Remember the case where a baker was sued for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a ceremony involving a same sex “marriage” and it was considered a violation of civil rights? Well, a counter-case is going on where an individual targeted a bakery requesting a cake with anti-gay messages on it. The baker in this second case was willing to provide a cake, but not the messages on the case. The second baker was giving the same reason that the first baker gave—being forced to do something they believed was morally offensive.
However, while in the first case the baker was considered to be a bigot, in the second case, the baker was seen as defending his rights. I’m sure that in both cases the bakeries were set up for the purposes of creating lawsuits. But the treatment of the two cases are different.
In both cases the business owners want the right to not be forced to do something they find offensive. This leaves three options:
- They can recognize the fact that nobody can be compelled to do something which they find morally evil by the courts and lawmakers.
- They can force every belief to be scrutinized by the state for validity.
- They can behave in a partisan manner and support views they agree with, while ignoring those they dislike.
Option #1 is the just solution. Let businesses act in accordance with their moral values and don’t let the state force its way into becoming the arbiter of right and wrong. Unfortunately, this option would force governments (local, state, federal) to tolerate views they disagree with. Option #2 would be worthy of a dictatorship, but not the USA. Option #3 would be sheer hypocrisy, injustice done for the sake of helping those one liked while using the law to silence those one disliked.
(If I were to bet however, my money would be that #3 is the ultimate result)
So here’s the thing. If you want to be just, those who make and enforce law have to let the Christian businesses have the right to refuse to do things they find offensive. Otherwise, this is behavior worthy of a dictatorship, not a free nation.
I’ve seen people argue that the two cases are not the same thing. That the Christian bakery is practicing intolerance, while the other bakery is opposing it. But this is an assertion which assumes what needs to be proven—that the Christian belief is based on the intolerance of a person instead of on the moral conviction that some behaviors are wrong. These two things are different, and before we are indicted of hatred, the charge needs to be proven that this is our motive, not that this motive be assumed.
I’ve seen people argue that the case of the Christian bakery was “only” remote cooperation with something deemed wrong and so it could be compelled, whole the secular bakery would be forced into direct cooperation, and so it could not be compelled. But that’s making the state the arbiter of what is and what isn’t legitimate religious and moral teaching. The Christian bakery believes that taking part in providing for a same sex “wedding” is wrong and would cause scandal by giving the impression that they supported this just as much as the secular bakery would believe this was wrong and scandalous.
I’ve also seen people argue that by the very fact of saying same sex acts are wrong, we are judging people, which is itself hateful. But by that token, claiming we are behaving wrongly by opposing same sex relationships is also judging people. By our saying certain actions are wrong, we are not contradicting our belief that we are still called to love the person who commits them. But the person who says “tolerate others you disagree with,” is contradicting their own beliefs when they refuse to tolerate us and our beliefs.
Christians aren’t being hypocritical in professing an act as being morally wrong, because they recognize the difference between the sin and the human being. The Catechism says:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2333)
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2347)
We’re not the Westboro Baptist Church. We don’t think that people with a same sex attraction are damned for that fact. But we do believe homosexual acts are morally wrong and must be avoided by people who would live in right relation with Christ. We do believe that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman as Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself has said (Matthew 19:4-6):
4 He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
We will do our best to witness to this truth, and show people why they need to heed this, and yes we will seek to pass laws which reflect true morality, as opposed to judicial diktat. But we’re not motivated by hate in doing so, and we’re not violating anyone’s rights in doing so.
The same cannot be said about those who would force a Christian bakery to do what it believed to be morally wrong.