As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
An interview Solas Magazine did with Daniel McArthur, general manager of Christian-owned bakery. “The court case has given us many opportunities to speak with friends and colleagues about our personal love of Jesus Christ.”
Earlier this year, a Christian-owned business in Northern Ireland drew international headlines after a judge ruled it had discriminated against a customer on the grounds of sexual orientation. Ashers Bakery, run by the McArthur family, found itself in court after it refused to supply a cake that carried a slogan in favour of same-sex marriage. Ashers general manager, Daniel McArthur, agreed to an interview with Solas Magazine
Solas Magazine: Let’s start by finding out a little bit about your family and the business. Can you give us a brief overview?
Daniel McArthur: So, we're Daniel and Amy McArthur, both 25, and we have two daughters. I work as general manager at Ashers, our family bakery business, and Amy is a full-time mum but she also does graphic design for the bakery from time to time.
SM: Why did Ashers Bakery end up in the news?
DM: In short, Ashers Baking Company found itself in the news because we were asked to make a cake with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage’ on it for a man from a gay rights group. We refused to fulfil the order, as it was so obviously contradictory to the Bible’s teaching on marriage.
SM: So, do Ashers Bakery shops refuse to serve homosexuals?
DM: Ha! In spite of the publicity and court case we still have many homosexuals coming into our shops on a daily basis and we're more than happy to serve them.
SM: What was the judgment handed down against you?
DM: The judgment against us found that we had discriminated against the customer on the grounds of sexual orientation, on grounds of religious belief and on grounds of political belief. It was news to me that you could simultaneously discriminate against a person in three different ways all at once!
SM: Are you appealing the decision and if so, when?
DM: Well yes, in light of the judgment we have decided to appeal. The current rate of progress means it will most likely be around spring 2016 before it's back before the court of appeal.
SM: What if you’re not successful with the appeal? What do you think will be the consequences?
DM: At a very basic level the consequences are very little; it means we would still have to pay the £500 that was originally awarded for ‘injury to feelings’. But on a religious freedom level, I think the consequences are slightly weightier. There can be no doubt that secularists and the homosexual lobby would love Christians to pipe down a bit and stop going on so much about things like sin and repentance. This fiasco that we’ve found ourselves in is simply a very tactical way of silencing Christians, no matter how ridiculous the means.
SM: You obviously hold strongly to your beliefs. Can you tell us a little about your Christian life?
DM: We grew up in Christian families, went to Christian schools and are very thankful to God for all that he's blessed us with. We worship at Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church and enjoy fellowship with other Christians there. The court case has brought about a lot of good as we've learned to rely on Christ and his Church more than ever. It's also given us many opportunities to speak with friends and colleagues about our personal love of Jesus Christ.
SM: Is there anything that other Christians can do to support you?
DM: I think the best thing to do would be study the Bible so you know why same-sex marriage makes an absolute farce of God-ordained biblical marriage. It's currently where the battle lines have been drawn across the Western world and many Christians are wavering on it because they’re easily duped by simple, emotionally charged arguments. [The Apostle] Paul tells us to expect this kind of false teaching that appeals to people's own passions rather than living lives of endurance and Christ-like sacrifice [2 Timothy 4]. Outside of that, pray for mercy from God and forgiveness for the sins our nation is hell-bent on committing.
This article was first published in Solas magazine. Solas is published quarterly in the U.K. Click here to learn more or subscribe.