Walking the Extra Mile With Pastries for Gay People

Rachel Held Evans has written about the legislation currently under discussion in Arizona. Her words are insightful. I quoted part of her post above. Here is a little more:

You know who was actually persecuted for their religious beliefs? 

Jews under Roman occupation in the first century.  

And you know what Jesus told those Jews to do? 

Pay your taxes. Obey the law. Give to those who ask. Do not turn people away. Love your neighbors. Love even your enemies. 

When Jesus spoke of “walking the second mile,” he was referring to an oppressive Roman law that allowed a traveling Roman solider to demand that a stranger carry his pack for up to one mile.  No doubt some of Jesus’ first listeners had been forced to do just that, to drop their farming equipment, fishing nets, or carpentry tools and carry a heavy pack, losing hours of work in the process.

The law allowed the soldier to demand from them a mile, no more. Jesus told his followers to walk two. 

As Christians, our most “deeply held religious belief” is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sinful people, and that in imitation of that, we are called to love God, to love our neighbors, and to love even our enemies to the point of death. 

So I think we can handle making pastries for gay people. 

And I think that refusing to serve gay and lesbian people, and advancing legislation that denies others their civil liberties in response to perceived threats to our own, does irreparable damage to our witness as Christians and leaves a whole group of people feeling like second-class citizens, not only in our country, but also in the Kingdom. There may be second-class citizens in the U.S. and in Uganda and in Russia, but there should be no second-class citizens in the Kingdom.  

As I’ve made it clear in the past, I support marriage equality and affirm my gay and lesbian friends who want to commit themselves to another person for life.  But even if I didn’t, even if I believed same-sex marriage was a sin, I could never, in good conscience, throw my support behind a law that would put my gay and lesbian neighbors behind bars for being gay or allow businesses to discriminate against them because of their orientation.

Because over and beyond my beliefs regarding homosexuality is my most deeply-held conviction that I am called to love my neighbor as myself…even if it costs me something, even if it means walking a second mile. 

See too this CNN interview about whether Christianity is under attack in Arizona.

  • texcee

    Bravo!

  • Gary

    So, one man, one woman is biblical marriage?

    Would the baker make a wedding cake for Adam and Eve’s intermarrying children?
    For Noah’s intermarrying children and /or grandchildren?
    For Lot’s daughters when they conceived their father’s children?
    For Abraham and Hagar?
    For Benjamin’s tribe when they kidnap Shiloh’s virgins?
    For David’s marriage to Bathseba (combined marriage and funeral for her murdered ex)?
    For Solomon’s 1000 wives and concubines?
    Etc, I am sure there are more, but to conclude anything about biblical marriage, is rather presumptuous, I would think.

    • Gary

      Oh, that’s right. Just got finished looking at “Decision, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association”, where Franklin Graham pays homage to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, (Feb 2014), and how Christians here are persecuted. Don’t ask where I got it from. As I remember, he said he married a 16 year old, because a 20 year old would steal all his money. Now I see how he, and his family fits into biblical marriage. Perhaps a case of too much inter-breeding.

      • Gary

        And Brewer ended the Brewhaha. Stick that cake in your oven, and bake it! It is funny how perhaps losing a Super Bowl affects outcomes?

      • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

        Perhaps a case of too much inter-breeding.

        Nothing condemnable here, eh James? Maybe you should upvote this one!

        • Gary

          The bible speaks for itself.

          • Gary

            To be more specific, biblically, we are all a result of inter-breeding.

  • beau_quilter

    Latest News! A federal judge strikes down the ban on gay marriage in Texas, pending an appeal!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/26/texas-gay-marriage-ban/5839579/

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath
  • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

    But even if I didn’t, even if I believed same-sex marriage was a sin, I could never, in good conscience, throw my support behind a law that would put my gay and lesbian neighbors behind bars for being gay or allow businesses to discriminate against them because of their orientation.

    No one’s calling for ‘putting people behind bars for being gay.’ But she can throw her support behind a law that would put her Christian, muslim and other neighbors behind bars for refusing to make pastries for a gay marriage.

    It cuts both ways, James. If it’s so petty an issue to be worked up about because it’s ‘just about pastries’, then how about standing down on this and accepting that cakes and wedding pictures aren’t big enough of an issue to force people to supply such services for your preferred rituals?

    Oh, wait. When it’s phrased like that, suddenly pastries become very important indeed.

    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

      By the way, I have a great followup idea:

      Force muslim caterers to supply pork products for gay wedding receptions. Because it’s just pork, right? Why should a gay couple do without pork barbecue? That’s just an excuse bigots are hiding behind.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        I’ve had Muslim caterers supply pork products for an event. I know if may be hard for you to imagine, but not everyone thinks that because they do not approve of something, they cannot therefore provide that service to others.

        • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

          I’ve had Muslim caterers supply pork products for an event. I know if may be hard for you to imagine, but not everyone thinks that because they do not approve of something, they cannot therefore provide that service to others.

