Statement re: Ashers Bakery
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster is extremely concerned at the recent decision by the Equality Commission to take Ashers Baking Company to court over their refusal to endorse a cake with the political slogan "Support gay marriage".
As a Denomination we take our definition of marriage from the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ said in-
Mark 10:6-8 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
However what is at stake with regard to Ashers is not merely a case of discrimination as some would have you believe. Rather it is a determined effort by a publically funded body, the Equality Commission, to infringe the rights of a Christian business to conduct their business in accordance with their Christian faith.
Ashers Baking Company did not refuse to serve customers. Neither do they ask the religion, the sexual orientation, the ethnicity or political views of any customer. What they did refuse to do was endorse a cake with a controversial slogan at variance with their Christian beliefs.
In accordance with those same Christian beliefs they pay their taxes, run their business in an open and lawful manner, and treat their employees with dignity and respect. Is this not the sort of business we want?
The Equality Commission stated on 28th April 2014 prior to the Assembly debate-
“The Commission supports the introduction of legislation to permit same-sex marriage with sufficient safeguards so that religious organizations and their representatives who do not wish to marry same-sex couples cannot be compelled to do so."
Same-sex "marriage" has been rejected by the Northern Ireland Assembly on three occasions, yet this tax-payer funded body seems intent on silencing opposition to that which is not lawful in the land.
Do they not respect the views of the NI assembly?
Are they permitted to protect that which is outside of the law in Northern Ireland while at the same time persecuting a law-abiding family run business adhering to their Christian principles.
What would the Equality Commission think of being taken to court for promoting same sex "marriage"? We know they would be indignant! However they are swift to act against Christians, who, according to their conscience, cannot participate in the promotion of same sex "marriage"!
It would seem from this statement, and the actions of the Equality Commission, that religious organisations and individuals are not permitted to act in accordance with their own conscience even when legislation in the Province on this issue supports them.
We would ask the Equality Commission to reconsider this decision and explain exactly what rights a business owner has in providing public services, especially when asked to do that which is contrary to their conscience.
Government and Morals Committee of the
Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster