The Western Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland has expressed its support for Christians targeted by the decision of the Equality Commission to take civil action against Ashers Bakery.
Rev. Steven Robinson from Drumahoe released a statement on behalf of the Western Presbytery, which addressed the Equality Commission move in the wake of the Ashers bakery refusal to decorate a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage.
It states: “Ashers Bakery has clearly not refused to provide goods and services to certain sections of the public on the basis of their ‘sexual orientation, religious belief and political opinion.’
“However, it was only at the point where the provision of goods and services in this case conflicted with their Christian beliefs that they refused to print a message on a cake that was contrary to those beliefs.”
The statement goes on: “For clarity and the avoidance of a potential litany of legal proceedings, the law should be amended to make it clear that there is an overriding protection for the freedom of conscience in the provision of goods and services by the provider.
“The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland believes that Christians have a duty to love God and their fellow man in accordance with His word contained in the Bible.
“Tragically, many of the Christian values that were the strength of our society have been eroded and are under attack. As a consequence those who love God’s law and believe that it is good for the individual, family and society, can face persecution.
“We pray for the owners of Ashers Bakery as they defend their religious beliefs and for all Christians as they try to live and work in accordance with the Bible in the face of opposition.”
The Ashers Baking Co. in Newtonabbey rose to prominence last year when it refused to promote ‘gay marriage’ by icing a cake.
The bakery refused to ice a ‘Support Gay Marriage’ slogan over an image of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie.