I recently came upon this quote by blogger Amethyst Marie:
“What I’m really sick of is the “Would you expect a black caterer to work a KKK event?” or “Would you expect a Jewish baker to make a swastika cake?” rhetoric. First of all, you shouldn’t have to be black or Jewish to find the KKK or neo-Nazis offensive. Second, WTF is up with this analogy? When have LGBT ever banded together to terrorize, imprison, torture, lynch, or commit genocide against Christians? If anything, the analogy should be reversed. Although reversing it would still be ignoring the biggest problem with it—LGBT and Christian are not mutually exclusive identities.”
This was such a colossally good point that I realized I had write a blog post about it.
By way of background, in recent years some evangelical bakers, caterers, and photographers have objected to offering their services for gay weddings. Some states (and courts) have banned this as discrimination based on sexual orientation. Evangelicals have objected, arguing that they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs (i.e., their opposition to gay marriages).
As Amethyst notes, evangelicals have asked whether we would expect a Jewish bakers to bake a cake with a swastika on it. As many have pointed out, this comparison is disingenuous because it involves making a cake with a symbol of hate on it, which is a far cry from simply selling a couple a wedding cake. A more fair comparison would be to ask whether a Jewish baker would be allowed to refuse to sell someone a wedding cake because they are a member of the KKK. The answer to that question is clearly no. If you sell wedding cakes, you sell wedding cakes.
But what Amethyst points out in her comment is that the comparison is disingenuous for another reason—it has the actors exactly backwards. If you wanted to make an accurate analogy, you would ask whether a Nazi baker should have to sell wedding cakes to Jewish customers, and whether a white caterer who is a member of the KKK can decline to serve black events. That rather turns things around, doesn’t it?
For decades now, evangelical Christians have opposed gay rights. They have painted gay people as dangerous, as child molesters, and as incapable of forming loving relationships. They have argued against efforts to protect gay children from bullying and have inflicted “conversion therapies” that include electric shock on gay teens and adults. They have opposed gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals’ right to marry and continue to lobby against local nondiscrimination ordinances.
And yet, in spite of all of this, comparing an evangelical baker asked to make a wedding cake for a gay couple with a Jewish baker asked to make a cake with a swastika on it puts the evangelical in the position of the party that has been hated, exiled, and killed for who they are. And indeed, this is exactly what evangelicals are trying to do. They want to paint themselves as the ones who are discriminated against, oppressed by the all-powerful gay lobby.If you think I’m exaggerating, watch this video of evangelical author Kevin Swanson advertising his new book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-I5yqM5ff4
Yes, that’s right, the video shows Swanson fifteen years in the future, in prison for his evangelical beliefs. And Swanson isn’t the only one! Numerous evangelical leaders have stated that evangelicals are soon going to be rounded up into prison camps for their belief that homosexuality is sin. Evangelicals see themselves as the persecuted minority, going so far as to describe the rainbow flag as a flag of hatred.
First of all, there are still people in the U.S. who are overtly racist, and they haven’t been rounded up or imprisoned. There are forums across the internet where racists spew hate, and even organizations arguing that the South should secede and become a bastion of Anglo-Celtic culture, and no one is even talking about rounding their leaders up and jailing them. Pastors are allowed to refuse to marry interracial couples because of their belief in the separation of the races, and some still do! In the same way, evangelicals are not going to be arrested for believing that homosexuality is sin.
Next, evangelicals have not been transformed into a suddenly powerless minority by this summer’s Supreme Court decision. Far from it! Evangelicals are still working to limit LGBT rights, primarily by opposing nondiscrimination ordinances. And indeed, evangelicals still have a great deal of political power! The majority of the U.S. land mass is not governed by laws banning discrimination against gays, and evangelicals are often still able to defeat proposals for passing such ordinances. Forced gay conversion therapy practiced on minors is still legal across most of the country, and it still happens.
Next time you hear someone compare an evangelical baker being forced to bake a cake for a gay couple to a Jewish baker being forced to bake a swastika flag for a Nazi customer, turn the example around and whether a Nazi baker should be allowed to refuse to serve Jewish customers. You might just surprise someone and cause them a moment of reflection.