72 thoughts on “Bereans VLOG (12/1/2017)”

  1. Dr. Haymond – While Flynn’s post-elect conversations might not be “untoward” it is worth noting Flynn nonetheless lied to the FBI about those presumably appropriate conversations four separate times. That seems to be more important; why should Flynn lie–four times!–about what Dr. Clauson characterized as legal activity. Also, why are you so concerned about Mueller’s “partial” process? Because of prosecutorial discretion? I’m a bit puzzled by that line of criticism.

    All:

    (1) Curious about the panel’s thoughts regarding the process used Friday evening to pas the tax bill. Specifically, I am referring to the review time, the late modifications scribbled into the margins, the decision not to recess for the weekend, all without any formal hearing on the final substance of the bill. Given the extraordinary impact of the bill, and given conservative outrage over the way the ACA was passed, isn’t the passing of Friday’s bill even worse?

    (2) Curious about your thoughts regarding the logic of Epstein amicus brief…applied to another class of persons. For example, what if Epstein’s logic were applied to businesses which refused to service interracially married couples on the basis of religious belief? Or just African-Americans altogether? Today, interracial couples and African-Americans could easily find a solution to their need elsewhere, but I don’t see how that changes the legality or morality of the situation. Dr. Wheeler, you say the baker here should not be forced against his conscience, but I cannot imagine you would say the same if we were discussing the two hypotheticals I just posed.

    1. If this were 1954, of course conservatives would say it. And they did! See the National Review from back in the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.

      If we are really interested in a free market, then the baker should be forced either to sell to anyone, or should freely choose to leave the market and sell to no one. Unfortunately, when it comes to the free market, many conservatives emphasize only those who sell goods and services to others, and not those who purchase them. (i..e. they oppose regulations that protect consumers).

      1. Jonathan’s point #2 above:
        The difference is that opposing interracial marriage or discrimination based on skin color is totally against the Bible’s teachings and is sin while the Bible DOES teach against homosexuality.

        Jeff,
        This isn’t about free market, it’s about the baker’s religious beliefs. In his mind, he is contributing to a sinful act by selling a wedding cake to these people. He is not denying them the right to patronize his business. If this were a birthday cake he was selling to the same people then there are absolutely no grounds he has not to sell. The question is what actions should be regarded as protected by the First Amendment and which should not. For example, none of us would think a person whose religion practices child sacrifice should be allowed to carry that out.

        I think how I would analyze the situation is that a non-profit organization should have the right not to sell if it violates their beliefs but a for-profit organization, with investors that may not share the beliefs of the owner, should not be allowed to do the same.

      2. Daniel – Respectfully, saying the Bible “teaches against homosexuality” is an oversimplification. Theologically, it is important to distinguish between one’s orientation and one’s behavior. I recommend the writings of Wesley Hill as a starting point.

        Additionally, it was the not-to-distant position of many in the church that the Bible did teach against interracial marriage. Bob Jones University appealed that very issue–BJU barred interracial dating and marriage on campus among its students–all the way to the Supreme Court (and lost, unanimously).

      3. Jonathan,

        To your second paragraph I addressed this and said it was wrong. Not sure why the rehash. A mistake of the past should not disqualify us from opposing actual sin now.

        “Theologically, it is important to distinguish between one’s orientation and one’s behavior.”

        What exactly are you saying here? That a male by birth who identifies as a female should be able to marry another male? Just want a clarification.

      4. Hi Daniel –

        I mentioned the BJU case not to “rehash” but because you drew a distinction between homosexuality and race based on what the Bible taught. However, as recently as the 1980s, Christians argued openly and vigorously the Bible taught against interracial marriage. The case casts some humility on your sharp distinction, I think, because your argument wouldn’t have worked among a large group Christians even a few decades ago.

        You said: “What exactly are you saying here? That a male by birth who identifies as a female should be able to marry another male? Just want a clarification.” Your comment speaks to gender dysphoria, not homosexuality. My comment was intended to draw a distinction between one’s sexual orientation (not gender)–which cannot be chosen–and one’s behavior, which can. Again, I recommend Wesley Hill, a Christian professor who identifies as gay yet has chosen to remain celibate.

        http://www.tsm.edu/dr_wesley_hill/

      5. In my opinion it is sinful to identify as a gender opposite how you are created. That is saying God was wrong to create you the way He did. When you say behavior, I don’t think for example, a woman who likes things that are considered more “manly” things like hunting, etc or a man who likes to do things that are considered more “womanly” constitutes that. The focus is on an intimate relationship that God established: the institution of marriage. The Bible is clear that it is man and woman.

