An Acts 17 Moment: What Burger King has right about LGBT people

burgerking The new Proud Whopper is the latest instance of a corporation coming out in support of the LGBT community.  While evangelicals reject these types of campaigns as contrary to the Bible’s teaching about sexuality, the Proud Whopper provides us with an Acts 17 moment.  Burger King has unwittingly made a statement about LGBT people that evangelical Christians can stand in agreement. I suggest that Christians use this opportunity to remember their own need for Christ, then engage in conversation with our neighbors and witness to the truth of the gospel. After all, whatever the intent of their promotion, Burger King is right. “We are all the same inside.” Consider the truth of Burger King’s statement:

1. We have the same worth. Every LGBT person, just like every other person, is a person of intrinsic value as one created in the image of God. We are all the same inside. Christians must treat all people, including our gay neighbors, as persons of immeasurable worth and dignity. We must recognize that even as sin distorts the image of God, we sinners remain image-bearers of our Creator. You and I and every LGBT person are tremendously valuable to God. So valuable, that He sent his Son to give his life so that we might be forgiven and enjoy eternal life and fellowship with Him.

2. We have the same condition. Homosexual sex violates God’s creative purposes and, like all forms of sin, is a rejection of God and his ways. That means that LGBT people have the same sin problem as you. While the outward expressions of sin may be different, they reveal the same spiritual condition. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We must do more than pay lip-service to this reality. We must treat LGBT people not as untouchables or a special class of sinner. We are fellow human beings with the same needs, desires, failings, and brokenness. When you see a gay person, remember that we are all the same inside. Gay people are not some unique brand of sinner. We all need Jesus and the forgiveness and reconciliation offered in Jesus Christ.

3. We are offered the same hope. Because we are all the same inside, we all need forgiveness and reconciliation with God. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The same gospel that changed you is the gospel that will transform any LGBT person who turns to God in faith. Yes, the Christian gospel is truth. But it is not the kind of truth that says to gay people, “I’m right and you’re wrong!” Rather, the gospel is the kind of truth that says God is real and He is there and he offers Himself in a very real way to gay and straight sinners alike. When we turn to Christ in faith, we are no longer identified by our sins. “Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” We appeal to gay and straight sinners alike, “Be reconciled to God.”

Will you be His witness to your LGBT neighbors and share with them the love of Jesus?

______

Note: This post first appeared at behiswitnesses.com and is being reposted here by request

Comments

  1. Todd Benkert says

    One person, in a Facebook comment, objected that we are not the same inside because in Christ, we are a new creation. That is obviously true and would seem to go against my assertion that BK is right that “we are all the same inside.”

    I would offer that an Acts 17-like approach to the BK statement would affirm both the ways the statement is correct (see my 3 points above) and affirm the change on the inside brought about by the gospel. The point of using Burger King’s statement in this way is to build a bridge to the gospel, not in any way to deny the reality of the new birth.

  2. Clay G says

    Great article! In our effort to “stem the tide”, stand against the radical onslaught and agenda of the gay movement, and to stand for biblical truth, these points must always be at the forefront!!!!

  3. doug sayers says

    Thanks Todd. Hopefully this proves to be a marketing mistake for BK. I seem to be losing my sizeable appetite for the Whopper. Its one thing to patiently tolerate the presence of sin in the world and quite another to be “proud” of it. Let’s hope this backfires. I’m going to miss the Whopper. Long before I was a Bible thumping Christian I knew there was something weird and wrong about homosexual sex.

  4. Chris Johnson says

    A bit to culturally sensitive for me… I’ll stick with the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5). Those that have the power of the Spirit inside, are not the same as those that do not have the power of the Spirit inside. That is not, and should not be a boastful thing for those empowered by the Spirit, simply a fact. To play fast with a cultural stunt for profit, like BK, is less than appealing to the lost man!…. and is the wrong message to be debated when sharing the gospel.

    A lost soul simply needs to hear the gospel, not a tricked up “We are the same inside” message.

    -Chris

    • Todd Benkert says

      Chris, my three points ARE truths of the gospel — created in his image, sinners in need of forgiveness and reconciliation, hope through Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners. No tricks, just taking this opportunity to bridge to these truths.

      • Chris Johnson says

        I am not disagreeing at all with the three points. My concern may have been what the Facebook entry pointed out. It really depends upon what message you want to give, and at what point of entry.

        The BK truth is no truth at all, even when we spin it in a born again direction, since BK is really discussing self expression without change at any point. I find it tough to bridge a foundation of sand. BK will do anything for profit and cultural identity. Is that what we as Christians are trying to compete with?

        I am not arguing your three points….they are certainly typical of any human. If I am witnessing to my neighbor, and using the BK stunt as an analogy,…. I would say …. “that sure, when we are born, we are dead in sin, that’s a given; but wow, we are not really the same as that Whopper at all when we are born again. The ingredients have changed. Its not about self expression as BK thinks…its about Christ expression as God expects. God makes another Whopper, now bearing the Holy Spirit himself.

