Why Does the Ashers Bakery Case Matter?

 

Judgment has now been reserved in the Ashers bakery case before the County Court in Northern Ireland. The judge, Isobel Brownlie, has retired to consider the evidence presented, and will give in a written judgment in due course.

Why does this case matter? Why are so many Christians anxious over the result?

 

  1. It Would Suggest there is Thought Crime in the UK

This is not the specific allegation. The Equalities Commission are rather contending that Ashers refused to serve the customer, Gareth Lee, because he himself was a homosexual. But the Equalities Commission’s barrister has himself blurred this distinction: “It is the use of the word gay in the phrase that is the cause of the differential treatment. But for the word gay this order would have been fulfilled.”

It was the message that was refused, and this is why the case has been brought.

Therefore, thought crime will be the unavoidable conclusion of this case if the complaint is upheld: that it is not acceptable for a business to act in opposition to same sex marriage. An adverse judgment will make it much harder for Christians to act consistently with their beliefs in the workplace.

 

  1. It Indicates the Intolerance of the “Tolerant”

The homosexual lobby argued for decades that all they desired was “tolerance” – to be permitted to practice their own sexual proclivities in peace and privacy. Yet again this has been exposed as false. The homosexuals demand that society must publicly validate their sexual choices. Ashers have been taken to court because they refused to promote same sex marriage.

 

  1. It Indicates the Rapidity of Moral Decline

As little as ten years ago, same sex marriage was out of the question – hence the legislation for civil partnerships. Now, even to refuse an order promoting this cause has brought Ashers before the courts.

 

  1. It Would Leave Christians feeling Excluded

As a result of cases like this, we feel like aliens in our own country. Our opinions are deemed unacceptable; our views cannot be respected or even tolerated. Already, it is very difficult for Christians to take a clear stance on the immorality of homosexual relationships.

But an adverse judgment will make it even more socially unacceptable to publicly oppose homosexuality in all its forms, and especially same sex marriage. It would be, on the part of the judiciary of our land, yet another fulfillment of the Biblical warning: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them”. (Rom 1:32)

 

Therefore PRAY

Christians must therefore pray that the right of Ashers to refuse the order is upheld. We need the right, both as individuals and in business, to act according to Christian convictions. But more than that, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to work throughout our society, instilling in us more of the fear of God.

When that happens, homosexual practice will again be regarded as a matter of shame, and not as something to be celebrated.

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