Really? You couldn't just bake a stinking cake and be done with it? Instead you had to dig in your heels in such a manner as to draw the attention of legislators and consequently the scrutiny of every self-righteous media windbag in the nation. Great. Such was my initial reaction upon hearing about a bakery owner, who being requested to bake a cake for a gay wedding said that he couldn't, or rather wouldn't do it. He would gladly bake a cake for them, but not for their wedding because the Bible is pretty specific about marriage, and gay marriage doesn't fit the Bible's definition...and this baker happens to believe the Bible. From this point the fever pitched war of rhetoric began or rather it just continued. But this is much more complex than most of us, myself included, would like to acknowledge. Apparently there is a distinction drawn between baking a cake for gay people and baking a cake for the purpose of a gay wedding. The implication is of course that the bakery's owner does not find gay people inherently offensive and would be happy to have them purchase his cakes and pies. It is the act of two gay people getting married that he considers immoral and thus he would prefer not to participate in the celebration. Ah, problem solved. He's not discriminating against individual people, only what he finds to be disagreeable acts. He disapproves of gay marriage since, in his opinion, Jesus only affirms traditional, bakery-approved marriages in the gospels.
Perhaps. But not so fast.
Want to know what Jesus does not affirm in the New Testament? Sexual immorality. In fact he didn't just announce his disapproval of the act(s), he proclaimed his disapproval of the thought of anything between the sheets other than bakery-approved marriage. Thus in order to be truly consistent and unbiased "Mr. Baker" would need to hand a questionnaire to every happily engaged couple, gay or straight, that rings his bell. It would ask among other deeply personal and inappropriate questions, "Have you ever so much as thought about what it would be like to have sex with another person, including your fiance who is not yet your spouse?" If everyone answered honestly wedding cake sales would evaporate...at least from the thin air of that guy's shop. Assuming the cake baker does not carry out such intrusive practices it can be proven that he is prejudicial in refusing to participate in a gay wedding.
Maybe. But not so fast.
What all this really proves is that, from the Bible's perspective at least, sexual immorality is not simply a LGBT problem. Sexual immorality is a people problem. Many people do not particularly care about the Bible's perspective, especially as it pertains to sex. I get that. But as one who does care I have to say that sexual immorality has always been difficult to avoid. In fact by Sermon on the Mount standards sexual immorality, like many other indiscretions, is virtually impossible to avoid no matter who or what you are. Resistance however is not impossible, but only by the grace of God. And I try to resist, albeit quite imperfectly, sexual immorality and all manner of other indiscretions in response to a God whom I have come to know in the pages of the Bible as both frighteningly just yet exceedingly gracious, forgiving, and full of perfect love.
As much as I would prefer not to I've thought about this a lot. That's because I suspect that since in a democracy the majority rules, somewhere down the line gay marriage will become an accepted, lawful norm. That means that potentially a homosexual couple seeking to be married may one day come to me and ask that I do the honors. If they feel comfortable enough to ask chances are it will be because we've become at least casually acquainted, thus declining their request will be difficult. But decline I think I must on the grounds that gay marriage demonstrates an unwillingness to resist what the Bible defines as immorality. It is not their being gay that is at issue, but rather the act of two gay people getting married. Easy for me to say, right? The Bible allows for me, the straight guy, to be married.
True. But not so fast.
The temptation to indulge in sexual immorality is everywhere and impacts everyone from time to time, married or not. I'm instructed therefore to direct my mind to other things that are "worthy of praise." Should I adopt a defeatist attitude, simply proclaim "this is who I am," and give in to whatever manifestation of immorality happens to be knocking, that would demonstrate an unwillingness to resist what the Bible defines as immorality. If I am going to accept the Bible's plan of rescue from immorality then to be consistent I must also accept its definition of immorality...and despite repeated failure and frustration continuously attempt to flee from immorality, lest I offend God even more than I already have.
I don't expect everyone to understand and think the way I do. Of course not! My only hope in this case is to have at least a minimal relationship with my hypothetical couple-of-the-future. Perhaps they will at least hear me out, understanding that my issue is with their getting married, not their being gay or being straight...or being at all. Assuming such a hearing will not accomplish anything I have to admit that they could simply seek other alternatives leading where they want to go as a couple. Hopefully they will be compassionate enough, as I still optimistically suspect the vast majority of people are in spite of their disagreements, to refrain from litigation or having me outlawed and imprisoned...presumably with a bunch of cake bakers and photographers.