Supporting #ashersbakery

Our prayers and support are with the MacArthur family - the owners of the Ashers Baking Company.

Last year, the courts ruled that the MacArthur family had discriminated against a gay customer for refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.They were ordered to pay £500 in damages to the gay rights activist.

Today, they sought to appeal the court's decision. However, the process has been brought to a standstill to allow for an intervention by Northern Ireland's top legal adviser. This is to discover if there is any conflict between the region's equality legislation and European human rights laws.

In the meantime, we must stand in solidarity with the MacArthur family. We must pray for them as they make a bold and brave stand - against much hatred and opposition. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We rejoice and praise God that their faith has been strenghtened as a result of this situation.

As Christians, we must recognise that this decision has profound implications for Christians, particuarly with regards to freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

You can watch a clip of them being interviewed here. I am so heartened by Daniel MacArthur's speech:

Daniel MacArthur, General Manager of Ashers Bakery:

"We took issue with the message on the cake and not the customer, and as a family we do believe we should retain the freedom to decline business that would force us to promote a cause with which we profoundly disagree."

"As Christians we cannot simply switch off our faith when we enter the workplace on a Monday morning."

"To be a Christian at all is to strive to live for Christ in every corner of our lives."

"We were simply unwilling to endorse a campaign for a new law that so clearly goes against what the Bible says about marriage. And for that we were punished."

"Christians are law-abiding citizens and we expect the law to protect us as much as anyone else."

"We hope that the judicial system will now make the correct decision and protect our freedom to carry out our work without being forced to violate our consciences."

"As a family we have found the whole legal process very difficult."

"We would rather not have to be here today. But we knew that we had to appeal, not only on our own behalf, but on behalf of other family businesses who could be forced to endorse or promote views with which they profoundly disagree."

He added: "We appeal to those who would condemn us for our actions to consider what they would have done if they were required by law to use their creative abilities to help promote a cause which went against their strongest convictions.