Bake for them two

canstockphoto9505469In Jesus’ time, the nation of Israel was under Roman rule. The Israelites were allowed to live there and practice their faith for the most part, but they had to pay taxes to Caesar and obey the Roman laws.

To the Israelites, the Romans were evil and ungodly. They had no place ruling over God’s chosen people in God’s chosen nation. That land had been promised to Moses and his descendants when God brought them out of Egypt. Their very presence in the land was blasphemous.

One of the Roman laws stated that any man could be required to drop what he was doing and carry a Roman soldier’s equipment for him for up to a mile. In the Sermon on the Mount, with his followers gathered around him, Jesus referenced that law and told his followers what they should do in that case:

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” ~Matthew 5:41

Go with them two miles. That was not the advice that most of the people in the crowd that day had been hoping for. That was not the conclusion that they would have come to on their own, following this man that they hoped would lead them to victory over the Romans. That was certainly not respecting their religious beliefs — go with them two! What if their neighbors saw! What if seeing them carrying the Roman’s equipment caused other Jews to think the Roman oppression was okay? What if there was other work that needed to be done — good work, charity work even, but they spent all that time carrying equipment for the evil oppressor? But Jesus is not worried about any of that:

“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also,” he said. “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

If you believe gay marriage is immoral (I don’t, myself) and a gay couple comes into your shop and asks you to bake a cake for their wedding, what should you do? If God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on the wedding days of straight and gay couples, then what is our responsibility? If it is against the law to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, but you believe strongly that their lifestyle is immoral, what should you do?

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

If you are wondering if it is worth being sued and losing your business to stand up for what you believe is right, if you miss the look of hurt in the couple’s eyes when you refuse them and only see an angry, media-driven, ACLU-led mob attacking the small business owner who is only standing up for what you believe in, what should you do?

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

Jesus said, not only should you follow the law of the land — the law which in America for the most part prohibits discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation — not only should you do the minimum you have to do, you should go the extra mile. (Yes, that’s where that expression comes from!) Do *twice* what the law requires.

If someone forces you to bake a cake for a gay wedding, bake for them two.

Christians, our Jesus said to not only follow the law, but to rise to a higher standard of love. Christians should be the FIRST people baking cakes — for everyone who asks us. We should be known for our cake baking. People should be saying, “There go those crazy Christians again, baking cakes for everyone. They just won’t quit!” Then, when we share the reason for our wild, all-inclusive love, people will want to hear it. “Let your light shine before others,” said Jesus, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christians, when we dig our heels in and insist on our right to discriminate, we are hurting people — we are hurting so many people, so deeply. Behind the ACLU and the liberal media are real people, who have been hurt again and again in the name of Christ. Christians, you and I have hurt them. I know most of us have really good intentions, but we are making Jesus the last thing they want to hear about.

If we “snatch one person from the fire” by refusing to condone behavior we believe is immoral, but send hundreds and thousands of others fleeing churches and Christianity entirely, what have we really accomplished? Someone else will make that cake and fewer and fewer people will look to Christianity for love and hope. We will have won a battle that we were never called to fight in the first place, but lost the war.

*****

Friends, after receiving more than 1500 comments this past week, I’m closing the comments section on this post. I want you to know that I value all of you who took the time to leave a comment, even those who disagreed with me, and especially those on all sides of the issue who vulnerably shared their stories of hurt and healing.

If you would like to read other Christians’ perspective on this issue, or find places for further discussion, I have shared some resources that have been helpful to me here: BFTT follow up and resources.

If you are curious how I came to support gay marriage and full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the body of Christ, you can read about that here.

If you have felt rejected or unloved by Christians or the church because of your sexuality or gender identity, please read my post We choose you.

And please check out Faithfully LGBT and their wonderful photo series of LGBT people of faith.

Love,
Jessica

824 thoughts on “Bake for them two

  1. Just had an interesting conversation with a gay friend who had a different take on the situation. He didn’t look at it from a legal stand point, but from a human compassion point of view. He said that suing a business would not soften the Christian’s beliefs. Instead, any opportunity for open communication in the future would be completely destroyed. These were his thoughts on the subject….

    “What if the request to bake the cake has truly caused the CHRISTIAN much distress because their religious belief is that marriage is between one man and one woman? And let’s say they’re also distressed because they don’t want the gay person to think they hate them, they simply don’t want to provide a service that goes against their religious convictions. So, why should the gay person’s belief trump the Christian’s in this case?” (Remember, he’s leaving the law out of it.)

    He went on to say, “Wouldn’t the situation present an opportunity for the GAY person to act in a loving manner by compassionately voicing their opinion but also their understanding by moving on to another bakery?”

