Gay Cake Ashers
Civil Liberties

‘Gay cake’ case comes to court

This is a guest post by Peter Lynas – Director of the Northern Ireland Evangelical Alliance and a former barrister. Peter tweets at @peterlynas.

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Today and tomorrow (26-27th March 2015), the ‘gay cake’ case is being heard in Belfast. For those who haven’t been following the story, a family bakery declined an order for a cake bearing the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ as it would be against their Christian beliefs to bake such a cake. The bakery, owned by the McArthur family, is named Ashers after one of Jacob’s sons blessed for his bread and delicacies. Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist who ordered the cake, is taking a case against the bakery claiming discrimination, and is supported by the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland.

Of course the case is not about a ‘gay cake’ – it has very little to do with sexuality or gay rights. The McArthurs did not know the sexual orientation of the customer. They would have turned down a heterosexual customer ordering the same cake. They discriminated against an idea, not a person, and this distinction is important. The law allows the first as an important part of a healthy democratic society, if for no other reason than that some ideas are bad. But you cannot generally discriminate between people, and rightly so.

However, the Equality Commission has alleged that Ashers are not only guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation but also on the grounds of religion and political opinion. It is these latter grounds that may prove more problematic in the Ashers case. The Commission is suggesting that views on gay marriage, which is not legal in NI, equate to political opinions. The irony is that the Commission, a supposedly neutral quango, states on its website that it supports the introduction of legislation permitting same-sex marriage in NI. The Commission therefore has political opinions and is far from neutral on this matter. In fact, they appear to be actively policing the views of others.

It is reported that the fact that the McArthur family’s stance was motivated by their faith was enough for the Commission to make this a case of religious discrimination as well. The religion of the customer was irrelevant to their being served, so it is difficult to see where the discrimination is. If this ground succeeds it would seem that a baker who declined a cake for non-religious reasons would be legally entitled to do so, while a baker who declined for faith reasons would be guilty of an offence.

Equality is important, but it must be held in tension with rights and responsibilities and in the context of the much richer notions of dignity and justice. When equality becomes the sole lens through which a situation is viewed, distortions like the Ashers case can occur.

The question is whether everyone’s freedom of conscience, religion and belief is more important than any one person’s right not to be offended. Put another way – can you force someone to express an opinion they disagree with? ComRes have conducted polling in Northern Ireland for the Christian Institute who are supporting the case. It found that 90% of respondents agree that equality laws should be used only to protect people from discrimination and not to force people to say something they disagree with.

This case is not about special protection for Christians. If it is lost, conscience and religion will have been effectively banished from the public square. The Equality Commission would decide which political and religious views are acceptable and which are not. The Chief Commissioner said last week that Christians should “either look at the law or maybe that (baking) is not the business they should be in”. His suggested solution that Christians should effectively stop being printers, florists or bakers is very worrying.

Finally, as the case heads into the courtroom, it gives us a chance to reflect on how we should exercise our conscience in all areas of business – from the living wage to ethical supply chains. Towards the end of his life, the late John Stott grew concerned about selective discipleship – “choosing those areas in which commitment suits us and staying away from those areas in which it will be costly”. If Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of all and we don’t get to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to His authority.

  • The Chief Commissioner said last week that Christians should “either look at the law or maybe that (baking) is not the business they should be in”. His suggested solution that Christians should effectively stop being printers, florists or bakers is very worrying.

    To that list add registrars and B & B proprietors. I quoted Revelation 13:16 on another thread. It seems to be very apt here as well.
    If a baker refuses to sell bread, buns or cakes to someone solely on the grounds that he is homosexual (or anything else), that is discrimination. To decline to make a cake with a logo that supports something one disagrees with is not discrimination.

    • Albert

      To decline to make a cake with a logo that supports something one disagrees with is not discrimination.

      No, it’s freedom. Freedom is what is on trial today.

  • MenAreLikeWine

    I am confident that Ashers will lose their case. Not because they are wrong, but because our nation has become immoral.

    • Dominic Stockford

      One the one hand I agree – on the other I believe that sometimes, just sometimes, God does something extraordinary.

    • I agree. And, with the best will in the world, I think the article reads as though it was written 5 years ago. Truths do not change of course, but there is a level of naivety here that does not bode well. The State is no longer interested in the truth.

      Asher’s best case is to declare there to be no such thing as a marriage between two adults of the same sex – if by ‘marriage’ we mean the thing which has been lived out by one man and one woman since the year dot. They should have told Mr Lee that he is being lied to. That would have been kind. Instead they adopted the very position the State wishes us to – that it’s all a matter of opinion and belief.

  • A UKIP government would abolish this wretched quango and many others like it and the bullying, Marxist , Statist laws they thrive on.

    On May 7th we have one last shot at reclaiming and preserving our liberties, if we don’t take it as a nation then we will have chosen to embrace serfdom and the thought police. There will be some 2 million more immigrants on the electoral register by the next ‘election’ in 2020, and maybe votes for 16 year olds too. There hasn’t been an opportunity like this in my lifetime and there won’t be another, we will be too far down the beast’s throat by 2020.

    In my Kindle novel ‘Darwin’s Adders:A Chronicle of Pagan England 2089’ I envisage the Bible and all Christian literature being outlawed on mental health and child protection grounds under a new act called the ‘Freedom from All Religious Terror law’ introduced after litigation from people who said biblically induced fear of hell was responsible for mental health problems and ruining their lives. Narnia stories banned for same reason.

    Its an increasingly credible scenario. This, and the Taunton street preacher case going down, while a million petition for vulgar entertainer Jeremy Clarkson….

    • Anton

      A massive financial crash that puts an end to government subsidy of evil and causes the British people perforce to take responsibility for themselves again is a happier scenario. To which I believe the alternative by 2089 will be sharia.

      But yes, UKIP is the one party that has shown any interest in abolishing this evil quango. Has it actually said that it would get rid?

      • I cannot swear to it but I am pretty certain. It seems to me that freedom of thought, speech and conscience (and their abolition by an ever more demanding State) are the biggest issues that are not being discussed at this election. The phrase ‘sleepwalking into serfdom’ comes to mind.

        • Coniston

          And if you dare to think there are obvious differences
          between people – the two sexes (please, stop using the word ‘gender’), nations, races, cultures, civilisations, religions, etc, one thing is certain: you will never be appointed to an ‘Equality’ Commission. You will probably be in prison. (As an afterthought, I do believe there are differences between nations, races and civilisations, but these are not static – they can change over time. The culture and ‘civilisation’ of this
          country is obviously declining, and I am not putting this, or much of it, down to immigration. It was the decadence of our ruling elite which led to the belief in a ‘multicultural‘ society – which is a contradiction in terms. A society is defined by its culture).

    • vsscoles

      2029 is more likely than 2089 – and possibly 2019…. the hard left are already demanding “safe” places for adherents of outlandish and immoral views and lifestyles – by which they mean one party states and institutions from which everyone else is excluded. Already prevalent on US campuses, and heading here like a vengeful tornado.

      • preacher

        You mean a bit like Sodom & Gomorrah?

        • vsscoles

          Except that the fire and brimstone is poured out on the cake makers, the heterosexual couples, and the B&B owners…

  • William Lewis

    Conflating heterosexual and homosexual relationships in the concept of marriage is not enough for the new homosexual hegemony. We are required to bow down to the concept too – or else loose our livelihoods.

  • Anton

    Pray!

  • IanCad

    I guess even poor old Ezekiel would have his bakery shut down were he around today.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I seem to remember that God baked those who tried…

  • Albert

    This is just another example of the enemies of freedom imposing themselves on others.

    And that could be extended. The ghettoisation of religious minorities should concern everyone. It is wrong in itself (perhaps the equalities people should think of that), but it divides society and leads to harm to common good.

    Fortunately this world is passing away. Stupid liberalism is passing away even faster under the weight of its own vacuity and self-contradiction. The only questions are how much harm will be done before it passes away, and what will replace it?

    • Owl

      Albert,

      what a lovely phrase: “the equalities people”
      They are definitely another breed, nothing to do with mankind or, dare I say, your average Brit.

  • Arden Forester

    The rather nasty element in all this is that the PC brigade have “limits”. It is OK for a gay man to go into a Christian baker’s shop and demand something is done which may upset the baker but it is not OK for someone to enter a Halal baker and ask for a gelatine product to be plastered all over a cake.

  • Linus

    No business can be compelled to supply products they do not stock. So you can’t force a kosher delicatessen or a halal butcher to sell you pork. But the bakery in question does supply the product that was ordered: a decorated cake. The bakery’s owner refused to honour the order because he objected to the message on the cake rather than the cake itself.

    This is a clear denial of a service that the business habitually provides, i.e. the manufacture and supply of decorated cakes, based on the political views of the customer.

    UK law does not, to the best of my knowledge, permit you to deny service to others because of what they believe, unless doing so will force you to commit a crime, or unless the request itself constitutes a crime. If a radical Muslim walks into a Jewish bakery and demands a cake celebrating the recent Paris terrorist attacks, the baker is justified in refusing his order as it constitutes not only anti-Semitic harassment, but also infringes the law that forbids the promotion of terrorist activities.

    A cake bearing an image of Bert and Ernie and slogans advocating the legalisation of equal marriage in Ulster breaks no laws. It is not a crime to lobby for a change in the law. It also does not harass anyone. Equal marriage laws will not prevent anyone who can marry under the present unequal Ulster law from marrying in the future. It merely advocates extending that right to others. There is no anti-Christian statement being made, so the baker cannot claim protection from religious discrimination.

    What this baker is asking for is permission to pick and choose who he serves. If he wins his case then don’t be surprised to see a return to the bad old days of signs in shop windows reading “whites only” or “no Jews served here”. I personally believe the courts will think long and hard about according this right because of the consequences that could flow from it. But anything is possible in odd and anomalous territories like Ulster with its polarized society and history of religious and poltical extremism.

    • Albert

      What this baker is asking for is permission to pick and choose who he serves.

      That is simply not true and you haven’t presented an argument to support that assertion.

    • Athanasius

      Legally, every tradesman may pick and choose whom he serves. The law calls it “offer and acceptance” and it’s a necessary prerequisite to any contract. The customer makes the offer, the tradedman is free to accept or reject. There is today a phenomenon which may be termed “gatekeeperism”, the notion that if you can control the levers of administration, you can use them to twist that which the law is meant to protect into something you can ram down people’s throat. Equality legislation, at least in its Taliban form, is designed to do just that. Last week, Trevor Phillips, former head of the equality quango, admitted as much publicly. Push people too far and they start to push back. That’s why UKIP is on the rise.

      • CliveM

        Provided you don’t refuse service based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

        The issue here were they refused, as Linus argues because of sexual orientation. They argue no, because they are willing to serve gays, just not willing to bake a cake with a message counter to their beliefs.

        The Court will decide.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And what is more, the message was one which was supporting something contrary to NI law – and still is.

          • Anton

            As I hope will be made very clear in court.

        • Ivan M

          One should be able to refuse service to anyone else, without stating any reason whatsoever by respecting the tradesman’s right to his own labour and resources as Athanasius says. Anything else is slavery.

          • CliveM

            Whatever the outcome of the trial, the law requiring that businesses don’t discriminate based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation won’t have changed. How it is interpreted may do slightly.

          • Ivan M

            That is why either way the Borg wins. For me it is about liberty. No one can compel me to part with my labour, that is slavery. That would be my case. Not some stupid scenarios
            involving paraplegic lesbians and neo-Nazis.

            Times like this are when the Queen is supposed step up to the plate and defend the right of the little guy against the machinery of the State. But that woman is more concerned with her corgis and horses than the rights of her subjects.Under this vapid woman and the meaningless charades she puts up, the UK has been infantalised beyond tolerance.

    • Anton

      “What this baker is asking for is permission to pick and choose who he serves.”

      Yes, actually (I respectfully differ from Albert about this), but he shouldn’t need to ask permission. The presumption is that a business wants to make money from its trade, and any declining of business carries its own financial penalty which should be sufficient. In a reasonable society, anyway.

      • CliveM

        Actually no he isn’t. The baker himself has said he is willing to serve the claimant, just that he doesn’t want to ‘support’ a view he feels is incomparable with his beliefs.
        If he was asking to pick and choose, he would definitely loose.

        • Anton

          Thank you for educating me. Clearly it is not a reasonable society.

      • Linus

        If a business can refuse service to whomever it likes then what’s to stop it from putting a “No Blacks or Irish” sign in its window?

        Is that the sort of “reasonable” society you want to live in?

        You’re not an Afrikaaner by any chance, are you…?

        • Anton

          English born and bred, Linus, and so far as I am concerned if a baker wants to show what a **** he is by putting such a sign in his window, thereby losing not only the business of blacks, Irish, myself and many other people, he should be free to.

        • preacher

          Hey Linus, a Northern Irish Baker wouldn’t get much trade by putting a “No Irish” sign up now would he?. LOL.

          • Linus

            Well how about “no Blacks or Catholics” then?

          • preacher

            Er, well I think there might be both living in N.I, so it wouldn’t be great, but better than the first attempt.
            But in my experience both races have a great sense of humour, so I doubt it would end in Prosecution.

          • The Explorer

            The Bible does not forbid Blacks (the Ethiopian official is given the Gospel and goes on his way, rejoicing) or Irish or Catholics (although neither is specifically mentioned). It does forbid same-sex practices.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          The pint was that the baker was willing to serve the customer, just not willing to sell a particular product. That’s not comparable to “no blacks or Irish”.

      • William Lewis

        I agree with Albert on this. The baker is not picking who he serves but what he serves. He provides a bespoke product, within broad constraints, to anyone.

    • Owl

      Completely nuts.

    • avi barzel

      Owl’s “completely nuts” covers things rather well, Linus. His Grace and the others here only provided excellent reasons and arguments. The law is an ass, or even an arse, if it loses track of common sense. My common sense tells me not to go to an Arab bakery and ask for a cake with a whopping big flag of Israel and a picture of Theodor Herzl, and most Muslims would know better then to bother an Aramaic Christian baker with an ISIS flag cake (dark chocolate icing with white writing?). No one should be compelled to serve an idea they oppose, rightly or wrongly.

      Edit: A side-note to all bakers. Spit on a cake is rather invisible.

      • IanCad

        So is pee, but far more satisfying.

