Corwin spent a troubled night trying to understand why his Christian friends did not want to provide their services for same-sex weddings. They were good at what they did; photographers, bakers, dress makers and the like. They seemed like good people. They went to church and talked about how they loved God.
As he drifted back to sleep, Corwin found himself walking along an abandoned road. He came upon an old playground and, to his surprise, his Christian friends were there playing with a group of African-American children. The playground appeared to be someplace in the southern United States and the time was around 1965. The swings and slides were old and you could still see that the drinking fountains had been labeled “White” and “Colored” from the days of “separate but equal.”
He stood and watched his friends play with the children for a long time and the day began to grow warmer. The children became thirsty and walked to the drinking fountain that was labeled “White” and his friends stopped the children and took them to the drinking fountain labeled “Colored.” He was confused and angry. Didn’t his friends know that the law had changed? These children had every right to drink from whatever fountain they wanted.
Corwin walked onto the playground and his friends welcomed him and asked if he would join them. In his anger, he criticized the man for forcing the child to follow the old ways of discrimination. Didn’t he know that the law had changed? Didn’t his God call him to a higher standard than that? His friend just said, “This is your first visit to the playground? Let me explain.”
He told Corwin that the playground had been abandoned after the law changed. It was the only place these children had to play before and they were left without a safe place. So, his friends had been slowly reclaiming the playground, fixing the equipment, and keeping the grass mowed. They also came over to play with the children several days a week.
“Yes,” he said, “that was great, but what about the drinking fountain? How could you force the children to drink from the Colored fountain?” His friend explained that the two fountains were fed by separate water lines. They believed the water line to the White fountain had developed a leak and the water was contaminated. Children who drank from that fountain had sometimes become sick. They wanted to turn the fountain off. But, the city insists that the water is fine and won’t let them turn the water off. Luckily, the water line that fed the Colored fountain was still good and the water was fresh. The children could drink all they wanted from that fountain and no one ever got sick. “Now,” he said, “we ask them to drink from the old Colored fountain because we know something about the water that the children don’t know.”
The playground and children faded away. Corwin was standing with his Christian friend outside the bakery that his friend owned. The baker had recently told a gay couple that he would not bake the cake for their wedding. Corwin couldn’t understand why. Didn’t his friend know that the law had changed? Why was he clinging to the old ways? Does the Bible say that a baker can’t make a cake for a gay wedding?
The baker explained that the question isn’t that simple. The Bible says that intimate relations between two people of the same sex is a sin. And, if a person chooses to sin intentionally over and over again, they could be separated from God forever. To the baker, that is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. “So,” Corwin said, “to you, helping a gay couple with their wedding is like helping a child drink from the contaminated fountain? You don’t know for sure that it could hurt them, but you believe that it could be very serious and you don’t feel right about it.” The baker nodded.
Corwin was back in the park. A child was pulling on his hand and asking for help getting a drink from the White fountain. Corwin reached down, picked her up, and turned the handle. The water bubbled up cool and clear. It didn’t look bad. He paused. “You know, my friend the baker thinks this water could make us sick. I’m thirsty too, how about if I carry you to the other fountain and we get a drink there?’
To go to the Oberfefell resource page, follow this link.