October 25, 2016

Ashers to Ashers for Liberty of Conscience and Religious Freedom.

Belfast bakery, Ashers, has lost its appeal against a court judgement that found they had acted unlawfully in refusing to prepare a cake for a customer with a decoration that promoted gay marriage.

In doing so, the UK has kissed freedom of conscience and freedom of religion goodbye.

Now before we wander down the “would you bake a cake for a gay person or wouldn’t you” cul de sac of virtue signalling, (and haven’t we wasted a lot of virtual ink on that one), let’s remember that the cake baking is not the issue, regardless of how the gay lobby or the mainstream media wants to promote it.

Neither the cake itself, nor the person for whom it was requested are central.  Got that?  Good.  So any comments that say “Why wouldn’t you bake a cake for such a such” will be ignored. It’s about the message the cake was to convey.  This is about freedom of conscience. It’s about freedom of religious expression.

Here’s the issue: The McArthur family refused to decorate the cake with a slogan that went against their conscience.  As would you.  The fact that it was requested by gay rights campaigner, Gareth Lee, not because he was gay, nor because they had a problem with gay customers, but because the message he requested went against their consciences as Christians who uphold a Christian view of marriage, is the only matter that the court should have determined.  As it should be.

In fact that is the only issue the court determined.  And guess what?  The court decided that freedom of conscience is no longer a thing.  The court decided that freedom of religious expression is no longer a thing.  Or at least not in the public square. With this finding the goose, never mind the cake, of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion is well and truly cooked.

Notwithstanding, that that was not the only type of message the McArthurs would not promote on a cake. Here’s what the impressive Daniel  (isn’t he well named for the times) McArthur, owner of the bakery, stated:

“We wouldn’t decorate a cake with a pornographic picture or with swear words. We wouldn’t decorate a cake with a spiteful message about gay people. Because to do so would be to endorse and promote what was said.

You can watch the rest of his statement here.

What was that?  They wouldn’t decorate a cake with a spiteful message about gay people? Surprised by that?  Of course you are, because that’s how this issue is being painted by the mainstream media.  You’re either a lover or a hater apparently, there are no shades of nuance and no colour to this rainbow coloured argument.

And here’s my concern, they probably would have won their appeal if the decoration had been a spiteful anti-gay message. Why?  Because the post-Christian sexual ethic is being advanced through the cultural, legal and political system as if the future of the Western world depended on it.

Any message to the contrary, whether a spiteful message against gay people, or simply a refusal to bow the knee to this rigid conformity and refuse to promote gay marriage are viewed through the same lens.  No nuance there at all.

The battle of language proves this to be so.  The McArthurs have been called bigots by any number of elites. Yet here they are saying the would never decorate a cake for a homophobic bigot either. The language once used to describe someone who requested a spiteful message against gay people has been unceremoniously dumped onto them.

Where is the nuance?  Not in the cultural system, not in the legal system and not in the political system.   There is a systemic refusal to allow any colour in this debate at all.  The progressives have won, and thoroughly so.

The demand to conform to this new sexual ethic has trumped all other freedoms in our western culture, indeed it is slaying them one by one, and the McArthurs have simply found themselves in the firing line.

Why would they refuse to decorate cakes for all and sundry, regardless of the message? Because the gospel of Jesus Christ calls them to love, it calls them to purity, it calls them to peace, and it calls them to holiness and it calls them to overcome evil with good.

Yet the court has declared the McArthurs’ ostensibly as evil in that they “directly discriminated” against Mr Lee.  That’s how far this has gone in such a short time.

Here’s what Daniel McArthur went on to say:

“This ruling undermines democratic freedom. It undermines religious freedom. It undermines free speech.

We had served Mr Lee before and would be happy to serve him again. The judges accepted that we did not know Mr Lee was gay and that was not the reason we declined the order. We have always said it was never about the customer, it was about the message. The court accepted that. But now we are being told we have to promote the message even though it’s against our conscience.

“What we refused to do, was to be involved with promoting a political campaign to change marriage law.

The great irony of course is that this has happened in Northern Ireland, a country in which all sort of bigots and evil doers have threatened the liberty of conscience of its citizens for years.  Northern Ireland’s courts once saw themselves as above that mucky process; as the safeguard that dealt out blind justice in a bid to resolve this threat to freedom.

But now?  The courts have thrown their lot in with the tyrants. They have let down their guard and have let down the firewall against true liberty in the process.

Dare to be a Daniel?  Maybe in Babylon.  You’ll definitely have to be in Belfast from now on.

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