  • Athanasius

    The MacArthurs should think themselves lucky. When Aaron and Melissa Klein, two Oregon Christians who also ran a bakery, refused to bake a cake for a gay “wedding” they had their van burned out. Coming to a High Street near you…

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I seem to remember when the gay “marriage” legislation was being bulldozed through parliament, Coalition For Marriage were unable to get their poster displayed on the side of a lorry driving around Westminster. The reason? Gay activists had made threatening phone calls to the company leasing the lorry. Charming bunch aren’t they?

  • magnolia

    I wonder what would happen if a large group of heterosexuals wished to hire a dining room in a gay club, or is discrimination just fine in that case? I guess it would be, as one does not look for consistency in these things.

    When they opened up the Romanian orphanages they found those in the deepest suffering had ceased crying out for help, as they knew it was not worth the effort of their noise for no one came. Society would do far far better if we looked out for the quiet deep ignored sufferers rather than the noisy attention-seekers making big melodramatic fuss over trifles, or in this case, cakes.

  • preacher

    A couple of postings on this site recently, asked why homosexuality seems to have been singled out from all the other sins forbidden in the Bible.
    Well here is the answer! Some people are taking advantage of changes in the law to victimise Christians on grounds of their faith & belief.

    I believe it is a minority as I’ve known many gay men & women over my life, who are intelligent, witty, nice people. They just want to get on with their lives in peace & in harmony with society. they don’t have the time or the inclination to get involved in legal proceedings.

    My objective as a Christian, is to help people start on the road to salvation in the only way that God ordained. I know it will often be a struggle but the results are worth it & if I can help & support them I will, Whatever their sins may be, stealing, adultery, fornication, violence, homosexuality etc.

    Bad laws have existed for aeons & should be ignored or removed. Men are not perfect & either make laws that they believe will help society or benefit minorities. The question is where will the lawmakers stand when they are in front of the only perfect & just lawmaker? – Maybe the Chief Commissioner should look at the Law in the Bible before making comments about Bakers & Businessmen.
    “Should we serve God or man?” that is the question, a lot hangs on the answer.

    God Bless the McArthur family for their their faithful stand. Let us pray for a just resolution to the case. Perhaps some of the 90% of the poll mentioned should turn up & give voice to their responses.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    It would be a really good idea if some people went into a gay bakery and order a cake saying “I love Dolce & Gabbani” or “Jesus is Lord”. I suspect they would refuse or find some way to wriggle out of it. Could they then be challenged in court? I certainly hope so, though I suspect that they would get far less help and encouragement than the “equality” commission has given the gay community.

    Must go. I’m off to the hetero-pride rally 🙂

    • Dominic Stockford

      Hetero-pride rally? Where? I’d love to attend. Though I’m surprised that the police have given permission for one…

  • len

    The harder that gay rights activists (and other ‘liberal groups)press for enforcement of ‘their rights’ right across society the more’ justification ‘they give to Islamic extremists to attack selfsame society.
    But what the hell someone has to suffer for such’ freedoms’.

    • john in cheshire

      In commie speak, activist means the righteous. In normal speak it means troublemaker.

  • magnolia

    I read the title of Paul Craig Roberts’ latest article: “World War III imminent and all human life is now in grave danger”. It might seem a bit OTT, but is it? The neocons in Washington, and worse than neo-con Victoria Nuland and Obama, certainly seem up for it. No diplomatic efforts are in place whatsoever. No efforts are made to understand the fears and thoughts of “the other”. Machismo and ratcheting up of tensions is in full swing. The legacy of Thatcher and Reagan and Gorbachev is like pearls being trampled upon by pigs.

    And here we are discussing the very delicate feelings of two supposed grown ups. Fiddling while Rome burns doesn’t even come into the scale of stupidity here. I wonder what on earth history will make of this self-indulgent grandstanding, and this wasting of national resources in such a grave era while we sleepwalk into potential nuclear devastation which would take people out right, left and centre , race, belief, and sexual orientation disregarded. That is of course assuming any future history.

    • Anton

      You pray about what you feel called to pray about, I’ll pray about what I feel called to pray about.

      • magnolia

        OK, but life still has its gnats and camels, and the very existence of cake is predicated upon peace, prosperity, live cows, and a wheat harvest.

        • The Lord’s Prayer covers all permutations.

          • magnolia

            You are right, though no doubt you don’t say “Give us this day our daily cake”, or perhaps you do!! Perhaps one should also stipulate the type of cake. Battenburg, Simnel, Fruit, chocolate, coffee, walnut, or lemon drizzle!

            Or Sesame street special, without slogans!

          • Walnut Cake …. ummm

          • The Explorer

            Fruitcake might be appropriate to some of the participants in this court case.

  • Saba_Hilarion

    In the case of Ashers Baking Co, it appears to me that the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland might seem possibly to be attempting to force Ashers to infringe a third party’s intellectual property rights.

    Background:
    Sesame Workshop (the “Company”) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that develops innovative and entertaining educational content for children that is
    distributed across multiple platforms including television, interactive media, radio, books, magazines and live entertainment and through community outreach initiatives. Sesame Street, the Company’s flagship preschool series, premiered in the United States in 1969 and is currently broadcasting its 44th season on PBS. Sesame Street has been seen in over 150 countries, including 30 Sesame Street international co-productions developed in partnership with local experts who develop educational goals tailored to the needs of children in their own countries.

    Licensing
    The Company’s share of revenues from the licensing of its characters and brands for use in consumer products including, toys, games, clothing and food, is recognized as income as it is earned over the related license periods. Included within licensing revenue in the accompanying consolidated statements of
    activities are $13.3 million and $10.0 million from one licensee of the Company, for the years ended June 30, 2013 and 2012, respectively.

    On December 28, 2000, the Company acquired the copyrights and trademark rights relating to the Sesame Street Muppet puppet characters (“Sesame Street Muppets”) from the Jim Henson Company, Inc. and EM.TV & Merchandising (collectively, the “Henson Companies”). In addition to the acquisition of the
    copyrights and trademark rights, the Company acquired the right and license to use the term Muppet(s), as defined. The agreement effectively terminated all existing agreements between the Company and the Henson Companies. The purchase price of $180.0 million included an upfront cash payment of $110.0
    million and 40 quarterly installments of $1.75 million, which commenced on April 1, 2001. (Source: Sesame Workshops 2011 Form 990 tax return).

    Davis Wright Tremaine LLP manages the IP portfolio for Sesame Workshop. Their site says:
    Worldwide trademark portfolio management for Sesame Workshop
    Responsible for the worldwide trademark portfolio of Sesame Workshop, producer of Sesame Street and other renowned children’s television programming, spanning nearly 100 countries around the world. Responsible for clearance, protection, licensing and claims/disputes including global protection strategy for all of the Workshop’s entertainment properties and extensive merchandising.
    (source: http://www.dwt.com/Worldwide-trademark-portfolio-management-for-Sesame-Workshop—Government-Investigations/)

    I would be very surprised if the the use of representations of the Bert and Ernie characters was licensed for commercial use on a cake in Northern Ireland for the purpose it was – but it might just have been.

    Strangely the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie are not even gay, contrary to rumour. Sesame Street Workshop boss Gary Knell put it in 1994, “They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets.They don’t exist below the waist.”
    (Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/bert-and-ernie-they-call-it-muppet-love-9593215.html

    So can the Equality Commission of NI force Ashers to infringe another’s IP rights?

    • Linus

      IP law allows for “fair use” of copyrighted images, which is generally interpreted as non-commercial, private use. So if you baked a cake bearing the image of Bert and Ernie in your home for a private celebration or as a gift, you wouldn’t be infringing any IP laws.

      Of course in this instance the cake order represented a commercial transaction, so the IP rights holder probably would be technically justified in pursuing the baker and/or the customer, and possibly even the Equal Rights Commission, for unlicensed use of its IP.

      Something tells me that’s not going to happen, though. Bert and Ernie are characters in an American children’s TV program that promotes diversity and tolerance. The corporation that owns the rights isn’t going to want to involve itself in any way with this kind of fracas. They have a right to sue, but if they choose not to, nobody can bring an action on their behalf. So I don’t think anyone needs to worry about being prosecuted for violation of copyright. That’s really not the issue here.

      What the courts have been asked to rule on is whether the religious objections of a baker to the article he has contracted to bake for his customer are sufficient grounds for him to renege on the contract. Let’s not forget that a contract had been formed once the order for the cake was accepted and the customer had settled the bill. There is no suggestion that the baker was unhappy to accept an order requiring the use of a copyrighted image before he realised it was being used for the purposes of promoting equal marriage, so a defence based around IP rights won’t get him off the hook. And at no point before placing his order was the customer informed that the baker objected to baking cakes that were not in accordance with his Christian faith.

      The baker is clearly in breach of contract, but it’s up to the court to decide whether religious scruples justify that breach. It seems unlikely to me that any judge will find in his favour because that would create a loophole in commercial law that would allow anyone to wriggle out of contractual obligations merely by citing religious objections.

      As for the discrimination element, it also seems clear that service was denied on the basis of perfectly legitimate (from a legal perspective) political views, which is also illegal under UK law.

      There isn’t much doubt the baker will lose this case. It only remains to be seen what the penalty will be. Ulster being what it is, there will probably be more sympathy with his extremist religious views than there would be in the rest of the country, and this will probably favour a lighter penalty. We’ll see soon enough, I suppose.

  • Watchman

    In England and Wales the law forbids a police officer from entrapment, that is, acting in such a way as to cause someone to commit an offence which they wouldn’t have otherwise committed. This law does not apparently apply to homosexuals as demonstrated by the two homosexuals who entrapped the Bulls in their B&B. It was clear that these two didn’t want accommodation but did want the compensation that was due for being refused accommodation. This entrapment was never taken into account when the decision was taken to award substantial compensation. It is also clear that the ordering of a cake from Ashers was not for consumption but for entrapment and compensation. Presumably the law officers in Ireland have taken a lesson from the Mike Overd case and appointed a judge who could be guaranteed to be offended by Asher’s stance.

    It seems strange that the law on entrapment only applies to police officers and not to anyone else with a vested interest in entrapping other to commit an offence. I am not cognisent with Northern Irish law, however.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I think the law of entrapment did not need to apply to civilians at one time. It is only since the fast-growing grievance industry has taken hold is it becoming an issue. Some gays seem particularly adept at exploiting it and I’ve no doubt we’ll see more of it. It might give them some legal leverage, especially with a biased justice system, but I doubt it will win them much sympathy other than from the usual suspects.

      • Watchman

        Strange how this entrapment is never aimed at members of the religion of peace. Is this evidence that terrorism works?

  • Anton

    Pray today and tomorrow! I make no apology for repeating this exhortation from time to time on this thread.

  • peggy

    The bakery have right too if they don’t want to bake the cake..

  • john in cheshire

    Couldn’t it be equally argued that the Chief Commissioner should find himself another job?

    • Politically__Incorrect

      I would re-phrase that to “the Chief Commissioner should find himself a job”

  • preacher

    I must admit that we have been taking a lot of flak lately, from various ‘Official’ quarters. But Dr Cranmers last paragraph should be applicable to all who call themselves Christian.
    Because we don’t look for problems, some people think we are an easy target, much easier than some more militant beliefs.
    Some might even say that we are passive. But so is an Anvil, but a good Anvil will break many Hammers & still be there after they are gone.
    “If Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of all & we don’t get to pick & choose the areas in which we will submit to His authority” Thank you Dr Cranmer. May we all be stronger to serve in any & all areas we are called to. Amen.

  • “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
    (2 Chronicles 20:15)

    • Shadrach Fire

      Amen Jack.

  • Shadrach Fire

    MenAreLikeWine I am confident that Ashers will lose their case. Not because they are wrong, but because our nation has become immoral.Not just immoral but biased in every respect, legally and socially against all decent God fearing people..

  • The Explorer

    Let’s link yesterday’s thread with today’s. How about a cake featuring ‘Leviticus’ 20:13?

    • Shadrach Fire

      Maybe M&S will now supply it.

    • Followed by full page advert in one of the Daily’s, anyone?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace wrote;
    If Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of all and we don’t get to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to His authority.

    We have no right to re-define Christianity or chose those teachings that we will follow. We just form part of of the Cranmer Communion and write comments on the Post of the day but do little else. (Some I realise are actively involved in their own area of ministry).
    But how many would be prepared to leave all and follow him. Who would be prepared to stand for parliament to bring about the change that we all say is needed.

    God raises men up to fight his wars but those who already know him, know that his call is upon us all.

  • Inspector General

    The Equality Kommissariat has to go. When it makes slaves of men, it shows itself to be the socialist nuisance that it is. Besides, in an unexpected turn of events not prophesied at its inception, can you really have ‘equality’, whatever that is, at a time when diversity is the watchword.

    However, while we wait for the inevitable disbanding, we Christians must also grab hold of the diversity label and win with it too. We must emphasise that diversity includes being able to keep with our religion as we see fit, and not to be oppressed by the state apparatus. Or diversity is worth nothing. Nothing at all. And if diversity is worth nothing, then why is this court case being heard?

    It wouldn’t be because bad legislation must always bring forth bad law, per chance?

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector would like to order a cake. To be a Victoria sponge and one requires a slogan in pink icing…

    “Anuſ ſex doeth cauſe diſeaſe of bothe boddee and mynd”

    Quite a big cake then. It’s for the unhappy homosexuals involved, lest they go without cake, be it gay or straight….

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Straight cake for me Inspector, and definitely no fruit

      • Inspector General

        All would be resolved, that man, if Mr Kipling, whom everybody knows makes exceedingly good cake, would add a wedding confection to his famed sodomy range…

    • The Explorer

      When placing your order, specify that it would have to be round. If it were square it would be straight: which be inappropriate for your target audience.

  • Booboo Ababongo

    But you cannot generally discriminate between people, and rightly so.

    I disagree entirely. We discriminate between people all the time. Why should we be forced to do business with Sodomites and buggerers? We seem to have lost sight in this modern age of why some people are better than others. Until fairly recently, it was considered entirely natural to avoid and shun members of the human race who partook in what was considered bad or immoral behaviour, if for no other reason than to avoid the negative effects of those behaviours influencing our own lives.

    • Inspector General

      Exactly Booboo. For example, the Inspector would rather hang himself from the nearest elm than buy a horse from gypsies.

