It’s Not About the Cake

Once again, the battle between religious freedom and gay marriage remains unresolved.  The Supreme Court ruled on Monday for Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cake (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission), on the grounds simply that the hearing by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was not neutral toward religion.  Indeed, the commission appeared to be hostile to religion when a commissioner said this during a hearing, “I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.”  This means that if this one commissioner had kept his big mouth closed, likely the case would have gone the other way.


While some tout this as a victory for religious freedom, this ruling is far from that.  Similar cases continue to work their way through the court system, as it has become fashionable to sue Christian business owners for refusing to violate their beliefs.  We will have to see if others, such as Baronnelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers win or lose in the Supreme Court. In my opinion, we can anticipate more losses than wins in situations like this.  The public (and many in the court system) see this issue as one of discrimination against a protected class, instead of us holding to the sanctity of God’s design in marriage.


So, what should we do in the political climate we find ourselves in?  Here are some suggestions:


  1. Pray for our officials.  Pray that God will remove hostility against Christ from the law and from legal processes. (1 Tim 2:1-4, HCSB) “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth
  2. Pray for Christian business owners to hold fast to their beliefs.  Even if the government does not come in and seize them, it is likely in this day of social media that they will suffer financial loss by virtue of holding an unpopular opinion.  For instance, Masterpiece Cakes was hit with a barrage of negative Yelp reviews after the SCOTUS ruling.
  3. Do not fear.  Christ himself was not popular with the government.  Remember that whole crucifixion thing? The governor did this to appease the masses, even though the he knew Jesus did not deserve it.  (Matthew 10:28, CSB) “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  While we are unlikely to be physically crucified, we are called to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). We cannot truly follow Him without going where He goes.
  4. Continue to reach out to the lost in a loving way, and remember that many will hate you and insult you for it.  Remember that Christ was spit upon, beaten, and mocked. Do not assume that people’s response to our declaration of His message will be any less hateful.  (Matt 5:11-12, CSB) “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  
  5. Remember that the gospel often spreads better during hard times than in good times, such as the first 300 years when it was illegal to be a Christian, or now, in some Muslim majority countries, where faith in Christ is spreading rapidly.  People are literally putting their lives on the line to proclaim the gospel. We in the United States are not quite to the point of being executed for our faith, but it has happened in the past and continues to happen in many parts of the world.


When our church was first built, it was called Sappony Meeting House.  Many Baptist churches at the time were called “meeting houses”, and Baptist pastors were being jailed for declaring doctrine contrary to the state church, the Church of England. Now, we are called to declare doctrine contrary to the state religion of the United States, Secular Humanism.  We are called to proclaim the gospel, even if it is unpopular or illegal. All of the apostles faced imprisonment and beatings, and all except John were murdered for their faith. All went to their deaths gladly, knowing their eternal reward. How far are we willing to go to snatch the lost from the grasp of Hell?

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