Since the teeth have been removed from the latest Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, Christian conservatives are trying new tactics to legally discriminate against those pesky gay people. Last week, Indiana Baptist pastor Tim Overton declared that a "cake-maker is using his or her artistic ability to make a cake, and that cake communicates something. I think that cake is speech, and it says we celebrate this union. And to force someone who doesn't believe that same-sex marriage is correct in the eyes of God, I just don't think they should be forced or compelled by government to use their speech to support someone else's perspective."
Interesting. I had never thought of cake as speech before. I read and re-read the first amendment to see if, in fact, cake is mentioned as part of "freedom of speech." It is not. I thumbed through the dictionary and found no mention of cake under "speech" or "talk" or "words."
I decided to conduct an experiment. I went to a local bakery owned by conservative Christians and bought a simple white cake. The transaction was pleasant and the clerk wished me a "Blessed day." I brought the cake home, took it out of the box, and waited. If cake is speech, this cake probably had something to say.
An hour of silence ensued. But then, I heard a soft "hello" emanating from the cake.
"Hello!" I responded excitedly.
"I am delicious. Have a slice!" The cake sounded a lot like Scarlett Johansson. I was transfixed. At just that moment, my husband walked through the door. The cake and I both gasped, our intimate mood broken. My husband gave me a peck on the cheek.
Suddenly the cake shrieked: "WAIT! Whaaaat?! You're GAY?!" The alluring Scarlett Johansson voice was gone, replaced by a much shriller tone.
"I am gay as a goose," I told the cake.
My husband, who could not hear the cake, looked at me oddly, and said, "I know, honey, that's why I married you."
I started to say, "No, you don't understand" when my husband grabbed a knife to cut himself a slice of the cake. "STOP!!!" the cake and I yelled simultaneously.
"What's the matter?"
"If you eat that cake, you are violating the baker's first amendment rights!" I said.
The cake at this point was screeching, almost keening with pain. It was unbearable. I grabbed the cake and rushed out of the house with it, leaving my husband speechless in the kitchen. "Thank you," the cake sighed as I dumped it in the garbage.
Encouraged by the success of my experiment, I popped into a pizzeria to have a talk with a pizza. As I walked through the door, a pepperoni pie squawked: "Hey, gay boy! Order me for your wedding! C'mon! Give the owners a chance to refuse you service! They might make $800,000!" The aggressive and greedy quality of the pizza's request was surprising and, frankly, a turn-off. I left without ordering anything. I did not want to give the pizza the satisfaction.
At this point, I needed a drink so I stopped in at my favorite tavern. As I sat on a bar stool, the vodka bottles started whispering to me. I knew pastry could talk, but had no idea that liquor also had the ability. The vodkas started clamoring for my attention: "Drink me! I love the gays! I celebrate everything about you!"
"Quiet!" I said, my head spinning. Just then, a Russian vodka started bellowing in a harsh tone. I do not speak Russian and could not understand the words, but it was clear that the Russian vodka hated me and was condemning me in no uncertain terms.
This was too much. I asked the bartender for a cup of coffee because the liquor was giving me a headache. As I put it to my lips, the coffee started talking to me. "No, no!" it said with a Spanish accent. "The Colombian who picked these coffee beans is a devout Christian! You are defiling his soul!"
I ran wildly out of the bar, needing to get away from any talking products. As I walked and cleared my head, I found myself in a crowd of people. Relief! No one talked to me. I could think my own thoughts without feeling the guilt of violating anyone's rights. But as I looked at the faces around me, I started wondering what they were thinking. I wanted to hear their voices and their opinions. Would they support me? Condemn me? Hate me because my existence seems to infringe on their religious freedoms? I wished people were cakes, so I could hear more clearly what they had to say about my homosexuality.