Logan ‘A company should be able to endorse views they wish to endorse’

Phillip Logan is a DUP MLA for North Antrim

The Ashers case has attracted interest from all over the globe. It’s unlikely that you will find a neutral individual when it comes to this case – most people have an opinion on the injustice or the discrimination or even the disbelief that a cake has caused such a stir. The truth is that this ruling has polarised people but it shouldn’t, it should unite us, because this ruling has implication for all sections of society not just for Christians.

This should not be an “us and them” point scoring expedition; it should not be LGBT versus Christians or one view trumping another. There is a much more serious issue at stake – freedom of speech. An individual should have the freedom to choose to hold a religious view and to allow that to manifest itself not only on a Sunday but throughout the week in all aspects of their life. As a politician I work to serve others and glorify God in all that I do and it genuinely troubles me that another individual may not be able to live out their beliefs in their workplace.

Daniel McArthur (General Manager of Ashers) said in a statement after the ruling:

Businesses will have to take advice about whether they can refuse orders that conflict with their conscience or whether they have to be coerced as well into promoting other people’s  views.

Before I was elected I was part of an independent retail business and, whilst it was a very different company to Ashers, it worries me that business owners may be compelled to endorse or promote a religious or political view that is in opposition to their own. I do not think this is fair and whether it is the law that is unfair or the application of the law in this instance that is unfair it is something that businesses will have to consider when offering their services.

Some would say this is simply an issue of a service that was allegedly offered freely by Ashers and now they have seen that they can’t freely offer this icing service and if they are not willing to carry out all orders they shouldn’t offer that particular service. So the option here is ice all opinions or ice none. For Ashers to print or ice a cake with a certain idea is to somehow endorse that idea. Their business is a part of their Christianity; an act of worship. Surely a company should be able to endorse views they wish to endorse and refuse to endorse at their discretion without having to censor all their views. Ashers cannot print cakes in support of Christian ideas now because they are not willing to print the opposite view. Maybe it’s just me but that doesn’t seem fair.

This is a guest slot to give a platform for new writers either as a one off, or a prelude to becoming part of the regular Slugger team.

  • Zorin001

    “An individual should have the freedom to choose to hold a religious view and to allow that to manifest itself not only on a Sunday but throughout the week in all aspects of their life”

    What happens when their religious beliefs clash with the secular law of the land? Should the beliefs of those who support forced Female circumcision be respected? How about those who want to introduce hard-line Sharia law?

  • anon

    We’re well past that, Philip. Equality laws are there for a reason. The Asher’s case is a tough one as its marginal, but there was a very similar ruling in England on whether B&B owners could turn away gays because they didn’t like the thought of it going on in their business. The Court said that they couldn’t and rightly so. It’s a short step from ‘no homos’ to ‘no taigs’, ‘no prods’, and ‘no negros’.
    Some Christians seem to forget that Jesus associated with hookers and outcasts. He didn’t worry that it made him less Christian.

  • We have a cake shop in Oxford where you can get a photograph printed as icing. They will print anything that isn’t libelous. It is up to the giver to decide what goes on the cake, not the shopkeeper. There is one principle that overrides all arguments:

    The customer is always right.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Philip, the equality legislation protects all of us, pretty much without favour. For those of us liberals from a protestant background who were demanding Civil Rights with our fellow citizens from 1968 this safeguard for all in our community is one of the very few positive achievements of the last half century here. Now I know that on that see-saw of politics where everyone must take a “side” here, this has been worked up in some quarters as an attack on the conscience of evangelicals, but a little more examination of the legislation itself would have shown you that the provisions of teh act are actually a shield for evangelicals also against the kind of special pleading “reserved prejudice” that is being mendatiously peddled as “freedom of speech”. the kind of precedent you are angling for would remove the act’s additional safeguard against the possibility of a really damaging attack on Christianity itself on grounds of “conscience”. With very little imagination anyone can see how this “Conscience issue” could be used in any number of ways by non-Christian faiths to create far more onerious restrictions on the public expression of Christian belief than what worries you so here.

    And in the long run, Ashers have the same option that is open to us all, obey the law or seek a career where you will not come into conflict with the law. That is, if you wish to benefit also from the protection of fair laws when “they” come for you.

  • DOUG

    “An individual should have the freedom to choose to hold a religious view and to allow that to manifest itself not only on a Sunday but throughout the week in all aspects of their life.”

