Wedding cakes, that is.
“Designing each wedding cake is an expressive act, as I create an artistic centerpiece that announces a couple’s union as a marriage and tells part of their story.”
The words of Jack Phillips, the master of Masterpiece Cake Shop who sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for ruling against him in a case brought by two gay men who wished Phillips to make a special wedding cake for their LGBT ceremony. Phillips refused citing a severe and serious conflict with his faith. Phillips, a strong Christian and “follower of Jesus” believed that marriage, as ordained by the Bible, was a union between one man and one woman and not two men. Said Jack Phillips:
“My perspective and beliefs are inseparable from the work I create.” So, no creative, artistic cake from Masterpiece Cake Shop for this gay wedding. Interestingly, Phillips went on to state the following:
“My home state (Colorado) took my craft away from me after decades of development.”
Phillips went on to state that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had no right to virtually shut him down and require him, force him to make a product which in fact violated his religious beliefs. Even though he “politely declined,” Phillips told the two gay men that he would sell them anything else in the shop or that he would even create a cake for them for a different event. The gay couple went immediately to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, filed a complaint, the commission acted on that complaint in an aggressive and insulting way ruling against Phillips and the case proceeded through the federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court which overturned the decisions of the Commission, the lower federal courts and ruled for Phillips.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices set aside a Colorado Court ruling against Phillips, but SCOTUS made clear that they issued a narrow ruling focusing on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the part of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. That is all, nothing more. The court said that the “broader issue,” that is the fundamental rights of the practice of religious freedom (First Amendment) and the newly found Constitutional rights of gays and homosexuals at work, inevitably clashing would require a different case at another time for resolution. That of course was disappointing to conservatives and Christians, but at least the Supreme Court issued a stern warning that any evidence of anti-religious bias would not be tolerated.
Justice Kennedy wrote the decision and stated the following:
“The Commission’s hostility (anti-religious bias) was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in the matter that is NEUTRAL TOWARD RELIGION. The reason and motive for the baker’s refusal was based on his sincere religious beliefs and convictions. The Court’s precedents made clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws.”
And with that, Phillips, although he suffered serious financial loss, and business and to some extent reputation, was allowed to resume his life’s work without being forced to work against his strongly held religious convictions. Said Phillips in response:
“The High Court let me live my faith again. The justices affirmed that I don’t have to violate my beliefs to work as a cake artist.”
So then, Phillips went by his conscience and would not allow that conscience to be compromised or his constitutionally protected Christian beliefs about marriage to be violated. And there indeed was a man who put his all on the altar, and almost lost it all, in the defense of his faith. There will be more of that to come, for sure, for so many in the future. The cultural wars have only just begun.
It is interesting that Justice Kennedy who wrote the decision was plainly bothered by the arguments of a commissioner from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who, in Kennedy’s words, “seemed neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.” Concurring in the decision, six other justices namely Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Roberts, and even liberal justices Kagan and Breyer agreed. The two Supreme Court justices who disagreed and issued a separate opinion were Sotomayor and Ginsburg, each the most liberal of the Supreme Court justices whose reaction and decision making are virtually always predictable no matter the Constitution. Kagan and Breyer made it clear, however, that the broader issue, the fundamental large scale clash between the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion and the newly found “Constitutional” rights of the LGBTQ community would be decided at a later time and on the basis of another case. So, we wait, conservatives and Christians do for that case to come and that decision to be made. And that will undoubtedly occur, perhaps even soon. When it does, you can be sure that Sotomayor and Ginsburg have already made up their minds and will vote against the First Amendment’s Constitutional right of Freedom of Religion. Listen to the words of Justice Ginsburg who wrote for herself and for Sotomayor:
“I see no reason why the comments of one or two commissioners should be taken to overcome Phillips refusal to sell a wedding cake to Craig and Mullins (the gay couple).”
No reason means, at least to these two justices, that there is no need, “no reason” which can justify the freedom of religion and its practice to counteract the gay rights of the LGBTQ community.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Phillips wrote a compelling testimony:
“My beliefs about marriage come from my reading of the Bible.
Describing marriage, Jesus said, ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ (Mark 10:7-8)
This shows clearly that God intends marriage to be a union between a husband and a wife.”
And indeed it does, one man, one woman, beautifully and simply expressed in the Bible, a religious maxim, and something which no Christian can compromise.
Said Phillips of Charlie Craig and David Mullins, Denver-ites and the gay couple who sued him, the following:
“The men who sued me say I discriminated against them.
That’s not true.
Declining to design something because of what it celebrates isn’t the same as refusing to serve people because of who they are.
Those men are welcome in my shop today just as they were in 2012.”
I’d be willing to bet that neither Craig nor Mullins would ever enter that shop again even though they would be welcomed according to Phillips.
And Phillips expresses his concern about the future and the SCOTUS decision making to come. He wonders and rightly so the following:
“Will devout Christians, Muslims and other believers be told that some professions are now off limits to them, along with their shot at the American Dream?”
And so very well said. If the radical, anti-religious forces have their way, you may be certain that will in fact happen. But hopefully, REASON, not of course from Ginsburg and Sotomayor will prevail, this precious Constitutional right will be upheld and no matter the ever-growing quality of gay rights, the right to believe, and practice both faith and religion will be upheld once and for all.
Phillips was defending by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), one great organization. We intend to learn more about the great legal work involved especially from Phillips’ primary attorney Kristen Waggoner, who did a brilliant legal job. We now seek the opportunity to interview Phillips ourselves so that we can bring to you his very personal thoughts and testimony regarding this matter. Hopefully, that will occur. We, the Crawford Broadcasting Company, like Phillips are in the fight for our beloved America, our irreplaceable Constitution, and especially the fight for the protection of the First Amendment of that Constitution which calls for the unbridled and unabridged freedom of speech, and press, and in the case of devout Christians, religion, ESPECIALLY RELIGION. We hope that you are as well. It took almost six years an incredible financial loss, pain and suffering and uncertainty on the part of Jack Phillips to eventually achieve this very special result from our Supreme Court. We have witnessed the uncompromising faith at work of a man fully devoted to Jesus Christ. I applaud this man, for all that he has done, more so for all that he is and believes and should the time come, I will do the same.
And, I hope and pray that you will as well. It is time now, and once again, as the Apostle Paul told us 2,000 years ago:
“It is time, really the time to FIGHT THE FIGHT OF FAITH!”