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Bigot: ‘Thou shalt not have your cake!’

Bigot: ‘Thou shalt not have your cake!’

A CHRISTIAN-run bakery in Northern Ireland is facing legal action after refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey terminated the order saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs. Proprietors insisted that producing the cake with the slogan and a picture of the puppets arm in arm printed onto the icing, would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against their religious convictions.

But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now written to the firm insisting that are in breach of the law. It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

A letter signed by the legal office orders the firm to remedy “illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.

According to the BBC, the bakery, which was founded in Newtownabbey in 1992, is run by the McArthur family. The directors, who are Christians, operate six shops in Northern Ireland and employ 62 people.

The firm’s 24-year-old general manager, Daniel McArthur, said marriage in Northern Ireland “still is defined as being a union between one man and one woman” and said his company was taking “a stand”.

Christian bigot Daniel McArthur

Christian bigot Daniel McArthur

The company declined an order from a gay rights activist, asking for cake featuring the Sesame Street puppets and also wanted the cake to feature the logo of a Belfast-based campaign group called “Queerspace”.

The customer placed the order in Ashers’ Belfast branch a number of weeks ago, and it was then passed to their head office.

In an online video, McArthur said:

The directors and myself looked at it and considered it and thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was at odds with what the Bible teaches, and on the following Monday we rang the customer to let him know that we couldn’t take his order.

McArthur added that his firm offered the customer a full refund, which was collected shortly after the order was refused.

We thought that was the end of it, but approximately six weeks later we received a letter from the Equality Commission. The Equality Commission’s letter said that we had discriminated against the customer on the grounds of his sexual orientation.

It asked us to propose how we would recompense the customer for this discrimination. It also said it would pursue legal proceedings if we didn’t respond within a seven-day time period.

The general manager said he was “very surprised” by the watchdog’s letter and his firm asked the Christian Institute for advice on how to deal with the case.

The institute is supporting the bakery’s stance and is now providing legal assistance.

McArthur said:

I feel if we don’t take a stand on this here case, then how can we stand up against it, further down the line?

The general manager added that it was not the first time his company had refused customers’ cake orders.

In the past, we’ve declined several orders which have contained pornographic images and offensive, foul language.

McArthur added:

I would like the outcome of this to be that, any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of their business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that.

However, Gavin Boyd, a gay rights campaigner with the Rainbow Project in Northern Ireland, supported the customer’s discrimination complaint.

It is because of sexual orientation that the company decided not to print this. The law is really clear. You cannot pick and choose which sides of the law apply to you.

If you are a company that is trading out there in the market place and someone comes to you, you can’t pick and choose whether or not to fulfil that order based on their sexual orientation.

In a statement, the watchdog said:

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland provides advice and can provide assistance to people who complain to us that they have suffered unlawful discrimination. In this case the commission has granted assistance to the complainant, and has written to the company concerned on his behalf. The commission will consider any response before taking further action.”

Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK which has not passed a law to introduce same-sex marriage.

Hat tip: Andy Brown and Angela K

 

38 responses to “Bigot: ‘Thou shalt not have your cake!’”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    The directors and myself looked at it and considered it and thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was at odds with what the Bible teaches, and on the following Monday we rang the customer to let him know that we couldn’t take his order.

    Now, let’s imagine that the person placing the order had asked that it carried a message promoting murder, slavery, rape, genocide, human sacrifice, etc.. Presumably that wouldn’t have caused a single raised eyebrow as it would have been in perfect keeping with their bible.

    http://www.evilbible.com/Evil%20Bible%20Quotes.htm

  2. Norman Paterson says:

    @AgentCormac – That would be an interesting experiment. It might result in much publicity.

  3. barriejohn says:

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least; it’s Northern Ireland , and I had plenty of experience of these antediluvian bigots in the Plymouth Brethren. My immediate thought, too, was: “What if it had been racial discrimination?”. I know Christians who still believe that black skin is a sign that “God” cursed certain races in the Old Testament, and that they are destined to always be under the thumb of the white people. (Remember Enoch Powell, who became a Unionist politician? ”In this country in fifteen or twenty years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.”) This is what was behind the abominable practice of Apartheid, and many think that that is still what their god really wants to see. Religion is a very dangerous thing indeed, and the sworn enemy of equality and human rights.

    http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/joshua/apartheid.html

  4. Norman Paterson says:

    I would like the outcome of this to be that, any Christians running a business could be allowed to follow their Christian beliefs and principles in the day-to-day running of their business and that they are allowed to make decisions based on that.

