A bad analogy in the cake-baking controversy

April 7, 2015
Why bother with logic when you can post a glib meme?

Why bother with logic when you can post a glib meme?

This blog post by Jessica Kantrowitz received approval from at least a few clergy acquaintances on social media today. Glutton for punishment that I am, I posted the following in the comments section of a couple of them:

I don’t believe that this blogger’s analogy is on point. As Paul makes clear in Romans 13, government, including even Rome’s government (especially Rome’s government, given the context) is ordained by God for any number of good reasons. Even the soldiers played a legitimate role in maintaining law and order—however much they might have abused that role. Merely carrying a load for the soldiers (versus actively assisting them in murdering innocent people, for instance) isn’t immoral. 

Someone might object, “Yes, but even by assisting these soldiers you’re indirectly facilitating them in their oppression!” To which I would say, “Yes, and we pay taxes and contribute in other ways to our own government, some of whose policies or actions will kill or oppress innocent people.” By the same principle, Jews could at least assist Romans in doing something that wasn’t immoral, per se.

So, using one’s gifts to “go the extra mile” is promoting something ordained by God. Some Christian cake-bakers—who would gladly sell their services to the LGBT for any number of other occasions—rightly (in my opinion, but it’s not crucial to my argument) believe that in using their skill and artistry to design a wedding cake they are promoting something quite literally sinful—both the wedding service itself and the relationship that it honors and seeks to legitimize.

If I’m wrong about the analogy—not whether I’m wrong to be bothered by gay marriage—please tell me why.

2 Responses to “A bad analogy in the cake-baking controversy”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    No, you are absolutely correct. There is no warrant for interpreting scripture to require someone to actively assist in sinful behavior. In “assisting” the government, which may or may not always act morally, we are performing our civic duty, and it is the government that has to answer to God for what it does with our money or labor. However, if the government specifically orders us to take immoral actions, then it would be our duty to disobey. “We must obey God rather than man.” Hence Martin Luther King’s “civil disobedience.”

    • brentwhite Says:

      Thanks, Tom. The “gay-affirming” pastor needs to find a new argument, because this one stinks. Not that argument and logic counts for much these days.

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