    So, for example a barman who holds the religious view that there’s no real harm in working Easter Sunday, shouldn’t have to lose wages because his place of work suffers from restricted service times?
    Or an independent landlord should be able to decide his Easter / Christmas opening hours based on his own religious beliefs regarding those dates?

  • On the fence!

    One does have to wonder just how much longer a person with genuinely held Christian beliefs will be able to represent an increasingly secular society.

    I suppose the easy answer is, “For as long as the members of that society continue to vote for them”. But that doesn’t address the issues faced by the person themselves and you can’t help but think that the two things are becoming increasingly incompatible, as highlighted by the recent David Ford situation.

    BTW, I’m not judging which is correct here, just noting how the two things are becoming increasingly diverse.

  • Gaygael

    The entire premise of this soapbox is flawed.

    Providing goods, facilties or services does not explicilty mean endorsing, faciltating or promoting the political opinions, faith or sexual orientation of those you provide goods, facilties or services to.

    And it’s rich coming from a representative of a party that has opposed every single move EVER to lgbt equality.

    I note he quoted McArthur (that well known legal expert) rather than the judgement, original ruling or reputable legal source.

  • Korhomme

    An individual should have the freedom to choose to hold a religious
    view and to allow that to manifest itself not only on a Sunday but
    throughout the week in all aspects of their life.

    In a secular society there is both the ‘freedom of religion’ and the ‘freedom from religion’. Here, you are clearly advocating the former.

    [people] may be compelled to endorse or promote a religious or political view that is in opposition to their own

    This is the ‘freedom from religion’.

    Any individual ought to have the freedom of believing or not believing in any religion or faith; you should be free to choose as you see fit, and the state and your neighbours have no role to play in your choice. Likewise, any person ought to be free from religion in the sense that the state and your neighbours treat you differently from all others. That is, your belief ought not to play any part in how you conduct yourself with others — the obvious exception being an incitement to ‘hate’ which is clearly an expression of freedom gone too far.

  • Abucs

    and the number of careers you can choose keep getting smaller as decided by those holding the secular religion which they deem must dominate in law, even when it is incoherent and unfair. No thanks.

  • Korhomme

    A curious episode: in the Garden of Gethsemane the last person to flee from the thought police leaving Jesus alone, was a man in ‘a loincloth’ or in ‘linen’. This description is Biblical code for a male prostitute.

  • Abucs

    don’t think so. If it is ‘Biblical code’, then where else is this description used in the Bible to mean male prostitute?

  • Zorin001

    How often are they mentioned in general? Do they come up in Sodom and Gamorrah?

  • Korhomme

    Why? What is important about his raiment?

  • Abucs
  • Thought Criminal

    “Equality laws are there for a reason”. Yes to subvert society and to create conflict though identity politics and the quest for a non-existent “equality”. The rotten “Equalty Commission” also happens to be being used at present to implement an anti-male, anti-white British, anti-heteronormative, anti-family, and anti-Protestant agenda so are supported by the usual suspects.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It is not a matter of “dominating the law” Abucs, it is a need to enact laws which are framed to protect most people in most situations. It is one thing to identify a degree of “unfairness” to one person or one group of persons because of their own particular needs, and quite another to assess just how their requirements may be accomodated without potentially invoking a greater unfairness to many more people.

    The real question might be, how would you re-write the current equality legislation to accomodate the Ashers situation without opening the door to legal precedents that all too easily might harm them in some greater manner? The legislation is available on web sites and you can check out its terms and wording and consider how it might profitably be amended in actual detail, rather than as many commentators are doing here, discussing this in very vague and generalised platitudes about “freedom of speech.” I’ve looked at this long and hard and any amendment which would not potentially authorise potential prejudicial behaviour against Christians, also using “conscience” as legal precedent simply does not appear to be there. You may think this bad, but any dilution of equality legislation looks to me to be even worse.

  • Zorin001

    Bring it on!