        I don’t think it’s relevant what Christians were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about in the past. This issue now is the subject and the Bible is clear it is wrong, while the issue referenced about BJU the Bible clearly did not support their position.

      6. But the moral question is different from the legal one. The supreme Court didn’t rule on segregation because of what the Bible says. The ruling was based on interpreting the rights in our constitution. Whether there is a biblical argument for segregation or not, it is not legal. You need to interact with why, legally, this discriminating is different. This is a hard question, not a simple black and white choice.

        On gender: what do you mean exactly? If you’re not required to behave a certain way what does your gender even mean? Your ideological opponents here believe that gender is almost entirely behavior. If someone does not perform their gender ‘correctly’ then they are in essence not that gender. What would someone have to do to comply with your view? You can’t seriously mean anyone can act any way they want, as long as they call themselves the right thing.

      7. Oh wow, Daniel, Jonathan is trying to say there’s a difference between your orientation being homosexual, you are sexually attracted to the same sex which no one can control, and your behavior, having sex with people of the same sex. None of this has anything to do with trans.

        By the way, Jonathan, it’s not the 80s, there are pockets who today believe the Bible opposes interracial marriage.

        If we make a legal argument based on religious beliefs of the individuals then those individuals would be about to discriminate against interracial couples.

      8. Theophilus,

        The legal arguments rests in the first amendment, namely the cake maker’s right not to make a message that goes against his religious beliefs. It’s not even that he wouldn’t sell them a wedding cake, just not a custom made one with a specific message he sees as sinful. It would be prejudice on the governments part to force him to make this message that goes against his religious beliefs.

        Regarding gender, people should identify as the gender they are born, meaning the physical body traits they possess. We all know what body traits separate the genders. To say in essence, “I don’t like the sex God created me so I will identify as the opposite” I see as sinful. The behavior question is not in everyday likes, hobbies, etc. This applies particularly to who you want to be in an intimate relationship with that God designed to be man and woman only.

      9. Daniel,

        What if someone, as was demonstrated in the past, sincerely believed that miscegenation was a sin? This is, remember, not a hypothetical. People genuinely and logically believed that. Racist ideas can be supported by religion, and that is a problem for our society and its laws, isn’t it?

        I don’t think you’re treating the problem seriously enough. Should the government allow BJU to prevent people from dating across races for sincerely held religious reasons? The problem is that there isn’t a line, in your own reasoning, to prevent this. Allowing students to miscegenate? How can the government compel the poor, sincere folks at Bob Jones to allow such a perverse twisting of their beliefs on their campus?

        Legally, though, I think the Courts would say that this is not allowable, because there can be conflicts between rights, and the right to the free exercise of religion is not unlimited, as with every right. It is not, simply, a question of speech. Let’s not kid ourselves: There are many, MANY people who would use law to discriminate against people for their orientation. There is a distinct possibility that a ruling in the baker’s favor would be used to invent ways to mistreat people. We should not pretend this is just a black and white thing with no consequences, is all I’m saying.

        So Daniel, given your comments on gender, would this be acceptable?

        Someone born with an X and a Y chromosome who wears a dress and is married to someone with two X chromosomes who likes to wear suits. The first stays home and cooks in their dress while the second goes and works on an oil well, and expects to have dinner and football when they get home. Stereotypes, I know, but I have a feeling you would not approve, even though their relationship is, strictly speaking, within your rules?

        That’s the problem, I have a feeling you actually have a lot of behaviors in mind when you say that people should be ‘what they are born as.’ People aren’t born knowing the sets of behaviors we associate with gender. There is a compelling argument that gender is a performance of learned behaviors. That would make your argument much harder to accept.

      10. Theophilus.

        I would say any act of racism, bigotry, etc. can be claimed as religious by anyone. Someone can start their own religion and make rules for it or distort, in the case of BJU with those issues, the Bible to fit their own ideas. I agree, under our Constitution, it is difficult to set standards for what fits under protection of the 1st amendment and what does not. As I said in an example above, some religions have practiced child sacrifice. We all, I hope, agree that is not protected under the Constitution. I think it is a good question where the line is drawn and not entirely black and white. Certain religions command killing those who do not convert. Some promote sexism. Is it too extreme to allow people not to create specific messages that contradict their faith?The baker in this instance is not prohibiting these customers from having their relationship or denying them entry into his shop or from purchasing a wedding cake even, just not putting a message on the cake he feels is contradictory to his beliefs.

        I’m not saying a woman can’t wear a suit or like football, or that a man can’t like cooking. That’s not what I meant about traits. I believe God has a plan intended for all. He creates us and chooses our gender. If we deny our birth gender we are denying His role and sovereignty of His plan for us. It is saying He made a mistake in how He created us.

