At first, I thought Erick Erickson’s short diary, “This Idea Beats Forced Service to Homosexual Marriage” was a great idea on how to take the fight to the gay couples who demand the Christian-owned bakeries to make wedding cakes for their gay weddings. Telling the gay couples that the proceeds from the sale of custom-made wedding cakes would be donated to the organizations fighting the same-sex marriage laws is sure to antagonize them, a little payback for forcing Christian owners to provide services for something that’s against their convictions.
I know Erickson himself did not suggest this idea, as it came from a Redstate reader, Clifweston, who made the comment on Erickson’s another diary. Here is what he said in his comment:
How about a different tactic that doesn’t risk the business owner’s estate? Why not advertise that the proceeds of all same sex marriage sales go to organizations that offend gays and radical feminists, organizations that advocate for and support traditional values, etc.? Thus, Stalinists will themselves funding their opponents and the novelty of their tactics would diminish so that they leave the rest of us alone. In this way those opposed to same sex weddings can go on the offense, advertise openly for same sex wedding customers while revealing where the money goes and not running afoul of fascist office holders in league with the gay activists.
Clifweston’s comment got over 60 likes, which I think is the most I’ve seen on Redstate, and it obviously impressed Erickson enough to post this on the front page.
But as I mused on this idea for a while, trying to view this from a Christian perspective, and I came to my own conclusion that I don’t think it is a Christian thing to do.
In the Bible, we are told if we are to live godly in Christ, we will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). We are not to render evil for evil, railing for railing, but to bless them who are our enemies. See 1 Peter 3:9, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Peter wrote Christians, encouraging them to suffer the reproaches gladly because on their behalf, God is glorified, see 1 Peter 4:14, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”
The vengeance belongs to the Lord, not us, Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Paul exhorted us to not be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good. That doesn’t mean we have to lay down and let the world roll over us without fighting back. However, we are not to look for revenge or a little payback in order to drive our enemies crazy. Telling the gay couples that the proceeds will go to the offending organizations is sure enough to anger them and doesn’t really speak well to the gospel of Christ. If they are provoked because we tell them the truth – that homosexuality is a sin and the only way to Heaven is through accepting Jesus as one’s Savior, then so be it. It is a far better thing to provoke them because of the Truth than over getting payback.
Paul warned the Christians at Corinth not to eat anything that is knowledgably sacrificed to the idols for the conscience’s sake. Moreover, Paul warned them to not ask questions for the conscience’s sake about where the meat came from, which is sold at the shambles (markets).
1 Corinthians 10:25-29
25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:
29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
What does that has to do with the issue at hand? Think about what Paul wrote in the reverse. If a gay couple goes to your bakery or any other business and tells you plainly that it is for their gay wedding or openly present themselves as a gay couple, then whatever you do is on your conscience. In that moment, you are an ambassador for Christ, and it is the duty of every Christian to do good toward all men, including those who despise Christians.
Making a wedding cake for gay couples itself is nothing just as eating the meat sacrificed to the idols is nothing. It does not take away God’s power or somehow diminishes His credibility. The Lord is still God and the Creator of all things. Christians are not better or worse in eating the meat or making a wedding cake for gay couples, it is nothing because Christians live by faith in Christ and the Lord knows His servants. The point isn’t in doing whatever business that is for gay couples, but how they view us as Christians who proclaim themselves as the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why Paul urged Christians not to eat anything that is knowledgably sacrificed to the idols, because it does two things. First, it emboldens weaker or carnal Christians to ignore the blessing of the meat sacrificed to the idols by eating the meat, offending other Christians and God as well. Second, by eating the sacrificed meat, the unbelievers will say in their conscience, “See? So-called Christians ate the meat that was sacrificed to the idols, so who then is God? Maybe there are gods beside God.” It ruins the opportunity to bring them around to Christ and distorts the gospel of Christ.
We are really better off not knowing the sexual orientation of customers or clients coming for business or what they do in their private lives, otherwise all of that will be on our conscience before the Lord. Just as with gay couples, I’d be uncomfortable doing business with a person who loudly boasts of his sexual prowess in committing fornication or adultery. Obviously doing business with such people isn’t necessarily an endorsement of their sinful lifestyle, nevertheless, what we do will reflect upon our consciences and God alike.
Going into business as a Christian and making the faith an open display of your business isn’t for faint-hearted as it will bound to draw some unsavory people who make it their business to pull down Christians, considering the fact we now live in apostate times. A Christian must be prepared to take the high road and willing to risk everything to stand up for God. Taking a hard way out is what pleases God the most. Imagine how many Macedonian Christians felt about their devastating economic losses as they knew the cost of discipleship was giving up their idol craft-making businesses, because they knew it to be wrong and not pleasing the Lord at all.
So it is with doing business with the gay couples. If they know you are a Christian, then they will watch your behavior carefully. If you do business with them, knowing that they are gay couples and whatever it is for their gay wedding, then God is offended as homosexuality is still a sin regardless of what people say about it. Not only that, it offends other Christians who are taking a stand on homosexuality and same-sex marriages, thus making their valiant efforts of no effect. The gay couples will think Christians don’t mind having gay couples and what they are doing isn’t so bad in the Lord’s beholding eyes. This is plainly wrong, and I don’t think Redstate readers have a problem with this.
But if you deliberately offend the gay couples by saying, “I’ll make this or that and the proceeds will go to the organizations fighting same-sex marriages,” you are still offending God and other Christians. God doesn’t care about the proceeds, He cares about your attitude and how that reflects upon Him. Indeed, it is a costly thing to live and stand up for Christ. Paul wrote that he counted all things in this world as dung for the Excellency that is in Christ. You are still giving what a gay couple wants even if that was done out of the spite. As soon they leave your store, they will complain among their gay friends about what you said to them and you can rest assured they will do something about it, not on so friendly terms. The other Christians who took the hard way will feel as they’ve been slapped in their faces when they see some Christians making wedding cakes even if they are donating the proceeds to the organizations fighting same-sex marriages. Peter gently exhorted Christians to know that their afflictions are being accomplished in other Christian brethren all over the world as they continue to endure the trials of their faith (1 Peter 5:9).
It is about what is doing right for the Lord, and sometimes it’s not necessarily about doing it smartly or legally as a way of provoking the enemies to anger in order to get them off your back. Clifweston’s idea on its surface seems to be a good idea and not all good ideas are biblically sound. The Bible is the source of final authority and in my own meditation upon this thing I believe with all my own heart that any Christian owner who is confronted with such moral dilemma must be prepared to lose everything in order to please Christ.
In closing this rather lengthy diary, I’d like to cite what Paul boldly wrote:
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
Are you ready to sacrifice everything like Paul and his company did 2,000 years ago, all in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?