  • Zorin001

    Thanks for that, I agree with you that from those verses I’m not seeing it, though probably need the surrounding verses for context

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I’ve suggested to Abucs below, TC, how would you actually amend the actual laws in detail to allow Ashers to claim conscience without letting others use this defence to actively isolate and discriminate against Christians in turn? Just as an example, I’d imagine that committed National Socialists felt that “in conscience” their boycott of Jewish businesses in the interests of Ayrian purity was justified, perhaps even more violent measures. How do you entirely isolate an “acceptable” conscience defence from an “unacceptable” one? You see, its not simply a matter of letting anyone do as they wish because their conscience demands they do, you need to think it through to how these responses you commend may affect what you believe also.

  • Thought Criminal

    “its not simply a matter of letting anyone do as they wish because their conscience demands they do”. It is. All that needs to happen is for this absurd ruling to be overturned.

  • ted hagan

    Sounds more like something out of The Life of Brian.

  • ted hagan

    I dread to think what Jesus would have thought of Born-Again Christians.

  • hotdogx

    This muppet Logan is not a credible person as he is part of a political fiasco organization the DUP, that blocks gay marriage with a POC!!!! Listening to these people is like listening to an annoying squeak from bagage in the back of your car and because you’re driving you can’t do anything about it at all, otherwise you would have to stop and move the stuff in the back causing the squeak. Silence would be nice.
    The ruling has been made end of story!
    But the DUP aren’t anti gay!!!
    Yea right
    70% of the population disagrees with the DUP


  • On the fence!

    No surely it’s exactly what you’d expect from a party which has done what you claim.

    Whether you agree or not, and you plainly don’t, they’re only reacting as you’d expect them to.

  • Jollyraj

    In point of fact, JC wasn’t technically a Christian, was he?

    I’m still somewhat uncomfortable with businesses being forced to publicize messages they disagree with.

    If I wanted a cake printed up with ‘The prophet Muhammad was a paedophile’, then presumably they would have to bake it (as Slugger presumably is obliged to publish this comment) – even though it’s morally distasteful and offensive to many, no doubt – and quite possibly dangerous for them.

  • Korhomme

    Interesting, but doesn’t answer the question “why”?

  • Korhomme

    That is a concordance; I seek an explanation.

  • Abucs

    I’d chuck out the politically correct religion that defines certain protected groups of people and then runs indoctrination courses in schools to pretend they are persecuted and therefore we do acrobatics in law to stop this pretended persecution.

    I’d have a much smaller role for government and have trust in communities to act civilly and work these things out for themselves without the dumbing down ideology of political correctness where those with the secular religion use the state to implement their philosophies.

  • Jollyraj

    Ridiculous, frankly.

    If you’re right about that, don’t you think it would have been mentioned at his subsequent trial? Or is it your contention that those were more enlightened times?

  • NotNowJohnny

    The court made clear that what the Ashers were asked to do does not amount to supporting or promoting gay marriage. Yet, as shown above, neither MrMcArthur nor Mr Logan seem to have yet grasped that very basic point. Pretending that the Ashers were asked to do something that they weren’t actually asked to do at all makes a very weak basis for an argument.

  • NotNowJohnny

    In a society in which, historically, those who held positions of power and influence were almost exclusively white, Protestant, male, straight (at least publicly), Christian and Unionist/British and in which homosexuality was an offence, Catholics and Irish Nationalists were discriminated against, women had to leave the civil service once they got married, unmarried parents had less favourable tax breaks, unmarried mothers were frequently socially shunned and non Christians couldn’t get a drink on a Sunday afternoon, you are surprised that the Equality Commission frinds in favour of the latter groups? Have you any idea why the idea of an equality commission came about or why an equality commission was deemed necessary? What sort of trends in relation to the types of cases which the EC supports did you expect?

  • grumpy oul man

    Well yes ut was, we know that the Romans who occupied that area where very public about being gay and had no laws or inhibitions about man/man or women/ women sex.
    I have always thought it interesting that Jesus never in any of the gospels even mentions homosexuality never mind comdeming it.
    As i said it was a open fact that LGB relationships were happening so why if it such a terrible sin and a affront to god and nature why did the Son of God not speak out on it.
    He wasn’t known to ignore things he didnt approve of.

  • grumpy oul man

    I know i have asked you this before and got no answer but could you give us your defination of the politically correct relegion you keep referring too.

  • nilehenri

    can we all agree that this case is now well and truly shut, lay off of the navel gazing and move on. unionism is in a sad place indeed if this is the height of their moral battle. daniel mcarthur had little to bother him if he could be outraged by an order for a cake.