    Interesting that McArthur only hopes for exemptions to apply to members of his club. Presumably he thinks only his religion is True, so it would simply not make sense for others to have the same rights.

  5. barriejohn says:

    As Angela said earlier todat, the comments are priceless:

    #I am in no way homophobic (but) what I find offencive is that outside agencies are telling people how they should run their business, why should this company be forced to do business in a way that goes against their religious beliefs no matter how antiquated they are. (My emphasis)

    #I’m surprised the gingers can’t bake their own cake, they’re usually good at that sort of thing.

    #All aboard the Thought Police Express

    #What other political and ideological positions are we going to be forced to actively promote by the state?

    #The trouble with gays is they want to change us all, sanitize their filthy ways, re-write the rules; if they don’t get everything their way they cry like babies and wail about human rights

  6. remigius says:

    And why is it always about cakes?

    You’d think that with The Gays being so fond of cake, and the bigots being so good at making them, that they’d arrive at some sort of accommodation.

    Though not a bed & breakfast – obviously.

  7. barriejohn says:

    “If I knew you were cumming I’d have baked a cake.” (Not)

  8. Norman Paterson says:

    Remigius – True! The best carrot cake I ever had was from an evangelical cafe some years ago, and I remarked on the correlation between religiosity and bakery even then. It must mean something – but what?

  9. remigius says:

    Sponge?

  10. remigius says:

    Norman, I agree. It must have something to do with church fetes, or something. There’s always tons of cake.

    I had an elderly neighbour when I was young – Aunty Meg. She was a very devout Methodist, and was always baking. She was also a fascist back in the 1930’s when it was fashionable. Even now when someone mentions fascism I always think of lemon drizzle cake.

  11. chrsbol says:

    This is what they should have ordered.

    http://ikoupon.com/Funny-Pics/Foods/Gay-Cake-26.html#_

  12. Norman Paterson says:

    Cake … or death!

  13. Paul Cook says:

    I am sick and tired of these religious idiots wanting to have their cake and eat it.

  14. barriejohn says:

    The Christians are obviously fruitcakes.

    I like this one, personally. It comes complete with someone to “lift your bags”(old Freethinker joke!):

    http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gay-cake.gif

  15. AgentCormac says:

    Blessed are the cake makers. (Or was he referring to all manufacturers of confectionary?)

  16. Trevor Blake says:

    Sesame Workshop CEO Gary Knell consumer response prepared statement, 1993: “They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets.”

    Might I suggest a simple “Psalms 137:9” for your next decorated cake from a Christian bakery.

  17. barriejohn says:

    How about: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God”? The Bible is full of such examples of God’s infinite lovingkindness and mercy.

    http://cdn.cakecentral.com/1/10/10d4afd6_gallery6840101261916869.jpeg

    I bet they’d have refused to do that one as well!

  18. MaryD says:

    What the bigots posting here failed to have noticed is it is the message that the customer wanted on the cake that the bakery objected to.

    If the bakery had declined to provide a cake THEN they might be accused of discriminating against the customer on the grounds of his sexuality (always assuming that it was known!).

    A bakery surely must reserve the right to decide what is acceptable to inscribe on cakes that they produce, they are after all taking on the role legally as a publisher.

    Presumably you would all be happy with a priest asking for a cake with the slogan “Faggots Fuel The Flames Of Hell!”

  19. Matt Westwood says:

    I *hate* cake. It reminds me of the inedible claggy stodge that my mother used to bake and used to force upon us at Sunday tea before church. It was not until I was much older that I learned that cake (and the sweet course of a normal three-course meal) is considered to be a *treat* …

  20. Scethin says:

    #The trouble with gays is they want to change us all, sanitize their filthy ways, re-write the rules; if they don’t get everything their way they cry like babies and wail about human rights.
    I had to read this twice before I realised it said “gays” and not xtians.

  21. AgentCormac says:

    Quick real-time update – Germany are beating Brazil 0-4 after just 25 minutes. Where is their god now?!!!!!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/football/28151201

  22. AgentCormac says:

    Make that 0-5!!!!! And not a single finger in pointed towards ‘heaven’, anyone going on their knees or pulling their shirt off saying ‘I belong to Jesus’. Come on god, save your faithful boys!!!!!!

  23. barriejohn says:

    Oh my god, who let the mad woman out?

    A bakery surely must reserve the right to decide what is acceptable to inscribe on cakes that they produce, they are after all taking on the role legally as a publisher.

