Friday, 20 March 2015

When Rights Collide

The story of Ashers Bakery in Northern Ireland is well worth following.  A homosexual activist approached this Christian company and asked them to decorate a cake with a message in support of same sex marriage. They politely declined. The full weight of the system is now being brought down on them, via the Equality Commission.

Here you can see and hear the general manager of this family firm explain their position, and ask for prayers, both for them and those who persecute them.

If you wish to sign a letter in support of the bakery and their principled position, you may do so here.

This case opens up a fascinating, if fraught, legal minefield. According to the Christian Institute (here) Aidan O'Neill QC states that if Ashers loses there would also be no defence to similar actions being taken against other businesses in any of the following scenarios:
  • A Muslim printer refusing a contract requiring the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed
  • An atheist web designer refusing to design a website presenting as scientific fact the claim that God made the world in six days
  • A Christian film company refusing to produce a “female-gaze/feminist” erotic film
  • A Christian baker refusing to take an order to make a cake celebrating Satanism
  • A T-shirt company owned by lesbians declining to print T-shirts with a message describing gay marriage as an “abomination”
  • A printing company run by Roman Catholics declining an order to produce adverts calling for abortion on demand to be legalised.
At issue here is a conflict of perceived rights. The court is being asked to declare that the right to act in accordance with one's conscience, in a way that does no harm to another beyond denying approval of a belief system, is less important than the right of someone with a particular point of view not to have to confront the reality that some people disagree with him.

My fear is that it will do so.

So pray for the bakers, the court, and the litigants.

Fiat voluntas tua.

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