Turning the Tables on Same-Sex Marriage? Not with THIS Argument.

same-sex gay marriageA Christian blogger wanted to demonstrate the hypocrisy of gay couples asking Christian bakers for wedding cakes. So it’s not okay for Christian bakers to refuse? Let’s see how gay bakers like it when the tables are turned.

Freedom Outpost asked 13 gay or pro-gay bakers for a cake that said, “Gay Marriage is Wrong.” Each baker turned him down.

If anyone who objects our request for the cake was hateful, this is exactly the type of thing the homosexual activists do to Christian bakeries when they use the state to coerce them to make a cake with an explicitly pro homosexual slogan on it. Well, to turn it against them, we asked for an explicitly anti-homosexual marriage cake.

Blatant hypocrisy, right?

This inept experiment fails since the two positions aren’t symmetrical. The gay couple in the 2012 Colorado case simply wanted a wedding cake, not an anti-Christian or anti-conservative statement or even a political statement of any kind. It’s just a wedding cake—a symbol of love, remember? If someone is determined to take offense at that or see the wedding not as a loving couple wanting to get married but a deliberate poke in the eye of their lord and savior … well, I guess there’s not much you can do about that. But an objective observer would not see the imagined crime.

(Going forward, I’ll sometimes use conservative/liberal as synonyms for the clumsier phrases same-sex marriage opponent/proponent. This may bring to mind politics, which is fine with me since politics seems to be at least as much of a driving force as Christianity.)

The “Gay Marriage is Wrong” cake was just hate speech. You’re welcome to say that, but you’re not entitled to demand someone else to do so. You want a symmetric experiment? Ask a gay baker to bake a wedding cake for a straight couple with the familiar bride/groom cake topper. If the baker demands that you take your business elsewhere because they don’t serve “your kind,” then you’ve got a case.

I’m sure that Freedom Outpost knew that that request wouldn’t cause any sparks, which is why they didn’t try an honest symmetric experiment but opted instead for a groundless grandstanding opportunity.

Tom Gilson of the Thinking Christian blog supported this experiment:

Every gay marriage wedding cake, no matter how it’s decorated, says the man-woman-only view of marriage is wrong; but it takes special effort to make a man and woman’s wedding cake communicate that gay marriage is wrong.

First, the cake does have a point to make, but “the man/woman-only view is wrong” is not it. How hateful do you have to be to take a couple’s celebration of their special day and insist that the purpose is actually just to be mean to you?

If you enjoy being cantankerous, you could see the same kind of message in a man/woman wedding cake. Is this cake a jab at the couples who couldn’t afford a wedding this nice? Or the couples who only bought a small cake because they don’t have as many friends? Or the people whose potential mate turned them down?

Who would imagine any of those messages as subtext in a wedding cake? Who would think that that is a primary message of the wedding? If you’re thin-skinned, see this as a winner-take-all political game, and are determined to be offended, then you might see every gay wedding cake as a personal affront, but that’s your problem. (And you might want to get that paranoia checked.)

Onto the second point, that it’s hard to make the statement “gay marriage is wrong” with an ordinary wedding cake. That’s right, and that’s why the experiment was laughably flawed. A symmetric cake doesn’t actually make an objectively offensive message.

Is it always politics?

There’s an obvious lesson here—that a truly symmetric cake would actually send a loving message, so the objection to anti-discrimination laws was motivated by politics rather than logic—but that’s not where Thinking Christian wants to go with this. The post takes the conservative, anti-same-sex marriage position as a given and explores the argument from a strategic standpoint. How can conservatives make their message more palatable?

He summarizes the two positions this way (I’ve rearranged the sentences):

Natural marriage proponents are defending an institution and standing in the way of gay couples’ desire to marry. [They] seek to disrupt two real people’s desires, hopes, and felt needs.

Same-sex “marriage” proponents are attacking an institution and defending couples’ desires to marry. [They] seek to disrupt the historic institution of marriage.

(It’s fun how he adds scare quotes to same-sex “marriage.” My position has been insulted even before he gets started!)

There’s a big difference between attacking marriage and seeking to expand it. And I presume by “disrupt the historic institution of marriage,” this is a claim that marriage is unchanging. It’s not and has been dramatically changed just in my own lifetime (more on that later).

I do understand his predicament as he lays it out. He must be the hard-ass, burdened with the unpalatable message. He’s attacking real people, while his opponents are attacking an institution. (That’s how he sees it, anyway. In fact it’s even more difficult since his opponents are attacking just one calcified interpretation of the institution. Making the institution of marriage open to more people has historically been on the right side of history.)

And then we get the predictable, tired arguments in favor of the conservative position. Marriage is important for children (actually, healthy families are important to children), same-sex marriage is morally wrong (you’re free to avoid same-sex marriage if you don’t like it, but you’re not free to put your supernatural conclusions into laws), and so on.

He wrings his hand at his difficulty.

Gay “marriage” doesn’t have to be right to win rhetorically. …

We ask gay bakers to make cakes for us that express our position, just as gays have asked some of us to [bake] cakes that express their position. Their request comes across as rhetorically natural, ours is clumsy and awkward.

He’s determined to miss the point. No, your request comes across not as awkward but as hateful because your game is not symmetric. This ridiculous demand to make a “Gay Marriage is Wrong” cake is as relevant to the issue as demanding a Ku Klux Klan cake. Neither is the symmetric version of a cake for a gay wedding.

We’ll conclude this analysis next time with a critique of six steps the author recommends to help conservatives strengthen their rhetorical position: Part 2.

Related post: “20 Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage, Rebutted.”

[UPDATE 4/4/15: The discrimination complaint filed by the Christian behind this project to get pro-gay bakers to make anti-gay cakes has been rejected.]

To call homosexuality [acceptable]
as long it doesn’t include sex
is like the sound of one hand clapping.
— commenter Y. A. Warren

Image credit: Arallyn!, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Aram McLean

    Refusing to bake hate is the complete opposite of refusing to bake love.

    • Kodie

      I wonder what a hate cake tastes like. So maybe they wanted these cakes to make a point, but then someone said, “sure, I’ll bake your cake,” took the right amount of money, and then they’re like, well should we have some sort of party now or just throw it out, or divvy it up or something. Take it to a lab to make sure it wasn’t made with xylitol.

      • Greg G.

        I wonder what a hate cake tastes like.

        Probably worse than “ice-cold hot cakes, smothered in vinegar.*”

        * A Three Stooges delicacy

  • abusedbypenguins

    Let them eat cake.

  • Brian Westley

    I would’ve just made them their obvious test-case cake. I’m only insulted by people whose opinion I respect, anyway.

    • TheNuszAbides

      that’s sort of what i was thinking (at a remove): it’s not like you’re actually congratulating a stranger’s kid on the big game either, or actually wishing another stranger a joyous 50th birthday…

      but at said remove, i’d have to presume that the net effect is simply taking the wind out of bigots’ sails, and not everyone (not even every gay baker, i’ll speculate) can (or, necessarily, should) just ‘shake off’ something this on-the-nose…

  • Kodie

    I once made a special-order t-shirt for a politician, wasn’t old enough to vote yet, she was very bubbly and I shared her enthusiasm for her shirt idea, but I didn’t ask what her positions were, I was there to make a shirt for a paying customer. But then there is the false “well you’re censoring my free speech”, no you can’t say “gay marriage is wrong in my establishment, and it is within my right to throw you out.” You can’t force someone to speak for you in desserts, but to me it is just cake. If I didn’t support marriage equality, I think it’s fair to refuse to put the figurines on top of the cake if it’s a blanket policy for heterosexual and gay couples. What if you wanted a wedding gown beaded in little glass swastikas, but they were the “good luck” kind from far east religions, and your seamstress was a Jew who lost relatives in the holocaust. What if you’re a florist who refuses to deliver a bouquet to an atheist, like all the florists in Rhode Island after Jessica Alquist successfully protested the religious banner in her school? I am kind of like, well, you can refuse service to some people but on what actual bases?

    How much I know is true – some people take their craft very seriously and feel very personally about each production, and that they won’t take money from a customer to express themselves in the medium of their choice. Let’s suppose I don’t support marriage equality and not really refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, but if I were sick to my stomach over it, how could I do my best work? But then that’s one way religion hurts people – it hurts the artistic cake baker for making them feel disgust when they should feel as good as they feel about straight couples. It tangles people up themselves.

    But I don’t have solid integrity like a lot of people. Look, most of us don’t think where they make the shit we buy real cheap. They show happy people buying stuff at the store all the time and how good it will look in their home and suit a particular purpose, so I don’t think of personal integrity as something that can be viciously guarded or expected of most people, so I probably would have baked the cake. Would I feel good about it? I don’t think I would feel great, but I deal plenty with people I don’t like and wish I could turn their business down. So on that hand, high standards are just a luxury.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Legal stuff always seems to get unnecessarily complicated, but I’m pretty sure it’s all about protected classes. “Drunk person” isn’t a protected class, so I can say you can’t come into my bar if you’re drunk. Same for disruptive person in my restaurant or museum. But religion, race, sex, national origin, etc. are protected, so you must have an extraordinary reason to bar entry (no men in the Women’s Room, for example).

      Where homosexuals aren’t protected (it’s not a federal thing, and only some states do), I presume you can discriminate in housing, etc.

      Lots of people know the law better than me, so I encourage correction.

      • Kodie

        Let’s say you refuse to sell a drunk anything, like a cup of coffee or a baseball cap. Let’s say I refuse to endorse drinking by doing business with drunks at all. Not because they’ll hang out and start disturbing my other customers, or maybe puke on the floor, but just because they walked in while drunk. I’m not talking about the law necessarily but where can someone say what they do in their business endorses or supports what their customers do, and as long as this or that customer does something I don’t like, I won’t give them the privilege of serving them. And let’s start a trend in a 10-mile radius. Who will stop them if drunks aren’t a protected class?

        It is a kind of social pressure, that if you drink, nobody will serve you, so you either have to sober up, or move somewhere else.

        Where can you draw the line? What if the drunk is black? What if I pick something I don’t like that is more common amongst black people, like pants hanging down. I will serve anyone if you can pull your pants up to your waist and they stay up without your hand, and I won’t serve people of other races with pants hanging down. So am I discriminating against a protected class or not? Do people have the right to wear their pants like that in my store? Where do I draw the line, for that matter? If I am allowed to discriminate against people who wear their pants too low, but neon-colored mesh midriff tank tops on men don’t bother me, can the hanging-down pants-wearers bring back a lawyer and ask me why that fashion is acceptable but theirs is not?

        But anyway, my point was really how much of what you do as a business can you claim endorses this or that, and if you do not personally endorse said thing, you may refuse to do business. I think everyone favors free speech, and yes, it is a private business and can decide to censor speech within and not violate their 1st amendment rights. When the government allows a parade or assembly of KKK or WBC, they are clearly not endorsing them. I guess they’re not being asked to print the flyers or help them make picket signs, but they are cleaning up after them, so some investment is made to support the group’s efforts to express themselves, but they are not endorsing the message by doing so. If Fred Phelps had walked into the stationery supply store, could they refuse to sell him posterboard and magic markers? If an equally hateful but less well-known bigot went into the same store, they couldn’t refuse him because they wouldn’t know what the materials were going to be used for, so is this going to make it normal for business-owners to issue a questionnaire before they agree to allow someone to purchase items?

        As relates to the bakeries involved, allowing someone to write their own hateful message you disagree with in their own sloppy unpracticed icing technique would just make the message illegible, and you might owe them another cake if they screwed it up. If the cake said “Happy Birthday Eddie” and Eddie is the leader of the local KKK, are you wishing Eddie the KKK leader a happy birthday or are you just making a birthday cake as you often do? If nobody told you who Eddie was, you wouldn’t have thought to ask.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good questions. Obvious answers don’t pop to mind.

          I suspect that society assumes that the profit motive will smooth over some of that.

          Well … I don’t care for how much skin you’re showing or I wonder what exactly you mean by that American flag in your lapel or in some other way I don’t like the cut of your jib … but I don’t like bad press, and if your money’s green, what the hey.

        • Kodie

          I wonder what happens when you force people to obey the law, do they eventually get over it? There must be places owned by people who have never gotten over having to serve black people, and then people who are still racist who wouldn’t go back to discriminate their business because their black customers’ money is just as good and their business hasn’t suffered. I think part of the issue must be that if the business serves these people, then their regular customers will back out the door and go someplace less diverse. If I’m a Christian baker, and I don’t at least make a big stink out of my “rights” to discriminate a population whose marriages I don’t personally support, then my customers will not support me in my business because I do business with them.

          That’s kind of what’s at stake with the political cake test. Can I refuse to bake a cake for a Tea Party Party? If I make that cake, then my liberal customers will do business elsewhere. Otherwise, to me, it’s just business – the cake is not the politics, just like a cake is not the critical requirement formalizing a legal wedding ceremony. If my political position opposes gay marriage (because it is my religious freedom to do so), I can see where it might hurt my business to make that cake unless forced to do so by law, and that might be the main concern, rather than “my principles”. I also don’t know why wedding cakes are such a big deal but most say they are willing to bake other items for gay people and somehow it doesn’t support their marriage, like celebrating an anniversary or a housewarming or the adoption of their child.

        • Lark62

          This is where anti discrimination laws actually help the business. People begin to accept that the laws will be followed. Restaurants all over the south serve both blacks and whites without reaction. 60 years ago, a white restaurant that served blacks would have been run out of business. Once most businesses follow the law, non-discrimination is no longer a political statement and everyone is better off.

        • Kodie

          That’s what I mean, I think we can’t just argue these people out of their position, and we’re going to hear more of it. They have to at least try to discriminate first, they have to push back, test, protest, stand for their principles, and finally be forced to follow the law, or they would lose the support of their regular customers saying “at least you tried.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          For a liberal baker, I would think that making cakes for tea baggers would be a celebration of free speech rights that would be easy to argue for.

          Patrick Henry said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” If the tea bagger doesn’t have free speech rights, then mine are also at risk.

