Let Them Eat….

Well, not cake apparently. Before I start, I should warn you that this post may be a little bit contentious so if you’re not in that kind of mood, give it a miss. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve seen the report in the news today that the UK supreme court has backed the Christian owners of a bakery who refused to make a cake, for a gay activist, which read ‘Support Gay Marriage’?

Well, not cake apparently. Before I start, I should warn you that this post may be a little bit contentious so if you’re not in that kind of mood, give it a miss. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve seen the report in the news today that the UK supreme court has backed the Christian owners of a bakery who refused to make a cake, for a gay activist, which read ‘Support Gay Marriage’? What surprises me is not that the Christians won but that the case went on for over 4 years and cost more than £250,000. Did it not occur to either side that either making the cake or placing an order with another bakery would be considerably less stressful and expensive?

Leave me out of thisWhat makes people cling onto their beliefs with such vigour I wonder? Do the Christians really believe that their God will condemn them for baking a cake? Is it that they fear some kind of retribution in this life or in the after life? Apparently the Bible doesn’t really have a massive amount to say about homosexuality other than it’s an abomination, that gays should be put to death and excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. However, in terms of being excluded, they will be keeping company with the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers to name but a few.

These people will all be grouped together under the heading ‘Sinner’ and, according to parts of the Bible, if they don’t sort themselves out and change their ways, lots of nasty things will befall them. However, and here’s the rub, the Bible also says:

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” and also:

“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.”

So, whichever way you look at, we’re all damned….quite literally apparently. None of us is without sin so we’re all going to be exterminated. Except, we’re not, well maybe we are, to be honest it depends which bit of the Bible you read, for instance:

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

dalekIf we take this last quote as gospel (pardon the pun) God won’t care if people are gay or not because we all fall under the heading ‘sinner’ and we are all equally loved by Him. I’m not a great one for religion to be honest but I do have to believe that, if there is a God, He’s likely to be the benevolent and tolerant kind rather than the smiting and exterminating kind. Why? Well because if I didn’t believe that I’d think that people might as well worship a dalek (who were also big on extermination) or some other cruel and intolerant being. For me, the whole point of God is to remind people to be nice to each other; it’s a little ironic that His name is so often used as an excuse to do quite the opposite but anyway….

So that’s my opinion of the Christian side of the argument. To sum up, God probably wouldn’t care if you baked a cake with some words on it.

Now, for the Gay activist. Again, cards on the table, I don’t have a massive amount of time for ‘activists’ in any shape or form, not because I don’t believe that we should all be free to live our lives as we see fit, but more because I’m not keen on being force fed the beliefs of others. However, in my mind, as long as what people do doesn’t hurt others, have at it. We all want to love and be loved and what better way is there to live life?

rights Ayn RandWhat I do find slightly troublesome is when acceptance is not asked for but demanded as appears to have happened in this case. The man who ordered the cake has the right to live as he pleases, if he loves another man and is loved in return, who are we to criticise; it has no effect on us so what’s the problem? However, is his lifestyle in any way diminished because a baker refused to bake a cake? Was he told that he could not be gay or that he should be condemned for being so? No. He was merely told that he could not impose his will on others but only by this court; two others told him that he did, in fact, have such a right.

That’s what all this ultimately comes down to: people’s rights. Personally, I can’t help feeling that Jonathan Sacks was on the money when he said:

“True freedom requires the rule of law and justice, and a judicial system in which the rights of some are not secured by the denial of rights to others”

In this case, either the rights of the baker or the rights of the gay man would have to be denied in order to settle the case once and for all; wouldn’t it have been far easier, all round, for the case to be dismissed right at the start?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you….

Lisa x

So Demanding!

Do you agree that it’s time that we all stepped away from our little boxes and see what the rest of humanity has to offer us? If we can move away from the things that separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us surely we will all be happier or am I just an idealist? I really hope not.

Do you remember when you were a kid and, when you wanted something, your parents would say “ask nicely”? What happens to us as adults that we become so demanding? Not for material things but for the love and acceptance of others. The harsh reality is that not everyone we meet in life is going to like us, agree with us or accept our views on life; the honest ones will tell us that to our faces and the others will just disagree with us behind our backs.

Unfortunately, the desire to be loved and accepted are two of the driving forces in human nature and our need for them is so great that we look for them everywhere and are often hurt and offended when we are rejected or we perceive that we have been rejected. When we don’t get the love and acceptance we crave we tend to align ourselves with people that are like us, have the same values as us and put everyone else into our ‘Don’t Like’ box but, if we do that, don’t we risk the same treatment from others? It doesn’t occur to many of us that the more individuals that we have in our ‘Don’t Like’ box the more likely we are to end up in other people’s. We can’t force other people to love or accept us but we have a far greater chance of it happening naturally if we can lose our prejudices which, after all, are merely fears based on assumptions:

Liberals: Not every Conservative is a money crazed, gun toting, traditionalist who wants to destroy the planet

Conservatives: Not every Liberal is a tree hugging snowflake who wants to ban everything

Indigenous Population: Not everyone who wants to reside in your Country wants to change it or you

Immigrants: Not everyone wants to exclude you from their communities

Believers: Not everyone who doesn’t agree with you is morally corrupt or will attempt to divert you from your faith.

Non-believers: Not everyone who believes is a God bothering Bible basher who will attempt to convert you.

Gay/Lesbian: Not all straight people believe that you should not be able to love who you wish

Straight People: Not all gay/lesbian people are morally corrupt or want to corrupt you

Trans: Not everyone believes that you shouldn’t be entitled to identify as whichever gender you feel is right for you

Non-trans: Not every trans person is a threat to you and your children

Feminists: Not all men are ego driven mysogynists

Non-Feminists: Not all feminists are man-haters

I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone’s box from this list but you get the idea. As long as we continue to identify ourselves as something ‘different’ from others and demand that everyone else accepts our point of view we are, forever, going to live in a divided society. Division leads to separation and hatred whereas tolerance and acceptance lead to understanding and peace.

We don’t have a ‘right’ to be right; an opinion is just that. Your views on life will not be the same as your neighbours or your co-workers. You will not agree on the ‘right’ way to raise your children or how best to manage your relationship. Your opinions on politics and religion will differ but should that prevent you from being friends? Rational debate, a big part of which is listening to the views of other people, will get you far more friends than standing on a soapbox and provoking them by telling them that they are ‘wrong’. No matter how passionately you believe in something, you will not bring someone else round to your way of thinking through anger and belligerence. I have seen many people provoked into anger when involved in a discussion about politics, for example; I knew that they didn’t feel really strongly on the subject from previous discussions but they became screaming crazy people when they felt that their position was being attacked. If you attack someone else’s ideals they will defend themselves…..

Do you agree that it’s time that we all stepped away from our little boxes and see what the rest of humanity has to offer us? If we can move away from the things that separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us surely we will all be happier or am I just an idealist? I really hope not………..

Lisa

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