        Bear with me, I know this is an odd comparison, but take Elly May on the Beverly Hillbillies. She apparently lost her mother at a young age and was brought up doing “boy” things with her father. She liked the outdoors, animals, wore clothes more like boys. She often didn’t like wearing dresses or doing things like other women in Beverly Hills her age might have. But there was never any hint of an indication of her identifying as a boy. She had dates with only men on the show despite exhibiting and enjoying many things men do. This behavior, learned behavior from her father in many ways, to me was not in any way wrong to how she was created. I know it’s a fictional character, don’t know if it makes any sense in where I’m coming from.

      11. Daniel,

        As always, you make sense. I think we understand each other on the difficulty of the issue in general,

        With your example though, I think you sidestepped my question. Is there a line? Elly, you’re right, doesn’t perform the gender of a man. She is comfortable as a woman with those behaviors.

        But my example, I think, is a better place for you to explain the difference to me: suppose that couple I made up were under your scrutiny. They both use neutral names and like to dress and carry themselves in the habits that are usually assigned to sex that is opposite what they were born.

        What I’m trying to ask is, are you really of the opinion that behavior doesn’t matter here, add long as they don’t misbehave sexually? Because must scholars draw a distinction between sex (which is biological) and gender (which is learned, socially determined, and varies widely from one culture to another). Most Christians are uncomfortable with someone performing a gender that is out of line with the performance we expect of someone’s biological sex. And really, in my hypothetical case, the behavior is all you would have to go on. You seem to be saying that as long as they line up their biology correctly, they’re fine, because they can act however else they want. I’m pretty sure that’s not your position though, so can you outline what sorts of things would be going too far, and how you would know?

      12. Behavior matters. There are Biblical concepts that men should behave as men and women as women, and to a certain extent dress appropriately given their gender. Each are given distinct roles by God and mirror the relationship of Christ and his bride (the church). I’m not exactly sure what you are defining as “performing”. Clearing that up may help me answer better.

      13. Right. Let’s try.

        Granted I’m not an expert, but I believe the theory is that people are not innately a gender. Gender is, in a way, like a part in a play: a person discovers what their “part” does and learns how to play the role. They aren’t Romeo until they’ve learned his lines, and other people can tell how well he’s meeting expectations.

        But this breaks down with gender because, unlike sex where we can usually agree on an anatomical level, we don’t have a durable idea of what a “woman” is beyond their anatomy. The American idea of a nuclear family isn’t that old and is not universal. Women in the US have different behavior expected of them than those in Saudi Arabia or Iceland. Women today are expected to act differently than they were 30 years ago. So the question becomes whose standard?

        Should we follow the rules our grandparents did? Should we behave the way men and women did in Jesus’ and Paul’s time? The role is not the same from place to place, unlike Romeo. Are we obligated to conform? Is there room for reform?

        Whatever the case, this idea, if you accept it, undermines your idea: how can a certain set of behaviors be what God wants if we have no idea which performance is the right one? We are born with genitals, yes, but we learn how to be a gender, and what we learn depends on our environment, not anything innate. Did that help? I want to know how you deal with this difficulty.

      14. OK, I agree that the culture most definitely affects what is “expected behavior” for each gender. That is not an issue to me. In each specific culture, assuming it’s not over-the-top nonsense that involves sexism, each gender should perform unique functions that fit their specific gender. I am gathering some think people’s sex and gender can be different, I do not agree with that. People have a gender when they are born, they don’t ‘discover’ their part. God creates us all as male or female and gender should be a done decision at birth. Otherwise, like I said above, it is a rejection of how God made us. Sexual identity issues come as a result of sin which has distorted God’s intended perfect creation.

        Read Romans 1:18- the end of the chapter, focusing in on verse 26 and beyond. The last verse (32) I see today. People giving approval to those practicing things in opposition to God. I’d like your thoughts on this passage.

      15. I’ll give a more thorough answer when I’m home from work, but quickly:

        You can’t simultaneously say that gender is culturally constructed and that it’s innate at birth. If that were the case all cultures would have identical gendered behaviors. They don’t, and when you accept that variation is okay, then you really need to think hard about what you think gender means. Is gender a synonym for biological sex in your view? Because biological sex does not vary in human societies, but gender related behavior obviously does. How do you account for that in your view?

      16. Daniel,

        You’ve picked a dark passage to focus on. And, to be clear, we probably don’t disagree on its meaning. I feel what it describes is fairly straightforward, and you’re not wrong to see it in the world at present- these are signs of man’s fall that have been widespread throughout the world for all time. If you’re worried that I’m excusing sin, then I’m afraid I haven’t been very clear, and I apologize for that.