  • Patrick Mac

    Why ask that Q. grumpy when the PC religion Abucs is referring to is the same one that you are an avid follower of.

  • Croiteir

    Were do you get that from? And which type of loincloth?

  • Korhomme

    Probably from a TV documentary, but I’m not certain.

  • grumpy oul man

    Patrick/abucs, i ask you for a definition, all i have got is a accusation.
    Which is par for the course,wild claims and no explanation or production of any veriable facts.
    I was unaware i had a relegion, a theology or rules it is nice of you to point out that i have one but until you give us a definition it is just random abuse.
    So come on define this relegion for us, letcus know the details of the PC relegion if you can!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And when “conscience” is used as a defence in some devistatingly damaging action against you personally, then you will accept ypur enemies “right” to act so against you? You seemingly cannot even accept legislation which protects us all because of some personal distaste for such disinterested fairness.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It is a price that needs to be paid for a general blanket for all of us, JR. What those claiming “conscience”are not getting is just how such a change in legislation might be used aaginst Christians in far, far more oneriious ways. It takes little imagniation to think out how any other non-Christian faith group (or athiests) might employ teh conscience defence. In all seriousness, simply look at teh actual legislation and try and frame amendments which do not open teh full can of worms that would endorse the spraed of prejudicial behaviour which could harm us all, each and every one. And as the judge ruled, they are being asked to bake and ice a cake, not to actively endorse what it says.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is all very general stuff, Abucs, but how would you perhaps phrase the actual wording of legislation which would permit Ashers to refuse service, but not open teh way, for example, for a sect member to refuse you service in something important because of your being white, should his sect demand no interaction with white people? I can easily see just how a National Socialist could have claimed similar “conscience” issues to Ashers to affirm his boycott of Jewish business in the 1930s. As my mother in law used to say “be careful what you ask for, you may just get it.” And when “conscience” is used against you personally, what then?

    Political correctness is easy to laugh at if the issues have never affected you personally, but not if you have been on the recieving end of active and malicious prejudice. Personally, I encountered a few suicides back in the 1970s amongst people (friends) picked on by others, who would have been fullly protected by this very legislation. It’s not all cakes, the legislation is there for a good reason.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is seldom about Ashers, NNJ, or the actual judgements. Few people seem to have taken the trouble to have read and assessed the judgements themsleves, and are commenting on half digested things they have raed in the media. seemingly, it is often about a vague feeling that equality legislation in some way favours “themuns” and that if it were eroded, it would be a victory against the kind of change which those supporting Ashers are terrified by. Unionism has been indulging a run of “Project Fear” campaigns ever since teh very first Home Rule Bill, and this fear is so encoded in their “weltwahrnehmung” that they cannot see how to erode equality legislation with teh “conscience clause” would also serve to remove their own protections.

  • Patrick Mac

    “I was unaware i had a relegion” – precisely, owing to the fact that brainwashed people don’t know they’re brainwashed.

  • grumpy oul man

    Still no definition. Beginning to suspect you dont have one.
    Interestingly one of the indicators of conditioning is to make claims and be unable to define or explain them.
    Something is accepted as a evident truth but when questioned a conditioned person is unable to explain it, they would then repeat the claim repeatedly as if repetition explains it this is often accompanied by insults (your a idiot etc) now bearing that in mind could you give me a explanation of what is the PC relegion you accuse so many people of being members of.
    Of course if you cant define it then i will assume you can’t, after all you have had many chances and been unable to so far.

  • john millar

    i would have thought that a big sign along the lines

    ” Customers attention is drawn to following The proprietor reserves the right to refuse ANY order he/she considers he/she is unable to fulfil The proprietors decision is final ”

    would solve the problems

  • Croiteir

    I understand, it is frustrating when uou know you have heard something but cannot get the source, howver I would dispute the assertion as he was wearing a sadhin.

  • Abucs

    The older i get the more i am inclined to to take the whole of the discrimination law away and leave it to the good sense of the public. I won’t say that is my position but i am getting there.

    I’d look to take sexual orientation out of the list of protected classes for a start. I believe this is what the United Nations have looked at. Too many people are using sexual gender theory to control parts of society through the state. This is a bad thing.

    For example i believe there are moves in the US for the government to refuse tax payers money to those organisations who don’t go along with the latest manifestation of gender theory that says people identifying as a certain sex should be provided with toilet and washing facilities of their choosing.