          So, if they said “we’d rather not supply pork products – we find it immoral to handle them” – if they can’t hire staff to handle the products for them – you think they should be legally forced to?

          Answer directly.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            I think that a company which says they offer halal catering would be perfectly within its legal rights to refuse to cater pork. I think that a company which says that they will cater all events and services cannot suddenly decide to start implementing a scruple that they have not been concerned with in the past and not expect it to look like discrimination.

            If a company catered for weddings of divorced people in the past, and suddenly when an interracial couple came in, one of whom was previously divorced, the caterer said “Sorry, catering for divorced people is against my religion,” what would the appropriate response be, in your opinion?

            • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

              I think that a company which says they offer halal catering would be perfectly within its legal rights to refuse to cater pork. I think that a company which says that they will cater all events and services cannot suddenly decide to start implementing a scruple that they have not been concerned with in the past and not expect it to look like discrimination.

              Wonderful. So, as I’ve been saying – you apparently stand AGAINST the LGBT groups who would wish to force Christians, under force of law, to bake a cake for a gay wedding, etc. Your concern is with the sincerity of their conviction. Excellent.

              If a company catered for weddings of divorced people in the past, and suddenly when an interracial couple came in, one of whom was previously divorced, the caterer said “Sorry, catering for divorced people is against my religion,” what would the appropriate response be, in your opinion?

              Exactly what my response would be if a pair of LGBT activists sought out and targeted a baker to bake a cake for a wedding that they knew they would object to on religious grounds, with the hopes of provoking a confrontation.

        • Jimi Burden

          In a land where Sharia were operating, this would not happen. The fact that some Muslims provide pork an alcohol doesn’t mean that Muslims in general would do such a thing.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            I think Sharia is a good example. Some have the religious conviction that sharia law ought to be implemented in the nation they live in. But the United States is under no obligation to safeguard their freedom to act on that conviction, because that would involve the restriction of freedom of others. Historically the Supreme Court has tended in the direction that you are free to believe whatever you like, and to meet with others who believe likewise, but when it comes to practices, the state may have a legitimate reason not to allow unrestricted following of conscience if it would be to the detriment of others or society as a whole to do so.

            • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

              And likewise the fact that some “progressives” have an axe to grind against conservative Christians or feel the push for mandatory celebration and praise of various relationships and unions does not justify using the government to enforce their views.

              Sharia law should not be enforced by the state – nor should its “progressive” equivalent.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                Of course, one can stick the label “sharia” on anything one wishes. Nevertheless, some such labeling will seem more apt than others.

                • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                  Of course, one can stick the label “sharia” on anything one wishes. Nevertheless, some such labeling will seem more apt than others.

                  Like an LGBT activist issuing a fatwa against people who disagree with them about same-sex marriage and unions?

                  By the by? I criticize conservatives quite often. I think their rhetoric about gays and gay unions are often lousy, ill-considered, and wrong. I’ve gotten into it with people who thought it was right to, say… fire a homosexual for merely being homosexual because ‘no one should ever make their sexual preferences public’.

                  Maybe you’ll one day start copping to the sharia-sorts among the progressives. But let’s be honest: even if you had the temerity to do so, you’d run risk of their wrath.

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    Every viewpoint upsets someone. Some of us care enough about issues to actually take ownership of our stance and use our real name.

                    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                      Every viewpoint upsets someone. Some of us care enough about issues to actually take ownership of our stance and use our real name.

                      Considering you’ve said that the reason you want me to use my real name is expressly so I could receive retribution for the (frankly, quite modest) views I espouse, I’ll pass on your request.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Wow, your persecution complex really does distort your understanding of what others say.

                    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                      Wow, your persecution complex really does distort your understanding of what others say.

                      James F. McGrath: No wonder you lack the courage of your convictions, and resort to anonymous posts in which no one can hold you accountable for your behavior.

                      You know a way to hold me accountable, James? Have a good argument, and be consistent. That doesn’t require my RL identity. Oops – but that also doesn’t look like it’s within the realm of possibility for you. So instead keep complaining that I’m anonymous, all while talking about the desire to ‘hold me accountable’. Check my posts for another minor spelling error while you’re at it.

                    • chicagorefugee

                      Oh yes, because ‘coming out’ with the currently sanctioned PC view of the issue is just so, so brave of you!

                      *dabs eyes*

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Having done so before it was PC may or may not have been. But that is scarcely the point. The point is not that you need excessive bravery to hold any particular viewpoint on this subject. The point is that, when people are anonymous, the way they talk to others about it is often lacking in basic politeness and common decency that they would probably show if they were being associated with their words using their real name. And the sad irony is that the behavior of anonymous internet commenters often simply reinforces the impression those on the other side of the matter have, that their opponents are mean-spirited bigots. I was not calling for the courage to take a particular view on same-sex marriage. I was calling for the courage to take ownership of one’s words, tone, and behavior.