        I’m trying to push you towards this point: I don’t think it’s controversial to say that we can distinguish two things from each other. It seems like you’re hung up on the terms, but I’m not sure there’s better replacements for them. I think it can be easily argued that sex, the anatomical differences between male and female humans, is different from the many, complex, and sometimes illogical sets of traits and behaviors we associate with being a ‘proper’ man or woman. Someone may consider themselves a different gender, or may behave in a way that does not align with what the culture would typically expect from someone with their sex, but that does not change their sexual characteristics. I’m not arguing for or against this, simply that there is a real distinction here, and I think you have to acknowledge that.

        A baby is born with biological sex, yes. A baby is born a girl or a boy, to be blunt about it. But they have to learn what that means, what their parents expect from them, what society thinks is normal for them. Everyone has to. So what you need to grapple with if you accept this distinction, is what, if any, gender-related-behaviors you think are important, or how we could know these. I say this because, by the definitions you’re giving, someone could BEHAVE as if they were a gender that is associated with a different sex, and they would be totally fine as long as they did not misbehave sexually. I don’t think you actually believe that: I’m fairly certain you would have some strong things to say about transvestism or people who identify as genders that are not associated with biology at all (and these people do exist, trust me).

        I’m not sure we even disagree, except that I think your position would benefit from more understanding and further refinement.

      17. Theophilus, sorry not to get back sooner.

        “I’m fairly certain you would have some strong things to say about transvestism or people who identify as genders that are not associated with biology at all (and these people do exist, trust me).”

        This is accurate. There is Biblical precedent to see this as wrong. This isn’t referring to generalizations like women wearing pants or stuff like that, but I think we know where the line would be here. Men I don’t think should be wearing makeup (for personal use). Undergarments should be appropriate for each, etc. Don’t want to get too detailed here. It is more than just sexual behavior though that is where this article discussion started hence the focus on that. I’d almost have to give answers on a item basis to tell you what I see as wrong or not. Since we seem to agree, I won’t get too hung up on it. Cultural behavior does give distinction. I don’t think it crosses the line for people to be “tomboys” (such as Elly) or “momma’s boys” I’d need a more case-by-case basis to get specific. I think we agree, just my articulation is not great in this instant.

  2. “This isn’t about free market, it’s about the baker’s religious beliefs. In his mind, he is contributing to a sinful act by selling a wedding cake to these people. He is not denying them the right to patronize his business.”

    You are wrong. I am afraid you just cannot know how wrong you are; that is the nature of prejudice.

    The baker can choose not to sell cakes at all if selling cakes to a certain person because of race, sexual identity, or religion offends him so.

    It is NOT a free market if a business can choose to reject customers because of reasons unrelated to ability to pay. You can say that it is all you want, but that does not make it so.

    This nation went over this before when it came to ending Jim Crow during the Civil Rights Movement. Why do we have to go over this AGAIN?

    1. Prejudice: “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”
      So basing one’s opinion on Scripture is not basing it on reason?

      There is a difference between the CRM and this. Discrimination of a certain skin color is sin. Homosexuality is sin. So the CRM is different than this in that it was aimed at correcting sinful behavior. This is promoting sinful behavior. It is faulty logic for someone who professes faith to make this comparison. I remember you saying before that in 25 years (forget the exact figure you used) Christians would look back on this like they do now with Civil Rights opposition. This simply does not equate as opposing civil rights and discriminating based on skin color is wrong, but opposing gay marriage is not wrong according to Scripture. I know for a fact that if the Lord allows me to live another 25 years or more my position will not change in viewing homosexuality as a sin.

      If I, personally, owned a bakery (first off, I’d give it much more personal thought before deciding) I would probably either not sell any wedding cakes or sell to those people also, not what he is doing. But, I still feel this individual is within his Constitutional right.

      1. “There is a difference between the CRM and this. Discrimination of a certain skin color is sin. Homosexuality is sin.”

        You say this NOW, but good Christians believed in the past that segregation was biblical, that mixed marriages were a sin, and that slavery of black Africans was a part of God’s established order.

        Bob Jones University until around 2000–during the George W. Bush campaign–prohibited interracial dating and claimed that this prohibition was biblical.

        Why were THEY wrong?

      2. They were wrong because their opinions were not Biblically sound. Seeing homosexuality as a sin IS Biblically sound. It’s that simple.

    2. “It is NOT a free market if a business can choose to reject customers because of reasons unrelated to ability to pay. You can say that it is all you want, but that does not make it so.”

      I did not say this, please do not put words in my mouth.

      1. Ok, sorry. Didn’t mean to do that.

        So you do acknowledge, then, that allowing businesses to discriminate against which customers they choose to serve is inconsistent with the principles of a free market?