    So for example Catholic charities, hospitals, schools etc would be banned from receiving state aid if they didn’t, for example, allow a man to shower with women if he claimed to be a woman. This is a perfect example of the tail wagging the dog where legislation was created under the description of stopping persecution of a protected class but ends up persecuting a non protected class and everyone is expected to just wear it and re-arrange their lives because of the legally favoured secular religious ideas on gender theory.

    There’s also examples such as the boy winning honuors as a female in the Alaskan track and field and nobody dare tells him he can’t do it.


    Should he compete in the Nationals? If he gets to the Olympics will the Olympic Games be considered bigots if they don’t let him run with the females? The rights are all going one way at the moment. That is to the defined victim classes of the secular religion.

    Many of us don’t have that religion and don’t want the state dictating it to us.

    Breaking news today from Australia. Another anti discrimination law that is causing more division.


    5 students were asked to leave a university computer room because they were not indigenous. They went away and complained on social media and the indigenous woman who asked them to leave sued them for $250,000 each because she was offended. (Some settled out of court). 3 years later and today it was decided there was no case and the remaining students are now suing the human rights commission on the grounds they were picked on because they are white heterosexual males. (God help us).


    Second case involving the same law is a cartoonist for a major newspaper is in trouble because someone objected to his cartoon (after the government equality commissioner texted the cartoon was offensive and asked someone to come forward and be offended). The cartoonist has said that he has drawn the exact same cartoon before but featuring white people with no cries of racism. Now that the issue is regarding indigenous people and he drew it accordingly it is suddenly racist because the indigenous are a protected class.


    People are getting angry because of the incoherent ideology underpinning these laws Seaan.

  • eireanne3

    “Daniel McArthur (General Manager of Ashers) said in a statement after the ruling:
    Businesses will have to take advice about whether they can refuse orders that conflict with their conscience or whether they have to be coerced as well into promoting other people’s views”.

    A word of advice to Mr Mc Arthur.
    Just put a big sign up in all your windows and inside your bakeries so every potential customer knows where you stand.

    Something along the lines of
    “This company will only serve customers and fulfil orders in accordance with our religious principles. We will not serve and there will be no cakes for gays, fornicators, single parents, thieves or murderers, those who envy their neighbour’s wife or goods and those that do not honour their parents or the Sabbath day; birthday cakes only for children born in wedlock; special occasion cakes only for practising Christians; No hallowe’en or witches cakes ever for pagans, demons and ghouls. Special offers for Creationists, Caleb confrères and so forth, . . . .”.

    Make sure your customers are aware of your principles as they enter your shop. Ensure the “wrong’uns” leave without placing an order.

    That should do the trick of squaring the circle as to whether your bakery can refuse orders that conflict with their conscience (Your bakery will never have to face such a dilemma) or whether they have to be coerced as well into promoting other people’s views (Never, Never, Never).

  • Abucs

    I don’t think this comes anywhere close to Asher’s position.

  • NotNowJohnny

    What exactly is Asher’s position?

  • Abucs

    For the most accurate answer, ask Ashers.

  • I experienced Ballymena in the late 1980s/ 1990s and am glad we we have EC to help prevent the theocratic (often comical) arrogance of that time from leaking into the lives of everyday people well past it’s actual level of real support.

    As said, the issue being argued (as opposed to the legal issue itself) is a ‘thin end of the wedge’ concern – if the McArhurs were right then presumably if I refused to bake a cake with a Christian message etc on it I’d be in the right too?

  • NotNowJohnny

    No. You’d be in the wrong. The DUP’s position is all about providing special rights for evangelical Christians. It all starts with a cake. Then they lock up the swings on Sundays. Then they shut the pubs. Then they stop Sunday shopping. Then they legislate against homosexuals. I heard someone on the radio this week state that the NHS shouldn’t be providing treatment for people who smoke and get cancer. God help us all. Thin end of the wedge indeed.

  • On the fence!

    Why bother asking, sure just do the same as above and make up the “position” which allows you to detest them the most.

    Seems to be working for him!

  • On the fence!

