Jack Phillips’s Masterpiece Cakeshop & Religious Liberty – Why Colorado Baker Matters

Baker Jack Phillips talks to the media after oral argument in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case in Washington, DC, December 5, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters)

The Colorado baker continues to fight for religious freedom and to win. His example shows that Americans can be persuaded on this issue.

Yesor Colorado government may remember seven year crusade to destroy Masterpiece Cake Shop owner Jack Phillips after the baker refused to design a specialty cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig’s gay wedding ceremony in 2012 – this, before gay marriage was even legalized in Colorado or recognized by federal courts.

After years of tax and personal struggles, Phillips was finally vindicated by a 2018 Supreme Court decision who concluded that Colorado civil rights commissioners had shown “a clear and unacceptable hostility to sincere religious beliefs” in their efforts to punish him for thought crimes – which was a gracious way of pointing out that some disturbed members of the commission had assimilated Phillips to a Nazi and segregationist simply because he wouldn’t let two bullies and the Colorado government coerce him into designing a cake.

Then again, the court ruling, while widely celebrated by conservatives, only partially addressed the issue of the free exercise of faith in the face of threats, leaving the lower courts to determine the intentions of the bureaucrats who hunt down religious Americans, rather than relying on plain language. of the First Amendment. Commissioners will simply avoid saying the ugly part out loud in the future. And few Americans will have the financial means to resist a government that can annihilate their life’s work in a matter of months.

Even with that victory, Phillips was soon back in court, this time defending his decision not to bake a special transition-themed cake in 2017. A transgender activist named Autumn Scardina, who is also believed to have request Phillips for making “a picture of Satan smoking marijuana,” “Satan’s Church” and “a three-tier white cake” with a “large figure of Satan licking a nine-inch black dildo,” filed a complaint . Instead of starting the whole cycle over with the same person, Colorado dismissed the majority of the charges.

Rather than appeal the Commission’s dismissal, Scardina sued for $ 100,000 in damages, fines and attorney’s fees. A district court heard the arguments Last week.

For the sin of being one of the first Americans to resist this new cultural imperialism, Phillips will likely be harassed to the grave. But if you think these battles aren’t worth fighting, or if you think the trajectory of the problem is unstoppable, Phillips (and others like him) have proven the critics wrong. And not just because their positions can spur the courts to uphold the right to religious freedom against the mob, but because minds can change.

A new range survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that while a large majority of Americans still support “protections against LGBTQ discrimination,” nearly four in ten now believe that “denial of service” to LGBTQ people is business owners say serving them violates their religious beliefs is good – and the intensity of those who oppose “denial” of service has diminished.

“Support for LGBT rights continues to be strong and widespread in all 50 states. The questions which, in the recent past, have delimited the main political and religious loopholes now find broad agreement ”. said Robert P. Jones, CEO and Founder of PRRI. “However, this landmark survey also reveals some erosion in opposition to allowing business owners to refuse to serve gays and lesbians because of their religious beliefs.”

Why does Jones think the movement in the polls is an “erosion” rather than a “renaissance” in understanding the proper role of religious freedom or a “growth” in the belief that there can be a peaceful coexistence between Americans with different worldviews? Well, because his poll – and all of its wording of the question – is misleading and intended to elicit a negative opinion from Americans like Jack Phillips.

For example, in most – if not all – high-profile religious freedom cases, the store owner does not “deny” anyone the “service.” This scenario is an invention of LBGT activists, regurgitated by the press and activist pollsters. Phillips refused to take orders from a couple who walked into his bakery and demanded that he create a unique product just for them with a message contradicting his faith. He didn’t ask them if they were gay or transgender, and he never “turned down” service to anyone – in fact, he went out of his way to offer Mullins and Craig products in his shop. shop. Phillips also wouldn’t have created a cake to celebrate gay marriage or a transitional celebration – or Satan indulging in fellatio – for straight couples. There are a bunch of stores nearby that will do this.

Do most Americans really believe that store owners should be slaves to the whims of those who enter their establishments? If PRRI were to ask Americans the honest question – something like, “Should godly clerics be forced to create unique products with messages that conflict with their beliefs simply because the person claiming it is gay or transgender?” in the PRRI poll would be much more dramatic. This is why PRRI is not asking the right question.

If Colorado’s state-sponsored persecution couldn’t break Phillips, the continued harassment he faces is unlikely to make him surrender. But it’s also worth remembering that Phillips, whether he knows it or not, has fought not only to honor his faith and save his business, but also for everyone who values ​​religious freedom in America.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National review and the author of First Freedom: A Tour Through America’s Enduring History With The Gun.


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