plea for sanity

Like any American with both a head and a heart, I am appalled that Washington State is about to destroy the livelihood and savings of Barronelle Stutzman, the kind grandmother whose florist shop enjoys serving homosexual customers but doesn’t wish to participate in the celebration of their marriage.

Stutzman’s response should make every Christian proud. When asked what she would say to her old friend who is suing her (and winning), Stutzman said, “I would love to give him a hug and tell him things are going to be OK.” She continued, “I had a good relationship with Rob and I served him for years. We did have a personal relationship, and I think the world of him. We just disagree on what marriage is.” And for that, she will lose the business she has operated for more than thirty years. Her employees will lose their jobs. Her shuttered shore will contribute to urban blight. All because an old friend felt slighted about his wedding.

On the other side, last week I heard about a pediatrician in Detroit who refused to take as a patient the child of a gay couple. It isn’t clear from the article if the doctor is Christian or Muslim, but regardless of the religion, every Christian I know believes this is indefensible, abhorrent, and needlessly offensive. It is wrong to discriminate against any person, whatever your religion.

So how about this for a sensible middle ground? Any business must serve any person, but it must not be required to serve every act. Despite what they say, the left is capable of making this distinction. I know this because a staple of Oprahesque self-help seminars is that people are human beings, not human doings. That is all Mrs. Stutzman is saying. She is pleased to serve the human being, as long as she doesn’t have to participate in the human doing.

This simple distinction between being and doing will free religious folks to continue to serve all comers, and it will free homosexuals to not act as Bridezillas, destroying the lives of loving grandmothers, damaging the local economy, and contributing to urban blight. Will this happen? Only if America has any sense. Either way, Jesus must be very proud of Mrs. Stutzman.

The homosexual lobby likes to say that gay rights is the new black. But there is another lesson from the civil rights movement that is more instructive. The tide turned against white supremacists when they were seen beating up innocent, kind-hearted black people. Righteous indignation goes a long way. The left may bully Mrs. Stutzman, but with her defeat, the tide may be already turning.

Image by Senel Olivieri. Used by permission. Sourced via Flickr.



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27 responses to “plea for sanity”

  1. Mark R Hazen

    I appreciate the thoughtful article. Thanks, Mike – Mark Hazen

  2. Ray Paget

    I read Mrs. Stutzman’s reply to the judge’s offer towards settlement. It was very well worded and thought out. I haven’t read what she was expected to do as far as her participation at the homosexual wedding. Apparently it was more than just selling flowers, as she has been doing that for years.

  3. I’ve struggled with the concept that business must “serve” all who come in their doors. I believe there are clear exceptions, and the case of the Michigan Pediatrician may be one of them.

  4. Nathan

    Parenting is doing, so I’m not going to support gay parenting. My Christian conscience and deeply held beliefs won’t allow me to be the child’s doctor. Why are people imposing on my religious liberty?

  5. Darius T

    Why must a business serve every person? Why can’t businesses be free to serve whomever they want? Let the free markets show them how smart it is to be a jerk. If a business doesn’t want to serve white people, or Africans, or homosexuals, or red heads, etc., so what? They can go down the street to a different store and let all of their friends know about that offensive business.

  6. mikewittmer

    The doctor isn’t supporting gay parenting. She would be serving the health of a child. Her views on gay parenting are clear. She isn’t compromising anything by serving a child, who by the way had no say in who her parents are.

  7. mikewittmer

    Darius, interesting point about whether there should be a law requiring service, but I think you’d agree that morally speaking, we should serve every person. Not every immoral act should be illegal, but some should be. I’d hope Christians would live above the basic requirements of a just law, as God holds us to a higher standard.

  8. Why is the gay wedding/parenting any different from the weddings of divorcees/adulterers, or athiest parenting?

    I understand the position of not desiring to participate, but it seems there is a distinction, a line being drawn that isn’t Biblical. When did being gay trump being Muslim, athiest, a liar, alcoholic, con man etc?

  9. mikewittmer

    David: not sure what all of this means. The most important thing here is that no one is compelling a person against their will to participate in a wedding of any of the people you mentioned. That would be equally wrong.

    Regarding the other question, I don’t know anyone who is arguing for the marriage of adulterers or against the marriage of atheists or Muslims. Marriage is a creation covenant, and open to con men and alcoholics too. In some cases, marriage is the solution to sin. E.g., if two people are living together, a pastor who does their marriage is not condoning their sin but helping them to come out of it (I have urged pastors in this situation to require a period of abstinence/separation before the wedding, to help preserve what is left of the purity of the marriage).

  10. Darius T

    Mike, agreed.

    I consider the portion of the Civil Rights Act (Title II) that requires private business owners to serve everyone with regards to race, color, and religion to be an egregious overreach of federal power and what has directly led us to the problem of Barronelle Stutzman. Legally, I should be perfectly free to choose with whom I do business, either as a customer or as a seller of goods/services. If we repealed Title II, we would completely undermine all of the pressure against Stutzman and other Christians on this issue.

