Warning — political and religious views will be included in this post. If you lack open mindedness — I may offend some. I tend to do that from time to time (actually, quite often)
I am a supporter of cake. I love to eat cake. I love to bake cake. I’ll even bake you a cake if you ask me nicely and give me an occasion to, yet some people don’t like baking cake for other people — well if you don’t fit into their tiny category of approved lifestyles that is.
Even Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake!” — Well, okay actually what she meant was she was going to eat cake while her people starved because she was young and poorly prepared to lead a country (and really loved expensive cakes), but for the sake of my argument, we will say that she was a supporter of the idea of cake.
The controversy at hand is of course much bigger than cake, but let’s look at it from a simplified perspective of who deserves cake and who gets to decides this.
I researched and found out that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was introduced by NY Congressman Charles Schumer and signed into law by President Clinton. The act was supposed to “ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.” That’s absolutely awesome, because we are the United States after all and founded on the idea that religious tolerance is expected from its citizens. I would be lying if I told you that I understood these newer laws of recent weeks. Laws which don’t seem to protect all citizens equally.
Now back to cake…
My interpretation of religious tolerance means that everyone should be allowed to eat cake. But even further, you should be allowed to buy cake from people who know how to bake it. I’ve yet to order a cake from a bakery and have anyone question who I sleep with when I go home. It’s never actually come up. My sex life that is. No one in a bakery ever asked me.
So my first thought when I heard about the bakery in Oregon refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is that this is ridiculous. It’s 2015. A cake that would look like any other wedding cake to be used at the celebration of two people publicly declaring their love and devotion for each other. I just had a conversation weeks earlier with a gay friend and we were both discussing the amazing accomplishments the community has made in just the past couple of years. We wondered about what the next movement would be — the causes our children would take up and fight for. But like all movements, there are set backs. Whether we look at the movement for racial equality or gender equality, there are still, even today, so much of it that is far from done. Really. Far. From. Finished.
Back to cake. So imagine if I refuse to sell you cake based on my religious beliefs? Where does it end? If I am basing it on your sex life, do I refuse cakes for baby showers of unmarried women? Birthday cake for those children born out of wedlock? If you don’t like same gender marriages, I wonder how you feel about mixed race marriages? What if you had an abortion? Do adulterers deserve cake? Do divorced people deserve cake or even cookies? Or beyond your sex life — What if I don’t sell you cake because you’re fat? Or because you have a different religion? Should we maybe ask everyone to fill out a questionnaire?
I don’t know if sins are in fact measured on any sort of scale, but if it is, I think people who love each other in spite of their differences are much less sinful than those who hate and hurt others. And most bakeries have large glass windows — which makes me wonder why anyone would throw stones. My God is also tolerant. I think He prefers that the world were filled with love and tolerance too. I also think He’s a fan of cake. I think He wants us all to eat it. I’m not sure why He’s made the calories quite so high. I think He likes irony too.
When I bake, I do it with love. Sometimes it’s the scary — you’d do best to stay out of my way because this is going to be the best f*cking cake you’ve ever eaten — kind of LOVE (ask my husband — he’s witnessed these mad episodes of ‘baking is an art’ and maybe at times I take it too seriously). But there’s love in it and you can taste it. Which might be why I was so surprised that someone who does this for a living could be hateful. To want to deprive someone of the joy of receiving and eating cake. It’s just mean, actually.
I am not trying to criticize people who act in their faith either –as long as it isn’t hurting others. This is what makes these topics so volatile. People have strong reasons on both sides of these arguments. But I keep getting pulled back to the idea of loving thy neighbor. LOVE. In the news, it feels like I keep hearing about a lot of hate. I don’t condone actions that come from those dark places. I don’t know how businesses can be successful if they choose to only sell their products to the people who they deem morally worthy (this bakery closed up shortly after due to protests from the gay and lesbian community — which is sad too, because these owners lost their livelihood). Damage was done to both sides.
I find the idea of this unsettling because once upon a time in a place called America, there were signs hung in businesses stating exactly who was welcome and who would be served. I read about in school. I never thought it’d happen again.
I wonder precisely when our culture became so obsessed with what happens in other people’s bedrooms? What if we used that energy and enthusiasm and worked together to tackle something much larger — like education, hunger, poverty, the environment, sustainability? There’s like 8 million issues more urgent than what is happening in the bedroom of consenting adults.
Julia Child once said “A party without cake is just a meeting.” If my office promised cake at the conclusion of every dull meeting — things would get DONE. I promise you. Decisions would be made and then we’d all eat up. Maybe we should serve cake at EVERY single session of Congress? Maybe that is what can be taken away from this.