        So, I do agree it can be used….

        • Todd Benkert says

          I think we’re on the same page here, Chris. I am not engaging Burger King but my friends who know the story and relate to it. I’m finding that people are talking about this, especially online, and I see an opportunity here. On the one hand, I could express my outrage at BK, etc. Or I can try to understand the desire and thought process of those who resonate with BK’s message here and use the open door to bridge from the distorted picture of the culture to the truth of God’s word. One reason the culture is moving to a pro-gay inclusivism is a desire to treat people equally and as valuable as human beings. I can agree with that desire and say, YES, and the reason we are valuable is that we are all created in the image of God, etc….

          Also I don’t want to confuse anyone here. I am not suggesting some gimmicky cheesy way to present the gospel. I am saying that people are already talking about this and I choose to use the opportunity to engage with people and share gospel truth in an understanding and winsome way rather than post snarky “outrage” tweets and FB statuses about how horrible the culture has become and how I will be eating at Chick-fil-A instead of BK from now on :)

    • Andy Williams says

      I think Todd has it exactly right. We can say to anyone, including LGBT, that we are all created in God’s image and therefore have worth, that we are all fallen and sinful and would be hopelessly enslaved to sin and it’s consequences without Christ, and that we are all offered hope for forgiveness and freedom in Christ…INCLUDING the new identity that you want to make sure we don’t overlook.

      The point is that apart from Christ, LGBT sinners are in the same need boat as hetosexual sinners…and in Christ, with the Holy Spirit, redeemed people with homosexual attractions can have the same new life as redeemed heterosexuals.

  5. dr. james willingham says

    I like this. After all, the sin problem is universal even if the manifestations of it vary from person to person, depending on the predilections for one thing or another.

  6. says

    Of course the whole bridge building process runs smack into the cliffs of “but being LGBT isn’t a sin. And if you call it that you are rejecting who I am.”

    But, while the attitude is a bit more militant, it isn’t new. And we still must speak the truth in love.

    • Todd Benkert says

      I find people are more open to listen to the truth about sin when we approach it as a common condition rather than treating gay sex or orientation as a special class of sin.

  7. Jess says

    Todd Benkert,

    I simply cannot agree with you, and I will not agree with you in this life or the life to come. Sir, you cannot compare the LGBT sin with the sin of a Christian. The just shall live by Faith. One sin is done willfully the other sin is done ignorantly, or sometimes in times of weakness. One doesn’t repent, the other repents and with all their heart and asks God to help them live better.

    Mal. 3:18

    This post is to Liberal for me to even comment on. Some of you talk about the left in politics, this post is way to far to the left in religion.

    There may be several of you flock to Todd’s rescue, but I will not comment anymore on this post. I am to ashamed.

    • Chris Johnson says

      Jess, what is the difference in choosing to lie than the sin of choosing sexual perversion; beyond extenuating consequences?

    • Todd Benkert says

      Jess, I’m not sure to what you are responding. Apart from Christ, we are all alike under sin. We have the same spiritual condition apart from the cross. Go back and Read Romans 1 and I bet you’ll find that your particular brand of sin is right there in the list along with homosexuality — against all of which “the wrath of God is being revealed.” If Jesus had not died for your sin, if you had not trusted in Christ, you would be headed for hell too. Not sure how that is a liberal position.

      If you think that I am suggesting that we not call LGBT people to repent, then you are misreading me and badly. If you are suggesting that the gospel is not offered freely to LGBT people in the same way that it was offered to you (surely, that’s not what you are saying!) then we don’t believe the same gospel.

      • Jess says

        Todd,

        I agree with what you just said. I don’t agree with what you said in your post, by putting Christians and the LGBT community in the same category trying to say we are no different than them, and our sin is the same as their sin. Their is a big difference in a Christian forgetting to pray as he should and having sex with another man. My friend, there is a big difference. The just shall live by faith. We “WALK” by faith.

        When a Christian sins, (I’m only talking about true Christians), The Holy Spirit convicts us, and God corrects us by putting us back on the right path. If God doesn’t correct us, we don’t belong to him no matter how long we have been in church or how long we have been preaching.

        The only thing a Christian and a gay person have in common is that we all bleed red. We have nothing else in common. Yes, a gay person needs to be saved so that they will not be gay anymore. A liar needs to be saved so they will stop practicing lying. An adulterer needs to be saved so they will stop committing adultery. Please don’t throw a Christian in with this group of wicked people. It’s not Bible and never will be.

        What I’ve shared with you is how I read your post, and some on here agree with you. I cannot. I’m going to call sin by it’s name “SIN”. I think we ought to take a lot of this political correctness and toss it in the garbage. Folks don’t want to admit it, but there is a right and left in religion. I can see that a lot of folks that are on the left.

        I lied to you all, I made the statement I would not comment any more on this post, and I did. I shouldn’t have commented back to Todd. Some of you believe that is the same as having sex with another man. Todd, you used the phrase, we sinners, putting Christians in the same category as the LGBT community. That my friend is wrong. Nowhere in the Bible does Christ call his church a bunch of sinners. Nowhere does Christ calls his church the same on the inside as the LGBT’s.