    I thought it was a very interesting way to look at the situation. Thoughts?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would personally not want to force someone else to do what I wanted, if there were a convenient way around the matter; so if I asked for a cake from a bakery where the owner said it made them uncomfortable to bake for me, I would thank them for their honesty and take my business elsewhere. The problem really lies with other possibilities that the Indiana law, and its companions (including at the federal level) permit — the bakery issue is just an example, and a deliberately unimportant one, in order to demonstrate the concepts involved.

      For example, does the law allow a doctor in the emergency room to refuse to treat a gay patient, even knowing that the patient will die without their care? There’s a prior law requiring that ER doctors must treat at least to the level of stability, even for patients they know will never be able to pay… but this Indiana law allows people to override the provisions of pretty much any law if they feel a sincere religious conviction that they shouldn’t be doing that thing for that person. So, does that include overriding the law requiring treatment of ER patients? Nobody knows; it hasn’t been tested yet.

      But that’s the sort of thing we’re afraid of. Not who is willing to bake a cake for us, but who is willing to keep us alive.

      Like

    2. I personally think the solution lies in the middle. Just as we are not allowed to refuse service based on race, age, religion, etc. I do believe that one should not be allowed to refuse service to someone based on sexual orientation. Allowing this discrimination by law worries me, for we are all sinners, and singling this sin out seems to be rooted in misunderstanding of His Word or downright bigotry. If people were truly worried about their religious convictions, why is there not equal resistance to supporting all sins (serving food to the glutenous, allowing adulterers to stay in your hotel, etc.)? Christ calls us to Love, and it saddens me that people can accept each other for their sins so easily, but cannot seem to do so for gay people.
      That being said, if the Christian baker was asked by a gay couple to bake a cake for their wedding, and they were truly distressed about it, I believe there is still opportunity for open communication. In this situation I have faith that if the Christian explains to the couple their religious convictions and expresses their distress in a polite manner, and asks the gay couple if they could please choose somewhere else, the gay couple would do so happily.

      Like

    3. That’s fine for cake baking but what about the emergency room Doc? Or the only store open to fill a prescription or buy food?That is why law is important.

      Like

    4. Wow! VERY well said and thought provoking! His words express another perspective that I think is just as important but not often voiced when discussing this topic. Thank you for sharing this!

      Like

    5. I agree compassion goes both ways. I am trying to figure out how to post opposing points of view on here(the post not your comments) without being judged and declared hateful.

      Like

    6. Dee Dee, this is the first and ONLY mention of this perspective I have seen since this most recent round of vitriolic “discussions,” and I’m very glad you presented it. I live in Indiana, and we are being treated as if every single person in the state stood up and said with one voice, “we hate gay people.” This is simply not true, but you wouldn’t know it from the national media coverage, much less the tweets of “important” people who vow never to step foot in Indiana again.

      What I “hate” is that no one is allowed to say, “I have questions and/or thoughts on this topic, and I would like to be able to talk about them,” but few — very few — people care enough to do anything more than sling a few nasty tweets around saying how much better they are than those horrible people in Indiana, and these Tweeters are going to wield what power they have (corporate or popular) to show that THEY have the monopoly on knowing what is right for everyone.

      I admire Jessica’s willingness to allow people to present various ideas here as long as it is done with love, or at least with civility. I would like to say more, but I have typed and deleted so many sentences I need to stop. I am still very angry at the way my state has been treated with such condescension. In my small circle of family and friends, there are widely differing views, so why are we all written off as of one mind — and that, of course, being the wrong one?

      Like

    7. It’s a nice thought, but the fact is that Christians have been beating gay people over the head with their beliefs since the fourth century, not the other way around.

      Of course the gay person could move on to the next bakery – but what happens when it’s the only bakery in town? What if it’s the only bakery that can make a gluten-free cake?

      Most gay people will not patronize anti-gay businesses. That’s not the point. It’s discrimination to not provide the same service to everyone in a business that is open to the public.

      As a gay person, I make a point *not* to go to businesses that advertise as Christian because “Christian” is often codeword for “intolerant.”

      Like

    8. Assuming that there is somewhere else to go, of course. In a large town or a city, there may be many bakeries, florists, designers, event planners, spaces for rent, etc. But in a smaller town, there may not be that many options. In the same scenario, if the baker knew she was the only baker in town, would it be less acceptable for her to refuse knowing that the couple had no other options? And what if in addition to the baker, the florist, formal wear stores, event planners, and rental venues all took the same position to politely refuse?

      Theoretically, if the belief against condoning a same-sex marriage according to one’s interpretation of the Bible and one’s Christian beliefs is “right”, then it might be plausible that all those store owners and service providers might follow those beliefs, and then a couple may be faced with no resources for anything they need. In effect, they are not free to celebrate their lives, because everyone is free to refuse them the reasonable means to do so.

      This is obviously less of a concern in larger cities and towns, but this is a reality faced by many who live in rural or small towns. Where do we draw the line in deciding when someone seeking a service has acceptable options and when they do not? How does it change the morality of our decision making?