                    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                      The point is that, when people are anonymous, theway they talk to others about it is often lacking in basic politeness and common decency that they would probably show if they were being associated with their words using their real name.

                      I have been aggressive with you, James, but frankly? I’ve been polite. I’ve focused on your arguments. I don’t come at you with some purely ‘anonymous’ name – I use the same name I write under and host a blog under.

                      You’re the one who said I should be held accountable for what I’m saying. Feel free to point out the terrible part you say I deserve being held accountable for – other than, you know, mere criticism of your views.

      • http://rachelheldevans.com Rachel Held Evans

        Just FYI, the Muslims serving pork thing doesn’t really work for this reason: It’s not considered discrimination if the service is refused to everyone. So, if a caterer does not serve pork to anyone, as a rule, and someone asks for it and is told it’s not on the menu, it’s not considered discrimination. But if a caterer will serve pork to everyone except for black people, or everyone except for Jews or gay people or whatever, then that’s considered discrimination. Make sense?

        Whether or not that sort of discrimination should be legal was not the point of my post. I see both sides on that. The point of my post is that singling out a group of people to whom we refuse services is not Christlike.

        • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

          The point of my post is that singling out a group of people to whom we refuse services is not Christlike.

          And as I keep saying, it’s not ‘a group of people’ we’re talking about refusing service to – it’s a particular act or ceremony.

          The stock example I keep going through is this: A Christian baker has a gay man come into his store and ask for a cake. Baker knows the man is gay. Baker happily sells the cake.

          Christian baker has two heterosexual men come into his store and ask for a cake for their same-sex wedding. Christian baker refuses.

          What group of people is being targeted? It cannot be homosexuals. It cannot be heterosexuals.

          • cameronhorsburgh

            I’m pretty sure the baker would have refused because the evidence is that they are homosexual. If these guys were marrying each other, it doesn’t matter to the baker that they think they’re straight.

            Rachel’s point is a good one. If you don’t want to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, don’t bake cakes for weddings at all.

            • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

              I’m pretty sure the baker would have refused because the evidence is that they are homosexual. If these guys were marrying each other, it doesn’t matter to the baker that they think they’re straight.

              Except that runs completely counter to my example. You realize it’s a hypothetical, right? And that the position I’m outlining isn’t exactly far-fetched?

              Rachel’s point is a good one. If you don’t want to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, don’t bake cakes for weddings at all.

              I have a better idea: bake cakes for whatever you want, except for those acts or services you find immoral. And people who target your business to make cake or provide a service for a same-sex wedding, particularly if they’re doing it to put the screws to you, should be ashamed of themselves and denounced.

              • cameronhorsburgh

                Heterosexual men decide to marry each other and manage to convince the baker that they’re heterosexual? How is that not far-fetched?

                Either I’ve completely misunderstood your example (my coffee supply has run out so it’s more than likely) or you’re making no sense (also possible, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.)

          • Donalbain

            It is homosexuals. Obviously.
            I will sell this product to group Y but not to group X.

            Group X is being discriminated against.

      • Donalbain

        What is it about this subject that makes people resort to REALLY stupid analogies.

        A Muslim refuses to sell pork != Discrimination
        A Muslim sells pork to a straight couple, but not to a gay couple = Discrimination

        How hard IS that to understand?

        • R Vogel

          The device being employed is placing ‘gay weddings’ in a separate class than ‘weddings.’ Now it is OK, like the Hillal example, to exclude the class. This would no longer fly if you said ‘I bake cakes for same race wedding’ but not ‘mixed race weddings,’ even though it might appeal to the same flawed ‘religious freedom’ argument, but society is catching up. One thing I would suggest that we who are more on the progressive side of things do is banish the terms ‘gay wedding’, or ‘same-sex wedding’ from the language. It is simply a wedding. The sex of the parties involved doesn’t matter.

          • Donalbain

            While I agree with your general point, I think the sex of the people involved actually does matter. I think it highlights the fact that the bigots are discriminating on the basis of sex, something that is clearly illegal.

            • R Vogel

              Right. I meant only with regard to distinguishing between straight weddings and gay weddings. Using straight weddings as the normative and always distinguishing them from gay weddings leads to bad things. In this context it allows people to create two separate classes and justify discriminating against one because it is different. I make wedding cakes (meant to express the normative ‘straight’ wedding), I do not make gay wedding cakes.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      What I want to understand is why Christians want to insist in this particular narrow instance that they cannot provide services for people who do not adhere to their moral standards. Where does that notion come from? Where does the idea that turning people away in this case, but not refusing to cater for divorcees who are now remarrying, is an expression of Christian faith in any way, shape, or form? And why, every time such questions are raised, do you try to distract from them rather than answer them?

      • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

        What I want to understand is why Christians want to insist in this particular narrow instance that they cannot provide services for people who do not adhere to their moral standards. Where does that notion come from?

