Cakes and Concerts – A Double Standard

cakesandbruceIn light of recent events in North Carolina, perhaps like me, you have been struggling with what seems to be a frustratingly uncomplicated series of observations.

Take for example the following.

In January of 2013, a baker in Oregon declined to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple with the stated reason being that her personal beliefs simply would not allow for her to participate in the event. That baker, as a business proprietor providing products and services to the public, was criminally charged, and after a rather tumultuous series of judicial episodes lasting well into 2015, was ultimately found guilty and subsequently fined $135,000.

In summary, the baker preferred not to perform or provide her product due to her beliefs.

In April of 2016, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his performance in Greensboro, North Carolina because he did not agree with the state legislature and executive offices’ passage of House Bill 2 (HB2), commonly referred to as the “Bathroom Bill,” which in short requires transgender people to use public restrooms according to their biological gender as opposed to the gender with which they identify. Bruce Springsteen, a proprietor of goods and services, was lauded in the national media, and yet to my knowledge, has not been prosecuted for his actions.

In summary, the rock star preferred not to perform or provide his product due to his beliefs.

So, what’s the difference? Well, to start, I see at least two.

The first noticeable difference is that the incident with the baker really only affected two people – the lesbian couple – and in the end, they were able to secure a different baker for their event. Because of his celebritous muscle, Springsteen’s actions affected tens of thousands, and perhaps many more when you consider the economic effects to the immediate communities.

The second difference? I’ll get to that in a moment because at this point I suppose that some might be thinking that in the end there’s only one real difference and it’s that the baker was acting in an openly discriminatory manner and Springsteen was not. But I’m less interested in that argument because anyone who analyzes what has happened in light of actual discrimination cases in history while sprinkling a little bit of rationality into the mix will know that such a train heaves along in tow the boxcars of “hatred” as well as what the perpetrator might consider as objectively true – which is that the person to whom he or she is aiming the deliberate discriminating action is indeed deserving of the alacrity because the target is of a lesser class of citizenry and is therefore undeserving of the same goods and services as others of the perpetrator’s class.

Neither of these applies to the circumstances before us.

With regard to the baker, she was very clear to say on many occasions that she did not hate gays or think that they were second-class citizens in any way, but rather she preferred not to be involved because of her moral and religious convictions. From all that I’ve read, seen, and heard, she made it clear that the couple had the right to the service, but that she just didn’t want to be the one doing it. This is no different than countless cases both before and after her event where people have refused to participate with groups or in events with which they were in disagreement. I think I remember reading somewhere that a Christian church would not have cause for bringing a lawsuit against a Muslim caterer who preferred not to serve the organization’s spring luncheon. The caterer has the right according to the First Amendment to decline. And I should point out that in order to elevate the baker’s point and plea for similar understanding, she baked and sent cakes to some high profile LGBT organizations around the country with a note included which read: “We’re the bakers who declined to create a cake for a same-sex wedding and were ordered to pay $135,000. We want you to know that our actions were not motivated by hatred, and we personally baked this cake as a small token of our love.” I’m not sure how anyone can interpret that as the action of someone desiring to be discriminatory as opposed to simply abiding by a tenet of one’s faith.

In a sense, I would say the same of Springsteen. Whether he is religious or not (although he has expressed himself as an avowed agnostic), he is exercising a moral conviction which is protected by the First Amendment. Steven Van Zant, Springsteen’s lead guitarist, said as much when he spoke for Springsteen and his fellow band mates, saying, “You gotta hurt people economically to have them do the right thing morally.”

Neither the baker nor Springsteen is guilty of discrimination, and yet right here is where we see the second of the differences between these two cases.

Springsteen and his E Street Band had in mind to cause hurt, and not just by way of legitimate protest – that is, to hold the line to make a point or to stand immovable in a personal conviction – but to hold the line and then advance in attack through defamation and more in order to force someone else into their mode of thinking. No sooner than announcing that the concert was cancelled did folks directly and indirectly associated with the band proceed to publicly malign the elected officials in North Carolina who authored and successfully shepherded it through and into law. These words and actions incited others to take up the mantle of hurt and do the same, and in due time it devolved into the miry depths of death threats.

Still, I won’t say that Springsteen is being discriminatory, but I will say that he is being a bully, and bullying left unchecked is destined to follow a similar line and perhaps end in the same way as discrimination – which is that hatred produces the desire to hurt which in turn follows toward violence and quite possibly death. Now forgive me if I missed it, but I’ve not read anything about the baker calling the lesbian couple and leaving death threats. Nope. But she did make cakes and sent messages of kindness to the enemies actively seeking to utterly crush her livelihood and maul her reputation beyond repair.