        • Todd Benkert says

          My post speaks of our pre-conversion state and our common sin nature. We are all the same in our rebellion against God and our need for reconciliation through the cross. You are arguing against a point I am not making.

          • Jess says

            Todd,

            If I am arguing against a point you are not making, I apologize. Forgive my ignorance.

          • Todd Benkert says

            No problem. Glad I could clarify my position. Thanks for sticking around and engaging in the discussion. Blessings!

          • Jess says

            Todd,

            I went back and read your post for the forth time. I was arguing against a point you were not making. I have some eye problems.

            I was wrong and you were right. Again, sorry. Thank you for being so nice about it. Excellent post.

      • says

        Jess,

        I believe we have the perfect example of the log/speck situation going on here. It’s easy for me to believe that my sin is less sinful (speck) while those homosexuals are more sinful (log). Jesus says to see my sin as a log and theirs as a speck. Then I’ll be able to rightly respond to their sin. Then we’ll be able to see that we’re all in the same category: terrible sinners in need of a glorious Savior!

        • Jess says

          Ben Simpson,

          I agree with you, Sir. I thought Todd was driving at something else, but he said he wasn’t. Sorry.

          • Todd Benkert says

            Still, you made some good points, Jess. And when it comes to our new status in Christ, you were right. No apologies needed, :)

  8. says

    Todd,

    Excellent stuff! What you have said here is Bible truth and is a corrective to folks on both sides of the issue. It’s a corrective to those who are homophobic or homomisic, reminding us that we are all in the same boat–sin-broken human beings in need of a Savior. Your words here are also a corrective to those who say that homosexuality is nothing to turn from. Upon the authority of God’s Word, practicing homosexuality will bar a person from Heaven. We must lovingly call folks out of a homosexual lifestyle and into Christ, while reminding them that people can’t be in both.

    Thanks for your insight!

  9. says

    Gentlemen
    We could use some prayer for Montana. A Non-Discrimination Ordnance is before the Billings City Council as we speak. It would put the Gay, Lesbian, etc community into a protected class for public services. This has already been enacted in Great Falls, Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman. It does not look good for Billings. So,, please pray. As you pray, pray that the Conservative Christian community will be Christ like and God honoring as we debate the issue. Of course my bias, pray for its defeat.

    • Chris Roberts says

      First a nitpick, then a question.

      Nitpick: Ordnance is a weapon, ordinance is a piece of legislation.

      Question: What exactly is the ordInance stating? You say a special class for public service, but what does that mean? What does the ordinance require or forbid and to whom does it apply?

      Legislation that requires churches to hire without regard for lifestyle choices would be out of order. Legislation that requires municipal (public service) offices to hire without regard for lifestyle choices are very much in order. Likewise, legislation which forbids restricting public services from people based on lifestyle choices would also be in order. I assume this would deal with existing services and doesn’t get into the marriage debate.

      • says

        Chris
        It would require a caterer to serve a wedding for a same sex couple if it was against the caterers beliefs. The debate last night centered mostly on the part dealing with public restrooms etc. Both are out of order

        P.S. Thanks for the nitpick. Spell check is a communist plot. I should have caught that because i did proof read before i hit send. Thanks again

        • Chris Roberts says

          I still have rather mixed feelings about laws requiring people to provide services regardless of the beliefs and practices of the client. I’m inclined to be against such legislation while hesitating when considering where denial of service due to individual attributes has led us in the past. I also think the religious liberty argument tends to be rather exaggerated in this context.

          • says

            Chris
            Note my comment below. Again where does it stop. This is not a community by community situation where community mores are accepted. There is organization with an agenda that is taking this piece by piece….a little here and a little there. We had people from other cities at our meeting last night. They go from community to community advocating their agenda.

          • says

            In a free society, while should any private business be forced to do business with anyone for whatever the reason?

            If i went to a restaurant that had a sign, “WHITES ONLY”, I would take my money elsewhere.
            Some restaurants have a dress code, they wont serve those without jackets and ties, isn’t that a discrimination of sorts? [YES!]

            If a bakery doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for two grooms, why should they? Maybe the grooms straight friends will also order their wedding cakes and all other business from someone else, but that is the price the bakery has to be willing to pay.

            Passing laws that force people to act against their conscience is wrong. Giving orders in the military to kill unarmed civilians is wrong. Simply having the power to make law does not make that law right.

          • Chris Roberts says

            Mike,

            If many members of society hang the sign “WHITES ONLY” on their business, then where would others take their business? If society at large rejected other races from their schools, institutions, and businesses, what recourse would be had except to open the doors through force of law? This is exactly what happened, and what had to happen, due to mass stigmatization and exclusion in parts of the country. I don’t think it would be a stretch to imagine the same situation for practicing homosexuals, though granted with a much smaller overall impact: a restaurant can fairly easy guess at the race of its patrons, but not the sexual choices of its patrons, etc, thus tending to limit the impact of exclusionary practices.

