While Christians are being slaughtered throughout the Middle East; while their churches are being burned; yea, while women and homosexuals are being stoned to death, we now learn that what really arouses the ire of Western liberals is that gay couples in America have to trudge yards, sometimes blocks, to purchase their wedding cakes.
Since The Wizard of Oz is one of the favourite films of homosexual audiences, allow me to slightly amend Dorothy’s famous line: “I don’t think we’re in Indiana anymore.” No, Indiana, Kansas, and the entire Western world have apparently been swept up by a politically correct whirlwind into a-–let’s hope the sensitivity police aren’t reading this–fairyland Oz, in which the wicked witch of Christianity is dead, and somewhere over the rainbow flag we will all arrive at a paradise of sexual diversity, equity, and peace.
Item. Indianapolis, Indiana. 2013. A Baptist couple was forced to close the doors of their bakery after they declined, in obedience to their Christian religious faith, to provide a cake for a gay wedding. (Rather than trying any of the dozens of other proximate establishments that would have been only too happy to comply with his request–and thereby proclaim their sexual open-mindedness to the liberal beau monde–, the “groom” went straight to the media instead.) Item. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 2006-2013; appeal pending. A small photography studio owned by a Christian couple declined a request to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony, referring the homosexual petitioners to other photographers in the area. The gay “bride” and “groom” immediately complained to the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which convicted the photographers of discrimination on the grounds of “sexual orientation” (even though their portfolio included portraits of a number of homosexual individuals). The New Mexico HRC levied a fine of thousands of dollars. Item. Washington State, appeal pending. When a female florist declined a request to arrange flowers for a same-sex wedding because it violated her Christian belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, the gay couple filed a complaint, which led to a suit against the florist by the State Attorney-General, a court order, and thousands of dollars in fines. The gay couple had been longstanding customers of the flower shop. Item. Denver, Colorado. 2012-2013. Another Christian bakery, another gay wedding, another demurral on the grounds of religious conscience, another complaint, another conviction and fine. Item. Oregon. 2013. Ibid (even though Oregon law defines marriage as between a man and a woman). In addition to substantial fines, the Christian couple was subjected to media protests, boycotts, violent demonstrations, and death threats, forcing them to close their bakeshop in September of 2013. Item. Indiana. 2015. In part to forestall the above, the Indiana legislature tabled their defense of religious liberty act, whereupon the NCAA, the NBA, Walmart, and Apple threatened to boycott the State. Leaving aside the fact that multinational corporations like Apple have no moral qualms about doing business with such human rights utopias as China, not to mention gay-friendly Saudi Arabia, in other circumstances liberals might be heard to remonstrate solemnly about “caving in to big business”. Unsurprisingly, the pusillanimous Governor of Indiana caved in to Big Gay, leaving one to wonder whether “gay bashing” oughtn’t now to be understood as gays bashing Christians. (I for one am re-thinking my opposition to gay-straight alliances in schools, as a prophylactic against bullying.)
It seems like really bad luck that the betrothed of the gay community keep stumbling into evangelical Christian establishments. If I were a typically paranoid right-wing, racist, sexist homophobe, I might well suspect that what we are dealing with here is an organized campaign deliberately targeting Christians. Somehow gay brides and grooms never wander into shops that turn out to be owned by Muslims. But then Muslims are rather less complacent about their religious freedoms than Christians. And it’s multicultural bad form to haul Muslims up before Western human rights tribunals, where in any case, gay activists can never be sure that, in the inevitable clash of progressive sensitivities, the liberal establishment will come down on their side.
A thought experiment (sounding too much like a bad joke): A fundamentalist Christian pastor walks in to a bakery owned by a homosexual activist. “We’re holding a prayer vigil at our local church”, he says to the proprietor. “I’ll be preaching against sin. We’d like a cake that reads–in rainbow-coloured icing, if you don’t mind–‘GOD ABOMINATES BUGGERY; SODOMITES ARE GOING TO HELL’. When can you have it ready, and how much will it cost?”
How do you imagine the gay baker might respond? “Well, sir, your request violates the deepest stratum of my moral conscience; but thank you for choosing Puff Pastries R Us. That’ll be $21.95 with tax. Your cake will be ready in the morning.”