        From the fact that it’s largely in this particular narrow instance that there’s literal threat of legal action against them? If some Christian refuses to cater a pro-abortion rally, what legal action will they be subject to?

        They react where the threat is.

        Where does the idea that turning people away in this case, but not refusing to cater for divorcees who are now remarrying, is an expression of Christian faith in any way, shape, or form? And why, every time such questions are raised, do you try to distract from them rather than answer them?

        I’ve answered them each and every time, James. Dishonesty like this won’t work – it’s a matter of going back and reading what I said. You, meanwhile, have been evasive and inconsistent to an extreme.

        Show me the law that forces a Christian to supply services for, say… an individual remarrying when they’ve been divorced. In fact, show me the divorcees who go out of their way to find Christian services who would have a problem providing services for such an event, and then who target them for that reason.

        By the way, for anyone who missed it: James actually agrees about the rights of Christians to not serve gay weddings:

        I have already been clear that I support the right of a religious organization or company to accept and reject orders by whatever guiding principles they adhere to. If a company wants to only cater to people with the letter “i” in their name, presumably they have the right to do so. What I object to is the notion that companies can happily take money from anyone with no sign of religious scruples, and then when they happen to want to discriminate against some, they suddenly claim to be guided by religious scruples in an attempt to justify and get away with that discrimination.

        There you have it. His problem, in his own words, is that he wants to be sure that religious scruples are really the motivating factor, rather than merely an excuse. Otherwise, if we are to take him at his word, he doesn’t think it should be legal to force a Christian baker to violate their religious beliefs and serve at events they, on religious grounds, are opposed to.

      • Xavier

        McGrath, is homosexual practice a sin?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Is heterosexual practice sin?

          Are people allowed to discriminate against others if they consider them sinners? And when did the notion of following Jesus and fellowshipping with sinners get replaced by Pharisaism in conservative Christianity?

          • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

            Is heterosexual practice sin?

            At times, yes.

            Are people allowed to discriminate against others if they consider them sinners?

            Was Christ discriminating against sinners when he called sin sin, or said it was wrong for people to divorce and remarry? Or was he refusing to bless the sin, distinct from the sinner?

            And when did the notion of following Jesus and fellowshipping with sinners get replaced by Pharisaism in conservative Christianity?

            When did providing services and/or supporting pressure for public approval of either sex acts or unions become ‘fellowshipping’?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Oh good, perhaps we can make progress looking at the teaching of Jesus! The Greeks practiced same-sex relations as a matter of course. Did Jesus ever encourage his followers not to sell their fish to such people, or refuse to provide services to them? Did he refuse to heal a Gentile’s slave considering that slaves were regularly used for the sexual satisfaction of their owners? Or did he prefer to show compassion and kindness rather than smug self-righteousness expressed in moral cross-examination in those contexts, according to the stories that we have recorded?

              • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                Did Jesus ever encourage his followers not to sell their fish to such people, or refuse to provide services to them?

                You keep playing this card, and I’ll keep correcting you: the issue is not ‘selling a cake to a gay man’, it’s ‘making a cake for a gay wedding’. Did Christ say ‘Divorce and remarrying is no big deal, just love each other!’? Or was such a union condemned?

                Did he refuse to heal a Gentile’s slave considering that slaves were regularly used for the sexual satisfaction of their owners?

                Seriously, James? Like I said, that whole ‘it’s just pastries!’ thing sure turned on a dime quickly when the situation was reversed. Now you’re comparing it to ‘supplying help to a wounded person’.

                Or did he prefer to show compassion and kindness rather than smug self-righteousness expressed in moral cross-examination in those contexts, according to the stories that we have recorded?

                You tell me – is Jesus’ condemnation of divorce, his explicit description of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, smug self-righteousness or moral cross-examination? Because it sure comes across as Jesus explicitly judging people’s sexual acts and unions.

                Did Jesus make an exception for divorced people remarrying “so long as they love each other”?

                Oh, and on the topic of “smug self-righteousness” – you don’t think comparing Christians who disagree with you to freaking nazis, and belittling them because “it’s just pastries” qualifies as ‘smug self-righteousness’? Let me guess: well that’s different, because you think you’re right. Why, you’re operating according to the currently popular pieties too!

                So were the pharisees.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  OK, so where did Jesus teach his disciples not to sell things to adulterers, or tax collectors, or prostitutes, or judgmental self-righteous religious people, who might use the goods provided in the service of some event that he would disapprove of? He criticized the temple authorities, but did not condemn but instead praised someone who gave a tiny donation in their direction. Jesus encouraged his followers to not merely cooperate when conscripted by Roman occupying troops, but to go even further than they were required to.

                  I understand why you want to make it seem as though I am saying “it is just pastries” but that is not my point at all. If you as a Catholic view homosexuals as your enemies, then Jesus’ teaching about what stance to adopt towards your enemies is quite clear – far clearer than whether he would have opposed committed same-sex relationships.

