The icing on the Ashers bakery cake case

Jan 14, 2022 by

by Peter Lynas, The Tablet:

After almost eight years, the saga of the Ashers Bakery case is hopefully now over. LGBTQ rights activist Gareth Lee had taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights in a last roll of the dice. The court has ruled Mr Lee’s case inadmissible as he did not raise his convention rights in the domestic courts. The end result is that the ruling of the UK Supreme Court stands. Human rights have been affirmed and everyone is protected from compelled or forced speech.

[…]  As writers such as TS Eliot, Tom Holland and Larry Siedentop have noted, our equality and human rights framework is, whether its adherents realise it or not, deeply Christian. We inhabit a society that continues to live off the fruits of the Christian story, while simultaneously chopping down the very tree that sustains that fruit. There is a certain irony that the very human rights that Mr Lee sought to rely on and use against the bakers are fundamentally Christian.

It’s disappointing that this case has been pitched as Christians versus the LGBTQ community. The Equality Commission in Northern Ireland must accept some of the responsibility for that framing. In reality both sides were arguing about equality, dignity and human rights based on our image-bearing nature (though such explicit language wasn’t used).

While some will say common sense has prevailed, but it is equally true to say that the Christian story has prevailed. Christians need to get better at understanding and articulating the biblical foundations for human rights.

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