When a person begins to unravel the various meanings in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd., et al v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision, recently rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), it becomes quickly obvious that what this ruling means in legal terms and what it means in the daily lives of LGBTQ+ American citizens is incredibly different.
For people of diverse orientations and identities, the effect of the interpretation of the words of the Bible, as seen by so-called Evangelical Christians is a danger. The discrimination this creates for people of diverse orientations and identities, is beyond frightening.
This country is tumbling more deeply into chasms, canyons and valleys that are anything-but-Christian. For those of us who don’t fit neatly into the mythical boxes of male and female -- and the expectations that are attached to those boxes by mythical scotch tape and prehistoric bubble gum -- concerns about being rounded up and being executed seem increasingly within the realm of possibility.
So, where shall we begin?
The 7-2 ruling itself, as can be seen in Amy Howe’s Scotus Blog Opinion analysis, was not a ruling against the Colorado couple. It was a ruling against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. As Howe quotes Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, the Court concluded that the “neutral and respectful consideration to which [the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner] Jack Phillips was entitled was compromised.” This is clearly true.
That said, the ruling’s effect on the daily lives of LGBTQ+ Americans has already been demonstrated by the corresponding increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes. This only compounds the current administration’s disdain for equal treatment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Trudy Ring writes for The Advocate, “Hate-related homicides of LGBTQ+ people were up 86 percent from 2016, and political rhetoric is partly to blame, says a new report.”
Even more frightening is the fact that court rulings, legislative actions, and inflammatory language also increase the number of LGBTQ+ youth suicides. To put it bluntly, when things like this ruling make news across the country, children die.
On the Evangelical Christian front, I am carried back to the days of my young adulthood and the often-heard statement, “The Moral Majority is neither.”
The people who represent themselves as Evangelical Christians are consistently neither Evangelical nor Christian.
The first definition of evangelical in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary states, “of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels.” Jesus had nothing to say about the LGBTQ+ population. He did talk a lot about unconditional love.
I know that there are a lot of ideas about what it means to be Christian. My idea is to do my best to try to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.
I know I can’t define what being Christian means for other people, but if you are playing the Christian Card and you are not following Jesus, or even close to following Jesus, you might consider exactly what it was that Jesus asked us to do.
Love God and love your neighbor.
And if you need a little more specific information, I would suggest looking in Matthew 25:31-46 - the story of the sheep and the goats. Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned.
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25:45 - NIV).
Truth is, I can’t really say if I am Christian or not. I am trying to follow Jesus. The judgment about whether or not I have lived up to being Christian will not come from me. It certainly does not come from Evangelical Christians.
News about my judgment day and the judgment day for others will have to wait. I have no way of knowing.
But there is one thing I am sure of -- deep in my heart and soul -- Jesus would have baked the cake.
Photo by: Victoria Pickering