                  • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                    OK, so where did Jesus teach his disciples not to sell things to adulterers, or tax collectors, or prostitutes, or judgmental self-righteous religious people, who might use the goods provided in the service of some event that he would disapprove of?

                    We’re not talking about ‘might’. We’re talking about ‘explicitly ordering it, typically with decoration for that very celebration or service’. And where did Christ give the impression that it’s A-OK to cooperate with what you regard as an immoral act so long as you’re making money off of it for your business?

                    Jesus encouraged his followers to not merely cooperate when conscripted by Roman occupying troops, but to go even further than they were required to.

                    So I suppose your advice to LGBT people in Russia is ‘render unto Caesar’? And when you say ‘go even further than they were required to’, you’re expressly not talking about cooperation with an immoral act – at least, if you want your argument to have a chance at standing up.

                    I understand why you want to make it seem as though I am saying “it is just pastries” but that is not my point at all.

                    You are the one who kept up with the belittling ‘it’s just pastries’ bit until it was turned around on you. If you want to walk that back, fine – but don’t portray me as misrepresenting you when we can pull this praised line out of your OP: So I think we can handle making pastries for gay people.

                    As I said, it’s ‘just pastries’ when we’re talking about the Christian being persecuted. When it comes to a gay couple being denied their pastry, we’re suddenly dealing with a bulwark against gas chambers.

                    I understand why you want to make it seem as though I am saying “it is just pastries” but that is not my point at all. If you as a Catholic view homosexuals as your enemies,

                    I don’t. In fact, I argue against that very idea with conservatives. I differentiate between ‘person with same-sex attraction’ and ‘LGBT footsoldier’.

                    far clearer than whether he would have opposed committed same-sex relationships.

                    No, I think it’s quite clear in both cases – intentional blindness doesn’t make an issue any less clear. By the by? You may want to remove that beam out of your eye before protesting the speck in mine. Again: you’re the one who rolls out flat out comparisons between ‘people who don’t want to make pastries for a gay wedding’ and ‘nazis’. I know the difference between LGBT footsoldiers and people with same-sex attraction. It may blow your mind, but some openly gay people aren’t all in favor of gay marriage either, much less your condemnation of its opponents.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Calling even being legally obligated to make pastries for whomever pays you to “persecution” is an affront that trivializes the experience of real persecution that Christians have undergone.

                      So where did Jesus say “refuse to provide services to a wedding that involves a divorcee”? Don’t keep sidestepping the issue. Where does Jesus ever say that his followers should refuse to provide services they are employed to for anyone, for any reason? Where does any NT author do that?

                    • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

                      Calling even being legally obligated to make pastries for whomever pays you to “persecution” is an affront that trivializes the experience of real persecution that Christians have undergone.

                      You have compared being denied a cake from a bakery of your choosing for your gay wedding a step on the road to literal gas chambers. You’re being completely inconsistent here – you switch from ‘just widdle pastwies, who cares?’ to ‘oh my GOD this is a TRAVESTY, a step towards The Final Solution!’ for the *same situation*, depending on who’s complaining.

                      Yes, I think being forced by law to assist in a ceremony or act you find morally objectionable to be reprehensible. You think being DENIED a pastry is ‘persecution’.

                      Are pastries a silly thing to get worked up about, or aren’t they?

                      So where did Jesus say “refuse to provide services to a wedding that involves a divorcee”? Don’t keep sidestepping the issue.

                      Where did Jesus say ‘you know, digging up the corpse of your enemy’s mother and having sex with the rotting husk is wrong’? Please play the petty game of ‘Jesus didn’t say explicitly, ergo it’s moral’ – because that means you just lost standing to insist Christians are immoral for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.

                      By the way, oh ye who loves bible quotes – Jesus did explicitly condemn divorce, by your own view. I take it, then, you regard divorce – and marrying a divorced person – as immoral? Or are you just going to come up and say ‘Well I don’t think Jesus’ words, even words I say are clear, matter anyway’?

                      And where did *I* say that the only way to judge an act as morally objectionable is if Jesus explicitly mentioned it by name? I have been, throughout this entire conversation, *denying* the claim that Christian ‘religious belief’ must be drawn exclusively from bible quotes – I’ve cited apostolic tradition, Catholic teaching, natural law arguments and more.

                      Face it, James – you’re on the wrong side on this one. You’ve already said, when pressed, that people who sincerely believe it’s an offense to their religious beliefs should not be made to violate them – ergo, LGBT activists who demand a cake for a gay wedding from a baker whose religious beliefs tell them such cooperation is immoral are *in the wrong* for demanding that, and the state should *not* force the baker (or the photographer, or…) to supply the service. Your only concern is that this is a sincere belief, and not, say… some atheist who ‘just doesn’t like gays’ faking their conviction.

                      Sorry I knocked you off your moral high horse for a moment. Here’s some advice: don’t be so quick to get on it next time, because it’s not as stable a place to perch as you think.