    Or maybe that sign itself would be illegal?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Abucs, thank you for so full a reply. But you are hilighting the negitive efects on particular things with reference to isolated and frequently absurd cases. The core of the Equality legislation is not simply a protection of particular groups, this is an incidental effect. It is the protection of each of us against discriminatory abuse. Looking at the law itself, how would you re-frame its wording to achieve what you wish without eroding the protections for us all.

    You can access local legislation here, under particular issue headings:


    And here you can read the entire 2010 act, with a button on the left which will show the application of such law region by region:


    I have in all honesty examined this legislation and simply canot see how any alteration might manage the issues you are raising without also creating precidents which might be employed to create much greater actual harm than any of these things which so trouble you. The important thing is to not simply criticise the law generally for these things which your links mention but to see why such legal judgements have been made using the law as it stands and to then to see how the law might be amended to manage actual problems of seriosu discrimination without throwing the baby out along with the bathwater.

    Far, far more serious abuses of the law have been enacted over recent decades. Gordon Angelsea, the North Wales senior policeman who has just been sentenced for sexual abuse could employ the Defamation laws to press successful libel actions for punitive damages when first legally challenged by those he had abused. To me, it is the ability of such people to hide behind the law and use it to do great personal harm to the vulnerable which is a real issue, and I am profoundly grateful for anything which offers some redress to those harmed, such as our Equality legislation. The entire history of Northern Ireland offers a most serious qualification to the idea of simply taking “the whole of the discrimination law away and leave it to the good sense of the public”, where, without any legal redress, from 1920 the two thirds of our community had only “good sense” to limit their right to discriminate against the other third. Many of us personally remember the situation before 1968 and realise that, simply left to itself, public opinion is usually a very poor protection in such matters.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Or what they would think of him if he was about nowadays:

    “Jesus was a Capricorn
    He ate organic food
    He believed in love and peace
    And never wore no shoes

    Long hair, beard and sandals
    And a funky bunch of friends
    Reckon we’d just nail him up
    If he came down again”
    Kris Kristofferson

  • grumpy oul man

    I suspect that what they mean when they talk about relegious freedom, is freedom for them.
    Im old enough to remember the chaining up of swings in playparks on Sunday , apparently god didnt approve of children playing on a sunday.

  • ted hagan


  • Abucs

    Seaan, the cases i raise can’t both be isolated and frequent.

    It makes little sense to give me the equality legislation which i reject in principle and then ask me what i would change.

    I reject the morality that such ideology is based on. You can’t ask me to take it on board if i reject it. It is like asking a Republican what sort of union with Britain he wants; or asking a unionist what kind of united Ireland he wants or me telling you that Northern Ireland should be run on Catholic principles and then giving you a copy of the catechism and catholic social teaching and ask you what you would like to change.

    I could engage by saying the Asher’s case clearly violates the test for sexual orientation discrimination and instead imposes a cultural ruling that gay marriage has to be seen as equal to heterosexual marriage. This is like the US Supreme court inventing the idea that the US constitution mandates gay marriage. It is political and sexual ideology trumping even its own law.

    I could say that i want the sexual orientation or any type of sexual category taken out of the special category definition. I could say that i want the right for businesses to refuse to take orders on any grounds they choose. I could say that the courts should not be able to impose draconian financial penalties on companies in order to impose a moral social order. I could say all of this and more or any combination of these.

    But the reality is i reject the moral basis for such thinking and believe it brings more division and disrespect for the law.

    One shining light of Christian civilisation was the separation of cultural moral precepts and civil law. We are back now making the same mistakes all over again.

    There is no agreement. Any long term forcing of moral social norms by the state will just mean a an eventual rejection of that state. It always has. Why repeat mistakes?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    These individual cases may be be “isolated” in themselves, Abucs, but any catagory of instances, no matter how small, may “frequently” share a characteristic. If three instances out of five are “absurd” then such instances are more “frequent” in their catagory.

    “It makes little sense to give me the equality legislation which i reject in principle and then ask me what i would change.” You could of course elect to change it in its entirely, but the exercise was for you to show what actual things in the legislation were problematic to you in detail, rather than in broad general sweeps. Simply offering these broad general sweeps of the particular wish list for supporters of Ashers (cut out sexual orientation and let peopel use “conscience” as a defence) does not begin to answer the core problem. The legislation protects us all from prejudical behaviour against us, and its removal entirely would open us to such blatent prejudice as used to be commonplace at every level of our community before it was curtailed by legislation. Even teh wto instances you suggset could be exptended by legal precedents to be mendatiously employed to affect our individual freedom from discrimination on a wide range of other issues.