      • The Explorer

        If the gypsies read this blog, they’ll probably be doing the hanging for you.

        • Inspector General

          In that case the gypsies are a noble people of antiquity and we are damn fortunate to have them around, so people who live nowhere near them tell us….

          The Inspector wishes to point out that this warmest of acknowledgements is definitely not extended to the ‘new age travelling filth’ who have rather dragged down the good name of pikey types since the 1960s…

      • avi barzel

        A horse for a puppy. This is really too much.

        • Inspector General

          What if it was a well greased puppy {Ahem}….

          • avi barzel

            Pffft!

          • Inspector General

            You seem to have broken wind rather loudly Avi. Right, clear the room and notify the environmental health people. Don’t forget to pick up your compensation claim forms on the way out. For this is Britain today!!!

          • avi barzel

            That was a laugh, a snort of sorts, but compensation claims also work with that. Probably easier in Canada; it’s spurred a whole industry since the judiaciary let its hair down on trial law in the 80s.

  • David

    The very definition of the word “discriminate” has been twisted from meaning an act of judiciously distinguishing what the individual person considers to be right or wrong, according to their faith, morality and ethics, to meaning an act of actively disadvantaging someone.
    Surely we have the right to our opinions and the right to not have to support opinions that we, as responsible adults, do not hold ? If not then we are all fast becoming programmed automatons helpless in the hands of the post-christian, intolerant and so-called “liberal” political and legal leadership of this now crazy country.
    Unless a freedom of conscience clause is inserted into our laws, I can see much trouble ahead for a whole range of people. Indeed we have reached a most parlous, confused and dangerous state in this country.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      David, that’s a very lucid explanation of how some words have become associated with a meaning that has nothing to do with their origins. In fact much of the PC culture is full of word distortion. Words like “diversity”, “equality”, “bigot, “homophobic”, and even “gay” have been twisted, corrupted even, so they now have a completely different meaning. We should not underestimate the importance of language in furthering this culural disease. All the more reason that we should keep reminding ourselves that these words don’t always mean what they appear to mean. Resistance isn’t useless.

      • The Explorer

        “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

      • David

        I totally agree.
        The task now for western civilisation is to ensure that the truth is not lost, but retained, ready to be used as a weapon at a time when we, or our successors, can begin to regain the ground that is still being lost, even as we speak.
        Of course, like Communism, PC may suddenly collapse, but I doubt it, as its still surging ahead at present.

  • Anton

    Does anybody know how it went in court today?

    Pray tonight! And tomorrow.

    • The Explorer

      A NI poll showed 71% in support of the bakery, and 27% against.
      The bakery’s barrister argued that if the bakery loses the case, then a Muslim printer could be forced to print cartoons of Muhammad, and a lesbian T-shirt company could be forced to provide T-shirts with the slogan ‘Same-sex marriage is an abomination’.

      The gay MP who was the recipient of the cake (provided by another firm) tried to prevent the case from going to court, because of the divisiveness involved.

      • Inspector General

        If the judgement goes against decency, does that mean we’re all gay compliant by law. It’s just that the Inspector is not the puppy he once was, and fears his behind is no longer up to it, if it ever was…

        • CliveM

          Inspector

          Just lie on your front and think of England!

          • Inspector General

            They used to say hold forth and bite on the bullet. Now it’s bite on the pillow, from what one has read about the pain the homosexual mating method delivers…

          • CliveM

            Oh the indignities that will be born. I think I might dump the wife, become a RC, and enter a cloistered Monestry. A VERY cloistered one!

          • Anton

            And that will get you away from this subculture?

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Inspector, I wouldn’t credit it with the word “mating”, which means coming together for the purpose of breeding. When people like this have kids, the only coming-together involves the rented uterus, a lab technician, and a bank account.

          • Inspector General

            Good point PI. Why is society being led by the nose by those who are bloody rubbish at the mating game…

        • avi barzel

          You were a puppy once, Inspector? (Imagination strains and snaps) Must have been at the turn of the last century, before my appearance.

          • Inspector General

            A long time ago Avi. Before state sponsored buggery…

          • Kitten, more like ……

          • sarky

            Probably when wild dogs were first attracted to our campfires!

          • David

            That’s a bit recent !

      • He’s a politician and may also have personal reasons as he’s hoping to ‘marry’ if legislation is ever passed permitting this. The case is hardening opinion in NI against the homosexualist cause.

        The Democratic Unionist Party is proposing a change to the law providing an ”equality clause” enabling businesses to refuse to provide certain services on religious grounds.

  • Inspector General

    Just musing here, but you’d think a Conservative led government would have prevented this kind of nonsense ever getting to trial stage, by removing the cancerous legislation that allowed it. After a lifetime of voting Conservative, this man finds that the party he supported is no better than the Labour party or Liberals. In fact, it could be argued that it is lesser than the Labour party. Not that conservatism has changed, but half the Conservative MPs have. List people from the metropolitan. Conservatism is thus better served elsewhere now, and never let it be said that your Inspector did not recognise that awful truth in time…

    • David

      Quite right ! Presumably The Inspector votes Ukip now ?

      • Inspector General

        Yes indeed. The first time felt strange, but the second was no problem whatsoever…

    • Phil R

      “it could be argued that it is lesser than the Labour party.”

      The thing I don’t like about the conservative party is the way that it does not do things it says it will e.g. burn the Quangos, support the family etc and does do things it that nobody expected in a million years. E.g. decimate the Armed Forces, gay marriage etc.

  • Kiran Page Singh Lotay

    This is a very complex situation, but the more advanced parallel which comes to mind is the abuse of the blasphemy law in Pakistan. Equality legislation combined with mainstream prejudicial blind spots combine to make Christians vulnerable to anyone who wishes to bully them over certain issues. Interestingly enough, the early church faced the same kind of difficulty – isolated persecution, often caused by people taking pet grievances to court because Christians were a legally vulnerable minority viewed with suspicion by the Roman Empire.

    • Inspector General

      You are both quite correct. Blasphemy is the issue here, not rights as no man has the right to make another man bow to his wishes.

      • Kiran Page Singh Lotay

        FYI Inspector, it’s just Kiran commenting :). I just like this picture of the both of us a lot.

        • Inspector General

          Thank you for explaining that, Kiran

          The Inspector does delight when your images appear. You see, for some reason he finds the idea of such intimate togetherness that you are able to share a post address extremely amusing. So keep posting!

  • carl jacobs

    So, let’s assume that a man orders a cake that says “Congratulations, Bob and Bill.” If we stipulate that Bob and Bill are twins who just graduated from school, then what baker would have a problem? Now, what if we keep the message constant, but change the stipulation. Let’s stipulate that Bob and Bill are two homosexuals who want the cake for a commitment ceremony at the local St Dead-as-Stone Spiritual-but-not-Religious Church of Liberalism. We discover that it is not the message of the cake that troubles, but rather the intended usage of the cake. The baker is saying “You shouldn’t use a cake for that purpose. I don’t want to bake a cake that facilitates such a purpose.” Why? Because the baker feels it makes him complicit in the act. It would violate his religious conscience.

    Fair enough. As long as he applies it consistently. But will he? If a Jewish family requests a cake for a Bar Mitzvah, will the baker make the cake? He certainly will. So why does this not also violate his religious conscience? Judaism is a false religion from a Christian perspective. To bake a cake for a Bar Mitzvah involves just as much complicity in what is objectively an immoral act from a Christian perspective – participation in a false religion and worshiping a false god. One must therefore immediately question the extent to which religious conviction is motivating the refusal. If only some religious compromises induce refusal, then some other motivation is in play. What is that something?

    It makes a difference.

    • bmudmai

      Though bar mitzvah is a bad example to use seeing as Judaism is the founding roots of Christianity. Also, most Jews would go to a Jewish bakery and have some kind of kosher cake.

      You can’t make assumptions how the baker would react in different circumstances. If he got a cake saying support adultery would he bake it? Who knows really? I would assume not, only on the evidence he wouldn’t for this cake. But it it’s only aassumption not a fact to back me up.

      Unless you can show he would bake a cake for another situation which is against his religious conscious don’t give false scenarios with false outcomes. Just unnecessary and unhelpful to furthering the discussion.

      • carl jacobs

        You can make that argument. I don’t think you actually believe it. In fact, I don’t think anyone reading this thread seriously believes the baker in question would refuse to make a cake for a Bar Mitzvah. I can tell you I don’t believe it. There is no reasonable doubt in my mind about it. Your whole argument smacks of one of those sleazy reptile lawyer arguments. As in “Yes, my client is guilty as hell, but you can’t prove it because I got the confession suppressed.”

        But assume you are right. The question still stands. If substitute a hypothetical baker who would bake a Bar Mitzvah cake, would you then reverse your opposition and agree his position is not solely rooted in religious conscience?

        Or, if you prefer, we could make it a Mormon wedding cake. There are any number of places I can go to make his point.

        • bmudmai

          You cannot make that argument full stop. You have no clue if the baker would bake other cakes. You would have to ask him.

          The other fact is it was a cake saying to support a certain thing, which if you make it you feel as though you are giving your backing. As I said if it said ‘support adultery’ would the baker make the cake? We assume not on current evidence (still an assumption so not fact). If it said: ‘support Isis’ would he bake the cake? If it said ‘Ganesh is our God and King’ would he make it?

          If the cake was a plain cake to be eaten at this gay event would he have baked it?

          Your argument Carl is feeble, if you think it is valid then you may need to actually look at what’s reasonable as a debate. Wild, unknown hypothetical can never be the grounding for an argument.

    • Watchman

      You seem, for once, to have hit the wrong target. Yeshua, the Jew was sent by His Father for the redemption of the Jews. It was only after their rejection of Him that the goyim were permitted to take advantage of that redemption. If you check Romans 11 you will find that we who believe have been grafted into the root of Abraham, we have been adopted into the family. In other words we have become honorary Jews. Whilst the Jews still need to be redeemed by Yeshua’s blood they can in no way be regarded as practicing a false religion. I would eat kosher food but I certainly wouldn’t knowingly eat halal food.

      • carl jacobs

        Do we evangelize the Jews or not? What did Paul say? There is one Lord. There is one faith. There is one Name under heaven by which we must be saved.

        However, I chose the Jewish example precisely because of the arguments you raise. Affinity cannot mitigate an offense against religious conscience. If it truly is a matter of religious conscience, then animosity cannot be a deciding factor if the claim is to be considered legitimate.

    • So what if behaviour is inconsistent, illogical or even ‘discriminatory’? Aren’t people at liberty to act on their consciences even if, from another person’s perspective, this is a prejudice? Is this a matter for the state and the law?

      If Jack owns a business and doesn’t want to bake a cake for people with red hair or blue eyes, why shouldn’t he be at liberty to refuse? It’s his business; it’s his time, labour and skill. Isn’t it a matter for him and not the law? Why can’t he behave in ways you think are unreasonable?

      • carl jacobs

        Inconsistency is bad, Jack. Why would we want to be inconsistent? Isn’t our ‘Yes’ supposed to be ‘Yes?’

        Currently, the law does not allow you to make those distinctions. You can say the law is an ass, and change the law if you have the power. Just remember who the despised minority is in this equation. Who do you think will feel the brunt of such a law? You would be fashioning the club with which you yourself will be beaten.

        And just think this through a minute. Suppose Plumber Paul gets a call from Bob. “Please fix my sink.” Plumber Paul arrives to find Bob and Bill, the gay couple. Does Plumber Paul say “Wait a minute here! I can’t fix your sink. You’re homosexual. Fixing your sink would be tantamount to offering implicit approval of your relationship.” Is that even rational?

        Now you will say “That’s different.” And I will ask you “How?” What is it about baking a cake the requires moral compromise? How is baking a cake different from fixing a sink? Now, I do think I know the answer. But it doesn’t involve a pure claim of religious conscience. It is rather offense at being coerced into facilitating a social change that we reject because of religious conscience. The business is being used to register social disapproval of that change. And that is not allowed under the law.

        • Phil R

          The plumber’s dilemma

          It is solved by stating that you need a special part that somehow you never seem to be able to locate.

          It takes weeks or even months. Then if you do eventually turn up with it it will be the wrong one and you will have to start the ordering process again.

          Long before this point is reached they will have found another plumber or fixed it themselves.

          In Wales and much of southern Europe, you will find that the plumbers know each other and so it will transpires that nobody for miles it seems has the skills to fix the sink.

          When questioned by the irate gay couple if they were being picked on because they are gay. They will be told “Are you gay? We hadn’t noticed” Then recount an offensive story about a fictitious relative who everyone thought was gay etc.

          Childish but fun….

        • Jack’s point is he should be permitted to be prejudicial and bigoted under the law and so should others. Why not? Yes, Jack knows this would allow people to do likewise and it may backfire on Christians. However, he would sooner that than having his personal thoughts and his conscience hemmed in by secular law.

      • carl jacobs

        And btw, Jack. You owe me. I almost thoughtlessly named my hypothetical gay couple “Dan and Jack” before I realized what I was doing. I’m always looking out for you, Jack.

        • Hmmm …. were you discriminating against a minority ‘protected’ group by deciding the name Jack should not be used for a homosexual? Think of the offence caused to Linus.

    • Phil R

      “then some other motivation is in play. What is that something?”

      Gut reaction I would guess motivates people the most.

      I discriminate every day. Who I employ, who I buy from, who’s advice I trust and occasionally who I sell to. Consistent? No way. Gut reaction. Yes and it generally works fine.

      If I need to trust an individual and I am not sure, I bring them to meet my wife. She tells me whether to trust them and she if she suspects there are other relevant issues in their character. She is usually right. She hates doing this however, because she says it undermines me as a man.

      I suspect that it was a gut reaction in this refusal and that is not such a bad thing.

      • carl jacobs

        But it’s not a gut reaction, is it. It’s a principled refusal to act. It’s done for known objective reasons and not for subjective reactions. I don;t think a claim of religious conscience should be used like this – unless it is consistently applied. You can’t “gut-react” into discrimination against one party and not another all the while claiming the mantle of religious conscience.

      • carl jacobs

        And btw. You owe me. I almost thoughtlessly named my hypothetical gay couple “Dan and Jack” before I realized what I was doing. I’m always looking out for you, Jack.

    • carl jacobs

      Interesting. Four response but no direct answer.