            But a question: if you went to a restaurant that had a sign, “WHITES ONLY”, you say you would go elsewhere. What would you do if the sign instead read, “No Practicing Homosexuals”?

          • says

            Chris,
            If no eating places allowed blacks, I would eat at home, or organize meals at the church. Eating out is a luxury.

            I would certainly give my business to the bakery who did not want to make a wedding cake for Adam and Steve.

            And a place had a sign forbidding practicing gays, or practicing adulterers, or practicing child abusers, or practicing murderers, i would eat there.

            But most sinners recognize their sinfulness, while many seek to justify it. So an adulterous couple might eat at the restaurant with the sigh forbidding them, because they seek to keep their sin a secret, though they know it is sin.

            But a gay couple, or many of them, seek to find acceptance in society for their sin through the denial of its sinfulness.

          • says

            Passing laws will compel compliance. However passing laws will not change an attitude toward a person or group of people. It will hinder the practice of discrimination but not the attitude. in fact it will deepen it.

            In all candor my biggest gripe about the abnormal sexual orientation community is when they compare themselves to the discrimination and racism that has plagued Black America. For a Homosexual to say he is discriminated against and needs to be in a protected class is an insult to every Black man that cannot find a job or use a certain bathroom or eat in a diner. It is NOT the same. For a Homosexual to say i want a baker to be required to make me a wedding cake is a far cry from a Black man who says he wants a job in order to feed his family. God help us to see what is true discrimination and sinful and what is a farce.

      • says

        Chris
        Concerning in order or out of order…..my concern is this…..When I started college nobody in their right mind would have predicted that we would have same sex marriage etc. Even as short as 20 years ago Homosexuality was illegal in Montana. Admittedly it was not enforced but it was on the books because no politician wanted to risk his reputation by challenging it.
        My point is when that ball gets rolling it is hard to stop. We are on the threshold of the illegality of preaching against homosexuality. We know there is an organized effort to enact laws that would be against most Conservative Christians beliefs. Where does it stop? My fear is it will not.

        Just MHO.

    • Chris Johnson says

      D.L., we should definitely pray for Montana and its community leaders that they have the wisdom to understand the difference between perversion and human rights. This seems to go in cycles throughout history, and is a simple thing to understand. But, it does take wisdom to draft the proper legislation to continue to keep Americans free from a mandate requires citizens to provide for perversion.

  10. says

    Todd,

    If you agree with Burger King that “we are all the same inside” with the same worth, condition, and hope then would you also accept and promote the homosexual life style as Burger King has done?

    I’m confused because it sounds like you are agreeing with Burger King, who is celebrating and promoting homosexuality, while I know that is not your position.

    Signed,
    Devil’s Advocate to further thinking and discussion.

    • says

      That’s what is confusing because you are not really like Burger King and do not accept homosexuals as being the same since you want to take away their natural lifestyle.

      • Todd Benkert says

        I’m saying, in essence, “You’re right. We are all the same inside. But not in the way that you think. Rather we are the same in these ways…”

        Similar to Paul looking at a sinfully idolatrous monument, and saying “let me tell you about this unknown God of yours.” He was not agreeing with their idolatrous intent, but using their words and changing their intended meaning to reveal God’s truth.

  11. Todd Benkert says

    One argument made on facebook was against using Acts 17 as a model. Basically, the assertion was that Paul messed up at Mars Hill and later realized it and decided he would preach only Christ and him crucified.

    What say ye, Voices?

    • John Wylie says

      Paul did preach Christ to them, He simply used their points of agreement to open the door to gain an audience.

  12. says

    The problem with homosexual sin [besides its sinfulness] that separates it from most other sins is that its adherents deny it is a sin. Most liars and cheaters and murderers and adulterers know and acknowledge their sins as wrong and evil, even as many seek to justify their actions. Society reinforces most sin as detrimental to the greater good and passes civil laws restricting and punishing many sins. This is evident from every culture throughout time and location.
    But when a society calls evil good and good evil, it aids and abets in the searing of consciences, and soon the reaping of the evil sown rots the country from the inside out.

    There is a difference between those who sin and acknowledge themselves as sinners, and those who sin who think they are on the ~right~ side of history and think they are not sinning.

    Reading the Gospels, we see that Jesus dealt harshly with those who claimed a righteousness of their own as opposed to how He dealt with those who recognized their need of forgiveness.

  13. Rick Patrick says

    Burger King has been saying, “Have it your way” for years. People like it their way. But Jesus says, “I am THE Way.” I’d rather contrast my approach with Burger King than compare it. I don’t really want to join them in their “We’re all the same” slogan–because what they mean by that is not right at all. They mean that every lifestyle is just as valid as any other. So in the interest of clarity–of sounding a clear trumpet–I want to stay away from such language. It’s the “Christ against culture” vs. “Christ within culture” debate all over again. My primary problem with the latter is it confuses the daylights out of everyone. I’d rather be bold and clear.