And so, again, what’s the difference between the two? Well, the Christian baker, now has a debt to society of $135,000. Springsteen, the rock-n-roll icon, is a hero and will probably win some sort of an award for cultural bravery.

With that, there is a third distinction, isn’t there? Christ has pretty much already explained it for us in John 15:18-21 when He said:

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.


Comments

Cakes and Concerts – A Double Standard — 24 Comments

  1. An important distinction needs to be made. The Oregon baker and the State of North Carolina were not being persecuted because of Christian beliefs, but because of their business or legislative actions. And while such actions were based to some degree on Christian beliefs, the main premises attacked by the leftists are that a business may decide with whom it does business, and that a state (under the 10th Amendment) may decide which sex is allowed to use which public restroom.

    Thus this is an issue primarily within the Kingdom of the Left (with some relationship to the Kingdom of the Right). And since it is in the Kingdom of the Left, Christians, as citizens (as in We, the People) have a responsibility to use economic, political, legislative, and judicial powers to restrain, or to punish, the traitorous leftists from their efforts to give aid and comfort to the enemy.

    Such efforts within the Kingdom of the Left in no way violate or negate John 15:18-21.

  2. One of the great things about this country is that I don’t have to listen to Springsteen or the E Street Band, and I don’t have to listen to Bono or U2, either.

  3. @T. R. Halvorson #3

    I don’t have to listen…

    I’m with you, but Springsteen is costing those who did want to listen, a chunk of money.
    Will there be refunds on those tickets and remuneration for the hotels and various venues who booked Springsteen and those who expected to feed them? His group made business contracts to be there. Why shouldn’t they be required to fulfill them?
    They are an out of state music group; the instate politics should be none of their business.

  4. “Cakes and Concerts”? And then there’s NBC’s blasphemy.

    Pat Boone Rips SNL for Anti-Christian Skit:

    “This skit was outright sacrilege,” Boone told the outlet. “They know if they did this to Muslims they’d have to be put into the witness protection program. There’s nothing sacred at SNL — except maybe the words ‘Mohammad’ or ‘Allah’.”

  5. @wineonthevines #5
    Thank You very much for posting this video! These principles of debating liberals will be very useful in my own debates I have with liberals. Shapiro is right. Liberals are running a magic show. We must hold their feet to the fire! From my past debates I’ve had with liberals, when you hold their feet to the fire and keep them on topic, it just infuriates them!

  6. The Oregon bakers were in violation of the law. The issue they have is one of public law. They can object to the statue and try to change it. In the meantime, they have to conduct business according to the law. Should the appeals reach higher levels and the law be overturned, then they might be able to recover something. Fact is, it is not Christian to refuse to serve someone over religious conviction. If it were a Christian principle, Christians would be bound, first, to deny service to anyone who was in violation of the First Commandment and not involve themselves with anyone rejecting the One True Triune God. If a Christian can do business with a non-christian, of any kind, then sexual orientation is an arbitrary line to draw at service. Being Christian means serving all, no matter what we think of them. Aligning ourselves with such evangelical errors concerning association is not in keeping with Scripture or our confessions.

    Bruce Springsteen was acting, not in violation of the law but in protest to the law. Unlike willful violation of a law (crime), protest against a statute is protected speech. Neither laws nor lawmakers are immune from protest and attempts to force a law to be overturned. If Christians like the Kleins wish to overturn laws and permit discrimination based on their beliefs, there are means to change the laws. Let them do so. But we should not point to their actions and the desire to discriminate as Christian. We can say that we think some freedom of our own is in danger if the law stands, but I am not sure, as a Lutheran, what that would be.

    Should you determine it to be a great humiliation and denigration of your faith or insult to your freedoms to make cakes for gay weddings or stand ina bathroom next to transsexual:

    “The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared” (Martin Luther)

    Our God endures us and we are no less sinful than anyone else.

