Monday, September 9, 2013

The Case of the Unbaked Cake Part 1

A Bakery in Gresham, Oregon refused to make a wedding cake for a homosexual customer and became the subject of an Oregon state investigation. The customers filed an anti-discrimination complaint with the state of Oregon this past August. This was after the owners refused to bake a cake and the story made national headlines.

Apparently the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 prohibits businesses to deny services based on sexual orientation, race, sex, age, veteran status, disability or religion. The complaint filed will be investigated by the Bureau of Labor and Industries. I find it interesting, ironic, and illogical that it will take a year to complete the investigation.

In there defense however, Brad Avakian, Labor Commissioner, said, "We are committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether there's substantial evidence of unlawful discrimination."

Why am I "chiming" in on this story? First, I don't know anything about the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. I don't know if they are believer's or not, or what their theological doctrinal stance is, and etc. They are total strangers to me.

However, the bakery is now closing or is closed. This story and various takes are beginning to show up in the blogosphere. I wanted to throw my two-cents in also. Not that you probably care at all.

Second, I do find it disconcerting when a particular stand is taken in the name of "religious beliefs." I have advocated for a number of years that believers must be skilled thinkers. They must carefully reason through Scripture, Scriptural principles, the character of God, and what we know of Him as He has revealed Himself to us prior to making such a stand.

 We must be logical in our thinking process and in our deductions. Otherwise we find ourselves using faulty reasoning processes and arriving at erroneous or unscriptural deductions.

So, let's think this through shall we?

First - this couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein chose to open a business in the state of Oregon. This decision was made by their free choice.

Second - they knew or should have known about the Oregon Equality Act of 2007. This law should not have been any surprise to them. Of course any and all laws that pertain to business should have been no surprise or problem for them.

Third - by virtue of the fact that they chose to open the business means that they were willing to "subjugate" their "religious beliefs as well as any other personal or idiomatic ideas to the State of Oregon. If they were or are unwilling to do so then they forfeit the right [as the law stands at present] to operate a business of any kind.

Fourth - refusing to debate the right, morality, and/or duty of the State to make such laws, the law has been on the books since 2007. Therefore, the correct action by the Kleins should have been to address the Oregon Equality Act and not violate the law. 

Please don't get me wrong, I am a strong advocate of individual citizens rights rather than "State rights." I believe in a very laissez-faire approach with government. I am in favor of a very small and very limited government and its encroachment upon both businesses and individuals.

I do believe businesses should be able to operate as the owners and investors see fit with very few limits. There is a place for government to enact laws to protect the health, welfare, and safety of human lives. Paul told the Romans that government was for the benefit of those who "do good" and that government was not a terror [something bad or negative] to "good works." Government is a good thing. Government is from God. Therefore it has a beneficial place. 

Regardless of whether government has the right to dictate business practices or decisions or not, right now in  Oregon it is the law. You cannot withhold services for specific people.

Tomorrow I want to ramble on with a few points as to why the Kleins actions were questionable at best and illegal at worst.


Susan said...

It is a sad situation all around, Gregg, and I too agree that when you are in business, as in this case, you will do business with all kinds of people.

I work with people that are openly homosexual...and I work with people that talk about getting drunk all the time, and talk about their out of wedlock sexual escapades, etc, and though I disagree with all of that I still have to work with them, so I pray for wisdom for the Lord to show any opening into what He would have me say or do...if anything. Maybe I just need to pray for them and love them just as I should for everyone else.

They know that some in the "religious right" don't approve of such things, and I don't have to get "in their face" to let them know that I do not approve of it either...but whether I approve or not I won't participate with them in their wild escapades, and when they talk about it my silence can speak a lot. We are to be wise as serpents (wise to the devils deceptions and craftiness) yet gentle as doves.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Susan - great comment! Paul told the Corinthians to avoid the drunkards and those in open sin. When he discovered that the Corinthians had withdrawn any and all contact with the lost, he corrected and so, to withdraw from sinning believers. The lost will act as only their nature permits. If we withdraw from them, become obnoxious to them, mean, spite-ful etc, we will never be given an opportunity to be heard and the gospel is rejected or falls on deaf ears. We don't participate but we can't separate from sinners. Christ ate with them and drank with them, so much so he was accused by the Pharisees of being a glutton and a drunk. Where would the woman at the well be today if Christ had refused to offer her living water because she was immoral, adulterous, and was currently fornicating?

How is refusing to bake a cake going to advance the Kingdom of God and make room for the proclamation of the gospel?


This was most interesting to read Gregg, over here we have no laws like that, but we do have some other strange laws on other subjects.
I enjoy your points of views.


Susan said...

"The lost will act as only their nature permits. If we withdraw from them, become obnoxious to them, mean, spite-ful etc, we will never be given an opportunity to be heard and the gospel..."

True! Non-believers do not have the Holy Spirit guiding them, but they do have a general sense of right and wrong. To try to make everyone conform to Christian values is not the purpose of the Church, although the Church's presence in the world makes a difference in how the world behaves (I think that is what is meant about us being the salt of the world?).

Also, I believe the world is waxing worse and worse as the Bible said it would, and to single-handedly try to prevent something the Bible says is true about this world is a foolish endeavor because it's just not going to happen. Jesus already foretold us these things. We cannot stop "the end of the world" from happening. But there are some individuals the Lord will save out of this world. :)

This is an area that has been on my mind a lot lately; how to be a witness for the gospel to a lost generation. I know it requires much prayer, and I know we aren't always going to get it right...but that fact shouldn't prevent us from sharing the truth of the gospel.

Sorry I got so long-winded, I'm glad you brought this up because it is something I'm still trying to untangle in my brain.

Susan said...
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Susan said...

I was talking with my husband about this situation and he had a very good question. He asked me:

So if a gay couple wanted to be married by an ordained minister who disagreed with this "marriage" should you apply the same principle you just applied to the bakery? Should the minister marry the gay couple because the law says he has to?

Gregg Metcalf said...

Susan - great question. The answer is no. The law does not require "clergy", i. e. "ministers" to marry homosexual couples.

There are guidelines on marriage that pastors must follow. Therefore a minister could refuse based on scriptural guidelines.

I may post my rather unique or unusual view on "clergy" and marriage one day.