        • Kodie

          But being a private establishment, the baker does not have to allow free speech any more than you have to on your blog. Like, let’s change it to t-shirts because that’s something you can’t always do yourself and often has a message. A liberal t-shirt printer might donate some of their services to a liberal cause and print their shirts half-price, say. But then the conservatives want to have their t-shirts printed too, they can refuse to do business altogether, correct? Or do they have to have a blanket policy of “no political statements”, which could get tricky. I am thinking it is completely up to the owner of the shop to set their own limits of what they will and won’t print on a t-shirt they sell, and lean more toward “free speech” or hang back to “only expressions I agree with”.

          It’s somewhat popular for wedding parties to have t-shirts printed for the rehearsal or bachelor/ette party, so the t-shirt printer would have to print for a gay wedding, correct? If they sell shirts that say “groom” on them, they’re just selling two instead of one each “groom” and “bride”. That’s not too political. If those opposed to gay marriage want shirts printed up like those test cakes, they’re not protected, but presumably people in favor would be a protected class and you have to make those shirts (with a more specific and clearly supportive message than merely “groom” x2)? Or you can still refuse to sell a t-shirt with a message upon it that you disapprove of?

          I just think I am having a hard time figuring out how this argument or counter-argument works if you apply it to other typical situations.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Someone must have published an accurate one-pager to help merchants deal with the legal issues here. If someone knows of one, please point it out.

  • Falken

    I fail to see, even remotely, how refusing to bake a pastry with a statement of harsh condemnation is similar to outright refusal of service. In fact, if I recall correctly, the baker offered to still bake the cake but give the man the materials needed to write the words on himself. I hold the faith in my own Progressive manner but I also hold large amounts of rationality that occasionally blend in. I’m taught it’s a sin to lie, and equating hatred of a group and demanding the “right” to have that hatred put on edibles or on any form of culinary art to someone serving all members of their local community regardless of orientation to be completely fallacious. I also find it makes people who aren’t raving nutjobs but are Christians afraid to own up to that. Quite frankly, people like them with this false equivalency are actually causing anyone with enough rationality and human compassion to be……well human to go into the closet with their faith.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I think 13 gay-friendly bakers were asked, and I’m sure some said that they’d let the customer add the words.

  • Psycho Gecko

    A cake that says “Gay Marriage is Wrong”?

    The cake is a lie!

    • Falken

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This, just so much

  • Ann Kah

    Elsewhere it was reported that the message was “God hates gays”, a much stronger and more offensive statement because it ought to offend both homosexuals AND theists. Can’t remember the reference, but probably another Patheos site.

  • Trent Horn

    It’s not a good counterexample, but I can think of a better one. Should bakers be allowed to not bake a wedding cake for a polyamorous “wedding?” I know these marriages aren’t legal but they still happen (see TV shows like Sister Wives).

    One might object that polyamorous marriages are a choice and not the same as gay marriage. But, some people would argue that just as you can’t help it if you like a certain sex, you can’t help it if you like more than one person at a time. Both are sexual orientations. One is an orientation based on gender while the other is an orientation based on number.

    Second, it doesn’t matter because a baker who refused to make a cake for an interracial wedding be in the wrong and interracial marriage is as much a “choice” as polyamorous marriage is a choice. Those who deny polyamory is a sexual orientation would probably deny interracial attraction is its own sexual orientation. In the former case, you can’t help what the skin color is of the person you fall in love with while in the latter case you can’t help that you fell in love with someone while you were married to someone else.

    Do you think bakers who have a moral opposition to polyamory should be allowed to refuse to sell cakes for polyamorous weddings?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Homosexuals are a protected class in Colorado. The Christian baker who refused to bake the cake did so because the customers were homosexual. I scanned the court judgment against them, and the court rejected their many arguments to the contrary.

      Are you saying there’s a slippery slope problem here? There is indeed a slippery slope–you must always juggle what’s in and what’s out–but the difficulty is no greater with same-sex marriage than without it.

      If ss marriage were the first definitional change to marriage ever, you would indeed be opening the door to change, where in the past there had been no change. But that of course isn’t the case. “Marriage” has had many changes over the centuries.

      • Trent Horn

        Why did you sidestep my question? I’m curious what you would think of this legitimate hypothetical situation. And my understanding of the case was that the bakers would have made homosexuals any other kind of cake (birthday, anniversary, etc.) it’s wedding stuff they objected to. That’s different than a racist baker who won’t serve blacks for any reason. But before commentign on that, know I’m not doing “slippery slope” I’m taking it to a logical conclusion. How would you answer my question?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Your hypothetical is one of a thousand we could think of. It’s a red herring that is irrelevant to whether same-sex marriage is legal or not. My response made that clear.

          The polyamorous example isn’t parallel with the Colorado case since that isn’t a protected class.

          But before commentign on that, know I’m not doing “slippery slope” I’m taking it to a logical conclusion.

          So you’re not making a slippery slope argument? How is the logical conclusion polyamorous marriage? Why isn’t it Ku Klux Klan marriage? Or marrying your sex toy? Or a cake with dog poop on top?

          I don’t see how that’s the logical conclusion.

        • Kodie

          I thought he was saying it was a sexual orientation. What is the protected class – the people who are legally allowed to marry, or the sexual orientation of the people who want a wedding that may or may not recognized by the government.

          As far as I know, it’s legal to commit yourself to a group of people, just as it has been legal to be in a long-term relationship with someone of the same sex. Ceremonies bonding either were never illegal, they just not endorsed or recorded by the state as a real marriage, or have any legal standing as a spouse.

          The question was about sexual orientation, not legality of your marriage. So a baker has to make a cake because polyamory is a sexual orientation, or a baker may refuse to make a cake because polyamorous marriages aren’t recognized legally?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          My guess is that since polyamory isn’t a protected class, a baker could refuse.

        • Susan

          That’s different than a racist baker who won’t serve blacks for any reason.

          What if it was a racist baker who would make blacks any other kind of cake (birthday, anniversary, etc.) unless the black customer wanted a wedding cake for their interracial marriage?

          Bob S. is correct that your hypothetical is one of a thousand we could think of.

          Polyamorous marriage is a subject that would have to be dealt with and argued for and against in the law, as would thousands of other hypothetical cases.

          Most of the arguments against polyamorous marriage have to do with the fact that they are in so many cases not “consensual”. It’s an entirely different subject.

          I’m taking it to a logical conclusion.

          Not so far. Show your logical steps.

        • Dez

          Interracial marriage and gay marriage are essentially the same argument. Both have had the religious call us abomination to their god. Like mixed couples, gays are capable of love too. Race and sexual orientation are not a choice.

    • Lark62

      If I were a baker, I wouldn’t have a problem with a cake for a polygamous family. I think it’s bizarre but it isn’t my problem as long as all participants are willing consenting adults.

      I would likely draw the line at a ceremony that promised a child in marriage.

      • Kodie

        It makes sense if the difference between marriages is “not legally recognized” and “actually illegal.”

        What if the cake were to celebrate the arrangement of a marriage of two people who are currently children?

        What if the cake were for a bris and you opposed circumcision?

        But this is exactly why certain groups of people form enclaves, so they can always get the services they want from a merchant who will do business with them.

        • Lark62

          The baker can pick his product not his customer. If he makes cakes for celebrations, he makes a cake for a bris. But if he doesn’t make crude cakes, he doesn’t have to make a penis shaped cake with the tip lopped off.

        • Kodie

          If you personally think circumcision is inhumane, who exactly is the protected class here, the Jews?

          And what is a wedding cake? I know of it as sort of a special genre of cakes, it’s not just a typical occasion cake, it usually features a lot of the more artistic techniques, it is a showpiece not just for feeding dessert. So if a bakery says it doesn’t do wedding cakes, period, they can still be commissioned to make a very special elaborately designed cake for an unspecified occasion for its straight customers, and legally say no to wedding cakes for its gay customers. But then they can say it’s for an anniversary, and not specify it’s their 0th anniversary, the baker will make them a cake.

          Loopholes and scenarios make this confusing to me.

        • Lark62

          You are seeking loopholes where none exist. Sell the product you want to sell and don’t try to run other people’s lives. Would a wine seller sell wine for a christening but not a bris? How about to celebrate a person’s 25th tattoo? Why would he ask?

          If you want to judge and pontificate and tell other people how to live, become a preacher. If you want to bake cakes, bake cakes.

          Within certain personal standards, eg no porn or cuss words or whatever, welcome all customers even if they make choices different from the choices you would make. How flippin hard is that?

        • Kodie

          Well they are saying if they just make a blanket policy not to bake wedding cakes, then they don’t bake or sell wedding cakes to straight or gay couples. We are talking about protected vs. unprotected classes here. [EDIT: there is no such “thing” as a “bris cake” but wedding cakes seem to be a specialty of most bakers that are a particular characteristics different from cakes chosen to celebrate other occasions, but they can still make “elaborate cakes for anything but a wedding” – that’s the loophole]. If racists aren’t a protected class, then I can choose not to do business with someone I know to be a racist even if the cake itself has no message on it, wasn’t that the issue? Customers often volunteer to mention the occasion, and I assume in an artistic sense of a baker, it helps to design a cake if you know what kind of party it is, the theme, the guest of honor, the occasion, etc. At the liquor store, they don’t ask for anything but ID.

          If I oppose circumcision, is the customer who wants a cake specifically to celebrate a bris of a protected class or are they not? If the cake is for a Bar Mitzvah, I would assume hypocrisy since this is not for a bris but indirectly supporting the rituals of a group who practice and celebrate ritual circumcision. If they say it’s just for Ilya’s 13th birthday… ? I know I am going out for a stretch here, but I would guess because Jews ARE a protected class that I have to bake a bris cake, even though that is only one of their rituals and I don’t have a problem with any of their other rituals, just like homophobe bakers don’t seem to have a problem baking other cakes that support a gay “lifestyle” as long as it’s not for their wedding.

          And as for these other occasions, those who are against marriage equality seem to have gotten used to the idea that gay couples want to celebrate a union of some sort, so would not have an issue baking a cake for a gay couple’s wedding if their marriage was not legitimate in their state. Gay couples have been having weddings for a much longer time than it has been legal in any state in the US. This is just their protest of the law when marriage equality is fought for or won in their state.

        • Lark62

          The point is the business owner cannot say “I will sell this product to other people, but I won’t sell it to you.” All the what ifs don’t make any difference.

        • Lark62

          Also, where the customer plans to eat the cake is none of the baker’s business. He makes a cake. The customer pays. The customer chooses what event, if any, is celebrated when the cake is served. It is absolutely no business of the baker to say “you can eat this cake here, but not there.”

  • Blizzard

    I think it’s going to be okay. The sky didn’t fall when the religious institution of slavery fell either. It’s every bit a religious institution as marriage is if we go by the “if it’s in there then it’s theirs” theory. Marriage is in the Bible so it’s theirs. Well so is slavery too. It’s all yours bub. Everything gonna be fine so don’t worry Tom. You can still “own” marriage and slavery and the whole freakin universe all to your heart’s content.

  • Blizzard

    According to Tom his religion is responsible for all of the evil in the world. Something about Adam and Eve or something. So when is he going to apologize for it? (It wouldn’t surprise me if he actuality does apologize for it haha.) “Christianity apologizes for their ancient ancestors not obeying their god, mucking up the world forever, film at 11:00.” It sure as heck wasn’t atheists’ fault lol.

    • Blizzard

      Christianity, the “Joe Btfsplk” of belief systems. Thanks for mucking up everything in the world Christianity. You can complain about everything all you want but it’s All Your Fault™. At least you admit credit for it lol.

      • Greg G.

        I’m at an awkward age. I knew Joe Btfsplk is from Lil’ Abner but I’m too young for Social Security.

    • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

      No, Blizzard.

      If you want to rebut an opponent’s position, you might want to take the time to find out what it is.

      • Blizzard

        Sorry but your religion claims responsibility for all of the evil in the world so you guys should apologize for it. (See the Adam and Eve story that your God wrote.) Atheists sure didn’t do it. You guys owe the world an apology for having such dumb Adam and Eve people. What were they thinking? And apologize for creating hell too. Please apologize for the hell your god created. (If you may be so presumptuous as to apologize for your god. Your god sure as “hell” isn’t going to apologize for it.)

        • adam

          From ‘god’s mouth’

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Same answer, Blizzard. Apparently you think you understand the beliefs you’re criticizing, but what you’re saying here has nothing to do with Christian belief. It’s a gross distortion. If Christianity were what you say it is, I’d reject it in an instant. It isn’t.

  • Lark62

    What makes sense to me is that a business can choose its product but not its customer.

    If the baker sells wedding cakes, he sells them regardless of religion, race or gender.

    If the baker is vegan, the baker will not use eggs or caramelized bacon. But the bakery cannot refuse to sell his vegan cake because it will be served at a BBQ. (I’m ignoring protected classes here.)

    A carnivore baker can choose to put caramelized bacon on every cake he makes. His customers can choose for themselves whether to purchase it. But the baker cannot say “I refuse to sell a cake with bacon to a jew because you’re not supposed to eat bacon.”

    “I don’t make cakes with hate speech, no matter who the customer is.”
    Is not the same as
    “Some customers can buy a wedding cake, but other customers cannot. ”

    • Greg G.

      Excellent points but for some reason, I’m craving bacon cake.

    • curtcameron

      “But the bakery cannot refuse to sell his vegan cake because it will be served at a BBQ.”

      Yes, a vegan baker can refuse to sell his cake if it’s being served at a BBQ. The BBQ is not protected by civil rights laws, so the bakery can set its own terms.

      “But the baker cannot say ‘I refuse to sell a cake with bacon to a jew because you’re not supposed to eat bacon.'”

      That would violate the civil rights laws, because jews are a protected class.