      Like

    9. I think it’s an interesting question, but it ultimately perpetuates homosexual inequality and further entrenches the power of the religious majority for a rejected gay customer to be told to just walk away.

      LGBTQ folks have been vilified, insulted, refused opportunities, incarcerated, attacked and even killed for being who they are in this nation. That is an experience the “religious objector” may not be able to relate to. To ask a gay customer to accept rejection of their paid business yet again is not a path toward understanding and acceptance. It’s telling them that their rights aren’t as important as someone else’s comfort.

      Like

    10. The gay person is not obliged to behave in a loving manner, the Christian is. Or at least the Christian should want to appear as loving as Jesus did in his earthly ministry in order to be a credible witness to the claims of Christianity. The Christian should want to go the extra mile/bake the extra cake. The Christian should consider that they work ‘as unto the Lord’ ie every cake they bake they are baking as if for Jesus to eat. For people not yet in faith, a Christian should want to bake the most delicious cake ever baked in order that those people are really moved by the love shown in the baking – and at the very least the Christian should want to build a relationship with people not yet in faith as God may use this as a link in the chain to bring them to salvation.
      The Christian is not empowered to draw the line at which sins are an affront to him/her, and we are called not to judge others (the Christian goes on to bake a cake for an opposite sex couple getting married who hold sex parties every weekend – but what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over/the conscience isn’t troubled over). But even then, we are not held accountable to God for the sins of others but we are held accountable to God for our own inhospitality, hostility and judgmentalism..
      None of these criteria are holding for a gay person to be obliged to be loving and compassionate – the onus is on the Christian every single time.

      Like

  2. in a polite way with smiles :):):), I would need someone to explain away romans chapter 1 verses 16-32. its the bible, whoever has the choice to believe or not, what it says. in the end the LORD has the last say, that’s who I choose to be concerned in what HE thinks. just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We could look at all “The Big Guns”: Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, Jude 1:7. Yes, they can be interpreted as condemning all homosexual behavior. There is an alternative view that is not inconsistent with Scripture: Temple sexual behavior, both female and male ritual sexual worship of various pagan gods (even as against one’s basic sexuality), and homosexual child molesters and the slaves who volunteer for the role. The short version: There’s room for discussion.

      As a point of reference, we’re not “explaining away” things, but taking another look at something because society is shifting and if we’re going to take a stand, we must make sure we’re motivated by God’s mandate, not our culture. We we dive back in and try to see if there’s room or if God is absolutely clear and there just are no two-ways about it.

      I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I believe the words in the Bible are the exact words God intends, and the books in the Bible are books God intends. With that understanding, we dive with this admonition: “The BIBLE is the Word of God; Our INTERPRETATION of the Bible is NOT the Word of God.”

      For a lot more detail:

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Great position to take. The Bible has always been relevant and alive to me because the same passage can have a different meaning to me when I reread it at different times in my life. If that is the case then we most certainly have to allow for different interpretations of certain passages. The fact that there are thousands of different Christian denominations that interpret the holy word differently automatically expresses that we have to allow for other views of the same words. So if the words are open to interpretation, then how can we stand so firmly on any of it and not allow for a Great Creator who is larger than our tiny, finite brains can comprehend and might have allowed for diversity throughout the ages?

        I also find it amazing that so many christians are so adamant about the homosexuality issue, but when the Bible was written, society did not label people by their sexual orientation. That happened in the 17th century. Also, the word “homosexual” was coined in the 1950, so what did the Bible say before the last 60 years? People need to allow that God might have set this time aside to challenge our beliefs and encourage us to love others, especially when they are different from ourselves!

        Like

      2. I think Jesus would have looked at these cakes, and said “these are Not food you should thank my father for, for these carbohydrate infested, bleached, devoid of any nutrient sponged mass of a artificially colored cake is an abomination, and not the gift to your bodies temple.

        Like

    2. No need to explain it away 🙂 (smiles) :). Let’s assume for a moment that the passage means exactly what many conservative Christians interpret it to mean, and that verses 26-27 refer to homosexuality. Let’s see what else the passage condemns in exactly the same manner. Verses 28-32:

      “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

      If we are to treat everything on the list equally–after all, presumably the Bible means exactly what it says, and we’re not to subject it to interpretation–then we must also condemn people who gossip, boast, or disobey their parents. Also people who do foolish things. They all deserve to die (though perhaps we are not called to actually kill them–perhaps that is God’s job), and we’re not to do anything that might be interpreted as approving of their behavior.

      I assume for business owners that may mean that a hairdresser should refuse to serve someone who likes to tell the latest juicy stories about her friends and neighbors. Sports coaches must stop coaching anyone who is not humble or who repeatedly boasts about their accomplishments publicly. And toy shop owners must never sell toys to a parent whose child is not behaving well.

