There’s been a lot of discussion on the internet about the recent story concerning a bakery refusing to provide the wedding cake at a ‘gay’ wedding. I chose not to blog about it for frankly, I thought it wasn’t worth the time or effort. People are dying every minute of every day, going out into eternity lost, and whether to bake a cake (or not) is a topic I couldn’t care less about. I noticed even Christianity Today weighed into the “cake-fray” with an article titled, “Would Jesus Bake a Cake for a Gay Wedding in Arizona?”. We Christians here in the west do an awful lot of majoring-on-minors’, in my opinion.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be bringing it up now but for something brought out in a post by Benjamin Corey, at Formally Fundie blog.
Kristen Powers and Jonathan Merritt had a great article the other day pointing out the hypocritical nature of these new “religious freedom” laws that are cropping up in many states. Such laws are clothed in terms of freedom for Christians, while being incredibly un-Christian at the core. In short, these laws are designed to give Christian business owners the right to decline providing products or services for weddings that don’t meet their stamp of approval– namely, same gendered weddings. The problem that Powers and Merritt point out, is how a refusal to provide products or services for a same sex wedding typically require an incredible amount of biblical picking and choosing, combined with a healthy dose of hypocrisy. And, the reasons they give are completely correct– I discovered this truth not from their article, but because I once was that conservative Christian wedding vendor.
I got through seminary as a professional photographer shooting domestic and international weddings, and still take on a few clients a year though I’ve significantly limited my schedule so that I can focus on writing books. When I was full-steam-ahead in the wedding industry, I secretly dreaded the day a same-sex couple called me, because I had no idea what I’d say.
Would shooting the wedding be an endorsement of the marriage? Would it be a sin for me to be a part of their day? Lots of questions swirled around in my mind, and there were no easy answers. I sought out counsel of Christians I admired (even had a class discussion on it in my Christian Ethics class), but even for them, answers didn’t come easily. However, it was actually a “Christian” wedding that ultimately helped me decide how I would navigate this issue when the time came.
It was a beautiful day when two believing Christians married before God by a member of their clergy, surrounded by their family and friends. Everything met the Christian stamp of approval… until the reception.
As I looked throughout the room at the drunken debauchery taking place on the dance floor, I turned to my assistant (also a Christian) and said:
“Here I am, taking photos of a bunch of drunk people like I do every wedding. If I turn down a same sex wedding because it somehow ‘conflicts’ with my Christian standards, I’ll be the biggest hypocrite ever.”
Looking back, it wasn’t just drunkenness that made me realize I was at risk of hypocrisy, there were plenty of other weddings I photographed that did not jive with my belief system. Most notably, there was the time mystics prayed to “the mediators” (really did not sit right with me) or even Roman Catholic weddings that prayed to Mary (something that still makes me uncomfortable). Truth be told, very few weddings lined up with my personal expression of faith, but I served all clients equally because I was a private citizen conducting business in the public sphere. In the end, I was having a hard time justifying same sex couples as being the only group of people I wouldn’t serve…
He does raise an excellent question: are we not discriminating and showing our naked hypocrisy in front of the world, as Christians, when (using this instance of a stupid cake) we’re fine with certain sinful actions but not with others? It’s something to think about, is it not?
(While I may not agree with all of B. Corey’s beliefs, in this instance, I find that I do.)