There have been a growing number of cases where Christian business owners have been charged with discrimination for running their business according to their faith. Bakers, photographers and venue owners have all faced charges for refusing to take orders for or participate in homosexual weddings. A few of these Christian business owners have closed their doors rather than being forced to violate their faith.
So where are the lines of religious discrimination drawn when it comes to running a business that deals with the public? That’s the question being raised in Denver from a bakery owner who would not write what a customer wanted on his cake.
A man walked into the Azucar Bakery in Denver and talked with their pastry chef Lindsay Jones and owner Marjorie Silva about ordering a cake. They sat at a table where the man looked through sample cakes on an iPad as he sampled some of their products. He settled on a Bible shaped cake which was fine with the bakery.
Then the man pulled out a piece of paper with the wording he wanted on the cake. He it showed to them, but would not allow them to take the paper from him or make a copy. The customer held on tightly to the paper. According to Silva and Lindsay, the customer wanted several anti-gay statements written on the cake.
Silva explains what happened when she saw what the customer wanted written on the cake:
“He wouldn’t allow me to make a copy of the message, but it was really hateful. I remember the words detestable, disgrace, homosexuality, and sinners.”
“I told him that I would bake the cake in the shape of a Bible. Then I told him I’d sell him a [decorating] bag with the right tip and the right icing so he could write those things himself.”
When Silva would not agree to do the writing on the cake, the customer told her that she needed to consult with her attorney and he left. However, he returned a few hours later to find out if she had contacted her attorney and she told him that she had been too busy. He left only to return a third time.
The next thing Silva knew, she received a letter from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies informing her that a complaint had been filed against her for religious discrimination. The letter stated that she needed to present her side of the event and explain her actions.
In reply to the complaint, Silva wrote in part:
“I can … tell you that the customer wanted us to draw two males holding hands … with a big ‘X’ on them. I told him that we do not like to discriminate in this bakery, we accept all humans and that the message and drawing is extremely rude.”
Silva states that they don’t discriminate against anyone and that they provide cakes for Christians as well as for homosexuals. In this case, she felt the statements the customer wanted written on his cake were hateful and she didn’t want to do it.
The customer never explained what the cake was for and Silva thinks he may have chosen her store in protest to a recent court ruling that forced a Christian baker in the Denver area to cater to homosexuals.
So I ask you, is this any different than a Christian baker who refuses to take an order for a homosexual wedding? To the Christian baker, having anything to do with a same-sex wedding is offensive. To Marjorie Silva, writing the statements this customer wanted were offensive to her. Christian bakers have been forced to cater to homosexuals, so will the same thing happen to Silva?