      1. It was Instinct.
      2. Why does inconsistency matter?
      3. Wait, the Jews don’t count as a false religion.
      4. How do you know he wouldn’t refuse a Bar Mitzvah cake?

      But no one touched the central question. “Why one but not the other?” Well, I guess Jack did address it in a way. But he said “Yes, it’s inconsistent. So what?”

      Unless someone can provide an answer to my question, there remains a big gaping hole in this claim of religious conscience.

      • William Lewis

        The redefinition of marriage affects the Christian and his brothers and sisters in Christ directly because marriage is an important component of his religion, both as an institution ordained for him by God and as an allegory for his relationship with God. A Bar Mitzvah is none of those things and does not directly affect the Christian at all.

      • Watchman

        My guess would be (and we can only guess) that the offence was in the message and not the customer. This was a vexation action by the customer wanting to make a political point and hopefully a substantial amount of damages. He knew he was being vexation and what happened from then on in was on automatic pilot.

    • CliveM

      Carl

      The difference is perceived morality. A Bar Mitzvah, even from a Christian point of view, is not immoral. Some may view it as redundant, belonging to the old (replaced) covenant, but it is not immoral, it is a belief. However SSM is seen as having a moral dimension. For all the reasons we know.

    • The Explorer

      Setting aside the hypothetical situations, the cake appears to have been requested by a gay activist to present to a gay mayor at an anti-homophobia day event.
      The key issue seems to be Clause 11 of the ECHR: the negative right not to express support for an opinion or political position.

      • CliveM

        Does providing the cake in a business transaction express support. Lots of printers will be printing political leaflets over the next six weeks (God help us), does that mean they are supporting the political opinions expressed? If so what does that say if a printer does leaflets for all the main parties?

        The more I think about this and see written here, the more likely I think it is that the bakers will lose, sadly.

        • The Explorer

          No idea. I suppose the issue is, would the printer be entitled to refuse to print leaflets for, say, the Greens if he disagreed with their policies and cite Clause 11 in defence?

          • CliveM

            Unless the interpretation by the Courts is that by doing so you are in some way assenting to the politics, I think no. The reason why I think that is that many businesses will be paid to print opinions and it is not then generally assumed that they agree with the views expressed. No one believes the Mail supports Labour, even though they will be taking adverts from them over the next six weeks.

            In addition as Linus points out they did originally accept the contract. Why was it ok for them one day to bake the cake and not the next?

            This is one of those situations where the Law and common sense come to different conclusions.

          • The Explorer

            Did they accept the contract? A junior took the details of the order, and then referred the details to the owners because uncertain about them. The owner then telephoned to decline the order. Not sure if it’s the same thing.

            It will be a significant ruling because of the implications for othr situations. More than a cake is at stake.

          • CliveM

            I read on the BBC the Prosecution claim it was a Director of the Company. Thing is the question a Court would consider is was a contract made? In the context of a bakery even if it was only a Shop Assistant the Court would take the view that it was reasonable to suppose it had been. It is after all the role of a Shop Assistant to make selling contracts. After all even the transaction of buying and selling a white loaf is a contract. The rules would need to be explicit that an Assistant can’t make a contract on a cake and these would need to be conveyed to the customer. If they weren’t the court would probably decide tough unless it could be showed the contract had a value and complexity that it would be unreasonable to assume an Assistant could make it. I don’t think a cake will do that!!

          • The Explorer

            Again, no idea. I read that the guy bringing the case was an existing customer, and picked up a leaflet about ‘Cakes for All Occasions’. Not sure how all-encompassing that is: suppose the wording on the cake was ‘Anniversary of the Day I murdered my grandmother’? Is the baker committed: the murder was, after all, an occasion – even if illegal. Should the leaflet include a list of exclusions? Maybe it does, in the small print. I imagine it will have to in future if it doesn’t already.

          • CliveM

            Looking further into it, I think its a Private Limited Company. Means it has a legal identity separate to the owners. This will make using the European rights law even more difficult.

          • Uncle Brian

            Or the tempting example that His Grace offers us in his tweet, shown on the home page. Go to a Muslim-owned bakery and order a cake showing the cover of the Charlie Hebdo Survivors’ Issue, complete with the caricature of Mo shedding a compassionate tear.

    • The Explorer

      I seem to recall Hooker drew a distinction between those things on which Scripture is silent and those things expressly forbidden. (It’s more sophisticated than that be cause otherwise if you see a sign ‘Don’t spit on the floor’ then you could spit on the ceiling. The spirit of the injunction is ‘Don’t spit’, with floor merely an example.) Anyway, Scripture does not specifically forbid Bar Mitzvah that I am aware of; but it does specifically forbid same-sex sexual activity.

    • GKoH

      I think the issue here is that this is based on ‘conscience’ and not on some strict rules of theology and practise per faith. There are and can be no government rules dictating behavioural limits to believers.

      This means that freedom of religion/religious conscience must be applied to only specifically religious activities (and defining that is a quagmire no one wants to get into) or that society decides that individual conscience is something highly valuable and to be protected. This latter approach is the one we’re wrestling with here and these problems arise because this sort of individual freedom is almost guaranteed to result in conflict between individuals of different conscience. So then, how to resolve those conflicts?

      At point one must consider both the placing of limits upon such freedoms and the application of other freedoms in any given scenario.

      In speaking of limits, especially with as big a freedom as the freedom to act according to conscience, the comparison of right vs. freedoms comes into play. That is, where a person’s free actions cross another person’s established rights limits must be placed.

      If there is no such rights vs. freedom conflict then we’ll be left with a freedom vs. freedom conflict whereby either environment or wider freedoms will dictate the course of action.

      In this instance of the baker, the issue of theological consistency is ultimately irrelevant. The question is the defence of the freedom of that man to live in a way that is conscionable. The conflict in question is whether his refusal to act in an unconscionable way (baking the cake) crosses the rights of the couple requesting the cake.

      To my knowledge there is no right of individuals to have anything they want, from anyone they want, any time they want. That is to say, the couple have no right to that cake, nor any right to force the baker to act in any way they please.

      The expected response to this is that the couple have a right to equal treatment. At this point I’ll have to yield to someone with greater legal knowledge than I possess, because that definition of ‘equal treatment’ seems far too vague and I can’t imagine that any such law is equally vague. I am aware that the law states that business owners cannot discriminate on the grounds of sexuality (among others), but as has been expressed, the baker was not discriminating on those grounds.

      I believe this issue goes all the way right back to re-evaluating the importance of individual freedom of conscience and whether, as a society, we still value that freedom above other values, especially the almighty value of ‘equality’, whatever that means.

      For my part I think it’s worth pointing out that there are two perspectives/truths we risk losing here. The first perspective we risk losing is that of seeing individuals as individual human beings and business as an interaction between real human beings and not mere machines. As much as the industrial revolution systematised various activites, at the heart of any business deal is an interaction, an exchange, between two human beings. I’ll leave others to ponder and expand on that as they wish, but I believe it is extremely important to remember this because it speaks to the soul of society and the source of all ‘human rights’ in the first place.

      The second perspective is that work is a creative act and the product of a human being and as such the best examples of human creativity tend to come from individuals who are invested heart and soul in what they do. It is a good thing for a person to love their work and to work to the bet of their ability producing the best work that they can. Excellence, mastery, and creativity are all good things which society should encourage (and as an aside – God-given things). Telling an individual that they are simply a machine, that they must produce any and all requests on demand without regard for their own conscience, will rob society, at least in part, of a valuable resource.

      So, for me, the answer here is for there to be no ruling against the bakery.

  • len

    I suppose the main point here is that Christians are being forced to ‘compartmentalize’ their faith.
    Has one got free will to obey their conscience or not?
    I see quite plainly that the Media has an agenda which is to drive Christianity from the marketplace and’ normalize’ homosexuality probably because those who hold the reins controlling the media have a vested interest in doing so…..

    So should Christians comply with the’ normalising’ of what the Word of God describes as sinful behaviour and by so doing become complicit in the process?.
    It is very easy to get drawn into intellectual arguments as to the ‘rights’ and the’ wrongs’ of this argument but the deciding factor must be the Word of God if one calls themselves a follower of Christ?.

    • preacher

      There can be no compromise with the World or Sin for all who bear the name of Christ Len as your many posts have confirmed.
      We are in it for the long haul. We preach the Word in season & out of season, as the opportunity allows.
      It’s not just the Word though as I know you are aware, but the word & the Spirit.
      A Pastor that I knew used to say ” All Word & no Spirit & you’ll dry up. All Spirit & no Word & you’ll blow up. But the Spirit & the Word & you’ll grow up “.
      A useful little couplet to remember.

  • The Explorer

    The case is expected to last two days; so we should see a verdict soon.

  • Anton

    Does anybody know how day 1 went yesterday?

    Please pray today about this case.

  • Uncle Brian

    It will be interesting to see what importance, if any, the court attaches to the fact that
    Carl drew attention to on an earlier thread. The incident did not arise in the normal
    course of everyday business. The “buyers” didn’t really want a cake at all. The
    bakers were picked on by campaigners who were out to score a point. They were
    set up. It was a kind of entrapment.

    • CliveM

      How would this be proved?

    • The Explorer

      The buyer was apparently an existing customer who picked up a bakery leaflet about ‘Cakes for All Occasions’. A lot will depend on what was included (or excluded) in the small print.

    • Linus

      The 1988 case DPP v. Marshall established the precedent that test purchases do not constitute entrapment. Your hero baker isn’t getting off on that pretext, unless of course the judge decides to overturn decades of case law and disagree with the rest of the British judiciary. Which of course will provide excellent grounds for an appeal that is virtually certain to go in favour of the complainant.

      I’d almost like to see some kind of latter day Iain Paisley type judge find in this baker’s favour. The resulting appeals would formalize a principle that’s just a bit too fuzzy in UK law at the moment. Religion does not excuse you from the obligation to obey the law. I’d love to see that written down in black and white somewhere, but perhaps that’s because I’m French and the concept of a constitution existing largely in the heads of a few elderly jurists is foreign to me…

      • CliveM

        This is going to be decided by Contract Law. On that basis the baker will almost certainly lose.

        • Linus

          Well of course he’s going to lose. The question is at what point in the judicial process.

          I’d love to see the Christian Institute deplete their funds even further by supporting another hopeless cause through the courts and failing once again to establish the principle that Christians are above the law.

          But you’re right, this probably isn’t the case that will bankrupt them. Never mind, it’s only a matter of time…

          • Athanasius

            “Inevitable-ism” is a fool’s game. Play on.

          • Linus

            Christianity is based on an inevitablist (?) premise, so if that’s the game I’m playing, I’m playing it with experts.

            Because no matter what I do, God will triumph, right?

            How much more inevitablist (?) can you get?

          • Athanasius

            God’s will is known only to Him. His laws, on the other hand, are known to all. God’s will may be inevitable; yours is not.

          • Linus

            Which still makes you an inevitablist. Or to put it another way, the pot calling the kettle black.

          • The Explorer

            That’s George Steiner’s contention in ‘The Death of Tragedy’. But if God desires all to be saved, and some refuse to be saved, then they are successful rebels and tragedy remains alive. You can win against God; although the result will be hell. And Hell.

        • Athanasius

          That’s not certain at all. Contract law requires both offer and acceptance. One party did not accept, ergo, no contract. If it were to be decided purely on contract law, then the Christians would win. This is why equality legislation has been passed.

          • CliveM

            But they did accept. It was only 48hrs after a Director of the Company took the order that they phoned to say the couldn’t fulfil the contract. There was an offer and in all probability the Court will decide (unless something additional comes to light) the Director made an acceptance.

          • William Lewis

            Surely losing the case due to a breach of contract is completely different from being obliged to create a bespoke product that endorses a campaign that attacks a principle of their religious belief. I don’t really see what they are actually being accused of here.

          • CliveM

            I’m not entirely sure, but they seem to be saying they have a right to breach, based on their principles and it it the Human Rights act (as quoted by Explorer) that gives them this right.

            I think in law they will lose. The Human Rights claim will be dismissed and they will be found in breach of contract.

          • Linus

            They accepted payment in full. Even just accepting a deposit would have created a contractual obligation.

          • CliveM

            Yes I know. However as our solicitor friend is pointing out, their is more going on then simply contract. But watch what you say he may charge for his advice!

        • Jonathan James

          What on earth does contract law have to do with it? In law, anyone is free to enter into or refuse to enter into any contract they may be offered. It isn’t contract law, it’s statute law – specifically the Equality Act and whether or not it overrides the normal freedoms of common law.

          • CliveM

            The prosecution are basing a large part of the case on contract law, claiming breach of contract. Read the BBC web site on the case.

          • Jonathan James

            You can’t prosecute for breach of contract. A contracting party can sue for damages for breach of contract but as there wasn’t any loss, the cake purchaser wouldn’t be interested in that. I’m not greatly interested in what journalists say about the law – they’re not very good at it.

          • CliveM

            Well we’ll find out soon enough. However unless said journalists are lying and misquoting the Prosecution, the prosecution in the case have certainly said the court cannot court cannot allow this breach.

      • The Explorer

        Corrie ten Boom hid Jews from the Gestapo on religious grounds. When she was betrayed, she was sent to a concentration camp. Religion did not excuse her from her obligation to obey the law.

        • Athanasius

          Ah, but you’re forgetting, the law is only the law when it’s telling certain people what they want to hear.

          • The Explorer

            And what about when it’s a bad law in the first place?

        • Linus

          What, you mean the baker risks being sent to a concentration camp?

          That seems a bit excessive. Is Cameron coming over all fascist in a bid to counter the Ukip threat?

          And if that seems a little flippant, flippancy is the only suitable response to melodramatic Christian claims of oppression. Once comparisons of minor civil disagreements to the Holocaust
          start being bandied about, it’s time to stop taking your opponent seriously.

          • The Explorer

            Stop evading the issue, Linus. Your assumption works only when the law is reliable. What happens when it isn’t?

          • Linus

            The law is reliable. The system of checks and balances common to all Western democracies ensures that laws are subject to judicial review, therefore injustices can be and are addressed and eliminated.

            The problems start when one special interest group like Christians decides that justice means what it wants it to mean and starts to complain about persecution where none exists.

            The only just solution to that dilemma is for the special interest group to stop behaving like spoiled children and accept that they can’t have everything their own way.