      Also, any business that sells unnecessary and unnecessarily expensive items is a completely unChristian endeavor, because its mere existence promotes the foolishness of overspending. Either that, or put up signs around the store that read, “NOT WEALTHY? NO SERVICE. TAX RETURNS EXAMINED.”

      Are we all good? (Smiles.)

      Liked by 1 person

    3. If you would like to learn more about a different perspective on not only Roman’s 1, but the other 5 passages that explicitly reference same sex relations, one of the best resources I have found among many is the work of Matthew Vines. His book God and the Gay Christian is very thoughtful, thorough, and purposeful in its respect for Scripture. If you are interested in Matthew’s story there is a great you tube video here presenting a summary of his findings concerning these scripture passages, as well as a great podcast of him and his father on the Dianne Rehm show sharing their story in wrestling through these scripture passages together.

      http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-04-02/matthew-vines-god-and-the-gay-christian

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Leviticus 21: 16-23 state:
      16Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17″Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God. 18For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, 19or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. 21No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. 22He may eat the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, 23only he shall not go in to the veil or come near the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am the Lord who sanctifies them.'”

      So literally, no one can come to God if they have blemishes if any sort. Or a broken hand or foot. Or blind. Or has a skin condition. Right? Because the verses above state that. Literal word of God. Right? Or MAYBE there is room for interpretation. Maybe what YOU think God thinks or says is stated in a way to make us think and openly discuss our beliefs. Because the Bible also says that if your children talk back to you, then you need to take them to the city gates and stone them. Did you ever talk back to your parents and live to tell about it?

      MAYBE, we are ALL sinners. Maybe we ought to worry about the plank in our own eye before pointing at the splinter in someone else’s! I have WAY too much to work on with myself to worry about what everyone else is doing!

      Like

  3. This is what your religion should be. I am not Christian but this touched me. I wish more shared these ideals of love. Hate and fear are too often the driving forces behind the actions of so many, including those of us who are not religious. No one is infallible but you don’t have to be Christian to understand that love and kindness should be the standard of how we love our lives.

    Like

  4. I’ve read a lot of the comments, not all. I agree with the author. Grew up in a church where the pastor had multiple affairs with different married and single women in the church… he stayed the pastor and the deacon who brought it up to the elders was excommunicated from the church for “speaking slander”, even after it was proven true. Always had a chip on my shoulder about church since then…. If Jesus washed the feet of a prostitute, hung out with hookers, lepers, prostitutes and the like, ate with them, spent time with them, the “worst of the worst” sinners of His time….. And you can’t make a freakin’ cake or pizza? How small are you? No that’s not standing up to your beliefs. Going to a country that kills Christians and preaching the Gospel of Christ – that’s standing up for your beliefs. Having someone hold a gun to your head and say, Denounce God or I will kill you, that’s standing up for your beliefs. Giving of yourself expecting nothing in return, that’s what Jesus taught. Loving your neighbors (do you really think people got along any better back then?) as well as your enemies, that’s what Jesus taught. What exactly are the beliefs you are standing up for when you won’t make a cake or a pizza or flowers for a gay wedding? I’ve been told my Down Syndrome daughter is God’s way of punishing me. Well, first of all, thank you Jesus, because she has the gift of unconditional love that I have never seen before, and she has melted the hearts of people who were seemingly incapable of loving…. to me SHE is the epitomy of Jesus’ love in action. She loves everyone and forgives instantly.

    Like

  5. I have read a ton on this issue. I really thought I was done with it – no more to learn, no more angles to read, done done done. And then I read this. Wow. Not only is this the best thing I’ve read on this issue, it’s the best thing I will probably ever read on it. And, I learned something I didn’t know – where the phrase “go the extra mile” comes from.

    Thank you for writing it. It’s truly inspired. You are closer to Jesus then anyone I’ve heard pontificating over the past month.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am a Christian and totally agree with this and am sharing. I believe Jesus said above all things Love was the greatest thing we could do to honor our Father in heaven. It is not our place to sit in judgment. Have we taken the planks out of our own eyes? We as God’s children should be encouraging not discouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If we refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple because they are “living in sin” – should we not, then, refuse to bake a cake for anyone who isn’t in Christ? We as believers know that people are either in Christ, or in sin. There isn’t need for any more deliberation than that. (Also, this post is amazing and I applaud you for writing it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If you claim to be Christian, u should live Christ like. He is love. We all fall short and none of us have the right to judge. Nobody has the right to hurt anyone for any reason. If u do not believe like someone else, so what!! That’s your business and how someone else believes is their business. If u don’t agree or like someone stay away from them, but don’t try to hurt them. Gays have feelings just as straights do. God loves all. God is love. Both sides should be considerate of each. It’s just a shame that some people just seem to like conflict. I’m a Christian , I believe Jesus died for my sins and the sins of all. AND WE ALL SIN. I do believe we have to believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord in order to get to heaven. I believe the Bible is Gods word and we each have to study it to know the truth. It’s God’s “BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING EARTH”(. BIBLE). People just need to love.