  7. I see this issue as one similar to the principle of excommunication. All Christians continue sinning as the Old Adam clings tenaciously to the New Creation in Christ and lashes out uncontrolled on occasion. But the local church doesn’t normally call for all its members to be excommunicated based on their inability to be perfect even as their Heavenly Father is perfect. That would be counterproductive not to mention it would clear the building. Confession of sins and absolution preclude taking it to that degree of church discipline. Excommunication is reserved for those who live in manifest vices, fornication, adultery, etc. and for the despisers of the Sacraments; the openly, publicly wicked and impenitent. Certainly, Christian merchants trade and deal with all types but not all types involve them in openly supporting a known public, sinful and blasphemous event such as a same-sex wedding. Here the line can be drawn because there is no contrition, no faith, no repentance from grieving the sin and a determination to avoid it henceforth with God’s help. The sin is thereby validated and corroborated by one and all in the local community, which, were it not for their courageous stand, would have also included a confessing Christian baker and her husband, thus doing violence to the Gospel and the whole counsel of God in the eyes of those spectating the event. Never underestimate the power of a violated conscience conformed to God’s Law.

  8. I think it wa brought up here, but a solution would be to simply sell baked and frosted cakes and leave the decorating up to the patron.

  9. @Jude20 #10

    So you are saying it is a good thing to force another person to violate his/her conscience in the name of the law?

    Are you aware that the Scriptures contain examples of people who have violated laws through following biblical commands and were lauded for it?

    And in principal there is nothing different between Springsteen and the bakers: both are protesting law through business withdrawl, plain and simple.

    While Christians should not use liberty in Christ to be unrighteously rebellious, this does not mean the state is given a carte blanche permission to run roughshod over the convictions of the individual.

    Of course, all of this begs another question: why didn’t the “couple” simply go to another baker that was willing to make their cake? Everybody would have been happy. No, I suspect that the motivation behind the lawsuit was something less than noble and lawful.

  10. Of course, we cannot know one’s motivation unless they state it but we can be certain that in this case that Satan is the motivator, as he is behind every evil.

  11. @J. Dean #13
    No. I am saying it is the law and, unless the law is changed, they are, at best engaging in civil disobedience. Disobeying the law exposes one to prosecution and persecution.

    They may conduct their business according to the law, they may go out of business, they may try to change the law, they may continue to disobey and incur penalties.

    Fact is everyone is guilty of breaking the whole of God’s law. We are all complicit and it makes no sense to tolerate timid and secret sinners but not open and bold sinners in our worldly dealings outside the church. The money changers are not in the temple, business is not church.

    Deciding which sinners we delight with confections and which we don’t is not a Christian principle. Thinking we can have some contact with the world yet not be complicit in the world’s sin because we point to certain people and acts is hipocrisy.

    Finally, the state does not make marriages. It makes legal contracts which are ejudicated in courts. None of us are married by the license or the court clerk. My marriage was created by God and is sustained in Christ and no court decision can change that or redefine it. It is more than the word marriage and that is something a same sex couple can never have.

  12. @J. Dean #13

    Of course, all of this begs another question: why didn’t the “couple” simply go to another baker that was willing to make their cake? Everybody would have been happy. No, I suspect that the motivation behind the lawsuit was something less than noble and lawful.

    I suspect that your suspicions are correct.

    And now, in Austin, Texas, a gay [preacher? Nobody seems to be able to find his church.] has tried to shake down Whole Foods (grocery), claiming they put a slur on a cake. Whole Foods, being a gay friendly store in a gay friendly town, has counter sued for slander.

    Little bakers get wiped out for their Christian principles;
    big gay friendly bakers have the whole town laughing.

  13. On the subject of “double standards”:

    At least one conference held in 2015 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee noted that the restrooms in the conference area were “Gender Neutral.” During July 9-14, will the restrooms at the Wisconsin Center be “Gender Neutral” or will (alleged) transgenders be permitted to use the restrooms of their choice at the Wisconsin Center?

  14. No news yet on whether Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center, where the Synod Convention will be held in July, will have “gender-neutral” restrooms.

    In the meantime, Foxnews :

    The Obama administration will send a letter to every public school district in the country telling them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity, as opposed to their birth certificate.

    While the letter does not have the force of law, it does warn that schools that do not abide by the administration’s interpretation of civil rights law may face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.

    “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

    Now that the leftist whores in the Traitorobama kakistocracy have issued the edict that perverts can go into any restroom or locker room they want to in public schools, Title IX colleges and universities will likely be next. The CUS schools still have not applied for an exemption to Title IX compliance… and may not, if the lack of CUS response to inquiries is any indication.

    Sooner or later, Lutheran and other parochial schools will also be pressured, and while some 1st Amendment protection may exist, Lutheran schools that do not bend the knee to the Demonicrat regime, may be denied all federal aid, including National School Lunch Act funds.