                    • James Scott

                      >Yes, I think being forced by law to assist in a ceremony or act you find morally objectionable to be reprehensible. You think being DENIED a pastry is ‘persecution’.

                      With that Crude you have shown yourself to be in harmony with the liberals of old. Who once believed in civil liberties. James here supports tyranny.

                      This is the line of the night.

                    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

                      Civil liberties, say you?

                      “…all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open…” ~JFK Civil Rights announcement, 1963

                    • chicagorefugee

                      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … Congress December 15, 1791

                    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

                      Bigotry and schemes by the clergy to control society isn’t free exercise of religion. You’re just trying to establish religious “tyranny over the minds of man.”

                      “The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me…” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800

                    • James Scott

                      Your lack of moral courage by refusing to condemn this nonsense ill befits someone with so noble a first name.

                      If gay fascists can force me to bake them a cake or photograph their “wedding” then there is no limit to the almighty power of the state & thus nobody is safe.

                      Your view is astounding since in the end it will harm the very LBG persons you are trying to protect.

                    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

                      “…all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open…” ~JFK, 1963

                      Civil Rights Act of 1964 = fascism to bigots.

                    • chicagorefugee

                      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … December 15, 1791

                    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

                      Yep. And you don’t get to establish your religious bigotry.

                    • chicagorefugee

                      So you’ll just go ahead and establish your anti-Christian bigotry then?

                      Pardon me? I’m a bleedin’ agnostic. I just don’t like seeing tyrannical kcufs such as yourself bullying others just to see them squirm. Using the force of government to prohibit the free exercise of the religious beliefs of others.

                      IOW, I find you hypocritical and despicable.

                      “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” — Cardinal George

                    • Donalbain

                      If mixed race fascists can force me to bake them a cake or photograph their “wedding” then there is no limit to the almighty power of the state & thus nobody is safe.

                    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

                      Can you live up to America’s simple standards, Crude?

                      “…all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open…” ~John F. Kennedy, 1963 Civil Rights announcement

                      youtube.com/watch?v=4cSrvqYKQH8

                    • chicagorefugee

                      Yeah, we already knew you older Boomers – possibly the most destructive generation in American history – have a massive hardon for the Camelot dude. Still doesn’t make his words holy writ. Nor do they trump the First Amendment, though admittedly in this time of cultural decadence the judges will twist the law into whatever shape best suits their predetermined ends.

                      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … Congress December 15, 1791

                      PS – Goodness, you’re boring. And repetitive. Bless your heart, got a little OCD, have you?

                    • FallanFrank

                      Crude your tying this man up in knots its hard to watch maybe I will come back later when he has left in tears

          • Xavier

            Was that a no?

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          Xavier, if a man insisted on genitally mutilating a young male travel companion before departure (Acts 16:3)—while not using a modern glass tube to prevent the spread of STDs—what does that make him?

          Say the word!

          P.S. He’s your apostle, not mine. “Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Corypheus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” ~Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson’s Works, Vol. ii., p. 217)

      • James Scott

        >What I want to understand is why Christians want to insist in this particular narrow instance that they cannot provide services for people who do not adhere to their moral standards.

        You are so thick sir. The issue is Christians who don’t want to be forced into direct material co-opperation with evil & the State who thinks they have the power to run ruff shot over the consciences of said people and make them do such things.

        I hate to break it too you but I don’t believe an Atheist has to first prove to me he is reasonable in his dis-belief in the existence God before I recognize his right not to be forced to pray against his will or be forced to participate in a religious ceremony against his will. Freedom of religion & or conscience is inherent to humankind. It is not some external right granted by the almighty state.

        I don’t have to prove to either the likes of you or the state I am sincere in my faith. The brute fact of it’s existence is enough & you sir will not make me attend or support any religious activity I object too(specifically same sex marriage). I will resist you too your face and I will not submit to liberal fascists.

        • stuart32

          “You are so thick sir. The issue is Christians who don’t want to be forced into direct material co-opperation with evil & the State who thinks they have the power to run ruff shot over the consciences of said people and make them do such things.”

          There are a few problems here:

          “who thinks they have”. You have switched from a singular subject to a plural one in the same sentence. “To run ruff shot” should be “to run (or ride) roughshod”, i.e. to ride a horse with rough shoes. “Co-opperation” should have only one “p”.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          Your bigotry is what is fascist. Live up to this standard, especially if you style yourself a “libertarian”:

          “…all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open…” ~JFK ,1963

          That is how the free market rolls.

          • chicagorefugee

            Booring.

            Oh, I’d say your anti-Christian bigotry is pretty fascist itself. We can see you practically drooling at the prospect of being able to force those you hate to act in contravention to their beliefs.

            Scratch a leftist, find a fascist. It was ever thus.

            “Burn the heretic,” they screech, while insisting they have no religion motivations.

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … Congress December 15, 1791

            • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

              Anti-Christian? Sorry, I’m a Christian. And a registered Republican voter.

              Religious bigotry isn’t included in freely exercising your religion.

