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.