    I won’t help Burger King by eating or telling any of their Whoppers.

    • Byron Potts says

      Tood,

      Good post. I’m a liberal that follows this blog with often with a lot of discomfort. I’m sure my comment affirming your post is not the kind of recognition you’re after. :-)

      I think BK’s message is successful because people like me are glad to see a company standing up to Christians speaking “truth of Hell and sin” to LGBT people. (spec/log, glass house)

      It wasn’t that long ago that Christian men, founders of the SBC itself, were certain that slavery was condoned by God and that it was an acceptable practice — because of SKIN COLOR. These weren’t hillbillies either; we’re talking about the well educated men at the head of the SBC over many decades.

      So you’ll have to pardon us if we’re skeptical that Christians might also be wrong about the LGBT issue. Indeed, the apologies for how LGBT peoples have been treated in the past are already here.

      • Todd Benkert says

        Thanks for chiming in, Byron. I would say that the apology needed is not in upholding the biblical position that homosexuality is wrong, but in treating homosexual people as a special, untouchable class of sinner and in approaching LGBT people without love or compassion. One point of my post is for us Christians to approach homosexuals like we would any other non-Christian — as fellow people created in God’s image but broken by sin and in need of forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

        Nevertheless, gay sex is rebellion against God’s command and his purpose in creation. Like all sin, it must be put off as we put on the new man. As ministers of the gospel, we cannot call people from sin and at the same time encourage people to continue in their sin. The proper way to love our neighbor is not to affirm them in their rebellion, but to call them to repentance and faith in the one who died for their sin.

        As for your analogy with slavery, the parallel comparison to those Christians who did not see anything wrong with slavery would be those Christians who do not see anything wrong with homosexuality (not the other way around.) It is those who would interpret the word of God to accommodate their desire and practice that need correcting, not those who call sinners to repentance and faith in God.

        • Byron Potts says

          Hey Todd,

          Thanks for the reply. Makes good sense what you’re saying above; the only reply I have (quickly here before running to a meeting) is on your last point.

          The liberal half of the US population views LGBT issues as a civili rights issue, not a Biblical morality issue. My analogy holds well because blacks were discriminated against because of their skin color; and gays because of their sexual orientation.

          It doesn’t matter what a persons religious beliefs are, there are limits to how they can apply it relative to civil rights and the law of the land. You can’t sacrifice goats and doves in the US, for example, and if we have our way, you won’t be able to ban gays or LGBT people either.

  14. says

    Chris R.,
    The problem is that with no God standard to reach, society has to set its own standards, based on the prevailing economic and social powers, thus setting up rights and wrongs, not based on justice for all [justice has no meaning inside artificial man made standards except as those standards imagine it to be], but based on the whims and foibles of the ones in power, or catering to those who they think can keep them in power.

    “What is right” will then become “what we say is right is right”.
    But people have consciences from God that gives them, even if hazily due to sin, some moral standard. But if the people are lulled to sleep or rendered powerless [as in many places in this world] those in power have less and less incentive to cater to the conscience and more so to their lusts.
    If there is no standard of God to reach, then why not gay marriage? why not polygamy? why not allow a mature 13 year old to right to choose if sex is good for her? Why not euthanize the elderly who just drain society of resources? What is wrong with abortion? And why not spare a life of hardship to those toddlers who are poor and orphaned? What’s wrong with the death penalty?
    ..for auto theft? …for identity theft? ..for cell phone theft?

    Every standard that a man sets for himself, he breaks. He sets a lower one, then he breaks that.

    Down the slippery slope the country heads, slowly at first, and it picks up speed. It is getting worse and unless a person is blinded by their own lusts, soon all will bemoan the dire straights we will find ourselves in.

    mike

    • Chris Roberts says

      Whether or not this is a problem is irrelevant. If there is no God, we’re in that situation even if we claim divine inspiration for the particular laws we seek to enforce.

      You know where I fall on the question of whether or not there is a God. The laws you seek to enact and the morals you wantto see guide the nation are nothing more than another set of human created guidelines and expectations. You have a problem with people who treat sin as if it is okay; I have a problem with people who act as if there is a God who gives divine force to their morality. I understand the mindset since I held to it rather rigidly myself for almost all of my life, but it is now easy to see it for what it is: the preferences of people from particular ages given supposed divine authority (though, we note, those preferences have shifted even across biblical times, which is why theologians have to devote a bit of attention to explain why “biblical norms” are not always normative among the heroes of the Bible).

      I’m still working out my own views on a range of issues, but the homosexuality issue resolved itself overnight since the only way to declare “homosexuality is wrong” is for there to be a divine authority declaring it wrong. Since there is no such authority, it is not wrong. This is not the case with every moral issue; claim all you want that atheists cannot have a foundation for morality, atheist after atheist has demonstrated the possibility – nay, the reality – of such morality. And I’ll note again that Christian morality is no different; the source it claims does not exist, leaving it as just another morality of man.