              You should go to our nation’s capital and visit a monument dedicated to hostility to your tyrannical ilk.

              “The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me…” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800

              • chicagorefugee

                You want to force people to violate their consciences, but I’m tyrannical?

                You, sir, are suffering from a severe case of cranio-rectal inversion.

                • FallanFrank

                  Its the thin edge of the wedge..we are suffering this in the UK…Christians who ran a guest house refused to accept two gay people staying in the same bedroom…but this also applied to heterosexuals who weren’t married…so they took them to court and the gays won their case.They also lost at the European court..religious freedom which has been around for centuries no longer applies if a secular law comes up against it.I could post up many more cases there is a drive against the Christian religion and Satan is having a field day but NOT FOR LONG

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    Different countries have different views about whether religious freedom includes the right to police the activities of others and demand that they conform to your own moral views. Should a supermarket be able to say that, because it opposes gluttony, it will not sell candy to someone who is overweight? It is challenging to find the balance in legislating things like this, and your treatment of this as a spiritual battle seems to miss the real spiritual battle, in which Satan has persuaded Christians to reject going the extra mile to help those they consider their enemies, and seek to discriminate against them and refuse them service instead.

                    • FallanFrank

                      Im afraid its liberal Christians like you who have now made the sin of homosexuality an acceptable practise and noticed you sided with those who went out of their way to take legal action against Christians…God will not forget such a response. This isnt about going the extra mile what it really is about is the decline of the Christian church and those leaders who invite sin NOT SINNERS into His house and then proclaim its about the love of God. Jesus condemned sin when and wherever He found it but showed the sinner a better way to serve God. The first lie was by Satan to Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit and live forever it seems the lie is still being listened to.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      It is about the decline of Christendom and the inability of some Christians to cope with not being able to assume that their moral and religious preferences will be enshrined in law or accepted by everyone. The early Christians provided a lot of guidance for navigating this very situation. You should, instead of treating it idolatrously as though it were the words of God, actually read the advice it offers to other Christians in that context. You may find it helpful.

                    • FallanFrank

                      And the decline of Christendom I see is nothing to do with liberal leaders like you….you my friend are the blind leading the blind no wonder Jesus used His harshest words for such leaders…there will be a judgement unless of course you dont believe that either and you will have to give an account to God. Many will claim at the judgement to have done many things for God but Jesus will say get the away I NEVER KNEW YOU. You think yourself wise but You talk foolishness…will you change I doubt it those who walk the Pharisaical path never do

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you wish to assume that the critical evaluation Jesus offers will be aimed at me for being too inclusive in seeking to follow his example, you are free to do so. I would simply encourage you to not be so quick to assume that there is nothing similar that he might say to you, and that what he spells out in the Sermon on the Mount, such as going the extra mile when compelled to by those in power, when even going the one mile was oppressive, is what you are in fact doing.

                    • FallanFrank

                      By their fruits you will know them..you sir by your willingness to accept sin NOT SINNERS is not a good fruit

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      That’s pretty much what Paul’s opponents must have said to him about his acceptance of Gentiles, with their uncircumcised foreskins and their eating of food sacrificed to idols.

                    • The original Mr. X

                      “The early Christians provided a lot of guidance for navigating this very situation.”
                      Given that the early Christians were quite often prepared to be killed horribly rather than act wrongly, I somehow doubt that their advice would be “Roll over and do what the government says.”

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Indeed, it would be great if more Christians were willing to pay a price as high as forfeiting their church’s tax-exempt status in exchange for speaking out against how the poor and marginalized are often treated in our society, never mind the higher price that early Christians sometimes had to pay.

                  • R Vogel

                    Cue Sky Boyfriend…..

              • chicagorefugee

                A Christian? And a republican too?

                *pats head*

                Why bless your heart! Why of course I believe you ….

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

          “Christians who don’t want to be forced into direct material co-opperation with evil”….like serving interracial couples? Or mixed dining with colored?

          Just because you can wrap your bigotry in religion doesn’t mean it isn’t still bigotry. Or illegal.

          > the almighty state

          Actually, that totalitarian level of religious fascism is what you want, as Chapter 7, “The Ruler of the Whole World: The Invention of the Totalitarian State by the First Christian Emperor of Rome” in Jonathan Kirsch’s 2004 text God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism evidences.

    • Gary

      “No one’s calling for ‘putting people behind bars for being gay.”
      In Uganda they are. Supported by a select few of U.S. Fundamentalists.

      • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

        In Uganda they are. Supported by a select few of U.S. Fundamentalists.

        Great. To hell with Uganda, because that’s a rotten law. And to hell with the ‘select few’ fundamentalists supporting them too.

        But you know what? I’d like for gays and bisexuals and the like to be allowed to live and work in the US, tolerated. Able to work, able to live without being physically harassed, but at the same time allowing people who disapprove of same-sex marriage and same-sex sexual acts to ALSO live without fear and without being harassed. The problem is, James here – and others – are making it clear that ‘tolerance’ means ‘Christians get harassed for dissenting’.

