A Christian Case For Gay Wedding Cakes

On December 9, a Colorado judge ruled that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law when he refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Phillips, a Christian who affirms a traditional definition of marriage, said that baking the cake would violate his religious beliefs. Some have framed the case as an assault by the gay lobby upon the religious liberties of conservative Christians. In scenes that recall the Chick-Fil-A flap in 2012, Christians have responded by lining up outside Masterpiece Cakeshop to show their support for the owner’s “First Amendment right” to not participate in the celebration of a same sex wedding. The expansion of same sex marriage certainly raises important religious liberty questions, but what saddens me is how little biblical or theological reflection by Christians I have heard online or on the airwaves in the wake of the court’s ruling. Instead I’ve encountered a torrent of conservative political cliches and anti-liberal talking points. “This is America,” one radio host said, “a business owner should be free to serve or not serve whomever he wishes.” Another Christian called the court ruling “an attack on our first and greatest freedom.” (I assume he was speaking of the First Amendment and not the freedom won for us by Christ’s death and resurrection.) Agree or disagree with the politics of the ruling, Christians should not merely interpret the wedding cake case through the lens of the culture wars. We must consider how Scripture and Christian values would have us live beside our LGBT neighbors.

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