If you are a living, breathing American you have probably been bombarded with debate over whether or not business owners hold the right to choose whom they serve. The case study this week has been whether or not Christian business owners have the right to refuse to serve due to the freedom of their conscience and religious beliefs. Does the Christian baker have the right to choose whether or not to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding?
Conservatives argue that, in the name of religious liberty, businesses can refuse to do business with anyone they choose. It is well within their right to choose to accept a gay couples business by baking them a wedding cake, they say.
Liberals argue that, to refuse to do business for said gay couple is simply a new form of the Jim Crow laws. Not baking the wedding cake for the gay wedding is bigotry and hate, they say.
Jesus is on both sides, of course… At least if you are listening to them. Everyone claims that Jesus clearly would have the same opinion as their own. *cue the proof texts and poor analogies*
As you read the articles keep in mind what the issue is really about:
- The role of government in relation to small businesses.
- Religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
- Cultural engagement and Christians approach to the public square.
The posts below really deal primarily with that third bullet point, though there are implications from and for the first two. It really is a tough issue to navigate (In fact, I have changed my mind on how I would handle this situation). What makes it hard to navigate is the reality that in situations like these no one is talking to each other, they settle for talking past the other side- with a helping of pot shots and political posturing. One thing happens and then madness follows with very little productive dialogue.
I am certainly not going to solve the issue here. All I want to do is point you in the direction of some solid, gospel-centered responses to our present madness:
Put An Egg In Their Shoe by Douglas Wilson
In this post Wilson does a great job addressing two areas of this debate: biblical foundation and how a Christian ought to engage this issue.
Wilson makes a strong point in the comment section of this blog post… He states that aChristian baking the cake is essentially saying, “Your union is a mirage, not a marriage. But I will use all my professional skills to make it look like a marriage. I believe it to be a lie, but I will help you tell it.”
What Would Jesus Bake? by Kevin DeYoung
In this post DeYoung looks at how Jesus’ letters to the 7 churches in Revelation might speak to our current controversy:
To be sure, this Jesus warns against losing our first love, but he also rebukes several churches for being too cozy with the culture. Pergamum countenanced false teachers who encouraged sexual sin (Rev. 2:14-15). Thyatira was too tolerant of a Jezebel-like woman leading people into sexual immorality (Rev. 2:20-21). Many in Sardis had soiled their garments with the world (Rev. 3:4). Compromise was in the air, and only some of the Christians could say they didn’t inhale.
Since Jesus Ate With Sinners, Do I Have to Eat at the Strip Club’s Buffet? by Joe Carter
In this post Joe deals with a popular argument some Christians are using:
Their argument, in enthymematic form, is:
Since Jesus [had dinner with/partied with/hung out with] sinners in the places where they congregated, we should do so too.
The problem with this argument is not that it is wholly false but that it is partially true. If it were false, we could rebut it and move on. But because it contains a kernel of truth we have an obligation to try to salvage it and fashion it into a respectable and biblically sound form.