    Perhaps I should frame the question slightly differently (but, in my opinion in a manner which raises greater difficulties ). If you entirely reject the current equality legislation, and are concerned that Ashers are being treated unjustly, what legal measures would you put in place which would protect Ashers themselves against serious discriminatory behaviour from others using “conscience” in other respects? The exercise in itself shows just how, while it is easy to say “I do not like this” for particular things which the media has played up, such pick and mix all too easily ignores the need defend citizens (us all) against far more damaging things being done under the defence of “conscience”. Would you really be willing to open yourself to gross discriminatory actions by others simply to let Ashers refuse a public service? This is why I’d raised the all important issue of how you might reframe the actual laws.

    “One shining light of Christian civilisation was the separation of cultural moral precepts and civil law.” I’m afraid you’d have to unpack this far more. To my mind the law is based on “cultural moral precepts” such as an individual should not kill, steal,

    If you are suggseting that Ashers raises an issue of entirely “private morality”, well, no! It raises an issue of how the law defines abusive behaviour, a legal evaluation closely allied to such instances in a libel action or in threatening behaviour.

    “There is no agreement.” If law were capable of “”agreement then magistrates could evaluate cases with a tick box sheet. Every case has its own characteristics which require careful assessment agaisnt the whole arnge of pertinent civil or criminal law. This is not a forcing of private morality onto others, but a judgement which firms up protection against abusive behaviour for each and every one of us througghout society, including, most ironically, indirectly affirming those very protections on the kind of freedom of private worship which Ashers currently enjoy. What it does not do is permit the very imposition of their personal “cultural moral precepts” into an entirely civil matter, in this case the provision of a commercial service to teh egenral public. In every respect their private right to practice their religion is affirmed and protected, but their “right” to impose this on the secular public sphere is curtailed where it would be of harm to another person.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I think it would make compelling reality TV (in so much as it can be ‘compelling) e.g. individuals try to integrate into various religious groups but they have to at all times adhere to Christ’s behaviour (loosely outlined by Kristofferson).

  • Abucs

    If the high frequency of raised cases are absurd then that shows there is something fundamentally wrong (absurd) with the legislation of equality law. They are not isolated cases. The strict penalties imposed by the courts are to force through accepted social norms so that no one dare cross the high priests of secularism. You can’t call these examples isolated if the law (and its repressive financial penalties) are being used to bully social norms on the people so they dare not complain or oppose it.

    It was your exercise Seaan designed for engagement on your terms. I am not convinced it protects us as you keep saying without giving examples. I have mentioned in my last posts many ideas about Ashers if i was to engage in accepting equality legislation. – defining categories, interpreting existing law, rights of owners, corporate freedom to accept orders and limits on financial penalties allowed by the courts,

    But again if there is no broad acceptance of the morality such laws are based on there will be no agreement. This always happens when people try to legislate their morality in law rather than it coming from the people.

    It is the government and the equality lawyers i want protection from, not family businesses baking cakes.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Abucs: “It was your exercise Seaan designed for engagement on your terms.”

    No, in the terms of the actual law, rather than those of the loose generalisations of the media. It must be in law or changes in law, that this will be truely comprehended. All else is simply vague generalised opinion.

    “I am not convinced it protects us as you keep saying without giving examples.” Which is why I’d posted links so you could work this out for yourself by examining the law itself. Should you need “examples”, perhaps you might go back through my postings on the Ashers case for over a year now. Plenty there.

    The stark reality remains that once this legal protection for us all is eroded for private concerns we all suffer. You are not engaging with this core issue, simply restating your problem with a “political correctness” which is a most peripheral issue to protecting the community (not private concerns) from actual harm, the single most important requirement of government and of the law. This the current legislation self evidently does, imperfectly I realise, but with far less damaging ambiguity than the “conscience” clause would entail for each and every one of us.

  • Abucs

    “……The legislation protects us all from prejudicial behaviour against us, and its removal entirely would open us to such blatent prejudice as used to be commonplace at every level of our community before it was curtailed by legislation. …..”