    Since when has the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” been considered libellous? I wonder whether “Mary” is a representative of the hugely successful Christian Institute,as he/she seems to have the same grasp on reality as they do!

  24. Angela_K says:

    We haven’t heard from mad MaryD the catholic troll for while. Calling us bigots because we oppose the real bigots, the religious that is. No doubt she will do her usual post and run.

  25. remigius says:

    MaryD. Your analogy of the priest and the burning faggots cake is quite apposite. The bundles of burning wood that the Catholic church used to burn heretics with were actually called faggots.

    So any priest ordering a burning faggot cake would just be reminiscing on the good old days.

  26. AgentCormac says:

    Oh, hello – the mad woman is back. Hi Mary D. As ever you seem to have nothing intelligent to say.

    ‘Presumably you would all be happy with a priest asking for a cake with the slogan “Faggots Fuel The Flames Of Hell!”’

    Ummm, can’t really understand your point there. If it was a priest asking for a cake with the slogan ‘There’s No Such Thing As The Flames Of Hell’ inscribed in crimson icing on top, then I’m sure there would be lots of people here who would agree. (Personally, I’m not gay – but they would get my unequivocal support on the crimson icing point.)

    In the meantime, and at the risk of becoming repetitive as you clearly haven’t bothered reading a single comment before your own, presumably you would have no objection if the person placing the order had asked that it carried a message promoting murder, slavery, rape, genocide, human sacrifice, etc.? These all being utterly compliant with the ludicrous, Iron-Age book of total and undeniable shite you seemingly live your entire life by.

    Now, do yourself a favour and go somewhere else to embarrass yourself in public.

  27. Robster says:

    Why is everyone so gobsmacked by Christian bigots? There’s a long and nasty history of this kind of behaviour from ‘committed christians’, to see these unleavened twits so absorbed by their nonsense to the point of possible legal action would suggest that if you order a cake from their business, you’ll end up with a dry wafer.

  28. Bob says:

    This is another example of gay fascists persecuting Christians – God will judge them for it.

  29. AgentCormac says:

    I thought Potty was only allowed to post comments here if he included at least one profanity? Clearly the above has slipped through the net, so I’ll make amends on his behalf: fuck off Hutton you cretinous, priggish, loathsome little wank stain, take your shit, worthless, bigoted beliefs and shove them so far up your fucking arse that your bastard nose bleeds.

    Hope that’s that sorted.

  30. Bob says:

    Well, fuck me, I didn’t expect that!

  31. remigius says:

    Bob, so that’s your definition of persecution eh – being asked to bake a muppet cake. Makes me look at Diocletian in a whole new light.

  32. Angela_K says:

    I’ve just read that the catholic bigot Widders is backing the bakers = no surprise there.

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/07/09/ann-widdecombe-backs-anti-gay-marriage-belfast-bakery/

  33. AgentCormac says:

    Politicians from Northern Ireland never seem to miss an opportunity to demonstrate how they are still living on another planet, do they?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/yoga-is-unsavoury-and-endangers-the-soul-priest-padraig-obaoill-told-parishioners-9596153.html

    As a NI friend of mine once told me, as the planes arrive into Belfast airport the pilots tell passengers to set their watches back 200 years.

  34. The Woggler says:

    From the Pink News: “The cake was ordered for a civic event in Bangor Castle Town Hall, County Down, to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.”

    Oh, the irony.

  35. Vanity Unfair says:

    I have no idea who Bert and Ernie are. However, here is a tip to bakers everywhere; just say you don’t have copyright clearance. It sounds good, is impossible to disprove easily and looks like you’re trying to stay within the law. You have just picked a different law within which to stay.

  36. MaryD says, “What the bigots posting here failed to have noticed is it is the message that the customer wanted on the cake that the bakery objected to.”

    It is not true that baking the cake contradicted Christian beliefs. The bakery is just trying to get its bigotry condoned by the law.

    The Christian claims to believe in the right to debate – the cake is not commanding people to support gay marriage. It is asking people to consider supporting it. In other words, if they think about it and decide it really is wrong then fine. Asking people to think about gay marriage in the hope that they will approve, contradicts nobody’s belief except those who do not really believe in the right of free expression.

    If the cake had magic power to compel people to support gay marriage the bakery would have a problem then.

    And we all have beliefs that we have to compromise. You may believe that your boss is a loon but that does not mean you have the right to ignore him all the time. Christians grow up!