Ian Major sees yesterday's ruling against Ashers as a draconian measure that can only be detrimental to civil and religious liberties. Ian Major was a pastor to prisoners in Northern Ireland - part-time from 1980, full-time from 1991-1998. He is a member of his local Baptist Church.
'Civil and religious liberty are natural and fundamental rights that must be promoted and defended by all who claim the title of Loyalist (From William Mitchell’s Principles of Loyalism document, 2002)'.
The Ashers outcome should be a wake up call to anyone who values freedom of conscience. No doubt many atheists are laughing today, for it's cheap and easy to oppress Christians.
But ask yourself if you were the baker, would you bake a cake promoting something you held to be immoral, or even just a bad idea?
"Support the Tory Cuts"?
"Ulster is British"?
"Lower the Age of Consent to Nine"?
If you were a gay baker, should you be forced to bake a cake with the slogan, "Oppose Gay Marriage"?
Ha, Ha, it's only the Christians - but the principle established yesterday is a weapon that can be used against anybody. Good to see some atheists, like Fionola Meredith in the Belfast Telegraph, recognise the threat.
Remember the lesson of history:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me'
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
Civil and Religious Liberty were crushed yesterday - as I'm sure my friend Billy Mitchell would have recognised.