    To your point though… agreed that Christians should be willing to serve everyone (but not necessarily every “human doing” as you put it). We should go above and beyond the law.

    David, leaving aside the parenting question, for I’m not sure of all the details and that gets complex… purely addressing the homosexual “wedding” topic: if a florist knew that a wedding was clearly immoral and unbiblical based on a past divorce, then yes, the florist should not involve herself in that wedding, since her involvement would be helping to make beautiful that which is inherently not. BUT, the marital past of a couple is rarely public knowledge for most florists. On the other hand, a homosexual “wedding” is clearly and publicly a contradiction in terms, and everyone knows it. Such a “mirage” only helps the sinners involved feel more approved of by society and by God.

  11. mikewittmer

    Good points, Darius. Florists and bakers are not required to quiz every customer to see if their marriage would be a sin. But when something is called to their attention, they would have to respond if they see their work as more than just a job, but a calling from God.

  12. John R.

    Mike–I appreciate your writings, and this piece. As a plea for sanity, it is eminently sane and reasonable, However, we will all probably have to recognize that there will not be any acceptable “middle ground” as you propose, because for this movement, the “doings” are what it’s about. I know we tend to pretty it up with our euphemisms, but at root this is a movement to sacralize sodomy. They will brook no compromises–our approval is demanded, and anything short will threaten the effort at moral justification.

  13. Darius T

    Exactly, John. At the root of this issue is the need for sodomites to get approval of their sin; cause deep down, they know that it is sin. They don’t want us to merely “allow” them to embrace their sin, or to “tolerate” their sin in society. They desire approval. They crave freedom from the condemnation they feel in their souls. And no matter how much human approval they get, they will never attain that which only the blood of Christ can provide them.

  14. mikewittmer

    I agree, John. I am not optimistic. I just wanted to go on record that I’m the sane one!

  15. John R.

    Darius T.–very well put, on all fronts. Sadly, the idiocy of racism forever did away with our real rights of free association. Perhaps the rest of this is even God’s judgment on us for that. But in any case, that egregious overreach of the federal government is never going away.

    Regarding the duties of a Christian florist when it comes to marriage, I don’t think any Christian has the duty to suss out all the possible sins involved in a marriage. They need not know more than is right in front of them–which is whether it could even be a marriage at all. The problems here are obvious and public, as they would be if, say, a man were attempting to marry a 6-year-old, or his horse. Colombo is not needed. A marriage between an adulterous woman and man is a sinful marriage, but the Christian florist has no duty to do the work of a pastor or a private investigator to determine their history. A “marriage” between two men is no marriage at all. We don’t need to provide flowers for the gay “marriage” any more than our mathematicians need to validate the latest square circle.

  16. John R.

    Darius–again, well said. Mike–duly noted! I knew SOMEONE had to be sane!

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  18. […] A plea for sanity – Mike Wittmer […]

  19. The sad state of affairs in this is that there are groups of human beings finding their identity in their doings. Well thought out contribution to Christian thinking here. Thank you.

  20. If Ms Stutzman is not able to comply with anti-discrimination laws, she has made her choice and must live with the consequences of her choice. She deserves no special right to break the law nor to discriminate against other people. If she is unable to follow the laws of being a public business, then she is unfit to run a public business. She has nothing to blame but her own bigotry against her GLBT neighbors.

  21. […] plea for sanity | Don’t Stop Believing […]

  22. Rick

    Kat, you apparently are not very interested in listening to others who think differently than you about these things. (Your comment misses the point of the post and ignores the substance of the other comments.) You apparently have not bothered to understand Mrs. Stutzman’s position or her sincerely held religious beliefs regarding the nature of marriage – either that or you don’t care about religious freedom. You are quite quick to declare this kind, loving, dedicated and successful woman a bigot – despite the fact that she has knowingly, freely, and graciously served this homosexual man and others for years, that she has thought very highly of him, and that she maintains affectionate regard for him even after he has sought to destroy her business and her life and has succeeded in the former. You have a very strange definition of bigotry. But I don’t suppose you are too troubled by changing the meaning of many things, regardless of its destructive effects, if it advances your personal interests. Despite your attempts and others’, three things remain clear: The nature of marriage has not changed (nor can it) from what it has been from the beginning (Matt. 19:1-12), Mrs. Stutzman, who agrees with Jesus on this issue, is no more a bigot than is Jesus for doing so, and efforts at redefinition and personal destruction can never destroy the life of the person who is in Christ – who is the Truth and the Life, and the Way. You too should bow to Him, submit to His word, believe the gospel, and find forgiveness and everlasting life in HIs name. I pray you will. Sincerely.

  23. Reblogged this on and commented:
    The homosexual lobby likes to say that gay rights is the new black. But there is another lesson from the civil rights movement that is more instructive. The tide turned against white supremacists when they were seen beating up innocent, kind-hearted black people. Righteous indignation goes a long way. The left may bully Mrs. Stutzman, but with her defeat, the tide may be already turning.

  24. […] Plea for Sanity – Mike Wittmer […]

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