Ashers Baking Co. in Northern Ireland were taken to court for refusing to decorate a cake with the words “Support Gay Marriage” because it went against their Christian beliefs. The judge ruled this was discriminatory and Ashers lost.
With this ‘progressive’ ruling passed, I’m off to Golders Green to get my “Support Hamas” bagels; then to the Muslim printers with my “Muhammad is a False Prophet” leaflet and not forgetting my “The Bible Calls Homosexual Practice Sin” T Shirt from that place with the rainbow flag outside.
I admit that last slogan could be catchier.
OK, so I’m not really in the market for bagels or T shirts, but the printing example is not that hypothetical. I do need leaflets for my Christian bookstall, and I really do think Muhammad is a false prophet. And my local printer is a Muslim! Nice guy called Asad actually: we’ve already had a good chat about the gospel.
Let’s say I take my (imaginary) leaflet to Asad for printing and he says ‘No thank you. I can’t print this. It goes against what I believe.’
What are my options?
Option 1. Accept politely and take my business elsewhere. Maybe have a friend round and offload. Move on.
Option 2. Use this opportunity to have a lively discussion about why he believes what he does. What qualifies Muhammad for prophet-hood when he didn’t know the name of YHWH? (Deuteronomy 18:20) Why couldn’t he discern between the voice of God and Satan in his revelations? (Sura 53:19-20, Ibn Ishaq pp165-166) Why did he think it OK to kill whole tribes and take their women for himself? (Sahih Bukhari 3:46: 717) Talk to him about why I believe that Jesus is way, way better. That kind of thing.
If he’s still not convinced by my arguments, thank him for his willingness to discuss uncomfortable subjects. Then take my business elsewhere.
Option 3. Give full rein to my feelings of personal affrontedness. Convince myself that his disagreement is discrimination because I’m a Christian, which Asad didn’t even realise because this is Option 3 not Option 2. Confuse everyone into thinking this is about discrimination, which it would be, if Asad had put a sign in his window saying “No Infidels”, which Asad, being a reasonable person, didn’t do. Convince the lawyers that because Asad has printed pictures of the tooth fairy on dentists’ leaflets, despite not believing in toothfairianism, printing the words “Muhammad is a false prophet” is not much of a stretch.
Dupe the entire legal system into thinking all views are equal, only some views are more equal than others. Win the case. Then land Asad a bill for £80k worth of legal costs. So not only have I legally coerced Asad into promoting a message he doesn’t believe in, I’ve probably put him out of business as well!
Is this not a glorious victory for the Lord Jesus? Er, no.
Has Option 3 changed Asad’s mind about Muhammad or Jesus? Not at all. Instead it makes him think Christianity is form of totalitarianism. Does the Equality Commission win? No, they just look like the thought police.
And what have I gained? Well, now the law’s on my side, I can get anyone to write any of my favourite slogans (they’re not really, people, I’m just making a point here): so what if they have tears in their eyes?
In the Ashers case, even gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell agrees with me.
In short, I am all about Option 2. We are surrounded by people who think differently: let’s talk honestly and openly about what these differences are.
Let’s not be afraid to criticise ideologies while being gracious to those who adhere to them.
Let’s have a debate and all go to dinner afterwards. And don’t forget – there are lots of countries in the world where just questioning Muhammad is a death sentence, let alone printing a leaflet about him. Either we treasure the freedom we to defend or criticise each others beliefs, or we get judicially-sponsored censorship.
And if you want to know what that’s like, just ask Asia Bibi.
Lizzie Schofield lives in London, works for Pfander Apologetics and a debates regularly with Muslims at Speakers’ Corner.
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4 thoughts on “Cakes, prophets and freedom of belief – by Lizzie Schofield”
thanks so much Lizzie – brilliantly put
So when conscience collides with discrimination law, the latter wins? So were the reverse to happen and a gay baker was asked to bake for a Christian couple a cake with the slogan ‘protect traditional man/woman marriage’ then could the Christian couple sue for discrimination? I am very sure that common sense will be applied to absolve the gay couple of all blame.
In either scenario, we will be able to identify clearly that there was no intent to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality or religion, because if it were a bland or generic cake they would have gladly obliged. The refusal was on the grounds of conscience. In this instance the couple drew the line and did not fulfil the request to make that specification of cake, not because of who was asking, but on the grounds of what was being asked – simple.
Nice article, cogentlly put (Now polite applause).
Seriously? The P.C. thought police a.k.a. Guardian/Private Eye at al readership plus Stonewall and the LBGTQ communtity are after you (and any Christian who dares to believe that book(?) The Bible or that Jesus The Christ of God, Redeemed, didn’t just come to pose as a baby on Christmas cards and other “fluffy stuff”).
Let’s face it: their argument is: morality and piety have well had their day. Belief in gods and fairy tales is fine as long as you keep it indoors and between consenting adults and don’t challenge my sexuality or my identity.
My counter blast is: well, I do believe in God and in His Divine Incarnation as The Son Jesus and an important part of that is being the salt and light Jesus asked us to be and arresting what I see as moral corruption in my society (‘Coz if I did nothing, that would be very un-loving towards you guys [those objecting to this message]) as well as stating clearly The Gospel of Jesus calling for repentance, faith in God The Father and The Son and His Vicarious Death and to share in (the best bit, the Icing on His Cake) His Resurrection and Eternal Life!
[I’ll let you look up all the Christian Scriptures referenced there. I just find that too damn tedious!]
This, both in history and in theodicy, have, has and is the weight of the Church’s burdens and argument since the original Pentecost Sunday back when.
The two problems as I see them (and why a Belfast baker got slated by said media and courts and his like will do again and again) are that we, the church, do not take the Grand Commission seriously enough (both in history and right now) and we have little or no passion or identity (identifying) connection with our beliefs or for that matter with Our Lord and Crucified (check that out: real martyrdom) Saviour.
If we had, then the P.C. brigade and the judiciary would be running scared of we True Christians and not the so called G.A.Y. or Muslim (or any other religious [that includes atheists Mr Dawkins] populations.
P.S. Crosswalking is good for your health! Check Arthur Blessit & his web site! 🙂 Jesus loves you!