      • Kodie

        How would it violate the civil rights laws? The Jew specifically ordered a cake on the menu, and it has bacon in it. It’s not up to the baker to enforce his customer’s religious beliefs. He might, if he cares, double-check that the Jew customer realizes that it has bacon in it. Lots of Jews do not keep kosher, and maybe he was getting it for his gentile friend or his brother-in-law, or maybe sabotaging another Jew into eating pork. Who cares?

        • curtcameron

          I was saying that refusing to sell the cake to the jew would violate civil rights laws. I think we agree.

        • Kodie

          I guess I read it wrong as if the baker was forcing his own religious views on the customer, but then he wouldn’t be selling bacon cakes. If he’s doing that just to keep Jews out of his place, I guess that’s legal, but he has to realize Jews can still enjoy the smell of bacon, just like they can “forget” to turn the tv off before sundown on Friday.

        • Greg G.

          A Jew could buy the cake but would only violate the restriction if it was eaten. No?

        • Kodie

          If they were kosher, probably. But you know how like, lots of Catholics use birth control no matter what the pope says? Most of the Jews I ever knew ate cheeseburgers and bacon and shrimp if it was offered at a party.

        • curtcameron

          And should I have been capitalizing “Jew”?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know. I capitalize Christian and Catholic. Not sure why.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Because many religions are named for a person with a proper name. Same reason we capitalize “Randian” or “Hoganite”.

        • Greg G.

          “Jew” would come from “Judah” with a few transliterations, translations, and different alphabets. “Catholic”, though, would just be capitalized to distinguish between different connotations of the word.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        In my limited understanding of the law, this is correct. You might be able to refuse someone who happens to be a Jew, but not someone because they’re a Jew.

  • ahermit

    Of course the court has already rejected this argument. From Judge Robert Spencer’s decision in the Colorado case:

    https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/initial_decision_case_no._cr_2013-0008.pdf

    There is no doubt that decorating a wedding cake involves considerable skill and artistry. However, the finished product does not necessarily qualify as “speech,” as would saluting a flag, marching in a parade, or displaying a motto
    .
    United States v. O’Brien,
    391 U.S. 367, 376 (1968) (“We cannot accept the view that an apparently limitless variety of conduct can be labeled ‘speech’ whenever the person engaging in the conduct intends thereby to express an idea.”)6

    The undisputed evidence is that Phillips categorically refused to prepare a cake for Complainants’ same-sex wedding before there was any discussion about what that cake would look like. Phillips was not asked to apply any message or symbol to the cake, or to construct the cake in any fashion that could be reasonably understood as advocating same-sex marriage. After being refused, Complainants immediately left the shop.
    For all Phillips knew at the time, Complainants might have wanted a nondescript cake that would have been suitable for consumption at any wedding. Therefore, Respondents’ claim that they refused to provide a cake because it would convey a message supporting same-sex marriage is specious.

    The act of preparing a cake is simply not“speech” warranting First Amendment protection.

    and later…

    Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church.

    However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point In both cases it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.

    A baker baking a cake is not engaging in a speech act or a religious act. It’s a business transaction.

  • ahermit

    Also the mathematicians have it all wrong; Pie are round, cake are square…

    • Greg G.

      Cornbread are square.

      • TheNuszAbides

        not cornbread-bacon-sriracha muffins!

  • Kubricks_Rube

    It’s hard to know how one would react in the moment, but I’d like to think I would have made the cake and then made it clear that all proceeds from this or any other homophobic cake would go to LGBT rights groups, liberal candidates and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. And then I’d try to get a picture and some publicity, invite anyone down to buy creatively offensive cakes for charity. Turn the whole thing around.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

    So the French are right, and freedom of speech is wrong. There’s nothing wrong with blasphemy laws.

    Wow, you got this one so wrong.

    • adam

      Libel laws are enough.

      If the offended deity can demonstrate damages in court, then THAT should be sufficient.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

        Love the poster, but…

        The “victims”, of course, are the people who are offended by those who speak their mind. Note, by the way, that this includes people who are homosexual being offended by people who believe that homosexuality is a sin and openly speak their mind about it. I don’t happen to be one of them, but the right of freedom of speech trumps everything. Of course, freedom of speech has many sides – and one of the sides is that those who disagree with religious fundamentalists are free to criticize them. And this is why blasphemy laws are anti-freedom of speech.

        • adam

          Libel laws are enough.

          If the offended deity can demonstrate damages in court, then THAT should be sufficient.

          Full Definition of BLASPHEMY

          1a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
          b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity

          2: irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

          Definition of IRREVERENCE

          1: lack of reverence
          2: an irreverent act or utterance

          Full Definition of IRREVERENT

          : lacking proper respect or seriousness; also : satiric

          All from Merriam Webster.

          Still a victimless crime, you’ve demonstrated nothing to contrary.

        • Dez

          um no you got that wrong. Gays want the same rights as straight people. Anti-gay people can say whatever they want, but we oppose them putting their hatred of gays into public policy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s great to hear that you’re pro-free speech. This gets us back to your concerns with the post–what are they?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You need to explain your point.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

        Yeah, I realized my sarcasm – and switch at the end – made that not so transparent.

        This part was sarcasm: “So the French are right, and freedom of speech is wrong. There’s nothing wrong with blasphemy laws.”

        This I meant: “Wow, you got this one so wrong.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I got all that. I’m still missing your point. Be clearer. You say I got it wrong, I say I got it right, and I’m not sure where the error is.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

          This: “The ‘Gay Marriage is Wrong’ cake was just hate speech. You’re welcome to say that, but you’re not entitled to demand someone else to do so.”

          “just”

          “hate speech”

          Totally irrelevant.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Maybe you just need more words in your comments. Or maybe I’m too stupid to understand you clearly.

          “Hate speech” is an evaluation by the baker, not something enshrined in law. If you’d like me to say something that I find it hateful, I might refuse.

        • Greg G.

          We are both just wrong. Steve told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about but I think it is more like I don’t know what he is talking about. I don’t think the problem is at this end.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

          You are clearly missing the point. Your double standard is not just showing, it’s glaring.

        • Greg G.

          I’m missing the point, too. We all agree that freedom of speech is necessary. Freedom of speech may offend. It is wrong to commit violence so the offended cannot respond with violence. It is wrong to discriminate against certain classes of people so the offended can’t do that. They can object by using their freedom of speech.

          Even if the gay bakers refusing to bake a certain cake is wrong, it would not justify offended Christian bakers discriminating against gays who are bakers or not bakers.

          Everybody has a right to freedom of speech. Everybody has a right to be offended. Everybody has a right to disagree and to express their disagreement. Nobody has the right to commit violence nor discrimination.

          What point is being missed and what double standard are you talking about?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Everybody has a right to freedom of speech. Everybody has a right to be offended. Everybody has a right to disagree and to express their disagreement. Nobody has the right to commit violence nor discrimination.”

          nor to NOT be offended, nor to be shielded from (non-physical) offense.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m both missing your point and deliberately avoiding it? Or something?

          Look, bro, if you have a point, that’s fine. Slow down and make it clearly. Right now I have no idea (and waning interest in finding out) what you’re talking about.

        • TheNuszAbides

          maybe you’re misinterpreting the ‘just’?

    • Greg G.

      Arguing that hate speech directed at a group of people is wrong is not the same as making an argument about blasphemy.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

        You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about. “Hate speech directed at a group of people” is exactly what blasphemy laws are. It is exactly how they are used in France – which is supposed to be a liberal country – and in many, many other countries not as liberal as France. Atheists in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries are prosecuted for their “hate speech” against religion.

        What I have only come to personally realize within the last several years is how truly progressive our freedom of speech is in the United States. Of course, the United States is by no means perfect on this matter – but the U.S. is apparently far ahead of every other country on the planet in this one aspect.

        • Greg G.

          Blasphemy is not directed at people. People may self-select to be offended by it but that is a problem of their own making.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

          Yeah, yeah, tell that to the Arabians who just put the young atheist man in prison for three years.

          But what is troubling about your argument is that you seem to be opposed to freedom of speech – well, at least for those people who happen to disagree with you and believe that, for example, homosexuality is a sin.

        • adam

          I still dont see how the ‘freedom of speech’ is the freedom to not be offended, it would certainly seem to be the exact opposite.

          I dont see anyone here that is opposed to freedom of speech for those who disagree with us.

          Blasphemy is certainly NOT an opposition to freedom of speech for theists.

          You dont seem to be making sense.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/112743459266731535020/posts Steve Greene

          “I still dont see how the ‘freedom of speech’ is the freedom to not be offended, it would certainly seem to be the exact opposite.”

          Exactly. This is my point.

        • adam

          So freedom of speech IS the freedom to offend if one chooses.

          Then, so what if ‘blasphemy’ offends?

        • Greg G.

          Freedom of speech must be defended. The right to offend is the part that requires the defense. People take offense at almost anything. Fox News watchers like to be offended by people who say “Happy Holidays!” If we are limited to saying things that cannot be construed as offensive, we do not have freedom of speech.

        • Greg G.

          Today’s Jesus and Mo points out something interesting.

          Here is one translation of Sura 9.30:

          The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah .” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

          So if the Muslim countries that are clamoring for blasphemy laws get their way, they would have to ban the Koran as it blasphemes two religions.

        • adam

          Well, of course, but if you overlook the obvious hypocrisy and take into effect the ‘natural law’ that deception is part of nature, then it makes perfect sense.

        • Greg G.

          People get put into prison or whipped for blasphemy in countries that have blasphemy laws. That’s why blasphemy laws need to be outlawed. It’s a victimless crime.

          As long as you’re not inciting violence, I support your right to say what you want. Your freedom to swing your fist wherever you like is OK but the right ends at the next person’s nose. Your right to practice your religion ends where you are going to practice it on somebody else.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Those who believe homosexuality is a sin can and do express their views. Where’s the problem? That the bakers in this experiment refused to help them out?

        • TheNuszAbides

          how ever did you get the impression that anyone in this thread is opposed to the freedom of speech of, for example, those who believe homosexuality is a sin? you don’t think hiring someone to decorate a cake (the right to which is not being contested either) is speech, do you?

  • Margaret Whitestone

    Hate rots the brain, which is why all arguments against equal rights ate stupid.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’ve got no problem with the requested inscription. (I mean, I disagree with it, but I don’t have a problem with somebody asking to have it festooned on a cake that they’re willing to pay for.) The bakery is a public accommodation. It should accommodate the public.

    If I wanted a cake that said “Fuck the pope, burn the church”, I should be able to get one, even from a devout Catholic baker. Any public-accommodation law that allows the accommodator to pick and choose customers not only on the basis of his own sincerity but on his perception of the sincerity of his customers isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    I absolutely loathe the idea of “acceptable speech”. It’s bad enuf when the government gets involved in deciding what is or isn’t acceptable, but it would be absolutely frightening if we started handing out that power indiscriminately to anybody with an opinion.

    • curtcameron

      That may be how you would like it to work, but it’s not the law in the US.

      Back before the Civil Rights Act, a business could do business with whomever it wanted to. I think that’s mostly a good thing – if it’s my business, I feel that I should be able to choose the terms I want. Some people would use that freedom to make choices that I find offensive, but that’s how it goes with freedom.

      The problem is that some groups of people were being systematically discriminated against on a wide scale. The Civil Rights Act corrected this, in specific situations such as race, religion, and national origin, so that a business that serves the public cannot discriminate for those listed reasons. Further, in some locations, those protected classes have been extended to include sexual orientation.

      So the status now is that businesses are given lots of freedom to come up with their own terms, but there are exceptions carved out. You don’t get to tell a cake baker that they have to put whatever ideas on a cake they make if they don’t want to, unless it would be discriminating against you as one of those protected classes of people.

      So a cake baker can’t refuse to bake a wedding cake for a couple because they’re mixed race, and in some locations, they can’t refuse because the couple is same-sex. However, any cake baker can refuse to put a message of anti-gay hate on a cake.

    • Kodie

      It would be a bad thing if the government were telling people what is unlawful to ask to have inscribed on a cake or whatever. As it is, it’s two private parties, and your free speech does not take away my right to disagree with you. If a business where you shopped did their trade with another business that hates gay people, you’d want to know about it and disagree with their purpose and refuse to do business. As a business is a public accommodation, it has to deal with customers they disagree with, but they should still have rights to deny some people service…. I thought that was what we were talking about, protected classes and unprotected classes. If you come in my restaurant with a t-shirt that says “I hate fags”, I think I’m allowed to turn you away, so it should be the same if you came in and wanted me to print that on a cake for you.

      But I’m not getting anywhere, I can’t tell what is protected and how far these protections can stretch. If a baker cannot deny a wedding cake to a gay couple, can they deny a particular inscription they disagree with, like “God loves Gays” on that wedding cake? Can they say, just like those in the example, I’ll make the cake but I consciously object to writing that message on my work?

      The baker isn’t handing out “acceptable speech” – it is allowing the speaker to believe it but will not condone the speech by writing it on their cake themselves. Like how free speech is supposed to work, I thought. It is like the Chick-fil-A thing – they all cried censorship, and nobody censored them, they just used their own free speech to disagree about something.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The court opinion (just one court, admittedly) ruled that a cake by itself isn’t speech, though the writing on the cake would presumably be speech. I think they’d reject your demand that a baker bake it.

      So you think the pro-gay bakers who refused to make “Gay marriage is wrong” cakes were in error?

      • adam

        I do.

        IF the bakers do cakes with custom writing on them, then I dont believe they should have the power to dictate what writing is wanted on the cake. (the obvious exceptions might be putting anything that they could get into legal trouble for).

        I thought Richard or someone had talked about the power of social media. If they didnt WANT to put this on the cake, they could have done the cake anyway, posted on social media, ridiculed it and likely greatly reduced the chance of anyone else asking them to do it again.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Should they be required to write something – by hand, no less, not even a print shop job – in violation of their own rights to free speech and religion?

          Should they be required to write something that can (and will) be used to damage their reputation and business?

          If the gay-friendly bakery is required to create a “God Hates Fags” cake, then Wal-Mart is required to create a “scenes of rape-slave abuse from the Bible” cake for me.

        • adam

          It is NOT their speech but the customers.

