Now that all the talking heads and other experts have weighed in on the recent Supreme Court decision – let me add my two cents.
The U.S. supreme Court handed down a rather limp decision this week in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The justices decided, in a 7-2 decision, that, “a Christian baker didn’t get a fair hearing before a state civil-rights commission and therefore shouldn’t be penalized for turning away a same-sex couple.” So writes the Wall Street Journal.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was perfectly within his rights to refuse to bake a wedding cake for the homosexual couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights specifies, “Congress shall make no law” prohibiting the free exercise of one’s religion. But that’s exactly what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did. The commission’s ruling was completely one-sided, as were the lower courts, when it was clear by Phillip’s own words that his intention was not to discriminate, but merely freely exercise his religious beliefs.
If he were discriminating against the couple, he would refuse to serve them anything. And as an aside, my opinion of the Constitution is that any private citizen or business should be able to discriminate. Let the marketplace decide. And furthermore – again, in my opinion – this was a set up. The baker may not have been targeted from the start, but was once he refused.
Phillips explains things in a piece he wrote for USA Today in December:
“Designing a wedding cake is a very different thing from, say, baking a brownie. When people commission such a cake, they’re requesting something that’s designed to express something about the event and about the couple. What I design is not just a tower of flour and sugar, but a message tailored to a specific couple and a specific event – a message telling all who see it that this event is a wedding and that it is an occasion for celebration. In this case, I couldn’t. What a cake celebrating this event would communicate was a message that contradicts my deepest religious convictions, and as an artist, that’s just not something I’m able to do, so I politely declined.”
He also added that he did not decline to sell them a cake. “I’m happy to sell a cake to anyone, whatever his or her sexual identity. People should be free to make their own moral choices. I don’t have to agree with them.”
By agreeing to craft a wedding cake for the two men, he would, in effect, be putting his stamp of approval on the ceremony.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission asserted that Phillips violated the law by not extending equal rights to the couple, yet SCOTUS “cited evidence that the Colorado commission hadn’t treated Mr. Phillips on par with other bakers who, for instance, weren’t punished for refusing to bake cakes with messages denigrating same-sex marriage.”
But although it is being hailed as a victory, the final verdict by the court was weak at best. Daniel Horowitz, senior editor of Conservative Review, summed up the high-court ruling nicely:
Folks, this opinion is insanely narrow and the fight against religious liberty and the codification of rainbow jihad as the religion of the land has only begun. We need legislation pushing back. Yes, it could have been worse, but this is hardly reason to celebrate.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) June 4, 2018
And he and other right-thinkers are correct. Although Jack Phillips has been saved, the Supreme Court didn’t solve anything but this single issue involving a single case. Frankly, in my opinion, it’s a travesty of justice for the Supremes to hear this case and rule this way – this narrowly. It solves very little and is a cowardly way of taking up the issue without having to broach the broader First Amendment religious freedom question.
Therefore, thanks to the court, what we have to look forward to is not less, but more religious persecution and litigation by the “rainbow jihad,” as Horowitz quips. And each time the defendant must hope to garner enough attention for the Supremes to agree to hear it.
Meanwhile, how many more good people’s lives and businesses will be ruined, all due to the SCOTUS’ “monumental” indecision?