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Christian baker persecuted in Northern Ireland for not endorsing gay marriage


The British government wants to force the Ashers Baking Co to violate its beliefs. Photo: Ashersbakingco.com.

The British government wants to force the owners of Ashers Baking Co to violate their beliefs. Photo: Ashersbakingco.com.

A government is persecuting another baker, this time in Northern Ireland, for their family’s Christian beliefs.

This is not unusual. Christian bakers are similarly under fire in North America for their refusal to make wedding cakes for gay weddings.

However, this persecution has a bit of an unusual twist. The bakery is being persecuted for not endorsing gay marriage.

The Ashers Baking Co, with six different locations in Northern Ireland, is owned by the McArthur family.  They have deeply held Christian beliefs and the name of the baking company comes from Genesis 49:20 which reads:

“As for Asher, his food shall be rich,
And he will yield royal dainties.” (NASV)

An important fact to this discussion is that Northern Ireland is the only jurisdiction in the United Kingdom that has not legalized gay marriage.

According to The Telegraph, the problems started when a gay activist came to a shop in Netownabbey, Northern Ireland to order a cake. The cake was part of a campaign to legalize gay marriage in Northern Ireland.

On top of the cake, the activist wanted written the words “Support Gay Marriage.” The cake was also to include the logo of the activist group QueerSpace and a picture of Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street fame in an embrace.

The employees of the group initially received the order, but when the manager found out about the cake, he cancelled it.

Speaking on behalf of Ashers, manager Daniel McArthur said:

“We are Christians and our Christianity reaches to every point of our lives, whether that’s at home or in the day-to-day running of our business. We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches.”

The activist had the cake made at a different baker.

However, he also made a complaint to the Persecution err… Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.  The government bureaucrats ruled the company had broken the law and gave them seven days to make the cake promoting gay marriage or face court action.

The company refused and is preparing for a legal challenge over the issue.

The Christian Institute in England has taken up the cause of the bakery. The Institute says this was in fact a political campaign and under the law no company is obligated to support any political campaign it doesn’t believe in.

Further, the rights of Christians are being violated in favor of gay rights.

Speaking on behalf of the Christian Institute, Director Colin Hart said:

“This is a sign of things to come exactly as we predicted. The government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts, even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, whether at work or in business. All the McArthurs want is to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs.

“No one would be forced to use their creative skills to promote a cause which goes against their consciences. … It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”

The discrimination against the McArthur family was even brought up in Britain’s House of Commons by MP Gregory Campbell. He addressed the issue during the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ), but British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the question basically saying gay rights are now more important in England than Christian ones.

Campbell wants to see a conscience clause included in the legislation allowing people of faith to live their religion. He said in an interview after the PMQ:

“There have been a number of cases across the United Kingdom where so-called equality legislation has impeded the ability of people to uphold their religious beliefs.

Tolerance needs to be a two-way street, but this case highlights that currently those who cannot support a particular political campaign may find themselves forced before the courts. That is totally unacceptable.”

 

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