    It creates prejudicial behaviour by the government and courts. I philosophically am opposed to the idea that law drives morality. Again this is from people who having given up on Christianity, immediately turn to the state to impose their own (secular religious) ideas on ‘morality’, ‘abuse’, ‘discrimination’, ‘equality; etc etc. This should not be the role of the state to impose social norms through draconian financial penalties.

  • Abucs

    I have no confidence or respect for your law and it is your law. Morality of social norms should not be driven by one group of people through state law with draconian penalties.

    Getting more and more comfortable about chucking the whole equality legislation out on its arse and am not convinced it protects society from abuses. What it does is orient people towards the idea that morality is what the law says.

    Imaginary abuses are being used for social engineering purposes. The law needs to go and if it doesn’t people will continue to have less respect for law and government.

    There is a reason why political correctness is a byword for absurdity and insanity.

    Political correctness is politics enforcing on people allowably correct socially interactions which is the basis for this equality law we are discussing.

    Law cannot be respected when it is driven by one set of people and increasingly seen as absurd and insane by a large section of citizens who have to live with it. This is the core issue.

  • john millar

    “Something along the lines of ”
    Even simpler

    a BIG notice

    The proprietors reserve the right to refuse any order they find unacceptable.
    The proprietors decision is final
    Customers who do not accept this condition are welcome to shop elsewhere”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “It creates prejudicial behaviour by the government and courts.” You are simply not looking at the larger picture, Abucs. The courts would not exist if matters were not contentious, and certainly those breaking the law will always find law and order “prejudical” to their private interests. Your comments about “morality” show that you have not grasped the notion of legal impartiality, or actually examined the laws or the two Ashers judgements in what they actually say. If the stae does not “impose social norms” on legal matters, whose role is this then? If the state dose not frame laws to protect us for abuses, then what is it for anyway?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, not “my law”, but laws passed by a parliament elected by popular sufferage and applied by magistrates whose judgements are freely available for examination. I have personally found both Ashers judgements “correct” in terms of the law as it now stands, and have challenged you, if you do not accept the law as it stands, to describe a legal formulation which meets your wishes and yet continues to protect us all. It is very very easy to “disrespect” the law (something of a participant sport for some centuries here), but quite another thing to clearly show how you might do something better for our community.

    “Getting more and more comfortable about chucking the whole equality legislation out on its arse and am not convinced it protects society from abuses.” If you are serious, then show me what should be put in its place, not in a general sense as you ae doing, but in actual workable terms.

  • Abucs

    Seaan i have done this at the same time as i have outlined my basic opposition and disowning of equality law.

    To re-iterate

    Option 1) Throw out the whole equality legislation that gives the political class too much power in engineering society to its secular beliefs.

    Option 2) Throw out the sexual orientation protected class.

    Option 3) Limit equality law to government departments only. This does not extend to bodies that the government interact with but is solely restricted to government bodies

    Option 4) Protect either all (my first preference) or a subsection of private enterprises from being compelled to obey equality law. with regards to products sold and/or employment choices.

    Option 5) Stop interpreting the law through secular eyes where it is clear that Asher’s discrimination was on the grounds of designing their product for a social ceremony they see (quite reasonably) that goes against their religious beliefs. It was not discriminating against the letter of the law regarding the sexual orientation of its potential customer.

    Option 6) Limit the penalties a court can impose on either parties or a subsection of parties that fall foul to equality legislation.

    Option 7) Create a law which allows either all businesses or a subsection of businesses to refuse accepting orders on either all grounds or defined grounds based on their own freely chosen decision.

    Don’t tell me again i am being vague and not engaging in (your) issues. You will find most of these points already mentioned in previous posts,

    I have mentioned them while at the same time conveying to you that i do not accept the morality of equality legislation nor the abuse of them by activists. These are the basic issues and i stand by that. There can be no agreement there. There is no agreement there. That is the problem.

    It is a problem that has been created by the political activists. It is secular political activism that is continually causing a disrespect (as you put it) for …..:parliament elected by popular sufferage and applied by magistrates”.

  • eireanne3

    am not sure legally speaking if that type of generic notice would suffice to avoid any further embarrassment through the courts.

    In the notice Ashers would probably need to cover all bases by specifying what they consider “unwanted” types of customers.

    Best to let all potential customers know exactly where they stand so that only the “saved” will darken their doors.

    And Ashers will never, never, ever have to refuse orders that conflict with their conscience or be coerced into promoting other people’s views