Earlier this year a bakery in Oregon refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple citing their religious beliefs. You can understand the outrage that ensued, and on Saturday they closed their shop saying they would be moving the bakery to an in-home business.
But they left a sign on the door:
“This fight is not over,” the sign read, according to the report. “We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart.”
Your religious freedoms grant you the right to worship unimpeded by the government so long as the actions prescribed by your faith don’t run afoul of our secular laws. If your faith told you to kill a child once a month, for instance, saying you’re not allowed to do that is not an infringement on your religious liberty. Other people are not obligated to abase themselves in deference to your religion, and it’s not your right to have them do so.
Ditto with discrimination laws. If you are not allowed to refuse service to a person based on the color of their skin, you are likewise not allowed to deny them service based on which set of genitalia they find appealing. Religious freedom does not amount to immunity from the law, and it’s a rather shoddy trick to frame that as “not being allowed to practice our faith”. If your faith tells you to break the law, too bad.
And if the LORD (all caps, so you know he’s the almighty) tells you to engage in behavior that punishes love and leads to societal discord (as discrimination always has), then god is not good – and if you continue to serve a master who demands such behavior, then your faith has negatively impacted how good you might otherwise be.
This is why we wish to see religion dead. Imagine if the boldness of these bakers were turned toward equality rather than an outdated moral code, or to the products of reason rather than faith. This is what humanity misses out on due to religion.
The shop’s closing came on the heels of news that the lesbian couple that Klein rejected had filed a complaint with the state, alleging that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation, according to Oregon Live.
In response to the complaint, the bakery’s co-owner Melissa Klein argued that turning away the couple was “definitely not discrimination at all.”
“We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she said in August. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs. It’s so frustrating because we went through all of this in January, when it all came out.”
Only in a mind polluted by faith could someone equate “refusing service to someone based on some aspect of them that causes zero disturbance” with “definitely not discrimination at all”. And after you read “We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals” did anybody else think “…we just don’t want them as patrons on account of their homosexuality”?
Her remarks echoed sentiments her husband Aaron shared with NBC earlier this year. “I think [the state labor commissioner] is going to have decide what’s more important: The Oregon State Constitution, or the statute that was passed in 2007,” he said at the time. “They dropped the ball by not putting in any exemption for religious beliefs.”
No, no they didn’t. Wearing a cross does not absolve you from following the laws that bind everybody else. You don’t get to steal if your religious beliefs say you can do so, and you don’t get to discriminate because your religious beliefs say you must do so. Nobody dropped the ball by not making religious people above the law. The hubris of these people…