        One cannot have a free market and allow businesses to discriminate. Can’t have it both ways.

    3. “It is NOT a free market if a business can choose to reject customers because of reasons unrelated to ability to pay. You can say that it is all you want, but that does not make it so.”

      The baker in this case also says he will not make products with profanity or racist messages, so is it then your contention that, since refusing to make a cake with a swastika is clearly unrelated to ability to pay, the baker should be forced to make those products as well if, hypothetically, a customer came in a requested such a product?

      By the way, Daniel is NOT wrong. You can pontificate about prejudice all you want, but your words and your approach to this issue clearly indicate your own prejudice against those with genuine religious convictions in this area, and quite frankly, your opposition to the 1st Amendment.

      1. Just to add some context to my comments:

        My personal feeling is that the bakers, flourists, etc SHOULD provide services for all, if only for the reason, which I have said before, that other types of marriage, such as marriage between divorced persons, is also condemned, and I am fairly certain that most, if not all, of the businesses in question have probably served such couples.

        That said, the notion that we would compel someone to violate their conscience in order to stay in their preferred business is a particularly odious notion for me, both as a Christian, and an American.

        The free market argument goes both ways and is NOT only about the consumer but the producer. In fact, I would argue that the true free market system would be one in which, because of its nature, the services one may choose not to provide can be easily found elsewhere, and I believe that is certainly the case here. If a particular baker chooses not to provide a certain product, why can’t we just respect that decision? Just as we could tell the baker that he should freely choose not to sell to anybody, can we not just as easily say that the customer should freely choose to take their business elsewhere without the need to make an issue of and attempt to destroy someone’s livelihood?

      2. “That said, the notion that we would compel someone to violate their conscience in order to stay in their preferred business is a particularly odious notion for me, both as a Christian, and an American.”

        Nathan, what do you think of my question above? Would it be acceptable to compel a religious person to violate their conscience and, say, sell goods and services to a racial minority? Or to allow an interracial married couple to enroll as students?

      3. “The baker in this case also says he will not make products with profanity or racist messages, so is it then your contention that, since refusing to make a cake with a swastika is clearly unrelated to ability to pay, the baker should be forced to make those products as well if, hypothetically, a customer came in a requested such a product?”

        Comparing same sex marriage to a Nazi swastika?! Oh. My. Goodness.

        This is a loathsome comparison. Marriage (same-sex or heterosexual) is based on love and commitment. It PROMOTES life.

        On the other hand, the Nazis murdered six million Jews plus homosexuals, the Roma people, the disabled, communists, socialists,and other groups. The swastika is a symbol of a movement that is/was AGAINST life.

        It is also like comparing apples and oranges. It would be wrong for a baker to not sell a cake to a Swastika-wearing fascist or white supremacist or Nazi, or to a Jew, or to a Christian, or to a Republican, or to a homosexual. THAT is the issue-the customer(s), NOT what is on the cake.

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot about the cake shop controversy from different sources, but I haven’t heard anyone addressed it from an economic point of view. I appreciate how you used a different lens to looks at the situation.

    1. I also appreciate the economic view of the cake shop controversy. If we look at the whole situation from a purely economic view, perhaps it would be easier to answer or make decisions. Whatever your beliefs are regarding these controversial issues, in the end, the market will determine whether beliefs win over profit.

  4. Nathan D. said “That said, the notion that we would compel someone to violate their conscience in order to stay in their preferred business is a particularly odious notion for me, both as a Christian, and an American.”

    Sounds like something that Lester Maddox would have said. In fact, he DID say something kind of like that, if I recall.

    Prejudice is a particularly odious notion. On that I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

    1. “Sounds like something that Lester Maddox would have said. In fact, he DID say something kind of like that, if I recall”

      Don’t know who that is and don’t really care.

      “Prejudice is a particularly odious notion. On that I guess we will have to agree to disagree”

      No, we do not disagree on prejudice being an odious notion. What we will have to agree to disagree on is what qualifies as prejudice.

      1. I take it you were actually addressing me not Daniel? :)

        Yes, just to be clear, i think prejudice is a very bad. The only real disagreement Jeff and I have is over what constitutes prejudice or, conversely, what constitutes religious freedom and how to balance the two.

      2. Nathan, you just compared same-sex marriage to a swastika. What else are we to think?

        You can deny that you are prejudiced all you want, but to me your posts reflect bigotry against homosexuals.

      3. Jeff,

        Seeing one’s actions as sinful given Biblical context does not mean he is bigoted. I assume you think murder is wrong. Does that mean if you disagree with someone who commits murder you are bigoted against them?

