I live in Indiana. Last week our state legislature passed SB 101 and our governor, Mike Pence signed it into law. SB 101 is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law provides protection for individuals, particularly those who own businesses or provide public services protection from being required by the government to do something that conflicts with their religion.
The backlash that we have received in the state of Indiana is amazing. Many have written about it from both sides of the issue. I can’t get the issue off my mind, so I’m writing and publishing this post in hopes that I’ll be able to go to sleep once it’s off my chest (mind, wherever 🙂
I’m a baker. I make cakes, and I’m good at it. Lots of people like my product. I’ve perfected the process to put lifelike pictures on the top of my cakes. Many people come in and have special cakes made with all sorts of pictures on them. Some put baby pictures on their daughter’s 16th birthday cake. There’s hardly a picture or event that I haven’t done.
One day, a lady comes into my business and wants me to make a special cake for her husband to celebrate their wedding anniversary. I agree, and then she provides me with a nude photo of herself that she would like crafted into the top of the cake. Do I have to make that cake? I believe that marriage is sacred and that that woman’s body is reserved for her husband. I believe pornography is sin. But it is legal. It is regulated, but still legal. Am I required to provide services to someone who is requesting that I violate my conscience to do it?
On another day, someone comes into my business and wants me to make a cake filled with booze to celebrate his son’s 21st birthday. I don’t have any alcoholic cakes on the “menu.” I do not even use liqueur in any of my products. Do I have to make that cake? I believe “wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Booze is legal. It is regulated, but still legal. Am I required to provide services to someone who is requesting that I violate my conscience to do it? Or, can I ask him to find another baker?
Finally, a man comes into my business and asks me to make a wedding cake to help him celebrate his marriage to another man. Do I have to make that cake? I believe that God created marriage, and that he created it to be enjoyed by one man and one woman in each marriage. I believe homosexual behavior is contrary to the very nature created in mankind. And I believe that God destroyed whole cities because they condoned homosexual behavior. The government has declared that homosexual unions are legal. They are regulated, but still legal. Am I required to provide services to someone who is requesting that I violate my conscience to do it? Or, can I ask him to find another baker?
Some clarifying notes: 1) I have no objection to a woman buying my cake and then putting her picture on it for her husband to enjoy with her for their anniversary. 2) If a man wants to take a cake I made and then fill it with booze after he’s bought it from me, he can do that. 3) If some man wants to buy some cakes from me and then go get his own queer decorations for it, have at it.
I just don’t think I should be required to do those things. Every one of them violates my conscience. And conscience is the most sacred of all property. It is the property protected in our nation’s 1st amendment.