Cake is a divisive food. It separates people easier than most savory or sweet dishes. Chocolate or vanilla. Cream cheese or butter-cream. Gay or straight.
That last category is one that applies for Oregon based bakery owner Aaron Klein, who recently refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, because of his religious principles. Aaron is unwilling to serve this couple, that he thinks is living a "sinful lifestyle," because that would violate his conscious. When the couple complained to the state and the media, he stood by his decision, saying that he's within his constitutional rights.
That's to be decided by the courts. But as a fellow Christian, I have some advice for Aaron, that I think he needs to hear.
Nowhere in the Bible that he and I both hold true does Jesus say that it is wrong to serve sinners. Quite the opposite. He encouraged us to serve everyone -- anyway we could. Jesus didn't just say this, He lived it. The people He loved, and spent the most time with, were the very types of people who today would likely not be welcome in Aaron's shop. Those were the people he loved, and wanted on his side. The people that religious leaders would never be seen with. The types of people who were looked down on, judged, and, like in this case, refused service by Christians.
That's why I can't imagine a scenario where Jesus would encourage any of his disciples to withhold their business (fish) to any hungry person. Regardless of their "lifestyle." Maybe that's because Jesus was more concerned with people, than lifestyles.
What I wish Aaron realized, was that if he's ever sold a cake to anyone, he's sold a cake to a person living in sin. According to the Bible, every single person is a sinner, in need of the loving grace of Christ. Every person. That pastor looking for cupcakes for the boy scout troop? Sinner. The middle class, straight Christian couple looking for a wedding cake? Sinners. Lesbians shopping for the same? Sinners of equal weight as the rest.
The issue is that some business owners, like Mr. Klein, make an unholy distinction: one of the "sin" of homosexuality over all else. Which is wrong. Indefensible. And without scriptural backing.
They do this with intentions that they think are pure. In their minds, baking a wedding cake for a lesbian couple is tantamount to waving a rainbow flag at gay pride. It's a condoning of something they do not agree with, believe is wrong, and think is sin. I understand that, I do. But this is not theologically accurate. Business transactions are not yokings. You're under no biblical obligation to only accept money from people who think and believe exactly as you do. Even Mr. Klein would probably agree to that.
But that isn't the issue here. The issue here is homophobia. The fear of homosexuality and homosexuals. The singling out and mistreatment of millions of people, based on some people's interpretation of seven verses of the Bible. Seven out of thousands others that encourage us to love our neighbors, treat others with kindness and grace, and withhold judgement.
Unless Mr. Klein requires each and every customer to fill out a detailed questionnaire on their sexual and spiritual lives, prior to selling them a wedding cake, then he is guilty of homophobia. He's guilty of acting in a way that does nothing but push people away from Christianity and Christ, by furthering the misconception that all Christians are judgemental, hateful and cruel. Especially toward the gay community.
As a Christian who supports gay marriage, I wish this couple the best on their wedding day. I hope that their cake, possibly made by Duff Goldman, owner of Charm City Cakes, is delicious, gorgeous and brings only happy thoughts to mind. And I hope they'll realize that I'm not the only Christian wishing them a lifetime of happiness.