  5. Jeff, a question:

    Since the Charleston church shooting, many flag companies have chosen to stop selling and making Confederate flags. Many did so out of their personal convictions that it was wrong of them to continue providing that product as it made them feel they were, in a way, contributors to something they did not agree with. I have no problem with this and believe they have every right in a free market economy to make that call. It is also the free market that permits those who still choose to provide that product to do so and if someone wishes to purchase it, there will likely always be someone to provide the product.

    I am guessing, because I know how you feel about Confederate flags, that you too have no problem with these companies doing this. If that guess is accurate (and if not, you can correct me), I would, respectfully, ask that you explain why a flag company can cite conscience not to provide that product, but a baker who believes gay marriage is a sin, and to make a product for such an event would be, to them, condoning and participating in that sin, is wrong for choosing not to provide that one specific product.

    It seems to me that in a true free market society, if there is a demand for a certain product, there will always be someone willing to provide it. If this is the case, and a conscience-based refusal from one provider is not impacting overall product availability (and in this case, I am sure there are plenty of bakeries that would be happy to fill that void), then there is nothing anti-market about it at all.

    1. A business has a right not to offer certain products (even Walmart does not offer certain products, such as pornography), but a business should NOT have a right not to serve certain customers because of gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual identity, disability, etc.

      THAT is the point.

      If a business chooses to sell wedding cakes, it should sell wedding cakes to everyone, not just to certain individuals. If a business is not willing to do that, then they should not sell wedding cakes to anyone.

      1. He was willing to sell them a wedding cake, just not with a particular message violating his Biblical beliefs.

      2. Jeff, the issue is not that they’re gay; the issue is that the baker felt as if he would be going against his religion by serving the gay couple their specific cake. I certainly think if an artist was asked to draw or paint something against their religion, they should have the right to say no because that artwork is not only the customer’s but the artist’s as well. It is his right to chose what he expresses.

  6. Jeff, I did not compare same-sex marriage to the swastika anymore than you compared the Confederate flag to pornography when you said “A business has a right not to offer certain products (even Walmart does not offer certain products, such as pornography)”. You are once again twisting what I say in order to make some very ugly accusations and I do not appreciate it.

    Your answer, after you finished with your ad hominems and misinterpretations, answered a question I did not ask. So, let’s see if I can actually get my real question answered. You said “It would be wrong for a baker to not sell a cake to a Swastika-wearing fascist or white supremacist or Nazi…”. So, going from there, if that fascist or white supremacist asked the baker to make a custom-made cake with a racial message, should the baker be compelled to make the product? it’s a simple yes or no question… and the reason it is relevant is this…

    What the baker refused to do was create a unique custom-made product. He has been clear he was perfectly willing to sell the couple a pre-made cake. The issue to you might be the people, but to the baker the issue was and is most definitely about the cake, and not the people.

    If you think that is not what the issue is, that is fine, but you are NEVER going to convince those who disagree with you that they are wrong as long as you continue to bust out of the gate with insults and accusations of bigotry.

    You can deny that you are prejudiced all you want, but to me your posts reflect bigotry against Christians who believe same-sex marriage in sinful and who just want to be able to respectfully decline to participate in it and not be forced to do something against their conscience.

    1. And to clarify, by continuing to ask the question, I am NOT attempting to compare same-sex couples to Nazis. I guess what I am interested in is if you believe there is any scenario in which a baker would be justified in denying to create a certain product, and I chose Nazism because that is the radical extreme.

  7. Jeff, I don’t think you (or anyone else who opposes the baker in this case) need worry. From what I have read about the oral arguments on the case today, Kennedy will probably side with the 4 libs against Mr. Phillips and the government will have officially stepped into the role of forcing people to choose between staying in business or following their religious beliefs.

  8. “I don’t think it’s relevant what Christians were ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about in the past. This issue now is the subject and the Bible is clear it is wrong, while the issue referenced about BJU the Bible clearly did not support their position.”

    No, lol, it was NOT clear. That is your opinion, and it is based squarely on ignorance of the history of the controversy. BJU–a fundamentalist school, not all that different than what Cedarville is– thought the issue was crystal clear, that the Bible DID support the school’s position. The school was willing to fight in the courts, and when it lost it lost its tax-exempt status. May I remind you that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were segregationists, and that some evangelical schools were among the last to desegregate–and did so DECADES after state institutions did. Indeed, when I was a student at Cedarville, some faculty expressed racist views against African-Americans. I wrote the opinions down in my notes, since I could not believe what I was hearing (and what I was paying for).

    I have said this before, and I will say it again: sexual identity is the civil right of this day. Thirty years from now, evangelicals will be embarrassed at the bigotry expressed today by many so-called Christians who misuse the Bible and take it out of context to defend their bigotry. You are free not to like what I say, but that does not invalidate what I say. Have a nice night!