      Christians love claiming that there exists a liberal agenda seeking to normalize homosexuality in society (I’m sure that claim is true), but this is yet another instance of Christians seeking favored status: Christians have no problem with Christians seeking to normalize their morality and their social expectations. You want to see Christian morality take hold in American public life and you are actively working to promote that morality, through church, through evangelism, through advocacy campaigns, and even through laws which restrict behaviors you deem immoral. So Christians have no problem with Christians trying to normalize the Christian worldview, but Christians shriek when anyone else seeks the same.

      • andy says

        Hi Chris,

        I think the question of the cake decorating is not simply one of Christians trying to force their morals on others. It is a question of the cake maker’s liberty to not violate his own morals… as such is a bit complicated the following examples:

        1. Should a pro-choice sign maker be forced to create a batch of pro-life, anti-abortion signs for a customer? (I would say no)

        2. Should chick-fil-a have to serve food to a gay couple who kisses on the store and tells the cashier they are gay? (I would say yes)

        3. Would a cake maker have to make a cake for a gay wedding…I just don’t know…If he had to attend the wedding and participate in the reception, I would lean toward no…if it was simply making circular cake with flowers and sending it out the door…I’m not so sure. I don’t know where the line is between example 1 and example 2, but I know that I as a musician don’t want to be forced to write a theme song for a gay pride commercial just to avoid discrimination…any more than I would want a vegan actor to be forced to be in a beef commercial if they felt eating meat was immoral.

      • says

        Chris,
        I think you are being slightly myopic.
        If there is no god and I as a cake maker decide that gay marriage is repugnant to me [for whatever internal reason], why should I be forced to be a party to that which I abhor? It is not as if i am going to protest the wedding with signs or disruptions, but that I simply want no part of it and i am willing to forgo some profit to not be a part of it. If no one wants to buy my products as a show of solidarity with gay marriage, my choice could force me to close. Another, more pro-gay, bakery will gladly gain from my loss.
        That is one issue -personal rights. maybe there is a gay baker who does not want to participate in evangelical weddings, why should they be forced to?

        As far as the only way to declare homosexuality as wrong is to invoke God, are you sure about that?
        Could it be argued that gay coupling is anti-evolutionistic in that such coupling does not propagate the species? that gay couples in a purely evolutionary society would be second class due to their inabilities? That instead of using the resources available to them to further the race, they become not of the ‘fittest’, since their genes will not survive.

        As to the agendas, your bias is showing. Christians “shriek” when they oppose what they believe is untrue. Those who claimed to be Christians and bombed abortion clinics are wrong. To claim to be a Christian and inflict violence on a person because they are gay is wrong. You know that is not how the Bible tells Christians to act. So pop off that high horse.

        Have you ever been to a gay pride parade? You probably wouldn’t want your children to go to the one in my city. They do not just celebrate their gayness, they do it with lewd and lascivious acts. They wish to be offensive. They don’t promote values one would expect in a civil society but they bring their bedroom repertoire out in public to flaunt their lusts.

        If it was the straight married pride parade, such actions would still be a disgusting public spectacle.

        And as to the foundation of atheistic morality that you claim atheists demonstrate, all it is is an inconsistent philosophy of life. Society lives as if there is a purpose to life when without a god, every purpose is artificial and arbitrary, not one having any more legitimate value over another, so if a nation approves of slavery,then slavery is moral. If a nation says Jews are bad, exterminate them all. If one says that girls should be mutilated at birth and never schooled, who is to say different?

        • Chris Roberts says

          Mike,

          The wedding caterer issue is just one piece of the puzzle. What if it expands from there? There are states that attempted to pass laws protecting businesses for refusing services over religious objections. While I grant you that in our day it is unlikely that many places will have a majority of businesses that refuse to serve or hire homosexuals, but I still hesitate to open the door to a situation where any such group could be systematically rejected.

          As for your evolution argument, that proves nothing, though it does cause me a little amusement to see you try and appeal to evolution for a natural argument against homosexuality. But while the evolutionary imperative is the propagation of the species, such an imperative does not form an absolute basis for morality.

          I’m not sure what you’re talking about regarding bombing clinics or inflicting violence, I never mentioned those acts. Why bring them up? The shrieking I speak of is the outcry I see over and over again (and it’s been present on Voices quite a bit in this thread and others just the last few days, and pops up on a regular basis in various posts) involves claims of a liberal agenda to take over the country or normalize certain behaviors. I see a double standard when Christians protest liberals doing this when it’s the very thing Christians proudly do, and call others to do as a divine imperative.

          As for gay pride parades, I’m not a fan. I’m also not a fan of Westboro protests. Don’t use either one to represent the overall value or worth of the movements that produced them.

          On your last paragraph, I won’t bother going into that here and now. Even if we had an appropriate forum for an extended discussion on that topic, I very much doubt it would do any good. That’s one area where Christians have made up their minds and it doesn’t matter what anyone says or demonstrates, nothing will sway them. It’s the position I once held (though I guess I’m demonstrable proof that Christians can in fact be swayed) so I understand the mindset.