          • The Explorer

            Let’s return to Corrie Ten Boom. She broke the law. Was she wrong to do so? After all, the law is reliable, and subject to checks and balances: even when it endorses the killing of Jews and homosexuals.

          • Linus

            The Nazi occupied Netherlands were not a Western democracy. They were an occupied territory held by an autocratic dictator.

            Law in the Nazi occupied Netherlands was not law as we know it. There was no system of checks and balances. It was rule by fiat. So of course it was unjust.

          • The Explorer

            Law need not be just; that’s my point: it may be nothing more than the violence of those with the power to inflict it. We speak of the law of the jungle, and the law of the playground. There was law as imposed by the Kray twins. That’s the only sort of law known to some of the elderly or gentle on tough council estates, where law in the form of the police is conspicuous by its absence.

          • Linus

            Whatever other laws you care to mention, the law of the land in Western democracies is essentially just. Perceived injustices usually turn out to be no more than unsubstantiated claims by groups with vested interests. Like Christians.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, that’s fair enough. Paul, after all, urges Christians to obey the law. Romans like Pliny, who disliked the Christians, noted how peaceable and law-abiding they were. That, I suppose, is why the Romans were taken aback to find Christians who would die rather than worship the Emperor as a god.

            Obeying where they could did not mean obeying an order that ran directly counter to a commandment of God.

          • Linus

            Roman laws forcing Christians to worship the emperor as a god were barbaric. Christian laws that burned heretics at the stake were barbaric too. As were Communist laws that sent dissidents to gulags where they were tortured and killed.

            Any law that tries to force a system of belief on someone is ultimately self-defeating. History shows us that it just doesn’t work in the long run.

            Today’s laws force nobody to believe in anything. They do outlaw certain behaviours that are judged to be harmful or prejudicial to others. They have to. In a diverse society we have to accept that other people have the right to live their lives according to their own beliefs. We can believe they’re wrong. We can even tell them so. But that’s where our powers of intervention stop.

          • Anton

            Linus, what of the laws that have seen Brigitte Bardot repeatedly dragged before French courts for complaining, entirely peaceably, about Muslim immigration to France? do you approve or disapprove of those laws, and why? If you approve, should BB have stayed silent despite her conscience saying otherwise (and she knew the likely penalties)?

          • Linus

            Brigitte Bardot has been rightfully condemned several times for inciting racial hatred. She claims that all Muslims are plotting to destroy France, which is patent nonsense.

            If she were just another dotty old woman who hates her fellow man because she didn’t get what she wanted out of life, and who tranfers all of her affection onto cute and fluffy animals (who love you no matter how much of a selfish cow you are and, above all, never talk back) then her rantings would be ignored. Crazy old ladies 10 centimes short of a euro incite more pity than anger. But she was once “the” BB and she uses what’s left of that notoriety to launch unprovoked attacks on entire communities. As such it’s only right and proper that she should be punished for committing this kind of crime. What you might dismiss as irrelevant from a geriatric nobody with no audience (like Sad Jack, for example) becomes far more serious when uttered by someone the press still take an interest in.

          • Anton

            You are entitled to your opinion but in that case don’t claim that France has free speech as you have elsewhere on this blog. I also do not agree that there should be one law for famous people and another for those who are not public figures.

          • Linus

            The right to free speech is not absolute in any country. You are not free to slander minorities (or majorities, for that matter…) and make up stories about them just because you don’t like them. This is what Brigitte Bardot has done on several occasions and this is what the law prohibiting incitement to racial hatred is designed to prevent. Every Western country has similar laws, so this is not something that only happens in France.

            I wonder why you feel that the right to freedom of speech trumps every other right. Where does it say in the Bible that you have the right to say exactly what you like about anyone without any regard for their rights and their reputation?

            Ever heard of the Christian rule about not bearing false witness? Perhaps you should ask one of your priests to explain it to Brigitte Bardot. And perhaps you should take a few notes yourself, just as a reminder that you don’t speak on behalf of God and that your opinions are just that: opinions. And the expression of opinions has always been subject to laws governing slander, libel and incitement to hatred, violence and illegal behaviour.

            And as for the law being the same for everyone, of course it is. The difference is in the attitude that people take towards those who command media attention and those who do not. If some random old bigot spouts off about minorities, most of those who might be disposed to complain to the police about it probably won’t because they understand that the words of anonymous bigots have little effect in the wider scheme of things. But they might be disposed to act if someone with a media presence starts hurling slanderous accusations around. The law is the same for everyone, but as the initiative to complain lies with the injured party, not all who break the law will be pursued in the same manner.

          • Anton

            Where have I ever claimed to speak on behalf of God at this blog? I speak on my own behalf and I quote the Bible believing it is God’s word but accepting that not everybody else here does.

            The Bible is very clear that people should not bear false witness but there is no penalty attached to it except where it is found that someone has perjured themselves as a witness in court (in which case they get the penalty faced by the accused).

            As for why free speech is so important, it is better than using the law to shut people up. A man who spouts racist filth (for example) simply makes himself look odious to the great majority of the population. Obviously, let him. We need only laws against incitement to violence. Under free speech you are free to reply whatever you like, aren’t you? Or learn the forgotten arts of turning the other cheek or forgiveness. As it is, people interviewed on TV after a loved one has been murdered nowadays are openly proud of how they cannot forgive. Think that is a better world?

          • Linus

            Men who spouted racist garbage succeeded in running several countries for many years and in the process crushed, oppressed and murdered (yes, that’s right : MURDERED) anyone who stood up to them.

            Tolerating the incitement of racial hatred is the first step along the road to lynch mobs, pogroms and apartheid. These things have happened in the past. They can happen again. But only if we let them.

          • Anton

            Well, we agree about what is right and wrong here; we disagree on how to go about ensuring things are right. Mockery and/or rebuttal of racist speech is, I believe, much more effective than trying to outlaw it. Or ignoring it or leaving it for someone more eloquent to take it on.

          • Linus

            Certain behaviours are unacceptable in a democratic society and must therefore be outlawed.

            Freedom of speech is important, but the freedom of all to lead their lives according to their beliefs as long as those beliefs do not harm anyone else is paramount.

            You are not free to say whatever you want, but you should be free to express yourself within the limits imposed by the respect and toleration of others.

          • Anton

            But it is an arbitrary comment to say the certain behaviours are unacceptable in a democratic society (and must therefore be outlawed). Why?

          • Linus

            It is not arbitrary to acknowledge that our societies have outlawed certain behaviours because they are deemed harmful. The harm they cause can be rationally demonstrated and society has made the decision via its democratically elected representatives to discourage such behaviour. The ban does not depend on me or my opinion, but I can certainly voice my agreement with it.

            Of course it’s a common Christian tactic to make out that any moral decision not stemming from a divine command is arbitrary and therefore questionable. But no more so than your arbitrary decision to believe in a god and assign moral rectitude to what you claim are his commandments. God is just a device for passing the moral buck. But what makes his moral decisions any more compelling than ours?

            If a Christian’s belief in god is essentially a decision to assign responsibility for his morality to an exterior force and thereby wash his hands of all blame for it (i.e. it’s not my fault that God hates fags, but that’s what it says in the Bible so I’m just obeying orders…) then his moral courage is called into serious question and his god looks rather like a convenient cop-out. And one that doesn’t even deal with his basic objection to secular morality, i.e. its supposed arbitrary nature. What could be more arbitrary than a god’s unilateral decision to designate certain things as good and others as evil? At least an Atheist makes a judgment based on observed cause and effect. God simply said “this is evil” and designed us to have negative reactions as a result of engaging in that behaviour. But he could have designed us differently. He could have made us hate the idea of love and love the idea hate (or at least feel positively about hate and negatively about love). But he chose not to. Arbitrary or what?

            It seems to me that a system of morality based on the effect that certain behaviours have on us is no more arbitrary than one based on religious fiat. Quite the reverse in fact. A secular morality forces each individual to be an actor in his pursuit of morality. A Christian morality merely requires blind and unquestioning obedience to someone else’s vision.

            No wonder the bible exhorts us to have faith like children. Children are much more likely to accept arbitrary commands and integrate them into a dogmatic values system. There’s nothing more stubborn than a child determined to hang on to his belief in Father Christmas. “If I’m good I’ll get lots of presents” could just as easily be stated as “if I engage in these aribtrary behaviours I will be rewarded for it by an invisible supernatural being”. Voilà Christianity in a nutshell. The mother of all arbitrary philosophies.

          • Anton

            In terms of democracy your view is arbitrary because it is one of several million, each of whom might disagree with each sentence of yours (although I personally agree with some of what you say). Ultimately we return to the great difference between us.

            You say “If a Christian’s belief in god is essentially a decision to assign responsibility for his morality to an exterior force and thereby wash his hands of all blame for it… then his moral courage is called into serious question and his god looks rather like a convenient cop-out.” I agree with this comment. IF, as you say. But what if not; what if God exists? And what if the universe (and man) is not as God intended, but has been distorted by evil for a while until God moves to restore it, beginning with an offer to put right a people and then an offer to individual human beings?

            “At least an Atheist makes a judgment based on observed cause and effect.”

            So do Christians in the judiciary, pretty much the same as atheists. But we (ie, you and I) talk differently to people who are behaving the same according to our differing beliefs. And where do those beliefs come from? Mine come from revealed religion, I freely state. Yours? Based on what you have written here, it seems to come from faith in a modern form of democracy, in the human spirit, and in education as a panacaea. I don’t have much faith in any of those, for reasons I am willing to give, but do please say more. In particular, you say that modern liberal democracy has improved since the French Revolution, but you have not stated any modern thinkers whom you believe reflect those improvements over Tom Paine, Jefferson etc. Camus and Sartre are geniuses profound enough to make a man slit his wrists if he really takes to heart what they are saying. But who would you advocate?

          • CliveM

            We all think the law is just when we agree with it.

            However how just was our democratic, western laws when homosexuality was outlawed and a criminal offence? Or when it banned SSM?

            I agree you have to obey laws, even ones you disagree with in a democracy. But you don’t have to agree they are just. But if we do agree on that point, were the men who had sex together when homosexuality was illegal wrong to do so?

          • Linus

            The law used to be unjust because it was the reflection of an unjust society where religion rather than reason ruled.

            With the development of modern Western democracies has come a corresponding development in the law, which is now more truly just and impartial than it has ever been.

            This looks like injustice to Christians because they see their former privileged position under attack and, convinced of their own unassailable righteousness, are incapable of admitting that other groups have any claims.

            The injustice of the laws against homosexuality was real because it denied equal treatment to a particular group for no reason other than the religious animus of the majority. The justice of the equal marriage laws is real because it treats all groups equally and disregards religious animus altogether.

            Judge the law on its merits. By doing so that is how we have arrived at laws that are clearly more just than they have ever been. What Christians want isn’t justice, it’s special treatment. They want the law to reflect their religious beliefs. That would not be justice. It would be theocracy.

          • CliveM

            But by your own previous definition it was just. It was democratic, subject to legal review etc. what you didn’t like was it’s outcome and for that reason you felt it unjust. It had more to do then process.

          • Linus

            The laws against homosexuality were introduced in the 19th century when very few men and no women at all could vote. They were not democratic by any modern definition of the concept. Rather say that they were put in place by an aristocratic system that was in the process of becoming an oligarchy. That system would later evolve into something we recognize as a democracy, but only much later. When it did, unfair laws were scrapped.

          • CliveM

            Do you believe that these laws where not generally approved of? They also survived a number of years of democracy? How many democratic French Republics did they survive?

            Anyway it’s academic. It is right that people aren’t allowed to refuse based on sexuality (or race, or disability) however I think society should not force businesses to give unintentional support on issues that have a moral basis. These are not on what a person is, but what he says!

          • Linus

            Homosexuality has never been illegal under any French republican régime.

            It took you so long to catch up with us that you didn’t repeal your anti-gay laws until 1967. You’re just a bit behind the times really, aren’t you?

          • CliveM

            Well depends what you mean. Ok the point is one of principle, so let’s say SSM?

          • Saba_Hilarion

            “The laws against homosexuality were introduced in the 19th century”? I would refer Linus to that learned authority, Stonewall, where we learn:
            1290 First mention in English common law of a punishment for homosexuality
            1300 Treatise in England prescribed that sodomites should be burned alive
            1533 Buggery Act introduced by Henry VIII brought sodomy within the scope of statute law for the first time and made it punishable by hanging.

          • Linus

            In which case, the laws against homosexuality were introduced in the Dark Ages (or thereabouts) by a theocratic monarchy. They have nothing to do with democracy.

      • Anton

        And perhaps the concept of Liberte…

      • Athanasius

        Well, if there is a sodomite triumph in this case, I think the next logical thing to do would be to seek out an openly homosexual baker, ask him to produce a cake bearing the legend “No To Sodomy” and then use the Asher case as precedent for suing him when he doesn’t. One of two things would happen. Either the judiciary would twist themselves into knots to trying to prove its different when gays do it (if you’ll pardon the “Carry On” type pun) , in which case the law is brought into disrepute and becomes untenable, or they uphold the precedent in the Asher case and apply the law equally to the privalaged section, in which case the screams of “Aggh! Bigot! Hater!” make the law untenable.

        I warned yesterday that manipulating the levers of the law to force minority preferences down the throat of an unwilling and increasingly resentful majority was going to blow back on the elitist cadre attempting it. It will be interesting to see how soon it happens.

        • Linus

          Way to go turning the other cheek! This is why Christians are a source of endless amusement. “Do as I say, not as I do” and “how dare you judge me for judging you?” should be the only two commandments. They’re the only ones ALL Christians actually follow.

          • Athanasius

            Quote mining is not a an intellectually sound method of research. If you wish to know about Christianity, read the Cathecism of the Catholic Church. It’s a long book but quite exhaustive and explains clearly when it is and isn’t appropriate to accept martyrdom.

          • Linus

            Good idea!

