Monday, June 11, 2018
Here is a worthwhile piece from Kate Shellnutt at Christianity Today with several African-American evangelical leaders giving their perspectives on Masterpiece and other situations of declining service to a same-sex wedding. The leaders quoted negotiate the tension between the importance of nondiscrimination laws in public accommodations and the importance of religious liberty.
Polls by Pew, quoted in the article, show black Protestants support same-sex marriage a little more than white evangelicals do (44 versus 35 percent), and are substantially below the level of support of Americans overall (44 versus 62 percent). But on the matter of "requiring businesses to serve same-sex couples," black Protestants are way above white evangelicals (46 percent to 22 percent) and close to Americans overall (46 to 49 percent). As always, you have to look at how the questions are phrased; the kind of limited exemption for an expressive service to a wedding is different, and may garner more support, than a hypothesized claim to "refuse to serve same-sex couples." (Of course, those distinctions might matter to everyone, not just black people; so the point about black evangelicals emphasizing nondiscrimination holds.)
There's no representative position in the article--the views vary. But here are a few thought-provoking comments from Justin Giboney, founder of the AND Campaign ("Biblical Values, Social Justice"):
It’s not surprising that black Protestants are more likely to believe vendors should serve same-sex weddings than their white counterparts. We might agree theologically, but historically speaking, we have little reason to believe the concerns aren’t pretext for prejudicial impulses. There’s very simply a lack of trust, and it’s better to err on the side of caution than to be complicit in furthering bad faith and un-Christlike endeavors....
That said, the biblical love and service imperative is coupled with truth-telling and a responsibility to honor what God has deemed good.... Thus, a pastor—or a baker—who’s been asked to participate in a wedding ceremony should be able to refuse if compelled by religious conscience; however, services generally should not be declined outside of very limited circumstances.