Former SBC leader says forcing bakers to serve same-sex weddings ‘anti-Christian bigotry’
Former ethics spokesman Richard Land says the government that would not force a kosher butcher to sell pork cannot expect a Christian baker to participate in a gay wedding.
By Bob Allen
A former Southern Baptist leader says requiring a Christian baker to make a same-sex wedding cake is like forcing black Americans to serve the Ku Klux Klan.
Richard Land, retired president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a June 4 radio broadcast that Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s May 30 decision upholding a December 2013 ruling that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012 is “anti-Christian bigotry.”
"This baker did not refuse to serve these people,” Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., said while serving as guest host for Washington Watch with Tony Perkins. “He offered them his services. He just didn’t want to provide his services as part of a gay wedding ceremony.”
"To me, this would be like going to a bakery owned by an African-American, and saying, ‘By the way, you have to bake a cake for a KKK induction ceremony, under penalty of law.’ That is just absurd," he said.
“Are they going to make a Muslim make pork chops, in a butcher shop, for the pig farmers of America?” Land asked. “Are they going to make a kosher Jewish butcher bring pork to a barbecue for pig farmers of America? That’s exactly the equivalent.”
While the rights commission could seek to put people who violate the state’s anti-discrimination laws in jail, Land said it is more likely that businesses who resist as a matter of civil disobedience will be levied fines.
“Frankly, I’d rather go to jail and have that picture of me in jail and write my ‘Letter from the Birmingham Jail’ than to have them fine me out of existence by some kind of prohibitive fine, which is why the government is normally going to fines,” Land said.
Land said he hopes “every Christian and every person who loves religious freedom in Colorado who can get to his bakery” will reward Phillips’ stand by visiting his shop.
“I find this to be Orwellian, but it’s really no more Orwellian than the state law in California,” Land said. “If you have a 16-year-old son who came to you, who’s a minor, and says ‘I’ve been having some homosexual thoughts and some homosexual fantasies, and I know as a Christian that this is immoral and Mom, Dad, I want you all to give me some help’ — they can’t do it in the state of California. It is illegal by state law for a minor to be counseled by a therapist against homosexual impulses and urges in a minor.”
Land said requiring bakers or photographers to participate in weddings they regard as immoral “is a clear violation of these people’s right to freedom of speech, their right to pursuit of happiness and most importantly their right to free exercise of their faith.”
“As I said in the earlier segment, this is anti-Christian bigotry,” he said. “I mean, does anyone really think that you can go to a Muslim butcher shop, a person who is a Muslim, and say ‘I want you to take this pork and I want you to cut up this pork for me and I want you to barbecue it’ and he says ‘I can’t do that; it’s against my faith,’ that they would haul him before some commission for denying people who eat pork the right to have their pork fixed by any butcher shop? Of course they wouldn’t. So why is it OK to persecute Christians? That’s the point.”
Land said he doesn’t think anyone should be refused service by a baker or photographer because of their sexual orientation, “but when you ask someone to participate in a ceremony that they believe is immoral, I think you’ve imposed on their religious freedom.”
“Especially when there are lots of bakeries in Colorado that would be more than happy to bake them a wedding cake,” he added. “It’s not as if if they don’t get this wedding cake from this bakery they’re not going to be able to have a wedding cake. It’s also true of photography. There are lots of studios in New Mexico that would have been more than happy to have the business of a couple who wanted to have a photographer for a gay wedding. Why impose upon the religious convictions?”
Land said Christians “should serve people who are in the world,” but that doesn’t mean “implying that we support their lifestyle or don’t have religious concerns about their lifestyle.”
“Frankly, I think we should minister and seek to bring the love of Jesus to the KKK,” he said, “but I’ll guarantee you if I were a baker I wouldn’t bake a cake for a KKK induction ceremony, because I find their views reprehensible.”
© 2014 Associated Baptist Press, Inc.