            How long do you think it will take me to find the bit in the Catechism where it says (and I’m paraphrasing) “When your enemy wins a victory over you, scweam and scweam and SCWEAM until you turn blue, and then do to him exactly what he’s done to you. With knobs on. Thus saith the Lord…”

            Funny I don’t remember that bit from Catechism class. In fact I could have sworn the priest said almost exactly the reverse. But no doubt I’ve got it wrong. I found the whole process of catechesis rather baffling and my attention tended to wander…

          • Athanasius

            Ah, now I remember. You’re a lapsed Catholic aren’t you? (And for the benefit of any Protestants watching, they never go quitely, as they do in the First Calvinist, United Methodists, Church of England or whatever – there’s always a lifelong lamentation which follows the departure). Usually I can smell them at twenty paces, but I’ve been suffering from a bit of a runny nose recently. I believe you did explain that in the past, but (and please don’t take offence) you really didn’t stick in my mind. Now then, this isn’t really about gay rights or the law at all, is it, dear boy? Come clean, Linus – to paraphrase Churchill, if the Swiss Guard invaded Hell, you’d find a few good words for the devil, wouldn’t you?

          • Linus

            My parents were (lukewarm) Catholics and I had the religious education most children of Catholics receive, but I was never a Catholic myself, so it isn’t correct to call me “lapsed”.

            To be a Catholic you have to believe in God. I never have, even as a child. If you want to view that as a “lamentation” then by all means do so. After all, there’s no arguing with dogmatic belief. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and smile…

            And please don’t worry about causing me any offence. Random religious bigots who comment on right wing Christian blogs don’t figure on the list of people whose opinions I take seriously enough for them to cause me any offence.

          • Athanasius

            Well, I could point out that you yourself are a regular commenter on a “right wing Christian blog”, but as there is no arguing with dogmatic belief, I will limit myself to noting that you have screamed “bigot”, therefore I win.

          • Linus

            What do you win? Do religious bigots have some sort of lotto that pays out every time someone calls them by their right name? That would certainly explain their obsession with expressing the most extreme opinions as loudly as possible.

            In any case, a bigot is a bigot whether he likes the word being applied to him or not. And if he doesn’t, well, every cloud has a silver lining and he can always use the attribution to stoke his martyrdom complex even further.

            Look upon being called a bigot as one more thing you have to suffer for the figment of your imagination you call God. Who knows, if your fictitious religion turns out to be true, all that suffering will get you a huge reward in heaven. A pre-war Classic Six with Throne views at the very least…

          • Athanasius

            Linus, get some help. The religious aren’t going away. We’re not going to suddenly become extinct and if you can’t get past this rage at our refusal to die you’re going to go insane.

          • Linus

            Whatever your name is, listen to your own advice.

            Atheists are here to stay and as society becomes increasingly convinced by our secular explanations, the sense of frustration and powerlessness experienced by Christians can only grow. The bitterness, rage and out-and-out mental disorder so often encountered in the comments sections of blogs like this one bear clear witness to the consequences of Christian belief in the modern world.

            Christianity is the final refuge of the professional contrarian and pathological naysayer. Come all ye would-be martyrs and strike your poses of persecution online and gnash your teeth and tear your hair as those evil Atheists tear you limb from limb. Ah the pain of being forced to watch gays marrying without being allowed to spit on them and call them names! None have ever known suffering like it!!!

        • GKoH

          Won’t work. If the ruling is given in favour of the couple then it will be on the basis that the bakery discriminated on the grounds of sexuality, not taste or preference. So the ‘gay’ baker in this instance could refuse it because ‘Say No to Sodomy’ is a negative statement and not a positive one. That is, they’re standing against a ‘hateful’ comment and not against some other expression of sexuality. The only way this would work would be to find some sort of legal practise that the bakers find objectionable and which they wouldn’t want to ‘support’.

          • Athanasius

            How about “Say Yes To Straight Sex”?

      • Phil R

        Religion does not excuse you from the obligation to obey the law

        There is no obligation to obey unethical laws.

        You don’t get it. The more laws you make the less they are likely to be obeyed.

        I don’t feel any moral obligation to obey laws made by unjust state. Like many Europeans it seems. I inceasingly pretend to obey them.

        • Linus

          I’m not sure to whom you’re addressing your melodramatic cri de cœur. It can’t be me because I don’t make any laws. Or perhaps your “condition” is spilling over into full blown delusion and paranoia and you think I’m some kind of despotic autocrat who makes up laws to suit himself.

          Sorry to disappoint you but I’m just an ordinary citizen with no special powers. I know that people with your “issues” often have trouble distinguishing between reality and their paranoid delusions, but I’m not the embodiment of the secular state. I’m just someone who supports it, that’s all.

          • Phil R

            “You” as a member of group Linus.

            I.e, those that follow your worldview and are determined to impose it on others who disagree with you, without compromise, using the rule of law.

          • Linus

            “Group Linus”? Wow! Like I’m at the head of some kind of evil global elite network, or something?

            This just gets worse and worse. First it was paranoia, now it’s delusions of grandeur by proxy. So you really think a global elite lizard chief would be targeting you personally, eh? You’re that important?

            I give up here. There’s enough material to keep a psychiatrist busy for years. It’s far beyond my amateur capacity to deal with.

          • Phil R

            Linus

            You and I are never going to be friends so I don’t see the point in trying to pretend otherwise.

            What we believe as Christians is what you do impacts not just on you but on the whole of society.

            BTW. If you do not believe there’s indeed enough material to keep a secular psychiatrist busy for years. In totalitarian states faith in God was and is indeed considered a treatable condition.

            We know what happens from history when you change society and finally get your laws, so that is why we can never really be friends.

          • magnolia

            I am wondering whether being PC and a bit of positive discrimination, and being extra specially careful because of his orientation did not result in co-pilot Andreas Lubitz being allowed in the cockpit when it seems he was frequently mentally ill.

            This is not equality but special privileges, and it is horribly dangerous. Also Thomas Hamilton of course.

          • “Citing police sources, Bild said the investigation is examining whether Lubitz had been suffering from a “personal life crisis”. He is said to have had a relationship crisis with his girlfriend and to have suffered emotional problems. The local Westerwälder newspaper said Lubitz and his girlfriend had been together for seven years and were living in a flat in Düsseldorf.”
            Seems he had a long standing history of mental health disorders – severe depression. This, of course, is another ‘protected group’.

          • CliveM

            In what sense is it protected?

          • Under the Equality Act :
            A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

          • dannybhoy

            And?

          • dannybhoy

            The real issue my cyberchum, is that the airline should have picked up on the fact that he had dropped out of his training for a few months and found out why. I think There’s a lot more to be revealed yet.
            I bet there’s a lot like me who wondered if there was some terrorist involvement, and I am pleased that they are changing the rules so that there are always at least two on the flight deck.

          • Jack’s point is they would – or should – have known the reason for his illness but equality legislation means that legally they have to tread carefully.

          • dannybhoy

            I understand what you’re saying dear Jack, and were we dealing with a newspaper vendor I would see why; but we’re dealing with a company which spends a lot of money buying metal tubes with engines, carrying real men women and children, and training suitable and competent people to get the tube off the ground and land it again somewhere else.

            That’s a pretty different kettle of fish I would say..

          • magnolia

            I take back my remarks about Lubitz as I have now read the manual for the aircraft, well at any rate the bit about the doors, and realise that these realities pertain:
            1. A 2-7 figure code would have been known by more than the 2 pilots on board to open the door even if it had been locked from the inside.
            2. The area around the door was sufficiently flimsy for an axe to have penetrated quite easily.
            3. The pilot was unlikely to have been banging on the door when he could access a satellite phone and ask for the plane to be landed safely from outside the plane.

            It is therefore more likely than not that it was not a peaceful pilot of a passenger plane to blame but a wicked twisted warmongerer who should spend a long time in an extremely uncomfortable place in the next life for wholesale disobedience to the 10 commandments, and indeed two other planes were reportedly seen by eyewitnesses in that area flying alongside said plane.

            No idea which nation’s army or security services have their conscienceless grimy fingers on the murder weapon, but I hope and pray that God will give them their due comeuppance for murdering innocent men, women, children, and babies in contravention of His Laws. (I am sure that whichever nation it was they don’t play cricket!)

          • CliveM

            Well we will find out the answers in due course. One of the things I don’t know is what the German law is on this, as I’m fairly sure that UK law doesn’t have jurisdiction!

          • UK law is based on ECHR.

          • CliveM

            But subject to local interpretation and principles of implementation.

          • CliveM

            I think things are still a bit to early to make clear conclusions. We don’t yet really know what the airline knew or didn’t know. However there are clearly lessons that need to be identified.

          • Phil R

            We have to realise how dangerous this actually is and it goes far deeper than you describe.

            I was talking with a teacher some months ago who knew of a colleague who over a long period of time had several incidents of completely inappropriate behaviours in the classroom.

            The teacher stated that he was “managed” rather than reported. When I asked the reason why, the teacher laughed and told me, if you were the head what would you do.

            If the guy was disciplined and perhaps dismissed, the Head had also perhaps failed to act appropriately. The head wanted his pension so he managed the guy under close supervision until his retirement and both left with a pension and the school’s reputation intact.

            If Andrea’s line manager had reported him, then a good lawyer would implicate the manager also for not spotting the problem or “supporting him” appropriately etc. If he did report him and it was found to be baseless then the manager would also lose marks.

            Safest option from the management perspective is to do nothing.

            Speak no Evil, Hear no Evil, See no Evil is probably essential if you want to be a manager in today’s world.

      • Inspector General

        “unless of course the judge decides to overturn decades of case law and disagree with the rest of the British judiciary.”

        My dear chap. EVERYTHING, or it seems that way, has been overturned in recent years. Little seems to have escaped. And you think your precious case law is ring fenced?

      • dannybhoy

        In a common sense world the baker would have been within his rights to say “Sorry, no” and recommend another baker.
        I wouldn’t dream of going to a kosher butcher and asking for pork sausages or a Muslim butcher for that matter.
        This is a bad case of the tail wagging the dog, and it will I predict backfire.

        • Linus

          You can go to a kosher butcher and ask for pork sausages. You will most likely be told politely “Sorry, we don’t stock that.”

          No kosher butcher can be forced to sell pork. But a baker who offers cakes for sale and also offers to decorate them “for all occasions” can’t turn a customer down solely because he doesn’t like the occasion he’s being asked to bake the cake for. Unless preparing and selling the cake would constitute a crime (e.g. the promotion of terrorist acts), he has to accept the order on the principle that goods and services must be open to all.

          If he makes cakes, he has to make them for everyone. His service must be available to all.

          If he makes beef sausages, he doesn’t have to make pork sausages too. The product he’s offering is a beef sausage. It’s available to all, but if the customer wants a product he doesn’t make, too bad for the customer.

          • dannybhoy

            In a commonsense world Linus, he or she would be able to say,
            “I’m very sorry but my faith will not allow me to make such a cake.”

          • Linus

            In which case he should not bake any cakes. If you allow bakers to pick and choose their customers then you’ll end up bakeries that refuse to serve Blacks, or Arabs, or Christians. You’ll have instituted a form of apartheid and be legalising the right to discriminate against whoever you don’t like.

          • dannybhoy

            You have a good point Linus. I shall reflect further!

          • The Explorer

            Except the guy bringing the complaint was apparently an existing customer. And there would be a difference between refusing to serve a black customer and refusing to produce a cake for an existing black customer with the caption ‘Kill whitey!’

          • GKoH

            Except that you wouldn’t. First, apartheid etc. saw State legislation that was racist. Those laws have been removed and or adjusted so that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law.

            Second, if you really think all hell would break loose if that law were removed then I’d suggest society has bigger problems than whether or not a baker makes a cake. It wouldn’t happen on a large scale.

            Third, the above change wouldn’t happen because of this case since we’re dealing here with forcing someone to do something they she password is reset to aren’t comfortable with, and not stopping someone from doing something they want to do. There’s a big difference.

          • Linus

            Allow open discrimination and you fling the doors wide open to effective apartheid. No-go areas where a black person can’t be served in any shop or purchase any service. And then you’ll get schools that discriminate too. Private schools of course, but no blacks or Arabs allowed. Gays expelled or subjected to “counseling”.

            If you want to effectively segregate society, it starts by allowing shopkeepers to pick and choose who they serve. It ends with “homeland” style ghettos where minorities have complete freedom to fight for the few meagre resources that the whites will allow them.

            That’s what you really want, isn’t it? Seperate development with all-white towns and villages straight (sic) out of the 1950s where you can live your idyllic and self-satisfied Christian lives without being confronted by the reality of difference and diversity.

  • len

    These bakers have been invited to break the law because gay marriage isn`t legal in Northern Ireland.
    Of course this case bought by gay rights activists is a cynical attempt to change the law in Ireland.
    Muslim bakers next?.

    • CliveM

      The cake advocates changing the law. That’s not a breach of the law.

    • Watchman

      You’re joking, surely. Not if you want to stay healthy!

  • B flat

    Life becomes more and more difficult as the “culture” becomes inimical to what was so recently normal and moral behaviour. Unless Christians are active in reasserting the commandments of Christ, because they love Him, their difficulties will continue. Too long we have been following our leaders with inertia. They have largely failed us, and the Enemy has taken over the reigns (sic). Unless we wish to follow the enemy, or succumb eventually to the persecution which is looming, we must learn to be wise as serpents, to negotiate and avoid the snares set for us, and gain strength and support to drive the malevolent and self-serving politicians out of Westminster or wherever the laws are made. If that is too difficult, we might start a longer-term campaign to get better Christians as leaders in our churches. Or are we just as disenfranchised and marginalised in our own home as in the World? There are many signs that we are, at least in the CofE, not just in the RC world. I am a member of neither, and personally see no way to do more in my own church to remedy matters, except pray and be vigilant, which is why I follow this blog with gratitude.

  • Dudes

    Utterly confusing. How far does this binding precedent go? If the bakers loose, I assume that a Protestant could go to a Catholic bakers and they couldn’t refuse an order for a “I heart Cromwell : Protestant hero” cake ?

    Or a Catholic could go to a Protestant bakery and ask for a “I heart IRA:freedom fighters cake”?

    • The Explorer

      As Nietzsche put it, “We have unchained ourselves from the Sun.” It’s an experiment. How cold it gets, we’ll have to wait and see.

      • Ah dude

        Nietzsche also said “out of chaos comes order” (at least according to blazing saddles):

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=On73aHpgdSQ

        • The Explorer

          It didn’t work when his brain went into chaos, and he started playing the piano with his elbows. It remained in chaos until he died.

        • dannybhoy

          He said that?
          Golly, he really did have syphilis didn’t he.