    1. First of all, let’s all agree that BJU is extreme, they’ve always been several cuts more conservative than Cedarville. If you feel different maybe you should come back for a visit.

    2. Jeff, I remember when the BJU stuff happened and ALL the Christians I knew, including myself, had very, strong, clear convictions that BJU was outright wrong on this issue.

      “Thirty years from now, evangelicals will be embarrassed at the bigotry expressed today by many so-called Christians who misuse the Bible and take it out of context to defend their bigotry.”

      So its thirty years now, is it. Last time I think it was forty five, the time before that forty, the time before that fifty. I have said this before and I will say it again, there will be many evangelicals who will not be embarrassed that they viewed gay marriage as sinful. Opposing the action is not opposing the person. The concept of “love the sinner, hate the sin” is, and will always continue to be, valid, because that is God’s position on the matter. You are free to not like what I say, but that does not invalidate what I say, Have a nice day!

    3. “I have said this before, and I will say it again: sexual identity is the civil right of this day. Thirty years from now, evangelicals will be embarrassed at the bigotry expressed today by many so-called Christians who misuse the Bible and take it out of context to defend their bigotry. You are free not to like what I say, but that does not invalidate what I say”

      I will have no ounce of embarrassment in my body for standing up to sin. Again, Christians can hate sin without hating the sinner. Why is this so difficult to understand? It is beyond sad that you see believers who oppose sin directly stated as such in the Bible as “so-called” and bigoted. I do not invalidate what you say, the Bible does in regard to your stances on the issue.

      Of course we can go back and forth all we want and you aren’t going to budge. It is just sad to me you see fellow believers as bigoted when they stand up for what is in the Bible.

  9. No one has yet talked about what the Bereans discussed concerning the tax reforms. I am really excited to see what this will do economically for our country in the next few years. I want to see if the lower corporate tax rate will really bring big business HQ back to this country and bring more companies that are willing to be centered in the United States. It will ultimately come down to the elasticities of the markets in relation to the taxes and we will see just how elastic they truly are.

  10. Daniel said, “In my opinion it is sinful to identify as a gender opposite how you are created.”

    Just so you know, that is merely an opinion. I appreciate you saying that, and you are welcome to your opinion, but it is just that–no more or no less.

    On the subject, the Bible is silent.

    God created hermaphrodites, remember. Gender is not as binary as we used to think it to be

    1. “God created hermaphrodites, remember.”

      But not in Humans. We have been over this before. There is no such thing as a purely hermaphrodite Human. For that to happen, such a Human would need to be capable of functioning sexually as both male and female and there has never been a case of this. You once again are conflating hermaphrodites with those who suffer from sexual development disorders (and who deserve all the understanding and compassion we can given them as they navigate those issues).

      1. Yes, we have. Your point was not germane then, and it is still not germane now, I am afraid.

        If God so clearly created gender, there would be no such thing as a hermaphrodite period. Obviously, Genesis 5:2 is not to be interpreted literally. It obviously has some other message that we may or may not be able to figure out.

      2. Why is it not germane? Please explain why pointing out that true Human hermaphrodites do not exist is not germane?

        I believe Genesis 5:2 (as well as the NT passage where Jesus Christ himself says the same thing) IS to be interpreted literally. The presence of Human genetic defects in those suffering from developmental disorders changes that not at all.

      3. “Obviously, Genesis 5:2 is not to be interpreted literally. It obviously has some other message that we may or may not be able to figure out.”

        Jeff, you are doing exactly what I said just below: “Too often it seems you view other man-based sources as more authoritative than the Bible and shape the Bible to fit your pre-conceived opinions.”

        Like Nathan says, Jesus himself quotes this in the New Testament. 4000 years after Adam and Eve lived, why would Jesus re quote this if it was so obvious it shouldn’t be interpreted as said? You are making man-made supposition to fit the Bible into your pre-conceived world view. We are taking God’s words at face value.

        Flaws in genetic design are a result of sin, and not part of God’s intended perfect creation. We messed it up in the Garden of Eden. Any relationship outside of male and female in marriage is outside of God’s intended perfect creation and a perversion of what was a beautiful relationship.

    2. Jeff,

      It is my opinion based on what I see in Scripture. There are two ways to look at issues regarding the Bible. Having a preconceived idea and searching the Bible for support, or my view, looking at Scripture first and forming opinions after consulting Scripture. Too often it seems you view other man-based sources as more auhtoritative than the Bible and shape the Bible to fit your pre-conceived opinions. I view the Bible as my ultimate authority not secondary to man’s conclusions.

