This is not the first time it’s happened, and likely it won’t be the last: An Oregon baker who identifies as ‘Christian’ has refused to bake a cake for a couple who identify as ‘lesbian’.
The two women took the Christian to court, and now the Christian has to pay them $150,000 in damages.
O, woe is me! What’s a Christian in modern-day America to do? Attacked on all sides by the heathen, and now being undermined by court decisions!
Was the baker right in refusing to bake the cake for the lesbians on the grounds that it violates his religious beliefs? Or, more accurately – was the Christian right in refusing to serve a non-Christian? Because that’s what it boils down to: a Christian refusing to serve a non-Christian.
What does God say about this?
Jesus says that his followers have come to serve, not to be served.
Paul says that we are to do all things as unto God.
The baker has a job to do: that job is to bake cakes. The job is not to bake cakes only for people who identify as Christians but for all people who walk through the door of his bakery.
Let’s role-play here for a moment. We’re all bakers working in a small family-run bakery. We love our job and we’re good at it. In fact we’re so good at it, we have the reputation for being the best bakers in town.
Then one day, two women stroll hand-in-hand into our shop. Gleefully, they announce that they’re lesbians, they’re getting married to each other, and they want us to bake their wedding cake. Now, we suspect they’ve targeted our bakery as being owned and operated by Christians, and we also suspect that they think we’ll refuse to bake their cake, thereby finding grounds to sue us and walk away with a court-ordered pay-out. But SEEING THE WOMEN AS OUR EQUALS AND AS EQUALLY LOVED BY GOD AS JESUS IS LOVED, we thank them for choosing our bakery for their special occasion, we diligently take their order, and we promise them we’ll bake them the best cake they’ve ever had. And then, as they turn to leave, we wish them a wonderful day, just as we wish all our customers a wonderful day, and we let them know that if they need anything else to go along with their wedding cake, we’d be more than happy to provide it.
The two women look slightly stunned as they make their way out the door. They stop holding hands, and the last we see of them, they’re walking slowly down the sidewalk, deep in thought.
Meanwhile, we thank God for trusting us enough to send us these women, and pray that they make the kinds of choices in their lives that will bring them to know and love God the way we do. We don’t tell the women we’re praying for them; we don’t tell anyone we’re praying for them: we just do it.
Then the phone rings. It’s one of the women. She says they’ve decided to go with another baker for their wedding cake. We thank her for letting us know, and wish her all the best.
Every day, every one of us ‘serves’ people who are not born-again. Bakers should be no different. The so-called Christian baker was not acting very Christian in refusing to bake the cake on “religious grounds”. Even worse, he lost a God-given opportunity to demonstrate what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. The best we can take from this sorry tale is to learn from the Oregon baker’s mistake and not make the same mistake ourselves.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.