          • Dude

            Follow the link: it’s a quip from Mel Brookes “blazing saddles”. Jewish humour! 🙂

          • dannybhoy

            I like Mel Brookes.
            “Life Stinks”
            “The Producers”
            Classic.

    • CliveM

      It will depend on what the court bases it’s judgement. If it’s purely on contract law, the precedent will be limited.

      • Interesting… it’s difficult because on the one level I can see that there is an argument that says a proprietor can work on whatever commission they have and refuse business that they choose*…. but on the other hand baking a pro gay marriage campaign cake doesn’t mean one has to endorse gay marriage by doing so : when I was at university, I read mein kampf for a module on Nazi Germany, but clearly I wasn’t endorsing the message by reading it and neither was the publisher by printing it.

        *of course subject to the various discrimination laws

        • CliveM

          Part of the prosecution case is the bakery accepted a contract then 48hrs later breached it by cancelling.

          • Weird then that this is about discrimination, rather than breach of contract.

          • CliveM

            Well Duse it may simply be I’m wrong! Won’t be the first time. The prosecution are making a lot of the breach, but it may simply be being used as supporting evidence that they appear to initially be happy to accept the contract but changed their minds.

          • Dude

            I dunno either as I’m not a legal eagle. It’s doing my head in. Thankfully it’s Shabbat in an hour, so I can forget about this for a day…

          • preacher

            Shabbat Shalom Sam.

          • A Shabbat shalom and a gut shabbos to you too preacher dude!

          • dannybhoy

            Yes Shmu’el,
            Shabbat Shalom to you, and your family and friends.
            Don’t forget, keep saving up for my shtreimel!

          • Dude, Nah, I don’t want to look like an eastern European nobleman. Besides which I’ve got a fez and a top hat to wear for Shabbat (our family tradition or custom).

            Laters dude

            Shabbat shalom!

        • Uncle Brian

          You weren’t endorsing the message by reading it, agreed. Not so sure about the publisher, though.

    • Uncle Brian

      Yes, the implications for other prospective cake buyers are what makes this case particularly interesting. As Cranmer himself suggested, how about going into a Muslim-owned bakery and ordering a cake with the Mohammed caricature from Charlie Hebdo?

      • Linus

        Somebody should do it. The Christian baker is apparently going to be locked up in a concentration camp, so the Muslim could keep him company.

        Oh but wait … Muslims are forbidden from depicting the human form, so one assumes that Muslim bakeries do not offer the same kind of cake decorating services as their Christian counterparts.

        • preacher

          After you Bro’ – The Muppets Are Puppets, so not human.

          • Linus

            The caricature of Muhammed from Charlie Hebdo is of a human – a gross misrepresention, I’m sure. But a human nonetheless.

          • preacher

            Yes but the guys that committed the crime were looking for any excuse to Murder people. Yes it was a caricature, but that was close enough in their estimation.
            Christians are not looking to further their faith by killing & fear, so it’s quite revealing that we seem to be on so many peoples hit lists.

      • Dude

        I wouldn’t want to get my head kicked in or get a fatwa on me by some loony tune jihadists ……

    • Linus

      Is the IRA still classified as a terrorist organisation? If so your cake order would infringe a different set of regulations and you’d be in real trouble.

      • Dude

        Although if you go to Ulster both the unionists and the nationalists have pretty murals on walls with balaclava clad guys holding sub machine guns with various captions on them…..

        Although my point wasn’t about specifics, but how if the ruling is against the baker how this will change the law in the broadest sense. I think in France legal cases are decided on their individual merits, but in English common law once a court makes a decision it becomes binding on all other courts with similar cases, unless overturned at later by a higher court or legislation, hence “precedent”.

  • preacher

    We will have to wait for the outcome of the trial before we see what the law is worth.

    All this talk of litigation prompts me to ask, which law should man be obeying, God’s or man’s?.
    As Christians it is obvious to us. We serve the higher law – God’s, but we will obey man’s law when it doesn’t attempt to nullify or negate the higher requirements of Divine law. As the lesser or lower court must always bow to the higher, then it stands to reason that if we obey God, we will always win.

    Even if it costs us everything. When man’s law dictates that we must obey him despite it being contrary to Divine law. We are not free to obey no matter what the cost – even life itself, as Archbishop Cranmer & many others can testify.

    But what of others who in the cause of self gratification despise & break the Divine law, pour scorn on the Lawgiver & expect to escape judgement?.
    Surely by their own admission that law, (man’s) is paramount, & use litigation to enforce ‘justice’, then the higher law must also be answered to when broken.
    Even if the perpetrator claims ignorance or disagrees, or doesn’t believe the Judge exists. He is still answerable.

    A bit long & wordy, but I hope worth consideration!.

    • Watchman

      Totally agree, preacher. Mike Overd’s ordeal at the hands of a Muslim judge were reminiscent of the apostle Paul’s treatment on several occasions when he preached the gospel. Not all legal encountered are as clear cut as this but all that we can say is that if we honour Him He will honour us.

      • Ivan M

        What ordeal are you talking about? Was he shown the irons? Stop being a drama queen.

        • Watchman

          I hadn’t appreciated that you had such an abusive response. Please accept my apologies for any distress I may have caused you.

          • Ivan M

            Please accept my apology in turn.

  • preacher

    Just been following the progress of the case. Interesting point is that a different baker did make the cake, (Photo of it being cut) so it seems that this confirms the case is a set up & a waste of public time & money irrespective of the outcome.
    Now I wonder if as an earlier communicant posted, Mr Lee or whoever ordered the cake had the permission of the owners of the Muppets copyright to use the images or are they in breach of said copyright?.
    Interesting or what?.

    • dannybhoy

      There is a gay agenda and I think it’s driven by anger and resentment towards (funnily enough) the Christian Church.
      I say funny because as far as I am aware in my 47 years of being a born again Christian, I never ever heard of another Christian, Anglican /Catholic/ Baptist/ Methodist or Quaker beating up on a homosexual..
      Never.
      In my pub culture days I heard of it, but not amongst church goers.
      Not only that but
      a) the New Testament says God will deal with all wrongdoers on that great and terrible day of the Lord
      b) Militant Muslims are quite happy either to throw homosexuals off of very high buildings to see if they will fly, or to test out their resistance to heavy stones thrown at them whilst they are unable to move.
      So these gay militants need to question why their anger is directed towards us Christians..

      • Uncle Brian

        b) Militant Muslims are quite happy either to throw homosexuals off of very high buildings to see if they will fly, or to test out their resistance to heavy stones thrown at them whilst they are unable to move.
        You might add: or to see whether it’s possible to operate a crane from the other end.

      • preacher

        I think the problem is that the truth hurts. Anyone can deal with violent opposition that’s external, but conviction of sin that comes from the inside can drive people who don’t know the antidote or refuse to take it to extremes of resentment & hate.
        This applies to many lost folks, not just homosexuals as the Bible bears testimony.
        Blessings Dannyboy.

        • dannybhoy

          Thank you preacher, i could do with some blessings!

      • Politically__Incorrect

        “I never ever heard of another Christian, Anglican /Catholic/ Baptist/ Methodist or Quaker beating up on a homosexual”

        My experience too. The only people I hear poking fun at homosexuals are the atheists at work.

        • dannybhoy

          Those old’uns amongst us would probably admit to being almost entirely ignorant of homosexuality in our young and dashing days.
          My dad was 20 years in the Royal Navy from 16 to 36. and went through WW2. He told us kids lots of stories about his experiences, but never about sex nor homosexuality. I think probably only homosexuals and those that preyed upon them really knew about it.
          There’s no shame in that. What it shows is us ‘young blades’ of the ’50s and ’60s were brought up in relative innocence.

          • CliveM

            It was pretty much the same in the 70’s!

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Indeed. I think I was probably in my mid-teens when I first heard of homosexuality, but even then I don’t think I understood what they did together. Now, of course, they want to teach all that stuff to primary school children. That makes me feel sick. Innocence is frowned upon these days, but I am glad that we had it. I feel truly sorry for young people today having to swim in the sexual cesspool British society has become. I also truly thank God that I come from a normal heterosexual family, where my parents stayed together. Surveying the current trend of the family, it almost feels like a privilege.
            Sadly, my father passed away just before Christmas. I wrote the eulogy for his funeral. He was the last person in my family of that generation. I wanted to emphasise the strength and peace that comes from having a normal stable family, and that we should always honour our parents and respect te older generation.

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Sir. It’s not that there weren’t bad things going on but most children didn’t know anything about it and could just get on with being children in a mostly safe environment.
            I too feel very sorry for children today. They are being bombarded with stuff from all angles by doctrinaire social engineers who are arrogantly sowing the problems of tomorrow.
            I’m sure your father was proud of you.

      • Phil R

        Their anger is not rational.

        So which or what then would direct their anger at the family of God?

  • The Explorer

    No verdict yet. The case is to resume on Monday.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      More prayers over the weekend

    • Uncle Brian

      Any hint of which way it’s going?

      • The Explorer

        Mrs Asher, a director, took the order so as not to cause a scene in the bakery. She then consulted with her husband. They did not get legal advice, but consulted with their pastor. In the light of his advice, they declined the order and returned the money. The impression is of a simple sol trying to follow her faith without giving offence.

        • Dude

          The word to use is to avoid a “fracas” : then you’d get stig going to the equality Soviet on a tank with a 1,000,000 signature petition to stop this case. So if the public can get whipped up about Jeremy Clarkson and his lack of steak and chips, why can’t the -presumably more than 1,000,000 Christians in the UK do the same with bakers?

  • GKoH

    BBC update is out – won’t hot link it but you can just type ‘Bakery’ the BBC search box.

    Of note:

    The BBC name Gareth Lee as a gay rights activist, perhaps indicating a setup – not like that’s anything new.

    The director of Ashers stated that although she knew she couldn’t fulfill the order she initially accepted payment because she didn’t, “want to embarrass him or have a confrontation in the bakery”.

    The prosecution seem to be attacking a possible issue of inconsistency in belief/behaviour because they asked the GM of Ashers about previous leaflets indicating they would produce Halloween cakes with witches on them (he said they are no longer in use) and also what his church thought about those leaflets. A line of questioning which seems to me to be rather along the lines of bullying.

  • GKoH

    Indiana – USA – Governor Pence Issues Statement Regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=214653&information_id=212489&type=&syndicate=syndicate

  • “Giving evidence, Mr Lee said that he “felt sorry” for Mrs McArthur when she told him they could not fulfil his order as she was so apologetic.

    When he was told the order was cancelled because of religious beliefs, he said he felt: “I wasn’t worthy of service because they were Christian. That was the message that struck me. It made me feel not worthy, like I’m a lesser person and to me that is wrong,”

    Hmmm …. yeah, sure, Jack believes you.

    “Ashers’ QC David Scoffield says Mr Lee’s “perception of the reason” his order was refused is “irrelevant” and whilst he doesn’t “want to minimise the hurt the plaintiff says he feels” suggested Mr Lee was perhaps being “over sensitive”.”

    • Anton

      I trust that Mr Lee is not perjuring himself when he said that he felt unworthy rather than feeling anger or hate. But it is a tragic day for justice and freedom when legislation is based on what people say they feel.

      • CliveM

        It’s hard to feel any sympathy for him. And it gets harder every time he opens whining mouth.

      • Inspector General

        One has the idea that most anists are atheist, so perjury is not a moral crime for them.

    • If Ashers loose, it would rob Mrs McArthur and other Christians who wish to operate a business of the right to manifest their faith and that is wrong. It would make a hypocrite of Mrs McArthur as she would have to provide products with messages that are in direct opposition to what she believes and to how she is trying to live her life. Surely we all have a right to live our lives according to how we want as long as it does not threaten or advocate violence or physically harm anyone else. Bruised ego’s don’t qualify.

      • Jack was very impressed with the direct and straight forward presentation of their faith by the McArthurs and how they explained they considered it their duty not to act against their consciences in using their God given business and skills to promote a deeply anti-Christian message.

        Compare this with the weasel words of the oh, so pained, effeminate and terribly sensitive homosexual who says he suffered so much by feeling a lesser person because his order for a cake was declined. Jack had to reach for his tissues when reading the evidence he gave.

        God works in mysterious ways and even if the Ashers lose they will have won. This sordid business will lay bare the soft totalitarianism of the modern liberal state and its politically correct organs. It’s a wake-up call. There will be a reaction in Northern Ireland. New legislation is being planned. They don’t do compromise in matters of faith there and this issue will unite Catholics and Protestants.
        Homosexual marriage in Northern Ireland has been set back by this action.

      • Bernard from Bucks

        If they lose, which I sincerely hope not, they should not give up their business, but simply refuse to put ANY words on ANY cakes on the grounds of ‘perceived’ offence. It is against the law after all.
        “The use of words or behaviour or display of written material intended or likely to cause offence,”
        To be on the safe side they should state that they no longer put any messages on cakes – after all even ‘Merry Christmas’ is very likely to ‘offend’ someone, somewhere?

        • No that’s just stopping free speech, what about messages like Happy Birthday or Congratulations on……….. on a cake, would they be banned in case they offended too?

          • Bernard from Bucks

            Simple. You sell the worded messages separately and allow the customer to stick them on the cake themselves.
            The fact that the shop does not stock the words ‘gay’ and ‘marriage’ cannot be held against them.

          • Well if one has to stick things on a cake oneself then one can get a part decorated or plain iced at Tesco for half the price and just as nice. What you are suggesting is appeasement. What about the disappointed bride who won’t be too thrilled at having to stick on “Congratulations on your marriage” because she can’t have it piped on the cake by the baker. It will look tacky and unprofessional.

    • magnolia

      Well if not getting a cake with a loony picture on is one of the most traumatic moments of his life he is a very, very, very fortunate man, and there are millions, no billions, very much worse off than this pampered oversensitive soul, brought up, apparently, in cotton wool, and with no sense of perspective.

      If all of us could bring someone to court for every time we had felt “like a lesser person” from the way we were treated the courts would be overfilled, and very few are in my experience apologetic! Most of us have to have at least a slightly thick skin to survive. He needs to get with it, but then I think it is “vexatious litigation” anyway. The courts should have better things to do.

  • Anton

    Please pray about this case over the weekend. Please alert the leaders of your congregations to pray.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Many were asked to pray last weekend – which I hope they did. We can indeed join in prayer once again for this specific matter.

