After writing last week about just how mundane my life is as of late I was lacking much to blog about. I’m not a real “Mom Blogger” with crafty advice, wise wisdom and recipes for scrumptious Tofutti bars the whole family will love. I’m just someone with too many words rattling around in their head that feels the need to spew them onto the internet from time to time. Though Charlie and I have been working together on a totally organic new tye-dye method. I was thinking I was headed into another blogging hiatus when Arizona started singing “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About” in my ear. Normally I shy away from the subject of gay marriage because I’m not sure where I stand on any given day. Religiously I say “Nay” but as a country founded on equality I don’t see that collectively we can make a law that does also. This issue in Arizona is a bit more clear for me as it resonates with two things I find of utmost importance: an individuals right to their beliefs and cake.
There are bakers, photographers, florists and so on who have denied gay couples their services siting that participation in a marriage ceremony for a same sex couple is against their religious beliefs. These couples have sued on grounds of discrimination. Not a bouquet for any given Tuesday, or a nice loaf of fresh rye but items and services for a particular event they are just not down with. Now, I may be tainted by Martin Short and Father of The Bride but I feel like a same sex couple would easily be able to find someone else to fill their nuptial needs. It may not necessarily be a flamboyant man with an accent but there are still plenty of open minded business owners out there who don’t care what you’re doing as long as they’re getting paid. It seems that bringing a lawsuit against the florist whose centerpieces have graced your dinner table but she respectfully declines to provide for your wedding banquet is just being a squeaky wheel. Besides, who has the time to bring a lawsuit when you’re planning a wedding?
In playing out scenarios in my head I imagined a black dry-cleaner refusing to clean KKK robes, or a Christian baker declining an order for a pentagram cake, a Jewish photographer bowing out of snap-shots for a Nazi Glee Club. None of these scenarios fit just right, they’re all too over the top offensive to everyone in general. Gay marriage is much more benign and inoffensive, people hold varying personal beliefs about the subject. Then it hit me, as a Catholic in the south I am in a minority. So, say St. Francis’s feast day is approaching and I want a statue of St. Francis made to adorn my yard. I go to the local Fundamentalist sculptor and commission him to sculpt one for me. Now, I know that I will not be worshipping this statue, that its presence will remind me of a man who loved and served Christ in a way that I aspire to, someone whose words and work always point me in the right direction, towards Christ and not away from Him. No different than the sculptor’s keeping a picture to remind him of dearly departed Uncle Earl who was a missionary in Zimbabwe. Conversely, The Fundy sculptor believes this statue and feast day to be sinful idol worship. He chooses not to do this work and have part in something he believes to be sinful. However misguided I believe him to be I can’t see that I have the right to force this upon him. Especially if he’s gladly made benches and other garden statuary for me in the past and never refused my business solely on the grounds that I’m Catholic. I know what I’m doing is okay and it is equal to an action of the sculptor but I can’t force him to serve me in a way that is wrong for him just as a gay couple who believe that their relationship is okay and equal to the marriage of a heterosexual couple cant force that on a business owner.
It upsets me when people twist the character and intent of Christ to suit their own agendas. He was more than a hippy dippy liberal full of platitudes or a staunch judgmental conservative. He is so much more than any of us can truly understand. I find the argument that Jesus dined with sinners and loved everyone so as a Christian these people shouldn’t be judging or denying these customers a weak one. If I broke my marriage vows and began a torrid affair with Jensen Ackles (this is my hypothetical affair, I’m going big or going home) I have no doubt that Jesus would still sit down and have a sandwich with me. He’d tell me He loved me. He’d also say “Go, and sin no more”. He would not bake me a cake to celebrate my sinful scoring big with a small screen actor. Jesus did dine with sinners but he wasn’t high fiving over their sins and patting them on the back. He loved those sinning money changers in the temple but He flipped the tables. The Christian baker who otherwise treats his gay neighbors with the love and respect they deserve as humans but refuses to help celebrate what he sees as a sin shouldn’t be told he’s doing it wrong by outsiders. I certainly wouldn’t throw a “WWBD?” at a Buddhist.
These days we’ve moved from tolerance and acceptance to accept my opinion or suffer. Why can’t we just accept that some people are intolerant? Respect is a two way street and I’ve never heard of anyone genuinely changing their position after being strong armed into it. For the love of cake, people! Can’t we all just get along?