am listening to Kaye Adams on Call Kaye just now.   If you don’t believe in BBC bias then you should listen to this programme.  Kaye is genuinely dreadful – for a presentor to show such ignorance and bias is shocking…she is condesending and demeaning to those she clearly disagrees with and is letting the Stonewall speaker away with logical murder!

And finally and most astonishingly – Catherine from Stonewall on Call Kaye has just said that a gay baker would be allowed to refuse a cake with the message ‘ban gay marriage’.  And yet she supports the judgement.  This is the inequality which is promoted by the BBC and Stonewall..

My earlier articles on this are here:

Bake me a Cake and Mark it with B for Bigot

Ashers Bakery and the Scottish Christian Party – Double Standards?

Homophobic, Idiotic, Christian Scumbag speaks on Radio 5 Live

Having your Cake and Eating It – A response to Stephen J. Graham’s polemic on the Ashers Case


104 thoughts on “Why the Ashers Gay Cake Case Proves our Freedom is Under Threat

  1. Adam, what I meant was that there is a noticable trend of Christians having plenty to say on issues that the world is talking about, such as Trump, although too much of the time the comments are indistinguishable from those made by anyone else, with little or no attempt to bring a biblical perspective. Christians should have things to say about key world events, but they need to be bringing godly wisdom, not just joining in with the crowd. However, when it comes to something that could fundamentally affect Christian freedoms, those same people have nothing to say.

  2. Jeff,

    What I hear you say is that there are Christians that express views no different to that of the world and have in effect become syncretised rather than contextually relevant with Godly wisdom and this impinging on Christian freedom.

    Is that what you intended?

    Has it not always been this way with false teaching and false prophecies. And haven’t prophets always been without honour only among their own people? Is it not true that few walk the narrow path to life and many are on the wide road to destruction. And that identifying as “Christian” does not automatically give you a free pass to being one of the “few”?

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