      ” It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are
      fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up
      but with life itself.”

  • Inspector General

    In all fairness, the Inspector feels a need to post on behalf of ordinary
    homosexual types who do not agree with this persecution of bakeries. 3% of the
    population are homosexual (excluding the part timers, those indulgent bisexuals). Maybe of that figure, less than 10% are sufficiently annoyed that society in general disapproves of their behaviour that they could be classified as militant.

    These litigious rascals in Northern Ireland do not represent the mainstream, but as militants always claim, what they do is on their behalf (whether they agree or not). Having spent some time in their camp on Pink News, one suspects that these quiet types are as furious as the rest of us. And with good reason. You cannot buy the intensity of bad feeling that will fall on them should the case be successful…

    • William Lewis

      It’s a good point and worth making from time to time, Inspector. One is, not infrequently, drawn to the similarities between extreme positions amongst Muslims and those in the “Gay Community”. Both pour scorn on their less zealous brethren, both accuse their opponents of being stricken with some kind of irrational fear and both believe that their actions are driven from core components of their identity.

      • Inspector General

        Very well put sir. And yes, ‘from time to time’ is very much it.

      • Anton

        But the problem in both communities is that it is the extremists that set the agenda.

        • William Lewis

          Yes. This is indeed the problem and our stupid, PC “elite” and their useful idiots have done everything to help them along the way.

  • Shadrach Fire

    His Grace Tweeted on this today. Just where are we going.

    SNP State Guardians: A Parents Story

    MARCH 26, 2015NOSNP2015

    The SNP state Guardians at work.

    The text below came from the parent of a child at school in Aberdeen.

    At lunchtime today I received a phonecall at work from my youngest daughter, who is almost 13 and who is in S1 at an Aberdeen Secondary school.

    She told me that she had been taken out of her class after being “given an appointment” with the School Nurse. Neither she nor I had any prior knowledge of any appointment therefore I was interested to know more.

    She had been advised that the appointment was for “a little chat” – however the “nurse” was not anyone she had seen before – i.e. not the usual School Nurse.

    The “little chat” was actually a list of probing and very personal questions about my daughter’s home life as opposed to her health as follows:

    Who do you live with?

    Do you get on with your sister?

    Where do your other siblings live – do they live nearby?

    Do your parents work? What jobs do they do?

    Do you have any pets?

    How many pets?

    Do you sleep well?

    When my daughter answered YES to this question the nurse said: “…so no bed-wetting then?”

    Have you started your menstrual periods?

    Do you feel safe and secure in your home?

    Do you feel loved and cared for?

    Are you listened to?

    If you have a problem who would you go to? My daughter replied she would go to either parent – and this was met with “but it would be your Mum if it was about puberty etc yes?”

    Do you have a good relationship with your parents?

    Can you talk to them – etc. etc?

    My daughter said to me that she felt very uncomfortable and taken aback at the questions.

    Me? Well I was absolutely RAGING!

    I telephoned the school and the “Lead Nurse” called me back “to explain and address your concerns”. The woman talked to me in a tone which suggested she thought I was a complete idiot, intimidated by bureaucracy – that misapprehension was swiftly corrected!

    I asked why I had not been contacted to give my consent. “Oh but you gave consent for that when you signed up to the core programme…” WTF?

    She then mentioned SHANARRI (safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included) and GIRFEC “Getting It Right For Every Child” – followed by a spiel about the Named Person – all of these being the euphemisms for the SNP’s plan for making all Scottish children wards of the State, undermining the role of all Scottish parents, brainwashing our children with vile inward-looking nationalism and consigning the family unit to the dustbin of history.

    I was so angry I could barely speak – but I asked for a copy of the notes which had been taken and the boxes ticked during my daughter’s “little chat”. “Oh that’s confidential” replied the nurse “we have to respect your daughter’s confidentiality…”

    This is not over by any means – I will obtain a copy of the notes and I intend to ensure that my child is never subjected to this again.

    Wake up Scotland and get rid of these NAZIS (because that’s what they are) before they destroy our country and our children.

    Incandescent with rage doesn’t even come close.

    • David

      Truly incredible ! Your pain is obvious and your anger justified.
      I sincerely hope you succeed in protecting your daughter from this monstrous State intrusion. Truly we live in scary times.

      • Inspector General

        Look old chap, read it again. It’s not Shadrach’s daughter…

        • Shadrach Fire

          You are right Inspector. I merely saw a Tweet by his Grace that referred the reader to this post and thought it wort sharing. It seemed consistent with the Bakers theme.

          • The child will undoubtedly be interviewed again in a year or so’s time when she will be asked about which contraception method she is using or whether she feels especially close to any of her girl friends.
            Your friend could encourage her to ask the interviewer for three forms of indentification including a recent utility bill before answering any questions, but to be honest, in the words of the chief Vogon, ‘resistance is futile.’ There’s probably already a note in her file saying, “Parent has anger issues. Seek excuse to put child into care.”

          • Parents need to organise. On their own they can do little. Any parent in Scotland would be well advised to join one of the groups campaigning against this.

    • Anton

      Sieg Heil indeed.

    • Inspector General

      45% of Scots are National Socialists. The question is, how do we remediate this sad occurrence…

      • CliveM

        And 90% of the rest are simply socialist.

      • Anton

        By waving them goodbye?

    • Politically__Incorrect

      And they have the nerve to call others “fascists”. It’s called Sicilian Defence – you insult your opponent to put them on the wrong foot from the outset. Time to get on the right foot and stay there!

      • Inspector General

        That’s a chess strategy too, one recalls from his schooldays…

    • Phil R

      Rage will not work with this one

      The state holds all the cards and rage will potentially get the daughter taken into care. Quite simply he cannot risk it, so now is not the time.

      He needs to hold his rage, simile and apologise.

      Then when she is old enough to be safe from their clutches, then remember and fight.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Oh that’s confidential” replied the nurse “we have to respect your daughter’s confidentiality…”

      What a ridiculous excuse. The “nurse” clearly invaded your daughter’s privacy, and thereby the privacy of the rest of her family, and then claims that you cannot see the notes out of respect for you daughter’s confidentiality. What an utterly creepy, dishonest and hypocritical response.

      Aren’t there any Scottish politicians or other people in positions of responsibility doing anything about this sinister system which seems to have been inspired by the East German Stasi?

      • It’s far worse because a girl over 14 years of age can already be given contraception and abortion, “in confidence”, at the discretion of medics if they consider she has “capacity”. Truly, this is all sinister and Jack speaks as a person who has spent 40 years in this system fighting against such developments.

        You should visit the No2NP’s website for more details. It marginalises parents, especially fathers, and sets up barriers between them and their children. A similar system is being planned for England and Wales. It was abandoned on the Isle of Mann because it was unworkable.

        Website: http://no2np.org/press_release/campaigners-win-right-fast-track-appeal-holyroods-big-brother-state-guardian-plans/

        Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/No2NP/photos/pcb.722078001208963/722077567875673/?type=1

        There are many well meaning individuals in the social care system but most have swallowed the diversity agenda apart from a diminishing group of Christians. These professionals speak a different language to ordinary parents and have entirely different values. Nowadays, to rise to senior positions, you have to be on-board with the relativist mantra. Combine this power over the family with the ideological attack going on more generally against Christian morality and it is alarming.

        • Anton

          There never was such a thing as a “social worker” before the government invented it, whereas there were doctors before the the NHS and there will continue to be doctors after any financial crash brings the NHS low. I continue to believe that a financial crash that wrecks the present social contract would be a thoroughly good thing, morally speaking.
          .

          • It has been my experience that the one group that resists intrusion by the state into a person’s private and family life is doctors and local GP’s in particular. They tend to prize confidentiality above other state bodies such as police, social workers, teachers, health visitors and nurses. However, much of what is shared with a family doctor is now known to all and sundry such is the entanglement of all these other groups in individual and family life.

          • Anton

            I wonder if older doctors are better than younger ones regarding that?

          • Good point.

        • Terry Mushroom

          HJ

          “Nowadays, to rise to senior positions, you have to be on-board with the relativist mantra.”

          I worked in an English housing association and can associate with your assessment. I tried to fight it in the unutterably boring “Equal Ops” training sessions, on staff council and in my union. One weird issue was an attempt to stop women wearing the cross. Interestingly, my biggest supporters were my Muslim colleagues. With them, I won the battle on staff council. We live in strange, frightening times. Like Pope Francis, I believe in the Evil One.

      • magnolia

        Sensitivity to how children feel about these intrusive, and some might say borderline abusive questions, does not seem to figure in their calculations. They are the State and the State is God to them, and the red-faced uncomfortable child another statistic to be fed through the inhumane family-unfriendly system.

        • Anton

          State = Leviathan.

    • The Explorer

      The questions Ofsted inspectors ask kids about their teachers. The kids in ‘1984’ trained to spy on their parents. Alan Ginsberg, “We’ll get you through your children.!”
      Using children as a weapon in the culture war seems a well-established tactic of the Left.

    • Guest

      I have warned my 14 year old daughter NEVER to give personal information about herself or us as her parents to teachers, social workers and certain other people (best left unnamed). I have no faith in social workers and the actions of some would shame the barbarity of the SS! My meaning is breaking up families on flimsy or fabricated evidence. The abbreviation ‘SS’ is coincidental but indicative of their attitude towards Christianity.

      In my view, some of the discussions she has heard at school are indoctrination to accept anti-Christian points of view.

    • Why was your daughter questioned without a chaperone? There should have been a neutral adult there to protect the child. Even the police would not do this….

    • Demon Teddy Bear

      Involve the police.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector publishes you a post from Pink News on the subject. Rather refreshing, what!

    Misha Lappalainen Mark Y • 2 hours ago
    Sadly I’m afraid this case won’t hold water :/ While holding homophobic views is horrible, sadly people are entitled to actually not bake a cake that carries a poltiical message

  • Shadrach Fire

    Just noticed, some guy called Adrian Tweeted this.
    Adrian Hilton [email protected]_Hilton 4h4 hours agoSouth East, England
    MT @cmykey Lib Dems pledge global same-sex marriage rights http://fb.me/3kdoFCx6h < They put this before freedom of religion. More votes?

    • preacher

      Absolute panic & desperation after the broken promises at the last election. The Labs & Cons are looking down the barrels of a hung Parliament at best. The Lib Dems are gone, – headless chicken syndrome.
      ” Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee! ” Goodbye Lib Dems!.

      I mean can you imagine what will happen in Syria, Iraq or Iran if the British consulate start holding Gay Weddings?.

      • Anton

        All parties to a Coalition grumble that they have to compromise, but actually they love it: power, and the freedom to renege and blame the others in the partnership.

        • magnolia

          Not to mention ministerial cars and salaries and being on the world stage!

          • preacher

            Rather like selling ones birthright for a mess of potage. Perhaps?. LOL.

    • Royinsouthwest

      “Global same-sex marriage rights?” Don’t they believe that voters in foreign countries should have any say in the matter?

      Actually gays have always had the same rights as anyone else when it comes to marriage but unless they were bisexual they did not fancy anyone who they were eligible to marry.

  • Anton

    Please pray about this case over the weekend. Please alert the leaders of your congregations to pray.

  • Kennedy

    I agree with you Gillian
    the religion of the bakery owners just like their sexual orientation, political
    views, and ethnicity are and should always be totally irrelevant to a cake
    purchase and for that matter any other similarly commercial transaction.

    However as I’m sure they have put Bert and Ernie on many
    cakes before, what is relevant is their decision to refuse to perform this cake
    decorating service on the basis of the message or as you would say the
    “idea” it contained. The ‘support gay marriage’ message reflects the
    drive to redress the current discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
    that exists within NI marriage laws…speech, written articles and even cake
    decorations supporting this idea and others of sexual equality and political position
    are perfectly appropriate means by which people can and should be able to share
    their opinions…in fact I think cake decorating would be a great way to
    lighten-up how political manifestos are outlined in Stormont.

    Lastly in
    response to your specific question “Can you force someone to express an opinion they disagree
    with?” If by ‘express’ you mean commercially decorate a cake and the
    only basis for your denial is the political/sexual orientation of that
    message…then yes…if you privately decorate cakes for free for all your
    like-minded friends then such a refusal is solely an expression of your
    freedom to determine how far you are willing to extend your personal generosity based
    upon your beliefs….once you enter a commercial enterprise you agree to
    restrict that freedom based upon the extent of anti-discrimination laws.

    • The Explorer

      Three or four years ago, a book was due to be published on the controversial topic of Muhammad’s child bride. The American publisher chickened out at the last moment, but a small British firm agreed to publish it instead. THYE4 London office was duly firebombed.

  • Phleb

    I can fix this problem very easily. The baker offers a limited predetermined generic sentiments to all ie. Happy Birthday, Best Wishes, Bon Voyage … a customer can choose a name(s) to be added, at the discretion of the decorator.

    I know this would work from experience. I wanted something written on a cake, which is complimentary I might add, but the decorator could not fit the msg. in a pleasing way (his opinion) he explained that he was an artist and refused to make an ugly cake. LoL

    • Anton

      Then you’d get Happy Birthday Stonewall!

    • The Explorer

      Could you have taken him to court for discrimination against the ugly?

  • The Explorer

    Three or four years ago, a book was written on the controversial topic of Muhammad’s child bride. The American publisher chickened out at the last moment, but a small British firm agreed to publication instead. The London office was duly firebombed.

    My question.

    1. How far is a publishing firm simply like a printing frim, not necessarily endorsing the products it produces? (Or is the publisher always as guilty as the writer: eg, Penguin books and ‘Lady Chatterley’?)

    2. On what grounds is a publisher entitled to refuse to publish a book?

    I ask simply because before this cake case I would have assumed that a baker had an automatic right to refuse a particular order, and it’s all more twisted and complicated than I had begun to imagine.

  • Guest

    These Muppets have been hijacked! Harmless puppets are now symbols for same sex marriage supporters. I was never keen on the Muppets apart from Muppet Christmas Carol. The bakers have a perfect right to refuse anyone based on the CONTENT of the design or if the purpose of an event is against their conscience.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    When I was young, the idea of laws that allowed this kind of misery to be inflicted on ordinary people would have been unthinkable – something out of the dark ages.

  • Anton

    The case has been heard but the judge wants time to decide:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32113360