  15. says

    Chris,
    I suppose that even as you attack a double standard, you fail to see yourself using one. The baker is not saying gays should not be married, he is saying that he wants no part of it. Yet you defend the gays who wish to force him to be a part of it, and in the name civil liberties.
    I am not making a religious argument, but a civil rights argument. Why should the man be forced to do business with what is against his convictions, how ever they came about?

    Flip it, as you did, and say what if states pass laws that systematically reject certain groups! Yet groups are made up of individuals, individuals just like our baker. So the baker is wrong but your group [so to speak] is right? Is your sentiment really against passing laws that reject certain people unless they are Christians?

    See what you did there? You moved from an individual to the state in order to seek to make a winning point. But if the state someday outlaws Christians preaching/holding-to their beliefs, where then is your argument?
    So on the individual level, why not allow people to follow their own conscience? And on the state level, the people decide collectively their own morality. As the USA becomes more pagan, you will see that individual Christians will be rejected and discriminated against even though they are nor even doing harm to anyone.
    Like i said, those with secular power will rule over the many, not for the good of mankind, but for the good of themselves. The standards will be one for them and stricter for every one else…. oh wait, we are already there.
    It will get worse. I hope you will have eyes to see it.

    • Chris Roberts says

      Mike,

      First, I’m defending no one. I’ve already stated that I’m unsure where I stand on this. In our back-and-forth, I’ve been explaining why I am not comfortable with the idea of protecting discrimination. At the same time, I’m not comfortable with the idea of forcing people to act against conscience. I don’t have to explain why I’m not comfortable forcing people to act against conscience, you already get that. So my focus is on the other side. One of these days I’ll settle myself on one side or the other.

      As for my double standard, nice spin. Instead of dealing with my (accurate) observation, you try to shift a completely unrelated accusation onto me. At any rate, the question here is whether or not the (social) cost of permitting discrimination is higher than the cost of forcing people to (allegedly) act against conscience (since again I think the claim is a bit overblown). We already have numerous regulations requiring and restricting what businesses can do. I suspect you favor some of those while opposing others. We have seen such regulations as a necessary part of an orderly society, and part of the cost of operating a business.

      “Flip it, as you did, and say what if states pass laws that systematically reject certain groups!”

      Except that has nothing to do with the present conversation. Surely you don’t mean to say that Christians are being rejected if required to provide their business services to all people? They are not being forced to act in immoral ways (again, the argument about conscience is overblown, and even if it had some degree of merit, Christians are not here being told to approve of gay marriage or to themselves marry a same-sex partner), they are not being restricted, but are being told that if you want to participate in society at large, you cannot pick and choose which people are acceptable to you.

      “But if the state someday outlaws Christians preaching/holding-to their beliefs, where then is your argument?”

      Again, that has nothing to do with the present discussion, but if anyone ever did propose outlawing Christian preaching and belief, I would be quite adamant in opposing them – as would, I believe, most Americans, including most atheists. I know many who disagree – even vehemently – with Christian belief. I know few who want to outright silence it (despite the paranoid claims of Christians).

      “As the USA becomes more pagan, you will see that individual Christians will be rejected and discriminated against even though they are nor even doing harm to anyone.”

      I think the paranoia behind this statement is similar to the paranoia behind white people becoming a minority. Whites know we have a poor history of race relations. I think part of the fear of whites losing majority status is we worry we will be treated the way we treated others. Same thing with Christianity – Christians know how they have treated competing beliefs in the public and private sphere, and worry they may be treated the same way as they continue to lose influence. Fortunately, I think society has moved beyond that. While I am pleased to see Christianity losing influence in this country, I don’t want to see it (and don’t think we will see it) officially opposed. It may lose some of its favored status in society, and along the way Christians will claim that the loss of favored status equals persecution, but that will be it. Christianity is on the decline. It will diminish of its own accord.

      • Andy Williams says

        So do we want a pro-choice Sign-maker to be legally obligated to create anti-abortion posters? Do we want vegan actors to be legally obligated to appear in commercials promoting beef?

        I mean, if they want to participate in society as sign-makers and actors, can they discriminate which customers they will sell their services to?

        • Chris Roberts says

          But now you’re talking very different things. A sign maker is creating something that will promote a particular position. A caterer is making sandwiches that will feed people. A sandwich is ideological-neutral, a sign is not. This is why I say the conscience argument is overstated. No pro-gay marriage message is being sent by food or decorations. I do see the point that any level of participation gives a measure of support, so I think there is something to the conscience argument, but at the same time, we already understand that people do not always share the beliefs of their clients nor agree with the ways clients make use of their services.

          Back to your examples, the vegan actor isn’t at all relevant because now we’re not talking about someone selling his service, nor someone offering a job, but someone accepting a job. There is no requirement for anyone to accept any employment for any reason, and people are free to reject any employment offer for any reason. This is very different from a business offering services yet restricting those services from some. And as already mentioned on the sign issue, forcing a business to promote competing views is very different from forcing a business to provide ideologically neutral services to those who hold competing views.