          If you take out a business license it should be to do business. If they want to register as lobbyist they can do that separate.

          Here is the post I was looking for:

          Kubricks_Rube
          It’s hard to know how one would react in the moment, but I’d like to think I would have made the cake and then made it clear that all proceeds from this or any other homophobic cake would go to LGBT rights groups, liberal candidates and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. And then I’d try to get a picture and some publicity, invite anyone down to buy creatively offensive cakes for charity. Turn the whole thing around.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/01/turning-the-tables-on-same-sex-marriage-not-with-this-argument/#comment-1819648031

          So it need not damage their reputation and business, but could be used to BUILD additional business.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Being forced to say something against one’s religious beliefs is a matter of free speech, though. The only point where this gets a little squirrelly is whether a wedding cake for a SSM is “saying something against one’s religious beliefs”, to which I’d reply that if Christmas trees are secular, then so are wedding cakes; societal context matters.

          They shouldn’t have to take additional steps to protect their reputation, especially when just one photo taken by the gay-hating guy and captioned could cause huge public backlash against the bakery. Further, it’s unfair to suggest that the bakery should have to create a highly public and politically polarizing scene with unknown consequences for their finances and emotional and physical health. They aren’t activist bakers; they’re people trying to keep up a (presumably small) business.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are the objections to SSM cakes religious, or are they political? You raise a good point that a Christian should be equally outraged (or not) at Christmas trees and wedding cakes–they are both part of celebrations of Christian events, but they themselves aren’t Christian.

          My own opinion is that politics are driving these social issues (SSM, abortion) more than Christian beliefs. They’re useful issues to rile up the base, so politicians use them. I wish Christians would take appropriate offense and push back.

        • Kodie

          Every religion or culture has weddings and serve cake. Regardless of religious views on marriage, marriage is civil, but cake is not a religious symbol, although it might be decorated with religious symbols. So cake as a tradition is generic and secular. A Christmas tree is for Christmas, and you can be 100% secular and still celebrate Christmas, but it’s not a Hannukah decoration.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Absolutely! Remember “gay marriage” being used to get out the Evangelical vote in 2004? I was not-literally slack-jawed during that cycle, watching them willingly stick a fish hook in their own collective mouth. It was so incredibly obvious that it was just a cynical dodge the administration was trotting out to distract from real issues, but they all fell for it… and learned nothing when they got tossed in the ditch afterwards along with Teh Gheyz.

          The problem now seems to be that enough time has passed since 1978 or so for people to have grown up in a culture that conflates politics and religion. They consider it “normal”, and they’re old enough now to take over higher offices. How does that saying go? “In a cult, there’s a person at the top who knows it’s all bullshit. In a religion, that person is dead.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good one–I like that line.

        • adam

          And how is this different from not serving blacks in the south pre civil rights, or country clubs excluding Jews when that could ‘hurt’ their business.

          “Protected Groups” should not be our objective, EQUALITY and FAIRNESS should.

          They shouldnt be activists, that is not what a business license is for. There’s is to serve the public equally in whatever business they are licensed for.

          I dont suggest that they “should” create a polarizing scene, but that they can if they want to politicize it back.

        • Kodie

          But businesses can refuse customers, they’re just not allowed to refuse them on the basis of their identity in a protected class. Private businesses do not have to indulge your freedom of speech. Sure, they can turn it into an opportunity to embarrass their customer, but what Tom was saying a cake made for a gay wedding was implicitly a message that man-woman-only marriage is wrong, which a conservative baker does not want to be made to “say”, but so far nobody has asked a conservative baker to print “man-woman-only marriage is wrong” on their cake. I don’t believe they have to indulge every request for explicit messages just because they put lettering on cakes if they disagree with that message, but I don’t believe a cake that is delivered to a gay couple’s wedding venue expresses that message.

        • adam

          Is the The Message “Gay Marriage is Wrong” on the cake the ‘wrong’ message and who is the arbiter of what message is wrong, the customer or the one making the cake?

          THIS is the question

          Let’s say I do the same type of experiment

          Let’s assume that I go to fundamentalist christian bakers and order a cake saying “Gay Marriage is Wrong and everyone of them will make me a cake with that message.

          Let’s assume that I go to gay bakers and order the same thing and they all refuse.

          Now, my intent of the cake is a fund raiser for Gay Marriage and it is a political statement that I want to use to make a point.

          If I inform both sets of bakers what my intention is and show credentials demonstrating how effective this will be to raise money.

          Who will then offer to make my cake, and who will not?

          Heck, I might even get a free cake now from one of the groups.

          The MESSAGE is EXACTLY the same, the bakers are judging what they BELIEVE is my intent.

          For which they have no business doing, since they all provide message cakes.

          If people want to provide a service for which they are granted a license and not provide that service EQUALLY, their license to do BUSINESS should be revoked.

          If they want to be political lobbyist they should register as such.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “It is NOT their speech but the customer[‘]s.”

          I think this is the genuinely slippery part – the ‘outsourcing’ of one’s expression. if the customer won’t write it on their own[-to-be] cake, I’m not convinced it follows that being paid requires capitulating to an unlimited spectrum – though there probably ought to be fine print attached to “We Do Custom Lettering” for pre-emptive purposes..

      • RichardSRussell

        Yup.

        Serve the public. That’s why you’re in business. You don’t have to agree with them, they don’t have to agree with you. Free country, free ideas. Let ’em duke it out in the open marketplace. Otherwise, it’s just like the early fathers of the Christian church burning all the “heretical” manuscripts because they were “wrong”. In their view. I don’t want to give people the power to impose their own content judgments on others.

        Suppose that, instead of a baker refusing to make a cake, it was a printer refusing to print fliers or newsletters because they had “objectionable content” (IE, objected to by the merchant, not by the customer). Still OK by you? Cuz it’s not by me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So you think the pro-gay bakers who refused the “Gay marriage is wrong” cakes were in error?

          I don’t know that the printer case is a parallel one. Printed pages are supposed to say stuff, and it’s all over the map. Cakes are an odd vehicle for conveying important text, and that seemed to be the distinction the courts made.

          If you want me to reject the pro-gay bakers’ actions, give me a better parallel example. I suppose Kodie’s t-shirt example is better–a shirt can’t hold an entire political pamphlet. Still, shirts (nowadays, anyway) are more obviously vehicles for potentially offensive free speech than cakes.

        • RichardSRussell

          If you want me to reject the pro-gay bakers’ actions, give me a better parallel example.

          What, you reject the example I did give you because you don’t like it? Well, I guess I can see why you sympathize with the bakers who did the same thing.

          However, I stand by it. Commercial vendors should be content-neutral on the services they offer.

        • wtfwjtd

          A pretty strong case could be made that a commercial vendor that decides to be content-neutral could end up destroying their own business–simply by following the instructions of a few of their customers. If you’ve ever run a small business , you understand the importance of accommodating your customers to whatever extent you can, but not to the point of being suicidal.

        • RichardSRussell

          As someone else pointed out, back when segregation was still legal in the South, the businesses that stood to lose customers and go belly-up were the ones that did voluntarily accommodate black people. But as soon as everyone was required to do it, there was no longer any reason to hold that against them — or for them, for that matter. Fairness favors good businesses, not “ideologically pure” ones.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Fairness favors good businesses, not “ideologically pure” ones.”

          I’d agree that’s a valid point–with one qualifier; “Fairness eventually favors good businesses…” This gets tricky for the businessperson when societal law says one thing, and the actual society around them seems to be saying another.

          I think if I was in the bakery business, I’d avoid doing political messages as much as possible, no matter what they were. Come to think of it, that’s pretty good advice no matter what kind of business you’re in–unless, of course, you are actually in the business of politics.

        • RichardSRussell

          That same attitude about cartoons depicting Mohammed made it all the more difficult for the people who were brave enuf to publish such cartoons. Had such illustrations been ubiquitous, the self-appointed guardians of theological purity wouldn’t have known where to get started.

          I myself am now inserting the post-massacre cover of Charlie Hebdo at the bottom of every e-mail I send out, and I encourage everybody else to do likewise.

          Don’t let the book-burners get away with it!

        • wtfwjtd

          “Had such illustrations been ubiquitous, the self-appointed guardians of theological purity wouldn’t have known where to get started.”

          Yes, I get that, and I think that’s admirable. But when one’s living potentially hangs in the balance, being brave can carry a high cost, and it can be a tough thing to do. I think it wise that we all choose our battles, and stand up when we feel we are able to. Some people are in a better position to lead, while others are more useful and better equipped to follow. The world needs both, and people smart enough to figure out which role they can do the most good in.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You mean like this one?

          I was surprised how not-ubiquitous this image was (or maybe I just wasn’t searching for it correctly). Anyway, here’s a medium-sized one in case anyone wants to follow Richard’s example.

          http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/files/2015/01/Charlie.jpg

        • RichardSRussell

          The very same. I’ve shrunk mine down to thumbnail size so it doesn’t jam anyone’s inbox, but it still comes thru just fine. I’d like to see it everywhere.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good point. It’s filtered and smaller here, in case anyone would like a copy.

          http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/files/2015/01/Charlie-small.jpg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nope–I reject it because it’s not a parallel example. Printers are supposed to print stuff that has a message. They’re up to their necks in free speech. Bakers, not so much.

          You could argue that it’s parallel enough, and maybe you’d be right. Seems to me, though, that there are enough differences that I’m still not convinced by your argument.

        • RichardSRussell

          I make the meta-example. I’m posting something here on your blog that you disagree with. You’re free to delete anything of mine you want to, for no other reason than simply because you do disagree with it, and I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, because you’re providing me with a free service that’s completely voluntary on your part. You can choose to print my stuff or not as you see fit, because you’re not holding yourself out as a business open to the public.

          My contention is that anyone who does hold themselves out as a profit-making enterprise, open to the public, is subject to constraints that you are not. And that’s the similarity between the baker and the printer on which I hang my hat.

          To quote some famous Chinese guy, let a thousand flowers bloom.

        • adam

          IF the bakers do cakes with custom writing on them,

          A ‘message’

        • Charleigh Kimber

          When a bakery advertises that they make wedding cakes, that is a normal part of their services that they are expected to provide to everyone.

          When a bakery advertises that they make hate cakes, that is a normal part of their services that they are expected to provide to everyone.

          As someone on The Friendly Atheist noted, the gay-friendly bakery didn’t advertise that they make ten foot-tall cakes, either, and isn’t obligated to make them on demand, either.

  • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

    Look again, Bob, only this time not with the purpose of finding a quote to mine. I did not support that experiment. I wrote,

    It was a nice try at making a point, and surely it seems to reveal something, but even Christians have raised doubts as to the wisdom of the approach. A man and woman’s wedding cake should be about their wedding. To expect it to do something else like this seems offensive even with respect to their own marriage; which confuses the experiment too much to allow clear-cut conclusions to be drawn from it. It leaves some wiggle room for alternate explanations, and in this case, “some” wiggle room is a lot.

    And I went on to explain why I thought the experiment was off track. Let me quote:

    This inept experiment fails since the two positions aren’t symmetrical.

    Whoops, no, that was what you wrote above. Here’s what I wrote, about five weeks earlier:

    Third, we need to be wiser about finding points of rhetorical symmetry…

    And I also explained the problem of asymmetry from my perspective; not exactly the same as yours, but not far off, either.

    I’d like to ask you to consider writing a correction into your blog post.

    • davewarnock

      I’d like to ask you to respond to several things in your blog post:

      1. What do you mean by the term “natural marriage”? It seems laden with assumption.

      2. Your quote “same sex “marriage” proponents are attacking an institution…” Care to explain what the quotes around the word marriage mean? It’s simply a marriage- not a “marriage”.

      3. “When they cast disagreement as hatred, for example, they label themselves as haters, for they disagree with us as much as we do with them.” Are you implying that gay bakers don’t want Christians to marry? Or that they are opposed to a man and a woman getting married? I’m not familiar with this problem. From what I have seen, they simply want to enjoy the same rights that the straight people have been enjoying.

      • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

        “Natural” marriage is a term laden not with assumption but with natural law theory–a technical term, in this case.

        I use quotes around “marriage” in this context because I regard it as not marriage. I’m sure you disagree, which is just the way things are.

        I’m not implying that gay bakers don’t want Christians to marry. If I had meant to say that, I would have. But I don’t think it’s true, so I wouldn’t say it. What I said is what I meant.

        I should clarify which disagreement I’m talking about, though. Some of us disagree with gay marriage. Others disagree with us on that. So both sides disagree with the other. Gay marriage proponents sometimes cast disagreement as hatred; but if disagreement is hatred (as some persons say), and if those persons disagree with us (as they do), then it follows logically that they’re pointing the finger at themselves as much as they are at us. That’s what I mean by, “they label themselves as haters.”

        • Kodie

          They cast hate as hate – you hate gays with your beliefs. You distinguish their love and their reasons for wanting to commit to a life together legally as different from yours because you hate. It is not exactly reciprocal – you’re hatefully hoarding your civil rights to be hateful bigots, and these people just want to get married, and they’d like it to be lovely for their guests who do celebrate them. They don’t want to harm you or displace you out of your community.

          Can’t you see the difference? No, just like always, you Christians hide your hatred as if your hands are just tied, they’re your “beliefs”, and I put that in quotation marks because it means “permission to hate.” You can’t just admit your hate, you have to say it would displease my magical genie if I don’t hate you, so please don’t hate me for hating you. Why do you expect everyone to respect your superstitions?

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          I suppose that, Kodie, was your expression of non-hatred toward me. Thanks for the kind words.

        • Kodie

          The correct answer was, “Oh, I get it now. Thanks for explaining to me where I was wrong.”

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          😉

        • Kodie

          So you’re choosing “patronize her”.

        • adam

          Again, probably the VERY BEST, his ‘faith’ prepares himself to deal with you and your point.

        • Susan

          I suppose that, Kodie, was your expression of non-hatred toward me.

          I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. The implication is that Kodie is being hateful. Is my inference incorrect?