      1. Daniel

        With all due respect, you are being epistemologically naive here. The Bible does not interpret itself. It must therefore be interpreted through the fallible lens of people. And people are often wrong.

        You are conflating your own fallible interpretation of the Bible as akin to the Bible itself. The truth of the Bible goes far beyond the capabilities of fallible humans. Because of that, we should be VERY careful not to conflate OUR OWN PERSONAL interpretations of Scripture as if they were Scripture themselves.

      2. Yes, people are often wrong. The truth of the Bible does go far beyond the capabilities of infallible humans. That is why God sent us His Spirit to indwell those who believe in Him. He guides us and gives us clarity and understanding. Read 1 Corinthians 2. Through the Spirit He helps us understand the Bible. My confidence is not in myself but in the Spirit who lives in me.

  11. “Seeing one’s actions as sinful given Biblical context does not mean he is bigoted. I assume you think murder is wrong. Does that mean if you disagree with someone who commits murder you are bigoted against them?”

    You are assuming that the Bible is crystal clear on the murder issue. There are many passages in the Bible that suggest that murder sometimes is OK. It just depends who is committing it, and who is the victim is.

    You are also assuming that murder is analogous to same-sex marriage. There are so many differences that the analogy just does not work.

    1. “You are also assuming that murder is analogous to same-sex marriage”

      In the sense that they are both sins, yes they are. Of course the consequences and effects are much different. I am saying you think Christians who oppose same-sex marriage because they think it’s a sin are bigoted, so wouldn’t Christians who oppose murder for the same be bigoted in your reasoning?

      What passages suggest murder is ok according to you?

  12. I have done some reading on the issue today (very hard to do, considering it is finals week and most of my students are freshmen, many of whom still do not “get it”, lol).

    I do recognize now that there are two parts to the cake: the cake itself and the message.

    A reasonable compromise might be to require that business owners sell cakes to everyone, and be required to employ someone else if need be to write the messages, in case the business owner or another employee cannot in good conscience write what that person sees as an offensive message.

  13. It is not wrong for the cake maker to deny service to a gay wedding (in my opinion). The company is allowed to reject a customer a cake because it is excludable. Wedding cakes are not public goods. The issue at hand is religious freedom and I appreciate your economic teaching on it because I have only seen it at a religious stance.

  14. It is not wrong for the cake maker to deny service to a gay wedding (in my opinion). The company is allowed to reject a customer a cake because it is excludable. Wedding cakes are not public goods. The issue at hand is religious freedom and I appreciate your economic teaching on it because I have only seen it at a religious stance. I was unaware when first hearing the story that there were multiple other cake shops willing to serve the gay customers – I find that interesting considering the great deal they made.

  15. I found this excellent article written by a person who is gay but who takes the position that he does not want to force someone to make a cake for him if it violates their religious convictions. It it an interesting perspective that takes the emotions of both sides into account.

    Jonathan, also regarding your question about racism and civil rights, the author addresses this in the article and my answer to you would be in line with his. In one case, the opposition is directed at the person, in the other, it is the event.

    http://thefederalist.com/2017/12/05/dont-want-force-anyone-bake-cake-gay-wedding/

  16. Now that the Senate has passed a final version of the bill, what do you all expect to see stay within the bill. Many things are similar between the two bills, but it is certain that things are going to change and compromises will be made. What are the most important things to the four of you to see stay? What things would you rather be rid of?

  17. The whole cake-shop controversy is truly a shame and I’ve heard lots of different perspectives on it, regarding whether or not its religious freedom, individual liberty, or selected rights and such. But, I hadn’t heard of the whole controversy from an economic point of view. I think that was an interesting POV that many people (myself included) simply do not take into consideration when thinking about national issues on a political/judicial aspect. Truly just shows that economics plays a role and incentives matter.

  18. One of the more pertinent points brought up by Justice Alito during the hearings of Masterpiece was the issue of exacting a unique form of speech from the cake baker. For example, if a couple went to a nice restaurant and wanted to order something off the menu that would be handmade by a chef, they could certainly do that. The chef has already placed those items up for sale, so even if he has to make a very elegant creation with his own hands, that still falls under public accommodation. But, what we’re dealing with here is not the couple ordering something from an already existing list but, rather, trying to exact a completely original, never-before-made, never-to-be-made-again creation from the baker. It would be as if the couple went into that nice restaurant and gave the chef their own recipe and said, “Make this instead.” The chef is under no obligation to do so, and neither is this baker.

  19. I think the cake shop topic from an economic perspective is interesting to consider. Obviously news outlets won’t cover this aspect, but looking at implicit versus explicit costs is something that shows there’s more to consider than just the image of the situation for a shop.

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