Saturday, 12 July 2014

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe - Ashers Bakery were right to refuse gay marriage cake.




Former conservative minister Ann Widdecombe has came out in defense of the rights of businesses to operate according to their beliefs. Her comments come in light of a possible legal challenge to Ashers bakery based in Northern Ireland.
The company refused to bake a cake with a message in support of gay marriage. Mr. Daniel McArthur, general manger of Ashers said they are happy to bake cakes for anyone, but could not fulfil that particular order as it clashed with the ethos of the business. 

Ms. Widdecombe expressed her views through the Daily Express, “Surely it is an elementary feature of true democracy that nobody should be obliged by law to affirm that which he or she does not believe”, “If the baker had refused merely to bake a cake because the customer was gay then that would indeed have been both unpleasant and illegal but the refusal was specific to the message requested for the cake."

Prime minister David Cameron has given repeated assurances that introducing gay marriage “would not cause discrimination against those who believed it wrong”. David Cameron failed to back religious tolerance and equality when asked about the 'Ashers' case. His response to DUP MP Gregory Campbell during Prime Ministers question time indicated that he was unaware of the potential legal case against the company, however, he did say: 'commitment to equality in terms of people with different sexualities, is a very important part of being British.'

Ms. Widdecombe highlighted the repeated reassurances given to Parliament by stating “What price your assurances now, Mr Cameron?” she posed.
You can read Ms. Widdecombe's article here:
Daily Express article.

By Rev. Paul Thompson

Friday, 11 July 2014

Petition to halt action being taken against Asher's bakery.



We would encourage as many as possible to sign this petition which will be presented to the equality comission for Northern Ireland. 

The law needs to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs to carry out their business, without fear of reprisal, when they take a stand against what they believe to be unbiblical and that people do not lose their religious freedom just because they run a business.  This is a test case for the Equality Commission and if it isn't won it will have devastatiing repercussions for those of the Christian faith who follow Jesus Christ and His teachings.  

The link is attached below:

Link to petition

Rev. Paul Thompson

Northern Ireland Christian bakers face possible legal action.





'Ashers' baking company a well known, family run business based in Northern Ireland is facing possible legal action for refusing to fulfil a customer's order for a cake which advertised support for gay marriage.

The McArthur family, who own Ashers Baking Company in the Belfast area, said they could not fulfil the order because it conflicts with their Christian beliefs about marriage being between a man and a woman.

The Christian Institute is supporting the bakery, and says the case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs.


Activist

In May, volunteer LGBT activist Gareth Lee asked for a cake to be decorated with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”.
He also wanted a logo of his campaign group QueerSpace and a photo of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie in an embrace to be printed on the cake.
When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered Mr Lee a full refund.

Unlawful

Despite the fact that the Northern Ireland Assembly recently voted against redefining marriage for the third time in two years, the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission for Northern Ireland sent a letter claiming that the bakery had acted unlawfully by refusing to decorate the cake with the slogan.
The Commission said the bakery had breached equality laws which outlaw discrimination in the provision of goods and services.
Online photographs of a QueerSpace event in May show that the group managed to get a cake decorated in the way they wanted from a different bakery.

Ethos

The manager of the business, Daniel McArthur, said they are happy to bake cakes for anyone, but could not fulfil that particular order as it clashed with the ethos of the business.
“We are Christians and our Christianity reaches to every point of our lives, whether that’s at home or in the day-to-day running of the business.”
Explaining why they decided not to fulfil the order, he said: “We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs, certainly was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches.”
“Although we have found this experience certainly unsettling and disruptive to our day-to-day business, we are certainly convinced that we have made the right decision, and we continue to take the stance that we do take”, he added.

Bible

The company was named after a verse from the Bible which says “Bread from Asher shall be rich and he shall yield royal dainties” (Genesis 49:20, NKJV).
The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund is supporting Ashers Baking Company.

Failed

“The Government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, whether at work or in business.
“All the McArthurs want is to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs. There won’t be many situations where they need to turn down an order but this is obviously one of them. No one should be forced to use their creative skills to promote a cause which goes against their consciences. Imbalanced equality laws are making it increasingly hard for people, especially Christians.
“Imagine the uproar if the Equality Commission said that an environmentally-conscious baker had to produce a cake saying “Support fracking”? Or if they threatened a feminist bakery for refusing to print a “Sharia for UK” cake?
“Millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide goods or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.

Dangerous

“It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”
Mr Hart concluded: “The Government must take urgent action to address this injustice by bringing in legislation that would introduce reasonable accommodation to protect those, who for religious or philosophical reasons, believe that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”
The American Supreme Court recently ruled that family-run businesses in the US can operate according to their principles. The judgment in the case of Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned chain of arts and crafts stores, found that people do not lose their religious freedom just because they run a business.