By Dan Calabrese
Just in case you thought Colorado would stop attacking religious freedom because the Supreme Court told it to: Nope.
Mere weeks after being smacked down by the U.S. Supreme Court for its oppression of Christian baker Jack Phillips, the state is coming after Phillips again. The first time it was because he wouldn’t bake a gay wedding cake. This time it’s because, in an obvious setup, someone demanded that he bake a cake celebrating transgenderism.
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When Phillips refused, as everyone knew he would, a lawyer for this individual filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Now, you’d think that after being rebuked by SCOTUS for its first attempt to violate Phillips’s rights, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission would be a little more circumspect about going after him again.
You think that, but you’d be wrong. Phillips himself tells what’s going on:
Because I believe that each person’s sex — whether male or female — is given by God and cannot be chosen or changed, the requested message is not one that I can express through my cake art. But my shop still told the caller that we’d be happy to sell them other items or design cakes with other messages.
Because of the suspicious timing and nature of that request, it’s not surprising that the lawyer filed a discrimination complaint. What’s shocking is that less than one month after the Supreme Court condemned the state’s hostility toward my faith, the government announced that it was coming after me again.
The state did this even though it allows others — like the three bakers who were asked for cakes criticizing same-sex marriage — to decline requests for cakes expressing messages that they don’t communicate for anyone. The government is clearly treating me worse than others.
Perhaps worse yet, the state is contradicting what it told the Supreme Court in my prior case. The government said that I can decline to create custom cakes with pro-LGBT designs or themes, announcing in no uncertain terms that I am free “to decline to sell cakes with ‘pro-gay’ designs or inscriptions.”
Yet the cake requested in the new case obviously had a pro-LGBT design. The person who requested it even recognized that the design was intended to represent and celebrate a gender transition. The inconsistency between what the state told the Supreme Court and what it is doing to me now shows the government’s real policy: No matter the circumstances, I must be punished.
I have no choice now but to sue, via my Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, the state officials who are discriminating against me. My hope is that the federal court will put an end to this bullying — and that it will do so soon. I’d like to get back to the life that my state keeps taking from me.
The limited nature of the SCOTUS ruling in Phillips’s favor teed this up. The ruling was mainly based on the obvious bias with which the Colorado Civil Rights Commission conducted its hearing in the gay wedding matter. What the ruling did not establish, unfortunately, is that anyone can accept or refuse any request he wants if the individual feels that is necessary to remain committed to his or her faith. That essentially green-lighted Colorado to try it again but this time not be so obvious about its anti-Christian agenda.
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Colorado will probably issue a ruling against Phillips just like it did the last time, the whole thing will get tied up in court again. Maybe this time a lower court will throw out the action based on Colorado’s lack of success the last time, but then again retiring-Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the matter pretty much gave Colorado a road map for how to get away with a subsequent attempt to destroy Jack Phillips.
If it ends up back at the Supreme Court, maybe this time new Justice Kavanaugh will provide the fifth vote to do what the SCOTUS should have done the first time around – establish that no one can be forced to violate their faith by making an expression someone else demands of them. It’s hard to see why this is really controversial, but such is the world in which we live circa 2018.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!