Should a Christian baker bake two cakes instead?


“And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”

Matthew 5:41 (ESV)

The above passage has recently been used to suggest that Christian bakers, if asked to bake a gay wedding cake, should bake two instead. Does this prescription necessarily follow from Jesus’ very own words? Consider this application:

“And if anyone forces you to go to the back of the bus, go twice as far back.”

Anyone who knows the history of the American civil rights movement also knows this is dead wrong. It is a mistaken application of moral reasoning. This is because we know that sometimes, it is right to stand firm in the face of injustice. One thing we know of Jesus is that he always stood for moral truth; he was faithful to and never abandoned it. Even when people misjudged his intentions, to the point of crucifying him. Can we all at least concede the possibility that business operators are trying to make a similar stand?

It has been advised that a Christian should bake a cake to avoid hurting another’s feelings. But following Jesus seems to be more about being faithful to truth than aoviding hurting other’s feelings. Jesus did not swerve from truth when rebuking Pharisees, moneychangers, or even when interacting with the rich, young ruler. Even beyond what scripture says, it is common sense knowledge that we can’t control how others react to us. Avoiding hurting other’s feelings should not trump faithfulness to truth.

The current moment presents a dilemma for bakers, florists, and others who hold to conscience. Today, litigiious activists would force them to appear as if they are affirming and celebrating same-sex marriage as identical to natural marriage. To say nothing of scripture, there is a very real, natural, biological difference beween same-sex and man-woman relationships. The practical difference has been virtually obliterated for the sake of a coarse political agenda, built on mistaken premises. Activists seem to want to compel speech to the effect that, “I approve of you as a human being.” But I believe most of these business owners, like Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzamn, already approve of, and indeed truly love, their LGBTQ customers as human beings. It has been a long held truth that equal dignity comes from all of our being made in the image of God, imago Dei. Lawsuits and vitriolic compulsion do nothing to add or subtract from anyone’s dignity. Rather, they call into question the judgment of activists and progressive supporters who think such moves are justified.

It is a remarkable irony that as the voices of compulsion grow louder, people of conscience have all the more reason to take a stand for truth. And for Christians particularly, being misunderstood is not something to avoid, but to patiently endure until the truth prevails. As the U.S. civil rights movement itself illustrates, sometimes, it is the right thing to refuse what others demand of you.

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About cogitating duck
I study Christian apologetics at Biola University and occasionally write on ethics, truth, science and politics.

6 Responses to Should a Christian baker bake two cakes instead?

  1. alecklin says:

    I dont know if it’s true that the bakers love the lgbt. Would you refuse to serve someone because they’re gay and claim to love them?

    And I really mean that as a question… How do you reconcile that?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • In the specific case of Stutzman, she had served the person for years before the request for a wedding floral arrangement. The reason she declined was not who the customer was, but what the customer requested.

      If a regular customer came into a Kosher deli and ate a beef sandwich everyday, then one day asked if the deli would cater a pulled pork lunch, it would be reasonable to think the service was declined because the nature of the service, not the identity of the customer.

      • Of course if Jesus himself had been asked, he would have baked the cake, delivered it personally, gone to the wedding, and told great stories. In fact the only instance we know of him getting angry to the point of violence was over merchants (moneychangers) conflating commerce and religious expression. It’s in all four Gospels.

        I am not qualified to opine about the legalities, but the moral quality of the issue seems clear to me. Either everyone is welcome to approach the table, or they aren’t. Pick a side.

      • Thanks for your view, Mikey. It’s a false comparison that Jesus and his followers either had to welcome everyone or reject everyone. The question is not one of mere hospitality, since bakers are being actively sued for declining service. That is compulsion through force of law. The law wrongly concludes that the baker is hatefully discriminating, so the use of that law is oppression. They are being oppressed just for thinking differently from everyone else. That is intolerance and Jesus wants us to resist intolerance.

        Jesus was able to split the difference. When asked about taxes, he said render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But only what is his. He gives us permission to not give oppressors what they want. And this is what Christians did when they supported African-Americans who didn’t want to move to the back of the bus. The same is true for bakers who don’t want to be manipulated by oppressive lawsuits. I would support anyone who was being abused that way.

  2. anonymous says:

    Please tell me you’re not comparing what Rosa Parks did to the plight of the poor christian baker whose sensibilities will be wounded if he or she has to bake a cake for a gay wedding!

    • You’re partially correct. I am making the comparison. But I am not concerned with the bakers’ “sensibilities” being wounded. The point of commonality is resisting oppression. In the first instance from Jim Crow, in the second from the Orwellian progressive outrage apparatus.

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