A landmark case involving a Christian baker who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado spanning over 6 years has finally been decided on by the Supreme Court, siding with the baker and upholding religious freedom in the United States.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices ruled that the Colorado baker could not be forced to make a cake a homosexual couple if it conflicted with his religious beliefs. The court determined that the baker was in fact an “artist” in this case, which means he could not be forced to create a work of art that would conflict with his religious beliefs. The baker did not refuse to sell the gay couple any products in his bakery, but rather refused to participate in the creation of the cake.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado Christian baker who refused for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religious beliefs.
Not only did the court rule in the Christian baker’s favor, but issued a scathing criticism at the manner in which the Christian baker was portrayed and treated by the Colorado court system. “The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Justice Kennedy wrote. In the Supreme Court’s opinion on the case the commission in Colorado overseeing the case was criticized severely for comparing the Christian baker’s refusal to bake a cake based on religious grounds to holocaust and slavery.
On July 25, 2014, the Commission met again. This meeting, too, was conducted in public and on the record. On this occasion another commissioner made specific reference to the previous meeting’s discussion but said far more to disparage Phillips’ beliefs. The commissioner stated:
I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others. Tr. 11–12.
To describe a man’s faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use” is to disparage his religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical—something insubstantial and even insincere. The commissioner even went so far as to compare Phillips’ invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law—a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.
In other words, the Colorado commissioner felt that the Christian baker was using his religion as a shroud to hide his prejudice against homosexuals and was looking to discriminate or oppress them by refusing to bake a cake, even going as far to mention slavery and the holocaust as being situations where “religion has been used to justify discrimination”.
It should be clear that the Colorado commissioner felt an open hostility towards certain religious beliefs, to which the Supreme Court’s opinion specifically acknowledged and admonished.
For those on the left who disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, and feel that the Christian baker should have been forced by the government to bake a cake for a homosexual couple despite his religious beliefs, consider the following scenario:
A person approaches a Muslim painter, an artist, who paints custom works of art for his customers. He regularly gets commission to paint portraits, landscapes and other unique paintings at the request of his clients. However, when a homosexual customer approaches the Muslim artist as requests he paint a work of art featuring the Islamic prophet Mohammed, which is forbidden by Islamic law, the artist refuses based on his religious beliefs and states the customer could find a non-Muslim artist to have their request fulfilled.
If the Supreme Court has ruled that the Christian baker should be forced to bake a cake for a homosexual couple, despite his religious beliefs, then a Muslim artist could also be forced to paint a picture of Mohammed even though it’s forbidden by his religious beliefs.
Do you believe the above scenario would be treated in the same manner in the mainstream media as the Christian baker’s case? Would the media criticize the Muslim baker and claim that religious freedom does not allow him to refuse to do a painting for a homosexual? Would they brand him a bigot for refusing a homosexual customer?
Doubtful. In fact, the above scenario would likely never occur due to the fact that the current political climate in America seems to encourage leftists to target Christians exclusively for their religious beliefs, even though many of the those beliefs are shared by Jews and Muslims.
Democrat House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, issued a statement blasting the Supreme Court’s decision and claiming that the Christian bakery was using freedom of religion to hide their own discrimination against homosexuals.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case is about the most fundamental right of all Americans: to be free from persecution and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love. While narrowly framed to apply to the decision-making process undertaken by the state commission, today’s wrongheaded decision fails to uphold equality in this case.
Masterpiece Cakeshop is a commercial bakery open to the public, and such services clearly must be made available to the public on equal terms as determined by an independent review by the Colorado Court of Appeals which should have been upheld. No business or organization open to the public should hide their discriminatory practices behind the guise of religious liberty.
Our nation’s story is one of ever-expanding freedoms and progress toward a future of equal, full rights for all. To carry forth that progress, the Congress must immediately move to pass the Equality Act, to remove all doubt that sexual orientation and gender identity warrant fundamental civil rights protections in the workplace and in every place. Democrats will never stop fighting for every American’s right to full equality and equal justice under the law.
Nancy Pelosi stated, “Masterpiece Cakeshop is a commercial bakery open to the public, and such services clearly must be made available to the public on equal terms as determined by an independent review by the Colorado Court of Appeals which should have been upheld.”
Then by her own statement, Pelosi feels the government should also force a Muslim baker or painter to construct a work of art that conflicts with their religion simply because their business is open to the public, and if they refuse then they are guilty of “persecution and discrimination”.
Perhaps someone should ask Nancy Pelosi that if a Muslim painter refuses to paint a portrait of Mohammed for a homosexual couple, then should he also be forced by the government to abandon his religious beliefs or forever accused of discrimination?
You can see the slippery slope of Pelosi’s argument and, if the Democrats got their way, religious freedom in the United States would be seriously hampered for generations to come not just for Christians, but for all religions in America.
The Supreme Court decided correctly on the case of the Christian baker, and for those who doubt that, think about how you would feel if a Muslim man was forced by the government to paint a picture of Mohammed, or any painting that would conflict with their religious beliefs, for a customer and if you would be criticizing that painter in the same manner that the Christian baker was criticized.