    Like

  9. I am an apostate and vocal humanist. I was really moved by this piece and shared it with the caption: “An excellent piece by a Christian talking about their beliefs being belittled into political fodder. A religion of the kind advocated here, I condone wholeheartedly. I still disagree on fundamental conclusions, but we should all be able to agree, we are living this life together. As such we should work together to lessen suffering here.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve also followed the FB group I found this on in hopes of convincing myself this viewpoint makes up more of the world than I give it credit for. 🙂

      Like

  10. I am a life-long servant of the Church of Christ, in the ministry of music, and I am gay. What I, or anyone, believes about someone else is immaterial. It is our corporate act of worship, and the corporal works of our lives that matter. Less talk, more do. Less observation, more introspection. These are the things that matter, that create harmony, that give peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am a practicing pagan, have been so “turned off” by how hateful and exclusionary the Christian religion seems to be, but this post is just beautiful!! I love the compassion, inclusivity and humility that shines through. If I heard tbis talk from a pulpit in a church, I would be a life-long member! Thank you so much – you are a brilliant writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very very thought provoking. I have struggled with what to think/how to respond to this very issue. My little brother is gay and I love him very much. I dont know what I’ll do when he decides to marry. My husband’s brother is gay and married recently. I dont condone it, but neither do I condemn it. The couple married out of state so the question of whether to attend or not never came up. Now my best friend is about to marry her transgender boyfriend, who I greatly dislike for reasons unrelated to his being transgender. Raised very conservative, I struggle with how to handle this. Which feels very hypocritical to me cause I was 7 months pregnant when *I* got married. So, sin. Maybe my real issue is how much I dislike this guy, but am having a hard time separating the two issues. Your article is a great different angle to come at this. I love my friend, she is happy. That should B it. If I cant go the extra mile for her, how can I expect to treat the rest of the world with love? Still torn but maybe on a better track. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I stumbled across this in the wee hours of the morning, sleepily passing facebook posts and shares. I want to preface this with the fact that I am non-religious. I don’t really believe in an afterlife, reincarnation, any of the jazz. Mostly, I live a life of pragmatic atheism. If something were to prove to me otherwise, I’d surely engage in a belief, but a lack of concrete evidence has always kept me from doing so.

    Now that I’ve given you a little info about me, I wanted to say “Thanks.”

    I’ve read a healthy amount of the Bible, and plenty of other religious texts. They’re great books, full of wisdom, and lessons, and rules to live by to be great, and “go with them two” is such a powerful lesson that embodies, in my opinion, what Jesus wanted to convey most in his time on earth: Love.

    Everything the man taught and spoke are lessons anyone can live by, regardless of religion, race, gender. He was a great person who did great things, and not for gratification, or even for personal benefit. He did them because they were right. They were not right because of laws, or rules, or governance, but they were right because they spread love, kindness, happiness. The ones who oftentimes need love the most are the ones who have been hurt, outcast, and shunned from society, and he gave to them in their times of need. By loving everyone, he showed many how peaceful, kind, and happy life could be.

    I look up to him, and others religious figures, a lot, when I have problems that seem too far beyond my reach, and the wisdom he and others have left us can help even the most troubled people find their way in this world.

    Like

  14. I’ve been thinking about this post a lot; it was a challenge. I think I’ve now worked out what the difference is between Matthew 5:41 and the situation with the wedding cake.

    It is not immoral to carry someone else’s stuff. What is immoral in the extra mile situation is unlawful government coercion to do something that they have no right to coerce you to do. The sin is being committed by those who made the law, and by the soldier who takes advantage of it. But carrying someone else’s stuff is no sin. Someone can comply with an ungodly requirement without being ungodly.

    In the case of the wedding cake, the baker is being asked to do something which is part of the process of glorifying something – the wedding celebration, which glorifies the wedding. Christians are good at glorifying things, and this is why photographers, florists and bakers seem to be in the front line of this particular argument. They are all roles which, as part of a wedding, glorify the day and the relationship and the covenant.

    So, then – if it’s no sin to carry someone’s stuff a mile (or two), is it a sin to glorify what is sinful?

    I know you don’t think homosexual practice is sinful, but given that this post is an attempt to convince other Christians who disagree with you to change their actions, let’s continue to think from the perspective of someone who does. Should those who think homosexual practice is sinful nevertheless take part in glorifying a covenant which has such practice at the heart of it?

    Jesus never glorified sin. He spent a lot of time with sinners, but never endorsed or promoted their sinful behaviour. “Neither do I condemn you – go now, and *sin no more*” is a wonderful expression of this principle – Jesus was deeply compassionate to the woman caught in adultery, but without saying that her adultery was OK.