          If you want to dismiss the rest of her comment as hateful, I don’t agree but I’ll let that go for now.

          I’d like you to answer this perfectly good question that she’s posed.

          Why do you expect everyone to respect your superstitions?

        • MNb

          Of course your inference is correct. And as such TG confirmes what Kodie wrote:

          “”beliefs”, and I put that in quotation marks because it means “permission to hate.” You can’t just admit your hate, you have to say it would displease my magical genie if I don’t hate you, so please don’t hate me for hating you.”

          “Why do you expect everyone to respect your superstitions?”
          Duh, because TG loves Jesus, the greatest man who walked the Earth and the Son of God. Now where’s my bucket? I got sick of typing these words.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Tone trolling is rightfully regarded as a tacit admission to seeing the flaws in one’s own position. And no, Kodie was not the one tone trolling.

        • davewarnock

          No, let me be more clear- I’m kinda having a hard time following your view of “hatred”. The gays I know are simply wanting to be allowed to marry those that they love; just as you and I are allowed to do. They are NOT wanting to prevent you and I from doing the same. How is that “hatred”? I’m confused.

          And it would be good if you’d share with me where you get your definition of marriage. If the state recognizes it as marriage, then its marriage. You’re not gonna trot out the old and tired “biblical view of marriage” are you? Or “traditional marriage”. Because then we’d have to decide if you’re talking about polygamy, forced marriages, etc.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Tom is roughly equating “disagreement” with “hatred.”

          “You’re wrong!!” is a bit hateful, whether it comes out of the mouth of a conservative or liberal. But I agree with your point. Even if we make the equivalence Tom wants, the goals are quite different. The liberal position has a far more loving goal than the conservatives, and the whole point of Tom’s post is to agree with that.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Dave, thanks for asking. I can’t go into all of it here.

          I do think the biblical view of marriage is that marriage is for a man and a woman, and I am convinced that the Bible is God’s authoritative word. Now, I recognize that both of those opinions are unpopular here. I’m answering your “where” question on this thread, since it’s a fairly self-contained question with a short answer. If anyone wants to know how I’ve come to those conclusions, they should come to my blog and find out. In today’s cultural climate, to do justice to those explanations requires many thousands of words and much dialogue. I’ve done both there.

          I think “traditional marriage” is an unfortunate term, not at all useful, because I don’t know why mere tradition should be authoritative. I derive my beliefs from natural law theory (esp. from Girgis, George, Anderson, Esolen, and Reilly), along with the Bible, of course.

          You’re free to decide whether you think this involves polygamy, forced marriages, or etc.; or you could just take my word for it that it doesn’t; or if you want to know why I think so, you could look for it on my blog. Whichever you decide is entirely up to you. I won’t make it my responsibility to solve it for you in this venue when I’ve already addressed it at great length elsewhere.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God in the OT is okay with polygamy. How is that not part of the biblical view of marriage?

        • Dys

          Because there’s some passages in the NT that have been interpreted to mean that God changed his mind on the idea. Not how they’ll phrase it, of course, but that’s what happens when people start taking letters and insisting that they’re actually the word of God.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Oh, right–the “Doh!” passages.

          God’s only human.

        • adam

          It is unless you have the ‘Cherry Pickers Bible’

        • Charleigh Kimber

          They sometimes claim that inconvenient passages are not things that Yahweh approved of, but simply a recounting of historical events and laws.

          This of course ignores that the Bible is primarily a text on morality. For it to make no judgment or argument regarding the morality of actions contained within it, or even to invite the reader to make their own judgment as a good novel might, is to negate its function and thus its own justification.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Good points. And God makes clear that he’s down with polygamy when he whines to David that he’d have given him even more wives if David had wanted them.

        • Charleigh Kimber

          Ack, I forgot about that! The example in my head was commanding genocide, for which apologists will also make the excuse (paraphrased), “The victims were too evil to be allowed to live.” (Godwin Alert: Sound familiar?) If Yahweh commanded that an enemy be defeated, and he is omniscient, then he is absolutely responsible for everything his servants do to that people. That he did not add, “and don’t do horrible things to their children” makes clear that he was fine with it.

          Hmm, the way you describe it, I can imagine a skit now with God as a baker and David his customer…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s weird when the atheists have to remind the Christians what “omnipotent” means. There were bad people in the way … so you just kill them all? That’s all you got? No better ideas? You could at least poof them out of existence if not teleport them to another nice place in the world.

          Maybe DarkMatter2525 takes suggestions. He does some great videos.

        • Kodie

          I do think the biblical view of marriage is that marriage is for a man
          and a woman, and I am convinced that the Bible is God’s authoritative
          word.

          “My interpretation of the bible gives me permission to hate.” Now tell us why that should have anything to do with the laws that are passed in the US. The law does not give you permission to use your beliefs to discriminate against law-abiding customers just because your religious permission to exclude them from your community “forces you” to obey your fairy genie. You don’t want to say that’s “hate” when you do that, you say it’s not hate, it’s just my beliefs. It can be both.

          So how is it “hate” from the other side just because you make cakes and they want to buy one? Because Jesus is looking over your shoulder and sees that you are putting the same care and artistry into this cake as you would any other that you are proud to sell, but you deny certain people this product you make generally available to everyone else? How is it “hate” from another side to not allow you to legally hate them and exclude them from society? You don’t like to look at what god in the bible is asking you to do, he is asking you to hate people and deny them their security where they live. If the bakery can deny services, why not the hardware store or the furniture store or the grocery store?

          Your religious freedom does not give you special access to deny equal citizens their rights in a free society. You’re against freedom if you believe they hate you or deny what you do is hate them.

        • Kodie

          When it comes right down to it, it’s hate because you do not want homosexuals to be normal in society. You want to pressure them by any means possible to obey your biblical rules, and you are using your religious “beliefs” (permission to hate) to try to force them back into hiding. Your biblical laws as far as people like to practice their religious freedom seeks to marginalize people whenever it can so you can always say “what a freak” and hate them because they like something you don’t like. When they get comfortable as you are, then you’ll have to realize they’re just human like you, you have a lot in common. You’re against gay people becoming too comfortable. It’s not about obeying god’s laws, it’s using you as a pawn to enforce negative stereotypes, obsess about what people do in their bedrooms, and use social pressures to make people obey your god or get out of town. Grow up. That’s not love, it’s hate.

          If you’re for “natural marriage” between a man and a woman, have one yourself. Your religion does not determine the laws that affect everyone else. Allowing you to use your beliefs in the capacity of your equal-access business would be establishing a religion and violate the 1st amendment for everyone else. You go into business agreeing to certain state and federal rules. Sticking the wedge in with the wedding cake issue only gives more business owners more permission to basically drive gay people out of town if they all get the signal that it’s legal to do so. You are so for establishing a religion, you’re against the government taking away your ability to use your business as a social pressure.

        • adam

          “You’re free to decide whether you think this involves polygamy, forced marriages, or etc.; or you could just take my word for it that it doesn’t; or if you want to know why I think so, you could look for it on my blog.”

          Seems kind of obvious why YOU think it doesnt

        • adam

          ////

        • MNb

          “I am convinced that the Bible is God’s authoritative word.”
          Then “natural law theory–a technical term, in this case” is misleading, as your god typically belongs to the supernatural realm.

          “I do think the biblical view of marriage is that marriage is for a man and a woman,”
          If the Bible is god’s autoritative word you might reconsider this.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkeKKszXTw

          You may understand that hardcore atheists like me have difficulties to take your particular biblical view on marriage seriously. Because of the Bible.

        • davewarnock

          “I can’t go into all of it here” hmmm. ok.

          “to do justice to those explanations would require many thousands of words”

          It only requires many thousands of words because you have to dance around the issue of what “god’s word” says about marriage and try to make it fit with what you want marriage to be today. It’s simple. The same book in the Bible that gives you the 10 commandments also tells us that a man should marry a woman that he has raped. Oh, but only after he gives her dad some coin; and oh yeah…he CANNOT divorce her! Lucky her, huh? Oh wait, she didn’t get a vote in the matter- just the rapist and her father. If you want to try to explain away the marriage/rape passage with “many thousands of words”, then don’t tell me that the 10 commandments is relevant for today.

          “you could just take my word for it”.

          Really!? That is some kind of an answer? Why would I take your word for it? Because you get your ideas from God? Do you think that has any merit whatsoever? For the record, I studied and taught the Bible for decades and have been an evangelical pastor. So I know what the Bible says. I just don’t care what it says- as I view it as the thoughts and ideas of MEN (not women, obviously) from an archaic time that has no bearing on the world we actually live in today.

          (and just so ya know, I’m not looking for you to “solve” anything for me).

        • Sasaori

          Isnt marriage a societal construct for agreements between families and tribes, where as, Holy Matrimony is the Christian version of marriage?

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, don’t we all want one of these? lol…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXlzkuFBJ7s

        • Susan

          If anyone wants to know how I’ve come to those conclusions, they should come to my blog and find out.

          I was just at your blog to read your article which seems to be a lot of unsupported assertions. It also includes a link to the damage gay parents do which is just an essay by one person with a weird upbringing and it has a link to a thoroughly discredited study.

          Your comments beneath did no more to enlighten me. I’m not saying this to be sarcastic. I know it’s just one article but it wasn’t helpful.

          Among your thousands of words, please link me to your best arguments for:

          1) The damage gay marriage will do to heterosexual marriage.

          2) The damage that gay marriage will do to children.

          3) The damage that gay marriage will do to society.

          4) “The” Bible was inspired by a supernatural agent who created everything.

          (Maybe I should have made 4 number 1. Let’s face it. That’s what the other three are about.)

        • adam

          1) The damage gay marriage will do to heterosexual marriage.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Bob Seidensticker writes a blog post in which he misrepresents my position, and now commenters are calling on me to answer multiple questions about every aspect of my beliefs on the topic. Ever heard of Fragenblitzen?

          I’ll take things one at a time, actually.

          Susan, your request comes across as if you actually want to know my answers, though, so I’ll list a couple of more specific places to look on my blog. How about if you start here or here? Scroll through some of those links and you’ll find several articles.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There’s a wee bit of the glass house problem here.

          I’ve been on your blog a couple of times and got deluged by commenters. Some provided thoughtful critiques or new ideas, and I appreciate those. Others were more in the vehement “Nuh uh!” category.

        • Kodie

          Nobody is asking you to answer multiple questions about every aspect of your beliefs on the topic.

        • Susan

          Nobody is asking you to answer multiple questions about every aspect of your beliefs on the topic.

          Technically, Tom could say that I am. I listed them 1 through 4 (though, not necessarily in that order).

          What he failed to notice is that I was trying to focus things. I read his blog (and gave up) because I was interested in his support for the claims he took for granted as he developed further ideas based on those claims.

          All I am asking is that he show data for any one of the premises he and his followers assume without evidence.

          Equal rights for equal marriage seems to be a harmless inclusion in the 21st century. What’s the big deal?

          Everything Tom claims is unsupported.

          It’s castles in the air. That his audience is mostly believers means he can get away with a lot. I’ve attempted to boil it down to four basic claims which are unsupported.

          He can write a million words and that can influence people without evidence. (Humans. You know how we get.)

          But a specific request that he point me to specific links for the assumptions upon which he builds his air castles is met with hand-waving dismissal. Not just me, either.

          “Read my blog.”

          Which bits in your blog justify your premises? Please link me directly to them and don’t make me wade through arguments that are based on claims that you don’t seem to have justified. (I have heard them all before so far and they don’t add up.)

          At least, link me to the articles that make the best arguments for those assumptions so we have somewhere to begin.

          That “I don’t accept his premises” is not my problem. If he has good reason to expect me to, he should have a solid argument somewhere.

          So, yeah. I am asking him to answer multiple questions about … this topic. Exactly four.

          The four obvious ones his arguments seem to rest on, none of which he has provided support for.

        • Kodie

          Tom is using hyperbole to get out of a tight spot. He has become overwhelmed as if everyone is asking different questions adding up to 16, and each question has a different answer which each require a lengthy analysis of his beliefs. He knows that his excuses for wanting to reject gay people will not be received in the way he intended, so instead he is acting like we’re asking him to do a mountain of homework, aside from whatever his real job is and his blog.

        • adam

          “so instead he is acting like we’re asking him to do a mountain of homework”

          You mean he can’t really move mountains, even of paper?

          “Oh, ye of little faith”

        • MNb

          Plus you can take all the time you want.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ever heard of Fragenblitzen?

          It’s not quite the same thing as a Gish Gallop. And not as bad, I wouldn’t think. When you get lots of feedback, isn’t that a good thing? Better than crickets.

        • Susan

          now commenters are calling on me to answer multiple questions about every aspect of my beliefs on the topic. Ever heard of Fragenblitzen?

          I have heard of Fragenblitzen and have encountered it myself on more than one occasion.

          If you read your link to your own article on the subject, I don’t see how it applies to my questions as they are directly addressing statements you’ve made here as well as the statements you made on the article (and follow up comments) I took the time to read before I asked you that list of questions.

          I appreciate your acknowledgement that I actually want to know your answers but your links haven’t helped.

          As with the original article, the couple of articles I’ve taken the time to read (and the follow up comments) have not answered my questions.

          I’m not getting all Fragenblitzen on you. I would just like to know what the evidence is for your claims.

          That is why I asked the four questions I asked. Pick one, if you’d like. But please provide evidence. Link me directly to an article that substantially addresses one and provides evidence.

          The original article that took me to your blog was full of unsupported assertions, assertions that I am willing to consider you’ve attempted to justify elsewhere on your blog.

          That one of the links you provided on that article about the harms of same sex marriage was anecdotal and included a link to a thoroughly discredited study, I must admit does make me suspicious. It’s a dishonest link. I urge you to consider retracting it as it suggests that there is sufficient data to justify the hyperlink when there isn’t.

          I’ve read three articles on your blog so far (and thousands of articles elsewhere that make moral claims proceeding from the assumption that Yahwehjesus is real and that the moral claim comes from Yahwehjesus itself) and I’m a little weary.

