This story got a lot of play about ten days ago, such that I saw it on a lot of websites, including WND. The story is brought to you by the words “Christian Love™” and “Equal Access to Public Accommodations/Businesses.” The idea is that the law in most states in the US states that a business that offers its services to the public cannot discriminate based on numerous things, including sexuality. But, Masterpiece Cake Shop, owned by Jack Phillips, in Lakewood, CO, did just that. And now, Judge Robert Spencer, has ruled that Mr. Phillips broke the law and cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, despite his desire to because he’s a Christian and, well, Jesus.
Let’s get all the links out of the way now that you have that intro:
- WND (by Jack Minor): “Judge: ‘Gay Rights’ Trump 1st Amendment“
- WND (by Jerry Newcombe): “So Much for the Right of Conscience“
- JMG: “COLORADO: Court Rules That Bakery Broke The Law By Refusing Gay Customers“
- JMG: “Editorial Of The Day from the Denver Post“
- JMG: “Colorado Baker Tells Fox News: I’ll Go To Jail Before Making A Gay Wedding Cake“
- Advocate: “Colo. Bakery’s Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination, Judge Rules“
- The Friendly Atheist: “Judge Rules Against Bakery Owner Who Would Rather Close Shop Than Serve Gay Couples“
- Right Wing Watch: “Klingenschmitt: Gays ‘Have Something Unhuman Inside Of Them’“
- Right Wing Watch: “Fischer: Colorado Bakery Owners Have Become Victims Of ‘The Secular Inquisition’“
I’m sure you know what I think of this issue by this point. I will make one observation and then skip to the WND commentary. Fifty years ago, this happened with segregation in the southern United States. “Separate but Equal” was not equal. If you provide a public service, if you are a business open to the public, it was decided that you cannot discriminate based on the color of someone’s skin. Doing so in most places in the United States (or around the world) would be considered ridiculous, but fifty years ago, it was just a given, and in many cases it was based on someone’s interpretation of their religious text(s). To me, this is the exact same thing. Discriminating based on whether one likes to get frisky with a member of the opposite or same gender is discrimination, and if we have a non-discrimination law on the books, religion does not offer you a get-out-of-lawsuit-free card. Yes, you are a private business, but you offer a public service. And I think my thoughts on this have changed a bit over the last several months or years.
On the other had, if there isn’t a law on the books about it, then you’re free to discriminate. And the rest of us are free to point out what a bigot you are.
On the third hand, if you know that the baker, or the butcher, or the candlestick maker, or whomever else is a bigot but still required by law to serve you, why would you want to go to them? I’d be afraid of a drop of arsenic in my cake, or spittle. Or that my wedding photos would look like crap. Or my candlesticks would be mostly air.
All that in mind, we have WND. Which of course is against The Gay. There’s a reason that the baker, Mr. Phillips, is being (was being) interviewed by FOX “news” almost exclusively. Mr. Minor has started out his piece with, “Another judge has ruled homosexuals have a right not to be offended that supersedes First Amendment religious rights.” No, it’s not that we don’t have the right to not be offended (try reminding Christians of that these days), it’s that you are a business open to the public, you must comply with public anti-discrimination laws.
Meanwhile, Mr. Newcombe started out his story this way: “The ACLU is busy chipping away at religious freedom in our country again. They have successfully brought suit in the Denver area to force a Christian cake-maker to violate his own beliefs or face a fine. This story is becoming increasingly common, where a Christian baker, florist or photographer in good conscience cannot support the homosexual lifestyle. Yet the authorities are forcing them to violate their conscience or lose their livelihood.”
The first WND story has 29 ratings (4.07/5 stars) but a massive 656 comments. The latter has 10 ratings (4.10/5 stars) and a relatively minuscule 31 comments. I’m not going to bother with the first one’s comments, they’re what you’d predict. We can just look at the top-rated one (23 up, 0 down votes) by “Cahal the Mad™” to get a sampling: “No made up “civil rights/gay rights” will ever trump the Constitution The so-called “judge” is a leftist hack who is in violation. Watch how much support gays get now, when people see that their own rights are meaningless when compared to the ultra-selfish whining of hate-filled homos.”
Okay, now that that’s over with, what’s fascinating is the second one. It, as with another post I recently did, seems to have been hijacked by normal people. Take “Patrick” who has the highest-rated comment with 4 up-votes and 0 down-votes:
I think you’d set a very dangerous precedent by accepting this man’s argument. It would basically exempt anyone from any law just because their religion said they didn’t have to listen to it. There’s already the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which just started as a joke. If we let anyone ignore any law regulating commerce, how long would it be until the Church of No Taxes sprung up?
“Jack” has the second-highest with 3 up and 1 down vote:
It’s very simple, Jerry. Colorado law doesn’t allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation: “It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.”
So Phillips can either do business with the public or he can refuse to serve gay customers. He cannot do both. Religious beliefs don’t give someone license to ignore the law, no matter how loud a tantrum he throws.
Just curious: would you have the same reaction if a baker who was religiously opposed to heterosexuality refused to bake a wedding cake for a straight couple?
Every other comment but three are in response to him. I will end this lengthy report with the last comment (“girl” with no votes) and response (“Andrew Patton” with 1 up and 0 down votes):
“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck. … If Jack can’t make wedding cakes he can’t continue to support his family.”
What a whiny little ***! “If I can’t cheat at CandyLand I’m just going to flip the board and go home and cry – and YOU should feel about trying to make play by the rules!”
We Christians do not whine, but we will assert our rights. We have the right to work to support our families, and we have the right to obey our God without the State interfering. If the State violates our rights, we will defy the State even to the death, for it is not only our right but our duty to do so.
Why end with that? Because I love that statement about how “Christians do not whine.” Read probably half the posts on this site and you’ll see Christians whining. Or, well, even this post!
Edited to Add (January 23, 2014): WND keeps the story alive, this time with a post by its anti-gay anchor, Bob Unruh: “State ‘Imposing’ Its ‘Gay’ Beliefs on Cake Artist.”
Edited to Add (June 16, 2014): Perhaps we’ve seen the end of this case, for Jack Phillips was found in violation of the anti-discrimination rules by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and on June 1, 2014, WND put out a story copied from CBS News: “Colorado Baker to Stop Making Wedding Cakes.” And, two days earlier (but for some reason later in my archive), on May 30, Bob Unruh wrote: “Christian Baker Ordered to Endorse Same-Sex ‘Wedding.'”