    So I think there are parallels between the extra mile and the cake – in both cases, there is unlawful government coercion requiring you to do something they have no right to require. But the difference is that in the one case, you can comply with a sinful request without sinning yourself, and in the other, you can’t – because it is sin to glorify sin, to try and make it beautiful and attractive, to applaud and encourage it, to cheer it on.

    I hope you find this post polite, thoughtful, engaging and constructive enough to pass your content filter 🙂 May the God of truth lead us into all truth.

    Like

    1. Hi Gerv, thanks for commenting. After spending every waking minute (and many when I should have been sleeping) wading through the comments on this post I finally had to get back to my other responsibilities, and unfortunately couldn’t get to several hundred of the comments, which included those who agreed with me and those who didn’t. I’m taking a few minutes now on a quiet morning to read and post a few more of them.
      With regard to the analogy, it think it holds. Carrying the equipment of a Roman soldier could in fact be aiding him in carrying out the evils of the regime. In fact, it was under that same law that Simon of Cyrene was made to carry Jesus’ cross for him, thus participating in the execution of an innocent man — the only truly innocent man in all of history. It’s incredibly profound to me to think that Jesus knew, when he was preaching the Sermon on the Mount, that the law he was telling his followers to obey would come to play in his own suffering and death.
      With regard to the woman caught in adultery, I think it’s significant that Jesus told the her, “Go and sin no more,” only after he had asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” It was only when she answered, “No one, sir,” that Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” Both his forgiveness and his exhortation to stop sinning were based on the non-condemnation of the people who brought her to him. Jesus was the one who told her not to sin. The role of the other people in the story was to realize their hypocrisy and change their mind about condemning her. Then, when she and Jesus were alone, he spoke to her heart. As Billy Graham said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” It is our job to love people and, through that love, to introduce them to Jesus. We can share our views on sin, certainly, but we have to trust that God will speak to their hearts and guide them towards truth.

      Like

  15. Awesome & Thank you for writing this. I received so much insight from your story and “rise to a higher standard of love” touched me deeply. I dont belong to any blogs and rarely even comment – if ever, but after reading this I wanted to thank you as it was my best Easter Gifts!

    Like

  16. I had not thought of it this way. If I believe that one part of the bible is true then I must believe that the entire bible is true. I think we all get a little worked up about what we “think” is biblical instead of what the bible actually says. I’m not saying I agree with gay marriage, but we all have free choice. Baking a cake for a same sex couple does not mean that you are supporting what they are doing. You are providing a service for which you are being paid. Unfortunately those who pull out the religious card and refuse service are not doing what Jesus said to do. I am a Christian and as a Christian I need to show the love of God to everyone. I am not the judge; God is the judge.

    Like

  17. Honestly, this is probably the best argument I’ve heard in favor of Christians catering for gay weddings. It has challenged my thinking, and I thank you for that.

    One thing needs to be clarified, however. For a business owner to refuse service can be discrimination, but isn’t always. Discrimination would be to insist that you will never do business with a gay person under any circumstances. But it is not discrimination to say that you refuse to offer services for a cause or event that you think is wrong. Most of these businesses that refuse to do gay weddings wouldn’t turn a gay person down for a birthday party or other event. They’re not discriminating against the human being, but rather choosing not to participate in one particular event. It is important for Christians to contemplate whether Jesus wants them to refuse service in such a scenario, but we should not confuse this issue with discrimination.

    To illustrate this point, let’s flip it around. This is a hyperbolic hypothetical situation, but bear with me. Suppose that Westboro Baptist Church wanted a cake with one of their offensive slogans on it (they’re infamous for holding signs that say things like “God hates fags”), so that they could leave it at a gay person’s door. If they went into a bakery owned by a gay person and said what they wanted the cake for, no one would expect that business to participate. If the bakery refused to serve anyone from Westboro under any circumstances, that could be considered discrimination, because they are refusing to serve them based on their religious beliefs. But it wouldn’t be discriminating or hateful if the owner refused to make that particular cake for that particular purpose. They would not be condemning the people who are doing something they see as inherently immoral, but rather refusing to participate in it.

    Moreover, I think everyone would agree that it would be un-consitutional for the American government to force that bakery to comply. If Westboro sued, I would be the first in line to defend the owner. Refusing to offer services for an event that you find morally reprehensible is completely understandable, and should not be confused with discrimination.

    Now, when it comes to searching the Bible (rather than the Constitution) to see whether Christians ought to stay away from gay weddings or use them as an opportunity to show the love of Christ, that is a different question. I think you present a good argument, Jessica. I’m not sure yet whether I’m convinced, but it’s something to think and pray about.