          Please either provide specific links on your blogs (I’m tired of wading through the same old canards… Aristotelian metaphysics… (eye roll)… please…) or make your case here.

          If there’s a case you can make on any one of those points, show it to us. Link it if you’d like. You don’t have to make your case here.

        • Pofarmer

          “and I am convinced that the Bible is God’s authoritative word.”

          As are Muslims, Hindu’s, Scientologists, Mormons, etc, etc. and on and on.

        • adam

          Gay Jesus cartoon by Mike Ritter from Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook

        • TheNuszAbides

          damn.
          (but upvoted)
          whose work is that?

        • adam

          Sorry, artist unknown.

        • Greg G.
        • TheNuszAbides

          it was not until fairly recently that i assumed everything in that general style (over the past 30 yrs or so) was by David Horsey.

        • Dys

          The problem, of course, is that in most cases referring to natural law theory in arguments against gay marriage, it’s really just a cover for the apologetics of “god says it’s bad”. And of course there’s also the is-ought problem that tends to derail trying to use terms such as natural marriage and natural law theory against gay marriage. At the end of the day, natural law arguments against gay marriage are still fundamentally religious in nature.

        • TheNuszAbides

          using ‘natural’ at all seems inevitably fraught with the is/ought… is there actually a comprehensive explication of, say, the separation of nature and technology (or ‘artifice’)?

        • adam

          Natural law, or the law of nature (Latin: lex naturalis; ius naturale), is a system of law that is determined by nature, and so is universal.[1] Classically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature — both social and personal — and deduce binding rules of moral behavior from it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

          Since homosexuality exists in human nature, then what is your point?

        • Kodie

          His point is that religion needs to co-opt the broad concepts and institutions of our language and redefine them narrowly as per their superstition. There is definitely no natural law that prefers one man and one woman to make a family. Natural law only says sperm and egg make the beginning of what may become a baby. It doesn’t say anyone has to be married to each other. It doesn’t say children need two parents. These aren’t laws of nature, they are customs of our society. Children require the care of a competent adult and it’s certainly easier to share some labor, and it’s really a good thing if there are two people or more that they can make a stable home and commitment, it would be really great if nobody stood in the way of that. It’s unnatural to get in the way of that.

        • TheNuszAbides

          or at the very least (and on even shakier ground), unchristian…

        • Dez

          There is no such thing as natural marriage. It’s just marriage. You can not disagree with same-sex marriage. It exists and the choice is whether you accept it or not. Yes it is hatred like disagreement with blacks is hatred. No you should not be respected for discriminating against someone for who they are and can not change.

        • RichardSRussell

          “Natural marriage” is what human beings engage in.
          “Unnatural marriage” is properly reserved for robots.

        • TheNuszAbides

          have you seen any movies based on Lem other than either Solaris?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Welcome, Tom. I was going to inform you of this post after I got Part 2 up. Looks like you beat me to it.

      Look again, Bob, only this time not with the purpose of finding a quote to mine.

      I’d be delighted to find a post on which we agreed.

      I did not support that experiment. I wrote,

      “It was a nice try at making a point, and surely it seems to reveal something, but even Christians have raised doubts as to the wisdom of the approach. A man and woman’s wedding cake should be about their wedding. To expect it to do something else like this seems offensive even with respect to their own marriage; which confuses the experiment too much to allow clear-cut conclusions to be drawn from it. It leaves some wiggle roo m for alternate explanations, and in this case, “some” wiggle room is a lot.”

      Did I misunderstand? Your overall point is to analyze the general argument from the conservative position and find ways to make it more palatable while being honest to your position.

      Whatever you’re saying in that paragraph, it’s certainly not what I’m saying—I assume you’ll agree with that. My point is that it was a shallow, poorly thought out, asymmetric experiment that completely failed to show what Shoebat wanted to show. You disagreed with it to the extent that it illustrated the lesson you were making. If you disagreed with it as I did, that certainly didn’t come through.

      And I also explained the problem of asymmetry from my perspective; not exactly the same as yours, but not far off, either.

      We’re talking about two different asymmetries.

      Bob is talking about cake symmetry. Asking a conservative baker to make a gay wedding cake is symmetric with asking a gay baker to make a straight wedding cake. Shoebat did not conduct this experiment (for obvious reasons, which I lampooned in the post).

      Tom is talking about argument symmetry. Liberals are warm and fuzzy, embracing everyone. Conservatives are burdened with giving tough love, telling people that a heartless institution most overrule the love of gay couples. (I think I made clear that I agree with this point.)

      I’d like to ask you to consider writing a correction into your blog post.

      If there are points of agreement that I missed or if I have painted your position wrongly, I’d like to learn about that. The concluding part 2 is scheduled for Wed. at noon Seattle time. If I have indeed significantly mischaracterized you, I could add a postscript here or correct part 2 before it goes out. Please get back to me on this.

      • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

        I agree that it was a poorly thought-out experiment, and I thought I said that in multiple ways. Obviously we won’t agree with everything about it, but we agree on that.

        It’s not true that I disagreed with it only to the extent that it illustrated the point I was making. I disagreed with it, and I used its errors as an occasion to examine better ways to carry out a disagreement in the public square.

        Thanks for your thoughtful and respectful questions. I hope that clarifies things. I’ll check back every few hours and see what else might come up here.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Re your middle paragraph: there’s
          (1) disagreement about the logic of the actual experiment (was it ridiculously flawed, or did it actually have a valuable point to add to the conversation?) and
          (2) disagreement about the structure of the argument being useful for advancing the conservative position (here, I think we largely agree on the difficulty the conservative has in making his case).

          I disagreed with it, and I used its errors as an occasion to examine better ways to carry out a disagreement in the public square.

          You “disagreed with it,” but I saw only type 2 disagreement (with which we have some agreement). If you have important type 1 disagreement, tell me about it.

        • Philmonomer

          [Very interesting back and forth between you and Tom. Thanks.]

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Tom is polite, so I welcome his input. If my post didn’t represent his case properly (because I cherry picked, because I didn’t get it, because he was unclear, because he’s sharpened his opinion), I’m glad for him to be able to clarify here.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          I guess you’ve decided not to correct your blog post. It wouldn’t be the first error you’ve chosen not to fix.

        • Kodie

          It’s not wrong, it’s just not the spin you’d like to put on it where you sound like a good person.

        • Philmonomer

          Tom,

          As near as I can figure (and I’ve read everything), the only statement with which you actually disagree is this one:

          Tom Gilson of the Thinking Christian blog supported this experiment:

          You maintain that a fair reading of your blog post should find that you don’t support the experiment.

          [BTW, I fully believe that is what you intended to communicate (i.e. that you don’t support the experiment) and actually believe, but your lack of support for the experiment comes across as so lukewarm that it got lost. Some of that may be you are critiquing members of your own “tribe” so you’ve done it so gently it’s lost–although maybe less lost on them–and some of that may be out of Biblical concerns regarding criticizing other Christians.]

          Is that correct? (Also, FWIW, I think your blog post is thoroughly “muddy” in this regard–but it is an overstatement to say you support the experiment.)

          Finally, I am a huge fan of Bob’s. But reasonable people can disagree.

        • Kodie

          Tom disagrees with the experiment because (a) a straight couple’s wedding cake should be (as god wants) about their love and commitment, and not draw attention to their hatred of gay people with an explicit message, and (b) because only gay couples and other liberals are supposed to be so rude as to expect to be treated the same way in the same setting for the same reason straight couples order cakes to be served at their wedding receptions.

          His sense of asymmetry in this experiment is drastically different from Bob’s in that straight couples who hate gay people have to go very far out of their way to make a wedding cake say that for them, whereas gay couples who want to enjoy their right to marry by hosting a reception after their wedding and serve cake like every other wedding are automatically hostile to demand equal service by a Christian baker.

          But when you point these things out to him, he thinks he is being barraged by dozens of questions from all angles, and he thinks the point is being distorted when it’s only being reworded. Nobody gets him, he’s sick of answering so many questions, he’s sick of trying to justify his position to people who just don’t know how hard it is to be a conservative in this country anymore.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Philmonomer, I can’t see myself through other people’s eyes, and if it’s muddy to the reader then I guess it’s muddy, even if I don’t think it is. Bearing that in mind, I’d say you’ve summarized it fairly well, at any rate.

          I think you’re especially right in thinking that the intended audience of the blog post would have had no trouble seeing it as definite non-support for the experiment.

          I think this group sees my support for man-woman-only marriage, and my support for some valid experiment to demonstrate a point, if it could be devised; and you’re conflating that with support for an experiment that I actually view as experimentally flawed and socially offensive.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I looked at Shoebat’s experiment and the obvious conclusion for me was that it was hopelessly asymmetrical and therefore didn’t even begin to make the point he was trying to make.

          You didn’t come to that conclusion. The main thing for you was the rhetorical burden conservatives have and how to improve your lot. That is, you used Shoebat as a valid experiment and focused on the inherent difficulty in crafting a compelling message.

          I don’t see how Shoebat can be a valid experiment … that you simultaneously disagree with. I did get that you saw it as harsh, just not invalid. But (again) if you want to give me a couple of sentences to clarify your position w/r Shoebat, I’ll add that as a postscript to the post.

        • Kodie

          He agreed with the intent to show liberals as hypocrites, but he disagreed with the execution because it put a bad light on conservatives.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Help me find the error. I’ve been struggling with you to find the problem. So far, all I’ve got is that you weren’t really on board, in some sort of vague way, though apparently Shoebat was good enough for you to use as an example of a valid conservative position that was shortchanged by the inherent rhetorical asymmetry of the argument.

          “I applaud Theodore Shoebat’s attempt to show gay bakers’ discriminatory attitudes toward Christians,” you said. We disagree, and that was part of what I wrote about.

          “Before Theodore Shoebat’s experiment, no one ever seems to have thought of doing anything so thoughtlessly rude, except for the gays who asked conservatives to make cakes for their celebrations.” Anther disagreement.

          And so on. Since we clearly disagree about the validity of Shoebat’s experiment, I’m not sure where the problem is.

          Give me a couple of sentences that make clear your concerns about Shoebat and I’ll add them as a postscript.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          What that means is that because of the experiment’s design, no way to draw conclusions from it. I don’t know what you think of as a good experiment. For my part, though, to say an experiment is designed to be incapable of producing any conclusions is not supporting the experiment.

          I also wrote,

          I note that he introduced an attacking, negative message into an otherwise positive and joyful celebration, along the same lines as what I said earlier, “A man and woman’s wedding cake should be about their wedding. To expect it to do something else like this seems offensive even with respect to their own marriage.” Does that sound like support?

          That’s been there for three days.

          It’s your error, I’ve explained it often enough and clearly enough, and you can write your own correction statement

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m glad you had a chance to present your concerns.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Hi, Bob.

          My disagreement was of both types 1 and 2. I did not say in exact language, “The experiment is flawed,” but I don’t think I was very subtle about indicating that it was flawed.

          For example:

          even Christians have raised doubts as to the wisdom of the approach. A man and woman’s wedding cake should be about their wedding. To expect it to do something else like this seems offensive even with respect to their own marriage; which confuses the experiment too much to allow clear-cut conclusions to be drawn from it. It leaves some wiggle room for alternate explanations, and in this case, “some” wiggle room is a lot.

          What that means is that because of the experiment’s design, no way to draw conclusions from it. I don’t know what you think of as a good experiment. For my part, though, to say an experiment is designed to be incapable of producing any conclusions is not supporting the experiment.

          Further, I wrote,

          I applaud Theodore Shoebat’s attempt to show gay bakers’ discriminatory attitudes toward Christians, except I’m not sure he really did that. He asked bakers to make cakes introducing an attacking, negative message into an otherwise positive and joyful celebration, which bakers could easily have rejected just on the grounds that it was weird!

          Again, this is hardly supporting his experiment! I applaud what he was attempting, but I note that he didn’t accomplish it. Does that sound like support?

          I note that he introduced an attacking, negative message into an otherwise positive and joyful celebration, along the same lines as what I said earlier, “A man and woman’s wedding cake should be about their wedding. To expect it to do something else like this seems offensive even with respect to their own marriage.” Does that sound like support?

          Or did I need to write, “I do not support this flawed experiment”? I think I said it, actually, even though I didn’t use those words.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think the cake for the gay couple’s wedding is negative within respect for their own marriage? I challenge you or any other Christian to find any difference between a cake baked for a gay wedding or a straight wedding.

          Try a new experiment: get an engaged gay couple and at least one friend of the opposite sex, pose them as an engaged heterosexual couple and one of their attendants to go shopping for cakes at this homophobic bakery. Then when the cake is finished, get a panel of Christians and ask them if it’s a cake for a straight wedding or a gay wedding. Ask them if this is a different cake that the baker should not have been tricked into baking, and how they can tell just by looking at it or tasting it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I challenge you or any other Christian to find any difference between a cake baked for a gay wedding or a straight wedding.

          A gay cake is more likely to show Bette Midler?

        • Kodie

          It’s kind of hard to find normal results on google, because when someone starts to compile “gay wedding cake” images, it pulls up all the rainbow ones that would be tagged. I did another search on “what does a wedding cake look like gay” and the results that come up are elegant, varied, some fun or goofy, many traditional or modern, and aside from the toppers, you can’t see a difference, these are the same designs straight people would pick. One of the rainbow cakes I saw was actually for a 6th birthday. So I challenge them to tell the difference between a cake made for a gay couple’s wedding and a cake made for a child’s birthday, in some cases.

        • Greg G.

          A straight cake would have Betty Crocker?

        • adam

          Have you ever seen Betty Crocker with a man?

        • TheNuszAbides

          in my perverted fantasy, he responds to your challenge by digging up a ludicrous 18th-century essay about Poisoning The Soul or something.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          My disagreement was of both types 1 and 2.

          OK. I’m glad to provide this public forum for you to make your position clearer.

          I don’t think I was very subtle about indicating that it was flawed.

