Thousands flock to show support for Ashers Baking Co.
Thu, 12 Feb 2015
Over two thousand people came to hear from Christians who have faced legal action because of their faith at meetings in Northern Ireland.
The speakers included Daniel McArthur, the General Manager of Ashers Baking Company, which is facing court next month for refusing to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake last year.
B&B owner Hazelmary Bull shared her story of being sued by a homosexual couple over their policy of offering double rooms to married couples only.
Christian printer Nick Williamson also spoke about his experience of facing the threat of legal action from an equality quango for refusing to print a gay magazine. All three received help from The Christian Institute.
The Institute’s Northern Ireland Officer, Callum Webster, said the huge crowds attending the meetings show the overwhelming support for protecting Gospel freedoms in the Province.
He said: “We are hugely encouraged by seeing so many people from all over the Province. People from all sorts of backgrounds turned out to hear from Christians who have faced immense pressure for living according to their faith in the public square.
“It shows that the voice of all those who value religious freedom in Northern Ireland needs to be heard, and we hope that this sends a strong message to those who are threatening to curtail our freedom to live according to our conscience.”
“Most people accept that the bakery was perfectly happy to bake cakes for anyone. The issue is whether people should be compelled to say things that they don’t believe.
Mr Webster concluded: “If Ashers Baking Company loses this case, what’s to stop a Nationalist baker having to make a King Billy cake or a Unionist printer having to supply leaflets with a ‘Support a united Ireland’ slogan? This is not what the equality laws are meant to do. We cannot sleepwalk into becoming a nation where coerced speech is acceptable.”
“We believe God has been very gracious in blessing our meetings in Northern Ireland, and our prayer is that everyone who attended feels strengthened in their faith and able to proclaim the Gospel freely in their everyday lives”, he added.
At the meetings, Daniel McArthur talked about the help his family has received from The Christian Institute.
“We’re so thankful for them and to Christians around the UK who have been praying, or phoned, written, or come into the shop to show support. It has been a real encouragement – not just to my family but to everyone involved with the business.”
He also said: “The Equality Commission seem determined to punish us for our beliefs, but we believe that God in his sovereignty is in control and His purposes will prevail.”