          And this will probably be my last comment on this particular discussion, though I’ll check back to read any further comments.

          • Andy Williams says

            I think we generally agree on a lot here. (You know, aside from God, Jesus, and the meaning of life stuff) :-)

            I don’t think the sign maker should be forced to make signs against his beliefs…but I also don’t think Chick-Fil-a should be allowed to refuse service to homosexuals.

            I simply think there are some areas that are a little gray. If the Cake-maker were asked to make a cake with two men kissing on the top of it, or a wedding photographer make an attractive photo album that has two men kissing, with his name on it as the photographer…I might want to allow them to conscientiously bow out of creating a work of art that promotes something they disagree with. However, If it is simply making a more generic cake and delivering it…I would tend to say they should just make the cake.

          • says

            Andy,
            FYI
            Chris R. does not agree on God, Jesus, and the meaning of life stuff, as he has recently declared himself an atheist.

            But to your points:
            Why force your belief on the baker? if he doesn’t want that business why should he have to cater to this couple?
            Why should chick-fil-a be forced to serve those who blatantly disregard their beliefs?

          • Chris Roberts says

            Mike,

            Which is probably why he said “aside from God, Jesus, and the meaning of life stuff” :)

  16. Andy says

    ParsonMike Said: “Why force your belief on the baker? if he doesn’t want that business why should he have to cater to this couple? Why should chick-fil-a be forced to serve those who blatantly disregard their beliefs?”

    Because I think food is one of the areas in which service to a person does not entail endorsement of their beliefs, and we don’t want homosexuals to starve to death, and because the converse is true: We don’t want a society in which Hindu, Islamic, or secular restaurant owners can refuse service to Christians.

    Do you think that would be a better America, one in which Christian restaurants can refuse service to homosexuals and other non-Christians, and secular restaurants that can refuse service to Christians?

  17. says

    Andy,
    Being deprived of wedding cakes and fast food chicken will starve no one.
    And why do we not want a society where people are free to follow their consciences?

    • Chris Roberts says

      “And why do we not want a society where people are free to follow their consciences?”

      I’m sure I would have zero trouble finding many instances in which you would absolutely not want people following their consciences.

      • Chris Roberts says

        drat, forgot I wasn’t supposed to comment on this anymore. Oh well, I’m an atheist and we don’t believe in following even our own rules, evidently.

    • andy says

      Do we want a society in which grocery store managers, landlords, and bankers are allowed to refuse food, housing, and loans to Christians because they think our beliefs and actions bring harm to society?

  18. Jess says

    You can bet if I were in a restaurant with my family, and sitting at a table over from me were two homosexuals making out. I would put a stop to it. I first would tell them to stop, in a very impolite way, and if they didn’t I would leave and never return back to that restaurant. If it was normal couple making out, I would do the same thing, except maybe in a little nicer way. I still wouldn’t return to that restaurant. I’m old fashion so hang me.

      • Jess says

        Todd Benkert,

        I said, maybe in a nicer way. It all depends upon what mood I’m in. If I had small children, I don’t know that I could even be nice regardless of the circumstance. A restaurant is no place to make out anyway.

        Homosexuality goes cross grain with everything I believe and stand for.
        I know we all have rights but sometimes it’s proper to keep our rights under control. I saw on the news out in California they were having a gay demonstration about their rights. The news showed two men walking the street, one man had his hand on the other man’s butt as they walked. I just tell you, something like that makes me sick at my stomach. Many in the human race are perverted. Things are bad and getting worse. The gay community needs Jesus, so all the perversion can stop.

        I would have a talk with the couples about Jesus before I put a stop to the situation. I would like to think so, anyway. I put a stop to a table full of men cussing in a restaurant at a table over from me and my family. I was too mad to tell them about Jesus. I have moments of weakness that I hope the Lord takes from me. I’m afraid I have a little bit of the Apostle Peter in me. Lol, You may crucify me, but I may take your ear off in the process.

    • andy says

      I generally don’t take my family to the kinds of restraunts where people make out in booths…????

  19. says

    After some thought, I think the baker has a better case than the ChickFilA, not that the latter has no case.

    The baker isn’t just involved in feeding, but is being asked to participate in an activity he finds unholy and repulsive.

    Still, the ChFillA guy wants to have an establishment where his preferred customers are not sickened by the actions of a few. It is not that they are just eating there, but the gay couple is eating there and making out and being lewd.
    If they just came in and ordered and sat down and ate, I doubt anyone would pay them any mind.

    But like the Gay Pride Parade, the gay community wants to shock and flaunt its sexuality in public. That kind of attitude speaks to their own lack of empathy for others, even as they seek empathy and acceptance.

  20. says

    If only Burger King had meant it that way. I’m just glad we get to be the ones to redefine something for a change. This time we get to redefine it to be true.

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