          Yes, that’s the same paragraph you quoted yesterday. As you know, I saw more in the remainder of your article. As I critiqued it (the second and final part is up today), our disagreements with the Shoebat experiment seemed quite different—different enough anyway to warrant a post.

          To some extent, your concern seems to be self-correcting. If my rantings are in line with your own thoughts, then presumably you’re just congratulating me for being on the right side of the issue. If we’re at odds, then perhaps we do have a large difference of opinion.

          because of the experiment’s design , no way to draw conclusions from it.

          Shoebat’s conclusion seems valid to me: most pro-gay bakers will balk at baking a hateful anti-gay cake. Should I have drawn some other conclusion? Isn’t that Shoebat’s point?

          I don’t know what you think of as a good experiment.

          The objection I raised was that it wasn’t symmetric. You could say, “Aha! I’ve challenged pro-gay bakers to ride naked through the streets like Lady Godiva, and they refused to do it! That shows that their principled stand for civil rights is a farce!” But that would be meaningless. As was the case with Shoebat’s experiment.

          bakers could easily have rejected just on the grounds that it was weird!

          So you’re agreeing with me? Disagreeing? I’m not sure why you bring this up.

          A gay baker is asked to bake a cake with a hateful message and they refuse. So your quibble is that they rejected it because it was hateful but they actually should’ve done so because it was weird?

          I applaud what he was attempting, but I note that he didn’t accomplish it. Does that sound like support?

          What it sounds like is a muddy message.

          Since you’re here, annoyed at my post, I assume that we don’t see the experiment the same way. And yet you’re saying that we both reject the experiment for the same reasons?

          If you’re here demanding that I appreciate that we’re both saying the same thing … where’s the problem? But if we are saying the same thing, then I wonder why you didn’t point out that the obvious symmetric example (a gay baker baking a cake for an ordinary wedding) would’ve destroyed Shoebat’s case.

        • http://www.thinkingchristian.net Tom Gilson

          Did I say we reject it for the same reasons?

          You wrote that I supported the experiment. You were wrong about that, for reasons I won’t reiterate.

        • Kodie

          You said you rejected the experiment because you don’t think a straight couple’s wedding should focus on how much they don’t like gay people.

        • TheNuszAbides

          so if it read “Gilson supports Shoebat but considers the experiment offensive”, you’d have no objection?

        • TheNuszAbides

          I applaud what he was attempting, but I note that he didn’t accomplish it. Does that sound like support?

          of course it does! you’re obviously saying his heart’s in the right place (which it isn’t, other than maybe right-wing)…

          it does appear to make the case that you support the man without supporting some particulars of the experiment. but since you rather clearly and verbosely support the underlying message(s) of the experiment’s intent, i don’t see how you can seriously demand more out of Bob than a semantic tweak.

          It wouldn’t be the first error you’ve chosen not to fix.

          didn’t really take you very long to whip out the aspersions, either. I thought Bob said you were polite?

    • Philmonomer

      I did not support that experiment.

      Tom’s blog post contained no such unambiguous statement. If anything, his support (or lack thereof) of the experiment is decidedly ambiguous (he both praises it and seems to “raise doubts” about it.)

      Having said that, I think it works both ways. Just as Tom’s statement that “he did not support that experiment” is not supported by his blog post, I also think Bob’s statement that he did support it, is not there either.

      At any rate, this seems like a picayune detail–and not important to the main point of either blog post.

      • TheNuszAbides

        he applauds the ‘attempt’. he supports the antagonism-slash-defensiveness underlying the premise of the ‘attempt’. we can’t expect a coherent stance from him regardless, because his first principles are unsupportable outside of misguided emotion and unfortunate rhetoric (at least, that i and apparently others have seen so far).

    • Kodie

      Wow, Tom Gilson, I just read back to your article, and man, are you full of your own horseshit. I know you’re not going to read because you’re sensitive to women using vulgar language and just dismiss the whole point, but you are warped.

      Every gay marriage wedding cake, no matter how it’s decorated, says
      the man-woman-only view of marriage is wrong; but it takes special
      effort to make a man and woman’s wedding cake communicate that gay
      marriage is wrong.

      It takes very special effort on the part of the baker to refuse the business of a couple who is about to get married. It takes illegal effort and a warped sense of authority to over-ride the law and tell two people that their marriage isn’t valid. If their marriage isn’t valid (in your religious opinion) then it’s just a cake, right? If you want to go on and believe their marriage is not valid because of god, then it’s just a cake for a party for two individuals committing to whatever you want to call it that’s not a marriage. Making a cake is not in any way asking you to disappoint your god by demonstrating that you allow it. Allowing the marriage to be legitimate is not up to you, making a cake is.

      And “no matter how it’s decorated” – wedding cakes are not usually inscribed with any words. They are decorated with flowers or polka dots or some other lovely pattern. That cake does not do anything to offend the man-woman-only view, only that it’s for a gay couple, it’s indistinguishable from a cake made for a straight couple.

      So, it takes a very special, hateful effort to consider any difference in a cake made for a man-woman marriage or one made for a gay couple.

      Then I thought, Before Theodore Shoebat’s experiment, no one ever seems to have thought of doing anything so thoughtlessly rude, except for the gays who asked conservatives to make cakes for their
      celebrations.

      It’s so thoughtlessly rude and illegal and so not your place in society, as a business open to the public and subject to the laws pertaining to the privilege of doing so, to assume any hostility on the part of the couple who just wants to buy a cake from a bakery. Right before, you said:

      I just re-read what I wrote about asking gay bakers to serve events like conferences or seminars where we celebrate the true value of
      man-woman-only marriage. I thought, Who would do that? It would be a rude, thoughtless, gesture, possibly even a hatred-inciting gesture.

      You think there are no gay caterers? You think at every single seminar and conference where you Christians pretend what you’re doing is “celebrating” a hateful thought, that no catering crews had any gay employees serving you hateful assholes your chicken or fish? It’s called being a professional and doing what they’ve been paid to do. You’re an idiot if you think no Christian love-fest ever hired anyone gay to serve them while they celebrate how awful and unpleasing to god they are. You definitely are thoughtless, rude, hatred-inducing if you think your celebrations never intruded on other people’s beliefs and personal concerns that differ from your own. The hotel, ballroom, auditorium, set-up crews, audio-visual crews, IT specialists, caterers, janitorial staff – you never think who is taking care of your events, because they don’t suffer in front of you. They keep quiet, they do their job that they were hired to do to support you in your efforts to celebrate hating them and what they want in life, which, all it is is the same rights you take for granted, and hoard for only people who adore your magic genie in the sky. You are thoughtless, you don’t think.

      • wtfwjtd

        The pretension of symmetry here is what’s really irritating. When same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, gays are a step closer to having full equality, while opponents of marriage equality have lost…absolutely nothing. Christians are still free to hate and discriminate…behind closed doors within their churches.

        This kind of public display of hate just makes me sadly shake my head. And yet they still wonder why younger people are staying away from their churches in droves.

        • Kodie

          No, they will have lost the authority to sound like they know what they’re talking about. When gay people have full equal rights across the land, hating them, excluding them, or calling them perverts won’t seem totally normal to do. As long as gay people have to fight, or as long as they can be hidden and talked about, stereotyped, and labeled freaks behind their backs right to their closeted faces, their bigotry seems justified, because most people are straight. When gays do not advertise, they look just like all the straight people, so they’ve been amongst the population, living their normal lives, and nobody could tell, but they still couldn’t be free and out and have all the normal things everyone else enjoys. When you make up elaborate stereotypes of how different and ill in the head they are, the idea has a stigma, so the people are stigmatized. If they can blend in closeted, surely they can blend in proud. Once they have the comfort to go about the same kinds of full and equal lives as everyone else, lying about what they’re like and how evil they are will obviously hold no water.

          So I read TG’s post and then he links to this imaginary conversation between characters he made up, Phil and Alex. Phil, the Christian, calls Alex out on not really wanting marriage equality, because he’d oppose it for siblings, or parents and their children, or for people who are already married. Where will it stop! For the fabric of society will unravel if we unleash the madness by allowing two homosexual unrelated consensual partners to marry. So “Phil” attempts to make a hypocrite of “Alex” because Tom, the Christian, made up the whole conversation from his Christian perspective.

          They will not be able to give examples of how homosexual couples are worse for society or how allowing them to legally get married will have a dangerous effect as opposed to not forbidding them from shacking up. Because if their marriage is legitimated by the government, then there will be no legal opposition to them adopting from any agency they want to. Married is married. But you know a lot of those agencies are or are associated with Christian or Catholic churches. Forcing a baker to make an identical cake as they would make for a straight couple only for this day, it is for a gay couple, takes away their right to shun and shame people back into the darkness, so they can continue to teach their children how perverted gay people are, when if they get equal rights across the land, their lies and prejudice will be more obvious and their authority less respected.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where will it stop!

          The problem with the Phil/Alex conversation is that the slippery slope problem applies regardless of whether gay marriage is legal, illegal, or never even dreamed of. The error is in imagining that “marriage” is a fixed thing, but the definition keeps a-changin’.

          Good thing, too. It’s improved as it’s changed.

        • Kodie

          It’s the term “marriage equality” instead it used to be called “gay marriage” like it’s still a different kind of marriage – “marriage” and “gay marriage”. We started calling it “marriage equality” so that all marriages would be seen as equal by the law. So Phil is saying Alex isn’t really for marriage “equality” or he would be for anyone’s right to marry anyone, and all the examples he gave were adults who presumably consented. Still, no one is telling the Christians they have to support what they don’t support. I don’t remember this being an issue before gay couples had the right to marry, since they’ve been having weddings for far longer. The Christian bakers in the articles all say they just are making this one political protest against a law that has already been passed, and that they are not unwilling to sell pastries of every kind for any other occasion that gay people wish to celebrate.

          Just give them the right not to make wedding cakes for gay weddings and see how that will change. See how they will pull at that thread. Then I can’t wait for the first gay doctor who refuses to save one of their gay-hating lives. If that’s what they want.

        • MNb

          “instead it used to be called “gay marriage”
          You’re right. I’m a bit ashamed that initially I tended to fall for TG’s false equivalence – my first reaction was “hm, looks like he has a point, I should think this over as he sounds reasonable and I can’t see where he’s wrong; equal rights means that christians should be able to order cakes with the slogan “gay marriage is wrong”.
          Of course it’s all about “marriage equality”. Ah, things are always simpler when using clear terminology.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he does seem to have that weirdly bent specialty of sounding at first (a) just a bit suspicious but quite polite, then (b) more and more reasonable the longer he can weave, but as long as he doesn’t hide his first principles for too long, (c) the cards inevitably tumble down.

        • MNb

          Yeah, but I like to think that I’m more skeptical than I actually I am.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ah, our nice cozy heuristics & biases…

        • TheNuszAbides

          i suspect one would have to be a bit more far-gone than TG to seriously want/expect that. but it’s pretty damn galling, the sickeningly translucent attempts to deny their own spite while projecting it onto ‘the enemy’…

        • wtfwjtd

          “No, they will have lost the authority to sound like they know what they’re talking about.”

          Yeah, I get what you’re saying here; as if that’s more important than allowing people to live their lives as equal citizens under the law. So much for Christian compassion.

          “Once they have the comfort to go about the same kinds of full and equal lives as everyone else, lying about what they’re like and how evil they are will obviously hold no water.”

          And here’s another thing: Christians like Tom are equating those of us who are for marriage equality, as polemic opposites of people like himself who are pro-discrimination. Once again, a false equivalence: Those of us who favor marriage equality want it for everyone, same sex or opposite sex; we are not advocating that the state choose one or the other, like he is.

          “They will not be able to give examples of how homosexual couples are worse for society or how allowing them to legally get married will have a dangerous effect…”

          Opponents of same sex marriage have one argument: theological. Any time you are trying to get the secular government to legislate based strictly on theology, you really have nothing substantive to offer. It’s made worse in this case by the fact that nowhere in their 2,500 year old holy book can be found a prohibition on gay marriage anywhere. Besides, wanting to base secular law on the wildly varying interpretations of the religious constructs of a 2,500 year old desert tribe seems mean and petty at best, cruel and barbaric at worst.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think the singular argument is better-, broadly encapsulated as: irrational. it just so happens that there’s a tendency to dress it up in theology (or what passes for theology among the especially uninformed) because, surprise, oldest form of social control on record outside of (yet including) pure slaughter, and strength in numbers multiplied by ~tradition~, etc.
          but as far as i can see, the baseline is “icky!” for followers or “not breeding enough followers!” for leadership.

        • Ihesinachi Oko-Jaja

          Pervert in this sense really should only mean that someone is thinking of someone else in a way that is inappropriate because:
          They are already in a relationship
          They don’t love that person, they only want the sex
          They want to abuse them
          They don’t know them well enough to merit sexual desire
          They are too young or old to be in a valid relationship with that person
          They are already sealed by bond, in marriage, to someone else

        • Kodie

          Not sure how you think this is relevant.

        • TheNuszAbides

          your sixth item is already included in your first item, your fourth item seems incoherent and your fifth item is very vague.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        The most extreme vulgar language I use is “durn” (if you’ll pardon my French), though I do lie sometimes about what vulgar language I use.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really know any other words for “horseshit”, but he’s already decided to ignore what I have to say, which is petty, and I know he’s not the only person reading this. I think it’s weak of a person to address the vulgarity instead of the point.

        • Pofarmer

          Col. Sherman used to say “Mule fritters!”

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sherman Potter?

        • TheNuszAbides

          because it is weak, objectively. 😉
          countless fonts of profanity have established entirely articulate and compelling positions that … just so happened to be laced with cussin’, for style or whatever (almost never matters why they use it – but occasionally how!).
          to affect being ~above~ engaging with the substance* – unable or unwilling (doesn’t really matter which) to ‘get past’ the flavor – is sheer gutlessness.

          *(or even more pathetically, pretending that there is no substance – it’s been negated by the baaaaad words! – can’t see the shit for the shine-ola…)

        • TheNuszAbides

          Deceiver!