    Like

  18. Very well writte article… The thing that a lot of people miss is love. Unconditional love.

    Someone already mentioned that sin is sin, and that no one sin holds anymore weight than another. With this being the case… Would people go the same distance to not serve someone getting married that isn’t pure? (Being that the Bible defines SEX as marriage) Would these same shop owners do the same thing to people who may have openly committed any other sin?

    I personally believe its an issue of prejudice… Which is not in any shape or fashion showing the unconditional love of Christ…

    Like

  19. As a kid, I walked out on the Church – Because of exactly what this post addresses. Because at Church – No matter the denomination I found myself visiting – hate was taught far more often than love, and between the words I read and that were read to me and the way my mother fought to raise me with respect and love for all things, I just could not justify what the Church was telling me.

    I am still proudly non-Christian, but I am not afraid any more to surround myself with Christians who listen to what the Christ taught and take his examples to heart.

    Thanks for this post; I’ve also pushed it forward, with a thank you to those members of the Church who are near and dear and have been powerful, positive influences in my life.

    Like

  20. I’ve been trying for some time now to find a copy of the Bible (that anyone can read) that gives the impression that God would bless a gay marriage. Can anyone point me to that version? I’ve read the one that says God loves everyone, that also says everyone sins, that He is a just God and will judge everyone. I am especially interested in the New Testament. You know, the part that has Jesus in it? That same Jesus that drove people out of the temple for “worldly behavior”? I’ve read that part about a man and woman “cleaving” to each other, but don’t really have a good handle on the same-sex stuff. I am open to any suggestions.

    Like

  21. This is beautifully said. Thank you.

    I do not understand the people who refuse to bake a cake or a pizza when they feel the recipients are sinners. Undoubtedly, they have previously sold their goods to gluttons, gossips, thieves, abusers, drunkards, liars, addicts, narcissists, racists, cheaters, bigots, and sinners of all other kinds. In fact, aren’t ALL of their customers sinners? If selling a pizza to a gay couple is an endorsement of homosexual sin, then shouldn’t we count all their other sales as endorsements of all the other sins?

    Like

  22. I’m not a hate group.
    I’m not an oppressive military regime.
    I’m not suing anyone.
    I’m not attacking anyone or discriminating against anyone’s right to practice their religion.

    What I am:
    A person. An individual. Not all good, not all bad. Complex. Trying day to day to love everyone, honor that of God in everyone. Just a person trying to live my own life.

    Someone who celebrate the milestones of joy that happen along the way. There is so much sorrow in life, it’s important to remember those special days that shine with love and happiness.

    We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.

    What would Jesus say about a “gay wedding”? I think he would see it as a wedding, no qualifier needed. There’s no black, white, gay, straight in God’s eyes. We are all just people. Complex. Flawed. Trying to be the best we can, share as much live as we can.

    I think he would say: “Congratulations! Let’s make sure there’s enough wine!”

    Like

  23. Reblogged this on Wheneftalks and commented:
    My own blog of last Friday on these same issues continues to get a pretty high level of traffic (for me, at least). Jessica hones in on an issue that was in m blog, but that I could have made more specific: Christians are called not to be offended by “double standards,” but to seek a *higher* standard. Christians are called to “go the second mile.” I highly recommend this post…EF

    Like

  24. I find it interesting how individuals quote different verses from the bible, depending on the point they want to make. I agree however that it’s a well written post with thoughtful, interesting comments.

    Like

  25. Amen! Dallas Willard wrote about the “Great Omission” referring to the Great Commission, where he points out that we followers of Christ so very often fail to “observe all that I have commanded you.” This article puts a very needed and true application of Jesus’ teaching on our current issues. Excellent insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. No one should force you to do anything you don’t want or feel comfortable doing. Especially in our country, where we have the freedom of speech, to run and operate businesses. Would you force an atheist to celebrate Christmas or bake a 1st communion cake? Why is this any different? Accepting ones views and discrimination are two different ideas. If someone declines to bake your cake, Respect them for making their own decision not based on government involvement or status quo and find a baker that will bake your cake. Our country is filled with people of different races, cultures and religions, and we need to treat everyone with respect, regardless of their viewpoints.

    Like

  27. If a gay couple wants a Christian baker to bake a cake for a birthday party, no problem (if it is a problem, its discrimination). If a gay couple wants a Christian baker to bake some cookies for an office party. No problem. If a gay couple wants a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding and the baker explains that she doesn’t believe in gay marriage and can’t support it–all of a sudden she is a hateful bigot who needs to be run out of business, and the story is national news.

    If the government tried to force a gay bakery owner to bake a cake that with a message that read, “Homosexuality is sin” should the gay baker have to bake the cake? Of course not!

    The issue is not about discrimination against individuals–it is about whether the government should be able to force private business owners to support causes with which they strongly disagree.

    The ACLU has rightly argued that the government cannot force Americans to say the pledge of allegiance because forced speech is not free speech. If the government can force private business owners to support causes which which they disagree, the First Amendment is no longer worth the paper on which it is written.