        And at that point, you’re making it clear that this is close to a zero-sum game between “Progressives”/atheists and everyone else.

  • Xavier

    “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?”

  • cameronhorsburgh

    The point of all of this is that if the law requires you to make a cake against your religious principles, Jesus tells you to make two. Yet some here are insisting on baking none. Why can’t we just follow Jesus?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      “Fascism! Jesus was fascist! JFK was fascist!” ;)

      “…all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open…” ~JFK, 1963

      • chicagorefugee

        Yawn.

    • chicagorefugee

      All those silly martyrs, huh? If only they’d had your insight! They would have done double what their tormentors demanded and gone home free!

      • cameronhorsburgh

        Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the blazes are you talking about? Neither Jesus nor I said anything about getting home free.

        The martyrs did exactly what Jesus required and got exactly what Jesus predicted.

        • The original Mr. X

          Really? Judging by your comment and the OP, they should just have “gone the extra mile” and offered two sacrifices to the Emperor instead of one.

          • cameronhorsburgh

            Well, if that’s what Jesus said, it’s what Jesus said!

    • R Vogel

      I have yet to see any religion that comments on the making of cake. (But I may be interested in joining it if you find one) No one is being compelled to make cake, they are being told that if you advertise that you make cakes for weddings, that you must make cakes for weddings. If you only make birthday cakes, no ‘jack-booted thugs’ (see I used to be among that crowd in bygone days) are going to bust in and tell you you have to make a wedding cake ‘at gun point’. What is really going on here is they do not want to acknowledge that the term wedding now legally includes those where the participants are of the same sex. Just like how a few years ago the term ‘person’ was expanded to include people of color (and received similar treatment)

  • FallanFrank

    Its amazing how liberal Christian and the gay lobby seem to believe that to love a gay person is to accept the sin of homosexuality WRONG WRONG WRONG.He forgave the woman who people wanted to stone for her immorality but they forget He also said to her go and sin no more…in other words stop this sin of prostitution..He showed her love YES but condemned her sin

    • R Vogel

      Yawn.

  • The original Mr. X

    “When Jesus spoke of “walking the second mile,” he was referring to an oppressive Roman law that allowed a traveling Roman solider to demand that a stranger carry his pack for up to one mile. No doubt some of Jesus’ first listeners had been forced to do just that, to drop their farming equipment, fishing nets, or carpentry tools and carry a heavy pack, losing hours of work in the process.

    The law allowed the soldier to demand from them a mile, no more. Jesus told his followers to walk two.”
    The difference is that carrying somebody’s luggage isn’t an inherently sinful thing, whereas assisting in the commission of a grave moral evil is. There’s no reason whatsoever to think that Jesus would have told His followers to go above and beyond when being ordered to do something inherently morally wrong (“If a Roman agent asks you to inform on your family, inform on your neighbour’s family as well”?), nor is there any evidence that the early Church thought that Jesus’ words meant that we are to cooperate with evil.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I doubt that most of the Jews among Jesus’ followers would have felt that cooperating with the Romans was not cooperating with the range of their sinfulness, from the presence of their idolatrous military standards in the land to their very presence as occupiers.

      • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

        What you’re saying, James, is that when push comes to shove, a lot of Christians buckle rather than stand up to persecution – and darn it, why can’t EVERYone buckle.

        Also – I suppose you’d say that the Christian thing for gays to do in Russia would be to keep their mouths shut about ‘gay propaganda’?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Not at all. I do not see how providing the service one’s business specializes in for people with whom you disagree is equivalent to capitulation, much less to the sacrificing of pigs to the emperor. And why isn’t participation in a global network of commerce that increases the wealth of the already wealthy at the expense of the poor not a more important issue on which to take a stand? Why choose to “take a stand for Christian values” when it hurts the historically disenfranchised, but not when it involves a greater difference from the world, with the risk and cost that entails?

          • The original Mr. X

            “Why choose to “take a stand for Christian values” when it hurts the historically disenfranchised, but not when it involves a greater difference from the world, with the risk and cost that entails?”
            Why, I don’t know, James. Tell me, why don’t you go to Saudi Arabia and advocate for gay rights there, rather than sitting safely behind your keyboard in America?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Do you think that if someone from Saudi Arabia came here to advocate for something they thought was important, that would sort out our problems? Rarely can an outsider simply step into a foreign country and address issues in an appropriate manner, never mind solve them.

              But this seems to me to be an attempt to distract from the question I posed, which was about what we do in our own context.

              • The original Mr. X

                James, the one raising distractions here is you with your whataboutery. I was just showing how that sort of dust-kicking can easily be employed against you yourself.

      • The original Mr. X

        So why don’t we find the early Christians applying this standard more widely? “Yes, well, I know sacrificing a pig to the Emperor isn’t really Christian, but hey, Christ told us not to resist evil, so…”

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

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