      • nakedanthropologist

        I’m a graduate student – and I work whatever jobs I can to pay my loans and afford enough ramen and coffee to see me through the week. I’m also bisexual; and I can say with definite authority that I’ve served and worked for people who see lgbt people as “intrinsicly disordered” and ssm as being wrong. Know what I did? I plastered a smile on face and did the job I was hired to do. Because discrimination is wrong. Those bigots can disagree with me, and I’ll still serve them if it’s my job – it doesn’t mean I agree with them or endorsing their position. And for the record? There is nothing “hateful” about wanting equality. I just want the same treatment as anybody else – in a diner, at a bakery, and so on. For Shoebat’s experiment to be symmetrical, a gay couple would need to ask an anti-gay baker to bake them a wedding cake that says “God hates Christians! So suck it, we’re getting married!” But no one has – they just want a regular wedding cake, just like everyone else. To be served equally – like everybody else.

        • TheNuszAbides

          thanks for maintaining a stance that’s both sensible and principled. that’s at least one up on all these ~natural~ types…

        • nakedanthropologist

          Thank you!

      • TheNuszAbides

        that was awesome.
        “we’re not worthy!”

    • 90Lew90
    • TheNuszAbides

      “It was a nice try at making a point …”

      nothing nice (by any definition) about it. at best it was a mistake for them to suppose they were being politically clever; at worst it was cynical manipulation of bandwagon fodder who really couldn’t grasp the asymmetry (and/or like-minded snakes who wouldn’t give a damn for symmetry in the first place).

  • Dez

    Natural marriage proponents are defending an institution and standing in the way of interracial couples’ desire to marry. [They] seek to disrupt two real people’s desires, hopes, and felt needs.

    Interracial “marriage” proponents are attacking an institution and defending couples’ desires to marry. [They] seek to disrupt the historic institution of marriage.
    Same argument, still bs.

    • adam

      IF they were really concerned about the ‘historic institution of marriage’ then they go after the biggest threat to marriage – D I V O R C E.

      IF that was their real goal….

      • Dez

        We all know their real goal. Christian dominionism. They have to quash any dissenters so they can create their bigoted theocracy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sure, dominionists are all over the place, but i have no doubt plenty of the footsoldiers against marriage equality aren’t even that high-falutin’ – more malcontents with stunted imaginations (which some dominionists are too, of course…)

      • Ihesinachi Oko-Jaja

        Well…Religion shouldn’t have been attached to the law in the first place. People are supposed to exhibit their beliefs for themselves, not for anyone else, and therefore you don’t need to use it to control people that don’t share your beliefs. I don’t agree with gay marriage and heterosexual marriage being the same thing, but I don’t go around telling every single gay person I know that their relationship is wrong and they can’t love that person, because if they genuinely love that person and respect them, then they are better than married heterosexuals that cheat.

        • Dez

          Yeah that is like saying you are against interracial marriage. Sorry I respect your right to hold that belief, but I will never respect you or anyone that thinks that way. It is hateful whether the justification is religious or ignorance. Socially I hope society rejects people like you in the way they rejected racists against interracial marriage.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Why the distinction between same-sex and straight marriage? Should we also distinguish between tall people marriage and ordinary marriage?

        • Charleigh Kimber

          they are better than married heterosexuals that cheat.

          It sounds like the important thing is that they’re inferior to you.

      • R Vogel

        Actually elimination of ‘no-fault’ divorce is also a pet project of many of the same people.

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/14/republicans_against_no_fault_divorce_gop_politicians_push_for_waiting_periods.html

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I appreciate that an easy out can devalue marriage. But whatever kind of divorce that existed before no-fault divorce was pretty draconian.

          I’ll listen to conservative concerns about no-fault divorce and might even share some of those concerns myself, but let’s first acknowledge the problems that no-fault solved.

        • R Vogel

          I heard a great debate between a divorce attorney and a woman who heads up one of these organization on Marty Moss Coane’s show on NPR a little while back. The woman wanted to demand mandatory waiting periods and counseling before the state would ‘allow’ people to divorce and the attorney countered than why doesn’t the state mandate waiting periods and counselling before people get married. That would reduce divorces as well, right? The woman totally balked. it was a good debate if you have a chance to look it up. I will see if I can find it and post the like (if you are OK with that)

          Outside of the entertainment industry, I have never met anyone who thought their divorce was an easy out, regardless of the statute under which it was filed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m just concerned that same-sex marriage will hurt the sanctity of marriages like Britney Spears’ Las Vegas weekend marriage. (Thanks to whoever came up with that comparison first–wasn’t me.)

        • TheNuszAbides

          isn’t it obvious – [insert ‘family values’ celebrity-politico here] would still be on his first wife if all these vile-lifestyle-seekers weren’t out there polluting the Sacred Marriage Ether!

    • Gregory Peterson

      You might like this piece by Josephine Ross. http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol37_2/ross.pdf

  • MNb

    “when homosexual activists use the state to coerce them to make a cake with an explicitly pro homosexual slogan on it.”
    I wonder how many gay couples go to christian bakers, demanding to have “everyone should have gay sex” on their cake? Otherwise I’m sure TG is dishonest with the term “pro homosexual slogan”. Straight me waving a banner with “gay marriage is right” voicing a “pro homosexual slogan”? I don’t think so. I am voicing support to the idea that human rights should apply to all humans.
    BobS is right. There is no symmetry.
    Kodie is also right. This term “pro homosexual slogan”, the way TG apparently uses it, is an expression of hate. TG last few days has done nothing to challenge this conclusion.

    • Ihesinachi Oko-Jaja

      I don’t think that is even possible, to be either pro-heterosexual or pro-homosexual, it’s just neutrality in not saying that either is right or wrong, and when it comes to things that have been made law, neutrality is almost never present even though it’s the only way non-criminal law would make sense.

      • Dez

        Heterosexuality and homosexuality is not a right or wrong question at all. We know these orientations are on a spectrum. Gay people exist, right or wrong is irrelevant to that fact.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Just a quibble: the conservative response is often to imagine, “Well, I’m just naturally an alcoholic, so I should drink a lot” or “I’m just naturally attracted to children, so I should screw them.”

          The (obvious) point they overlook is harm. Alcoholism and pedophilia hurt people. Homosexuality is no more inherently harmful than heterosexuality.

          And it’s natural. So yes, good point.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “The gay couple in the 2012 Colorado case simply wanted a wedding cake, not an anti-Christian or anti-conservative statement or even a political statement of any kind.”

    The existence of gay people is an affront to Christianity. If, on top of existing, gays are going to go around pursuing happiness and fighting for equal protection under the law (marriage), well, NOW it’s become Christian persecution.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Reminds me of this piece by Josephine Ross.

    The Sexualization of Difference:
    A Comparison of Mixed-Race and
    Same-Gender Marriage.

    The opponents simply don’t think that same-sex relationships are…human. That they are about more than just that dreadful lust thing that conservatives seem to obsess about. http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol37_2/ross.pdf

    • Ross Balmer

      They don’t think any relationships are human, it’s all about what God wants, we don’t come into it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The URL that worked for me is here.

      Does this piece have an opinion on the subject? It’s pro-same-sex marriage, I’m guessing?

      • Gregory Peterson

        Read it and see. It’s entertaining, if nothing else.

        I especially like page 266, where the not-procreative argument was used to forbid interracial marriages because mixing races couldn’t result in children.

        Granted it was in 1705, but some arguments are apparently evergreen.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          because mixing races couldn’t result in children.

          Despite evidence to the contrary. I guess evidence-less arguments are evergreen as well since the conservative position uses a lot of them on this issue.

        • http://atheistjourneys.blogspot.com/ Atheist Journeys

          They obviously said that so that no one would know that they were raping their slaves.

    • Susan

      http://www.law.harvard.edu/stu

      Great link. Thanks for that. Very good read.

  • Charleigh Kimber

    Every gay marriage wedding cake, no matter how it’s decorated, says the man-woman-only view of marriage is wrong;

    This person represents the same general group of Christians who will deliver an angry “Merry CHRISTMAS!” to a cashier in a turban. He’s projecting.

    Edit: Rather than “represents”, I will say, “has a strong overlap with”.

  • 90Lew90

    From talking snakes to talking cakes…

    • R Vogel

      WINNER!!

      • 90Lew90

        Evolution, see!

  • R Vogel

    ‘Natural’ marriage? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? What the hell is ‘natural’ about marriage?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Sex is natural. Marriage is an artificial construct to put a civilized wrapper around it.

      I like marriage. I’m married myself. Let’s just understand it correctly.

      • http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ Majorana Fermion

        Just to point out, much of the history of marriage was anything but civilized to women…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Valid point. Maybe marriage was more of a civilized veneer.

        • R Vogel

          Ya know…for the kids!

      • R Vogel

        Agreed. I meant no knock on marriage. I liked it so much I did it twice! (Doh!)

      • http://www.peterblaisephotography.com/ peterblaise

        .
        You married yourself, @BobSeidensticker:disqus ?!?

        😉

        .

  • http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ Majorana Fermion

    I remember back in the President Bush Jr. days when Fox News was becoming enmeshed with the GOP. Both Bush and the other talking heads @ Fox really started pushing the mass media technique of ignoring the examination of argument and evidence to determine validity and truth of something. Instead, they embraced and taught the false equivalency (ie “fair and balanced”) as a way to tear down anything that stood in the way of their greed. Now, 15 years later, we have an entire political party, call them the “Christpublicans” who have taught their core that false equivalency is valid. Mostly because it’s an awesome tool for manipulating the masses into acting against their own best interest.

    Where is it leading us?

    My fear is the SCOTUS will at some point soon have a case that pits the “rights” of people – maybe Corporate People – to follow their “sincere belief” in the irrational against the right of same sex couples to marry | adopt | gain access to health care, insurance, etc.. And the SCOTUS will leverage the tool of false equivalency to legally proclaim that being gay is actually also a “sincerely held” belief & thus the superiority of one over the other can be decided by some other, spurious attribute.

    • nakedanthropologist

      I fear this too. It’s already happened with women’s access to healthcare.

    • TheNuszAbides

      just to pick a massive nit:

      when Fox News was becoming enmeshed with the GOP.

      there’s no “was becoming” about it. Roger Ailes created Fox News in 1996 (give or take the odd month) and that fucker’s been in the GOP up to his eyeballs since Nixon. speaking of which, voting themselves (and every other lower or middle class citizen) downriver are what conservatives-in-name-only have been doing since at least as far back as Nixon…

      • http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ Majorana Fermion

        Good point(s). When our local affiliate went Fox however, it took years for the bias to show. Essentially, it took the end of the era of reporter-anchorperson that was also trained and experienced as an actual journalist. Once they finally all left (& all within 2-3 years of each other) the station did a shift to full on Fox.

        • TheNuszAbides

          good anecdote. :) i all too easily treat Fox News as monolithic (but really, we have Rupert & Rog to thank for just how monolithic it truly is at – i hesitate to use the word ‘heart’ in association) but of course local-affiliates-in-transition can’t always deserve a full tarring with the same brush!

  • RichardSRussell

    Those who think there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) any such thing as a “common carrier”, that just provides a service of getting goods or info from one place to another, without regard to its contents, will be thrilled to discover that France’s President Francois Hollande agrees with you. He’s proposing to hold Google and Facebook accountable for the content they host that’s authored by others.

    I, OTOH, continue to believe that it is the author of the sentiment, not the hired hand who delivers it, who is responsible for its content, and that we start down a dangerous road if we believe that mere intermediaries are jointly responsible for whatever ideas are expressed by people we disagree with.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      It’s impractical, at the very least. How are these carriers to even know what’s in a particular message?

      • RichardSRussell

        I’m pretty sure that the NSA could, if asked, produce an exact count of the number of blog posts on 2015 January 29 which used the term “impractical”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          True, but it’s harder to distinguish between a post that says that Hitler is fabulous and Hitler is a dick. I don’t know what France’s goal is, but Germany for example has anti-skinhead laws that would need to understand this distinction.

          I’m sure that, like me, you’ve read articles where you’re not even sure what side of the issue the author is on.

        • RichardSRussell

          I believe you are now on record as asserting both that Hitler is fabulous and Hitler is a dick.

          And now, so am I.

        • Susan

          And now, so am I.

          Does upvoting your comment make me an accessory?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          OMG! My dossier at the NSA grows bigger by the minute.

    • wtfwjtd

      You mean you wish to state that you don’t believe in shooting the messenger?

  • TheNuszAbides

    “This may bring to mind politics, which is fine with me since politics seems to be at least as much of a driving force as Christianity.”

    it’s almost as though they’re two different things!

    “well, I can’t help it, Brooke,” I say. “There just seem to be so many things one can’t talk about here: sex, religion and politics, for a start.”
    He pauses, a forkful of kedgeree poised halfway to his mouth. “Well,” he says uncomfortably, “there’s nothing wrong with … the first one, if one’s married, or the girl has a licence or whatever … but damn it, Orr,” he puts the fork down again, “you’re always going on about ‘religion’ and ‘politics’; what exactly do you mean?”
    He seems to be serious. What have I got myself into? … All the same, for the next ten minutes I attempt an explanation for Brooke. He looks increasingly mystified. Finally, once I have finished, he says, “Hmm. Don’t know why you need two words; they sound like the same thing to me.”
    I sit back in awe. “Brooke, you should have been a philosopher,”
    “A philo-what?”
    “Never mind. Eat your kedgeree.”

    The Bridge (Iain Banks)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      They do seem to be pretty similar.

      • TheNuszAbides

        that’s why i tend to get slightly suspicious when someone asserts, e.g., that law has nothing to do with morality, full stop, cut and dry. there are some pretty solid positions for why they should be separate (a la church & state… naughty Romans!) but statements of that sort are that peculiar blend of wishful thinking and certitude…

        seems to me like the only full divorce of the two would at minimum require strong AI, which is why i support MIRI… just in case!