    The government that can force private businesses or individuals to support causes which they strongly oppose, can just as easily force YOU to support causes that you strongly oppose.

    Why is that so hard to understand?

    Like

    1. Hi Dennis, thanks for your comment. I think it might help if you think of a baker who believes interracial marriage is against God’s command, as many Christians did fifty years ago and some Neo-nazi’s still do. Roger Dewey points out in this article that the case of Bob Jones University wanting to prohibit interracial dating, the Supreme Court ruled that, “[o]n occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” I would say that ruling is relevant today to the issue of gay rights.

      Like

  28. I agree with the sentiment and disagree with the outcome. I believe that Christianity does not allow gay marriage. This means I should not bake a cake for a gay couple for a Christian wedding. If the wedding is not Christian, I’ll throw in some cupcakes if they want and be the most pleasant professional career possible. In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Paul asks what business of his it is to judge non-Christians, but he also reiterates that those in the church who feel no contrition and do not wish to repent should not be associated with.

    So I’m saying that you missed a crucial point. The discrimination is against heretical doctrine not homosexuals, divorcees etc.

    Like

  29. It is just a cake — get over it Their money is just as green as anyones What they want to do with the cake is eat it thats all

    Like

  30. I was taught that God doesn’t make mistakes. As I also believe you are either born gay or not, I believe there should be no place for this issue in religion. But, that is my God. As for loving your enemies, how can a person be an enemy just by being gay? I have never had a gay person come to my door and try to recruit me to their way of life, yet I have had many different Christian church members knock. Another thought, is it just food providers that are concerned about serving gay people? I don’t remember ever being asked my sexual orientation for an oil change. 🙂

    Like

  31. I think it’s important to remember context here. Jesus’ comments dealt specifically with Authority, not fellow citizens. Jesus did not command anyone to break laws or engage in immoral behavior. And Jesus own comments on marriage were very clear to the Pharisees:

    “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore, they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

    Divorce was legal, but Jesus informs and reminds the Pharisees (and us through scripture) what the real purpose and intent of marriage is, as ordained by the Creator and Absolute Authority of us and it. And since as Christians we are compelled to accept Jesus as the Creator of All things seen and unseen, Jesus speaks with Authority to us through scripture. Jesus is clear here.

    So, is it “sinful” to bake a cake for a gay wedding? I think Jesus would tell us to render unto Caesar that which is Caesars, but if His definition of marriage was honored, the subject itself wouldn’t occur to his sheep.

    Like

  32. Although, I believe that in America we should not be forced to do what we do not agree with spiritually, no matter our position … As we seek to love others with the love God has for us … “That while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us.” How can we stand for truth, as we understand it today, AND love others as we love ourselves? Maybe it would allow us to build a bridge that would open a heart to hearing what we have to say. Maybe this would be a way to make the statement that we don’t agree but love? Since we are in the middle of a massive spiritual war designed to kill, destroy and steal … Maybe we all need to pray for answers we haven’t thought of yet. A new thing given directly from the Lord Himself. An idea that will bridge in a miraculous and supernatural way and encourage love and truth that we don’t yet even fully understand. I wonder – as we “react” to injustices – all sides – how many of us have been on our knees, with tears, for everyone involved seeking answers and truth and understanding and wisdom rather than having decided we know the answer and hoping on bandwagons – arguing and debating. There IS an answer and GOD has it. Let’s seek Him and ask for it. This is very difficult stuff.
    #AwakenAmerica

    Like

  33. I don’t think we should bake two. Christ told us if we see someone sinning it is our duty to point it out and help them. We all sin and should try to be like Christ. Christ called sinners out and we should also.

    Like

    1. Hi PLB, I think something my dad wrote is relevant here: “In 30 years of ministry with those society considers the “worst” sinners: prison ministry, I have learned one thing: We can’t scold people into the kingdom. Our rebuke: “Calling sin sin” comes across as disapproval, judgementalism, scorn, and rejection. We take their sin (and our own ) seriously. But we realize they will find salvation and forgiveness for their sin, healing and transformation to live a new life: they will find all this a lot faster if we incarnate God’s LOVE to them than if we sin against them by lecturing them when God is calling us to love them.”

      Like

  34. This gives me such hope! As a Christian myself, I often hear things like “But you’re the exception! Most Christians are/think/do [insert bad thing here]” It is so awesome to see that there are more of us! Lots more who truly believe in the power and goodness of Christ and truly trying to live it! Thank you for this ❤

    Like

  35. I believe this to be true, and correct. But I also believe that people have the right in this nation to believe what they want to believe, so it is not ours or our authority to define what someone else’s religion and beliefs are. It is for them. If they feel strongly about this, then that is their faith. We can point out to them that they are misguided. But we can not condemn them their beliefs.

    Like

Comments are closed.