    No man can serve two masters… yet at Lutheran church services this Sunday it is doubtful there will be any imprecatory prayer to God to bring destruction on such demonic wickedness.

  15. Thank you for your words. After recently reading Luther on Ps 118, I’m reminded that the evident double standard is indeed to be expected. For Christians to engage in a conversation about ‘fairness’ clouds the truth that we should expect tribulation in this world. I think you brought out this point in your concluding scripture. Luther refers to unbelievers chasing all manner of wealth and comfort…because it’s their only reward. For the faithful the reward is eternity. He paraphrases David:, “As if he were saying: ‘I must always Suffer, but I am always comforted.’” [LW AE 14:59] One of the brothers in my circuit thinks of this as a hermeneutic lens for suffering. I’m inclined to agree. Hatred [Jn 15.18] is what we should expect.

    For pastoral care this is a great treasure. Luther goes on to say, “Let everyone know most assuredly and not doubt that God does not send him this distress to destroy him, as we shall see in verse eighteen. He wants to drive him to pray, to implore, to fight, to exercise his faith, to learn another aspect of God’s person than before, to accustom himself to do battle even with the devil and with sin, and by the grace of God to be victorious.” [LW AE 14:60] Without diminishing the many forms of pain that come with suffering, we will receive grace upon grace on this side of heaven, and paradise in eternity. Either way, we benefit so much more.

    Again my thanks for stimulating thoughts and responding faithfully and attentively.

  16. @Carl Vehse #19
    Dear Carl,
    There will be prayers (at least at my Church), and as a Circuit Visitor, I exhort the pastors and Churches I serve to pray for the government and the leaders weekly in corporate services. To ask the Lord guide them in wise decisions.

    Now I do not prayer for curses or destruction upon the evil doers, but ask they turn from evil to God, and a right moral code of life.

  17. @wineonthevines #20

    There are many examples of imprecatory prayers in the Old and New Testments, e.g., Genesis 12:3; Psalms 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 17, 28, 31, 35, 40, 52, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74, 79, 83, 94, 104, 109, 129, 137, 139, 140, 141, 143; Jeremiah 17:18; 18:21-23; 19:7-9; Nehemiah 4:4-5; Act 1:16,20; 8:20; 13:10-11; 1 Corinthians. 16:22; Galatians. 5:12; 2 Timothy. 4:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation. 6:9-11; 14:19-20; 18:4-8, 20; 19:1-3, 15; and, of course, the obvious imprecation from St. Paul, Galatians. 1:8-9.

    Even Jesus used prayers of imprecation as in Matthew 11:20-24; 23:13-39; Mark 11:14; Luke 10:10-16. And of course, there is the Lord’s Prayer, as Martin Luther explains in his Large Catechism, about the first three petitions:

    For as His name must be hallowed and His kingdom come without our prayer, so also His will must be done and succeed, although the devil with all his adherents raise a great tumult, are angry and rage against it, and undertake to exterminate the Gospel utterly. But for our own sakes we must pray that even against their fury His will be done without hindrance also among us, that they may not be able to accomplish anything and we remain firm against all violence and persecution, and submit to such will of God.

    Such prayer, then, is to be our protection and defense now, is to repel and put down all that the devil, Pope, bishops, tyrants, and heretics can do against our Gospel. Let them all rage and attempt their utmost, and deliberate and resolve how they may suppress and exterminate us, that their will and counsel may prevail: over and against this one or two Christians with this petition alone shall be our wall against which they shall run and dash themselves to pieces. This consolation and confidence we have, that the will and purpose of the devil and of all our enemies shall and must fail and come to naught, however proud, secure, and powerful they know themselves to be. For if their will were not broken and hindered, the kingdom of God could not abide on earth nor His name be hallowed.

    Elsewhere Luther writes:

    “No one can pray the Lord’s Prayer correctly without cursing. For when he prays: ‘Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,’ he must put all the opposition to this on one pile and say: ‘Curses, maledictions, and disgrace upon every other name and every other kingdom! May they be ruined and torn apart, and may all their schemes and wisdom and plans run aground’.” (Luther’s Works 21, 101)

    Martin Luther also explains about imprecatory prayers :

    “We should pray that our enemies be converted and become our friends and, if not, that their doing and designing be bound to fail and have no success and that their persons perish rather than the Gospel and the kingdom of Christ” (Luther’s Works, 21, 1000).

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