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Wedding Artists’ Rights

April 2, 2015
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Can a for-profit business or an individual employed by a for-profit business make moral judgments? Yes, if they are judging their own actions. They have a right not to be forced to use their talents and skills to create something that they believe violates their sincerely held beliefs.
Suppose a customer comes into a bakery and asks for a cake in the shape of male private parts (I actually heard about such a thing), a baker would have every right to say, “I won’t do that,” and it wouldn’t matter if the client were gay or straight. Suppose a client were to come to a photographer and ask to pose naked or in pornographic positions. The photographer would have a right to say “I won’t do that,” and it wouldn’t matter if the client were gay or straight.
Suppose a group were to come an event planner, and ask them to organize a Circuit party where people engaged in sex with strangers and abused drugs, the planner would have every right to say “I can’t do that.” It wouldn’t matter if the participants were gay or straight.
In each case, the person requesting the service is not being discriminated against. Rather the provider would be discriminated against if he were forced to create something that offends his moral or religious values, or for that matter his aesthetic sensitivity.
The difference is clear if a client comes in and asks for what is already available, the merchant would have no cause not to sell it, but if a couple were to ask for something designed especially for them, the provider would be perfectly within his rights to say that he doesn’t create that type of product or service.
When a baker, photographer, florist or event planner is hired to do a wedding, they are intimately involved in the planning and have substantial contact with the couple. If they could not in good conscience congratulate a same-sex couple, they should have the right to tell such a couple that they could not put their heart into the project.
The bakers accused of discrimination were happy to make birthday cakes for all customers. The photographers were willing to take portraits and the florists to provide bouquets and arrangements whether those requesting them were gay or straight. They just didn’t want to use their artist skill to create a unique item that would celebrate something they didn’t believe in. Perhaps if, rather that guaranteeing religious freedom, the law had been written to guarantee freedom of artist expression, there might have been less controversy.
Put the shoe on the other foot, should a Jewish bakery be forced to make a wedding cake for a Neo-Nazi couple who wanted it decorated with swastikas? Should a black florist be forced to decorate a wedding where the participants came in KKK robes?
Those, who throw accusations of bigotry and hate at anyone who refuses to accept the full gay agenda, argue that a refusal to provide the desired service hurts the couple’s feelings. This is true, but there is no constitutional right not to have your feelings hurt. Yet, this is precisely what the gay activists are demanding. They want to create a legal climate where everyone who disagrees with them is driven from the public square. Those who will not surrender will be fined, sent to re-education sessions, or even jailed.
This is not the first time people of faith have been persecuted, we just never thought it would happen here.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Noel Edsall permalink
    April 2, 2015 4:38 pm

    I appreciate your blog because you are knowledgeable and clear. Your argument – as usual – is cogent, logical and reasonable. You shed light where there is general confusion. However, in this case I’m not sure of your point. You appear to be making an argument for a middle path between the IN law as crafted and the reasonable protections for conscience; but then you veer into a general assessment of the LGBT agenda. It seems you didn’t finish off your original point.
    Keep up your good work. As a deacon, you help me find the words to “speak the truth in love”.

    • April 3, 2015 12:57 pm

      You are right. I rewrote the last paragraphs several times and am not pleased with the transition.

  2. April 3, 2015 3:45 pm

    Dale, Thank you for your latest post “Wedding Artists’ Rights”. At first read I thought….wow what brilliant and succinct thoughts on this subject. But having read your book One Man One Woman (twice), I now try and also read what the opposition puts in print. You taught me to do that. I think your article “leads with the chin”,as they say in the boxing game, in a couple of instances. First of all, the analogy of the event planner who is asked to work on a group sex party where guests “abused drugs” at least implies some illegal activity. That’s a different ballgame. And if a florist is asked by a same sex couple to provide floral arrangements that are in the catalog of options…”on the menu” so to speak, well the florist may have the right to tell the couple that he/she could not put their heart into the project The florist is under no obligation to congratulate the couple. But if the couple it anyway..(my apologies to Mother Teresa) then the florist’s refusal would amount to illegal discrimination. This would be a case where comparison to Jim Crow laws would be valid notwithstanding your wonderful passage about “may I” vs “can I” when you discuss interracial marriage and same sex marriage in One Man One Woman

  3. May 30, 2015 3:55 pm

    When the gay activists first lobbied for limited gay rights, those opposed pointed out that were these granted it would lead to a demand for the recognition of ss marriage and would lead to persecution of Christians. We were told that would never happen.

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