Daniel McArthur, general manager of Ashers Baking Company, has spoken of Jesus’ sustaining power during the difficult four years of legal challenges.
Addressing journalists assembled outside the Royal Courts of Justice, as the Supreme Court prepared to hear their case, Mr McArthur said the issue of ‘compelled speech’ is central.
Ashers’ owners are defending themselves against an Equality Commission for Northern Ireland charge, after they declined to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake.
Daniel McArthur said: ‘Good morning. Thank you all for coming. Four years ago, my family came under attack for exercising our basic right to live by our beliefs, to live as Christians. We were asked to use our creative skills to endorse a message at odds with everything we believe, and were sued because we said we couldn’t do that.
‘We didn’t say no because of the customer; we’d served him before, we’d gladly serve him again. It was because of the message. This has always been about the message. But some people want the law to make us support something with which we disagree.
‘We’d rather it hadn’t come to this. But the Equality Commission has pushed for an interpretation of the law which extinguishes conscience. They seem to think that some people are more equal than others.
‘This isn’t what the law is designed to do. And it’s not just us that feel this way. Many people are worried about what all this could mean. The general public can see this and that is why they have supported us so strongly these last four years.
‘We’re often asked how this case has impacted us as a family. It’s been hard. But we don’t go through this alone. Jesus Christ has been with us every step, sustaining us with his grace and his peace.
‘We know that through his coming to die for us, we can find forgiveness and we can be saved, and that he has done far more for us than we can ever do for him. Thank you.’
Judges at the UK’s highest court are currently considering the Asher’s case. The Christian Institute ask, ‘Please sign our petition in support of the McArthur family, and pray with us for them’.