Not a chance. He’d indignantly refuse. He’d be mortally offended by this insult to his most deeply held beliefs. And rather than being prosecuted for discriminating against his customer on the grounds of religion, he’d be universally celebrated for standing up for the “rights” of his fellow homosexuals. (Meanwhile the Christian pastor’s sketch of the cake would be impounded as evidence in his trial for hate speech.)
Now surely everyone should recognize that it is unreasonable to demand that a gay shopkeeper lend his labour to a Christian cause that is abhorrent to him. Why, then, should a Christian business owner’s services be conscripted by the State into the celebration of a gay marriage that is a profound affront to both his moral and religious conscience?
In the Gay American Wedding Cake Affair, the sanctimonious hypocrisy of liberals, normally epidemic, has become self-satirizing. The way, for one, in which the Axis of Progress has turned the words “tolerance” and “diversity” on their heads must make the superannuated propagandists of the former Soviet Ministry of Truth green with envy. In ordinary language, toleration denotes an acceptance of differing and often conflicting beliefs and world-views; it means, amongst other things, the toleration of moral criticism, social disapprobation, and polite demurral. But for homosexual militants, tolerance has come to mean State-coerced approval of gay desiderata, along with State-enforced intolerance of traditional Christian beliefs and norms. One might say that gays want to eat their cake of diversity (to masticate it into a happy homogenous mush of ideological conformity) and have it too.
I’m loath to invoke another cliché, but for inclusionist gays, tolerance is an exclusively one-way street. An accommodating heterosexual majority has made same-sex marriage legal, and enshrined LGBT propaganda in the classroom from kindergarten to graduate school. All universities now have departments of Queer Studies; and with Kathleen Wynne’s sex-education curriculum about to begin next September for first-graders, the registrars of those departments can look forward to a bumper enrollment in another twelve years or so. Already in universities across North America, posted above doorways, seating areas, and even the cubicles in male washrooms—which must surely puzzle the officers of the law–, are precious little signs declaring each zone a “gay and lesbian positive space”. Of course, the apparatchiks of the Ministry of Cultural Diversity and Good Vibes who come up with these schemes never stop to consider that gay and lesbian positive spaces are negative spaces for traditional Christians, Jews, or Muslims: direct rebukes to their religious beliefs and moral sensibilities. (Liberalism is all about not offending people; unless, that is, they are conservatives). But having so conceded the dominant culture to homosexual activists, must Christians now also bake their nuptial cakes, decorate their matrimonial chambers, and design their bridal gowns? In the spirit of tolerance and diversity, can’t gays leave Christians alone to run their businesses and live their lives as their consciences dictate?
In the West, the crusade for homosexual equality and “rights” is merely the latest front in a secular liberal jihad against Christianity that has been underway for half a century now. The ayatollahs of liberal enlightenment cannot abide the fact that infidel Christians continue to blaspheme against the alternative gay lifestyle. They tolerate no reciprocal right to the prosecution of a non-alternative lifestyle, not even the right to decline to participate in the sanctification of practices that Christians, along with the millions of other adherents of the world’s three major religions, have regarded as sinful for millennia. It seems quaint to recall that freedom of religion was the galvanizing aspiration and seminal project of the founders of Western democracy. Today, the Established Irreligion of liberal democracy has effectively restricted the exercise of non-conformist religions to inside the narthex. Christians are free to attend services in the morning, but must forget everything they have heard and done there once they exit the church doors for the workplace or the public square. As Mark Steyn has quipped, gays and liberals don’t mind people being Christians, as long they keep their Christianity in the closet. Atheists and other critics of religion have always accused its adherents of hypocrisy; but for the first time in history, it is considered a virtue (indeed, an obligation) not to practice what you preach.
Meanwhile, gays are also the most recent of the fully-accredited victim groups in our society to be granted immunity from criticism. The mildest dissent from the gay agenda—a politician’s refusal, for instance, to attend the local Gay Pride Parade, the common-sensical observation of a link between homosexuality and AIDS, or the slightest mockery of the gay lifestyle–will be met with the same sanctimonious outrage as evinced in the fundamentalist Muslim world by criticism of the Prophet. No bombs will explode and no infidels will be killed, but the soft-totalitarian slur of “homophobe” will be enough to put careers, businesses, and reputations in jeopardy. Jobs will be lost, apologies will be demanded, speech will be censored (or self-censored), and another layer in that suffocating blanket of political correctness will be wrapped around the corpse of democratic liberty.