It took far too long, and a second court battle that never should have been necessary, but Christian cake artist Jack Phillips is (I hope) finally free from persecution for his beliefs by the state of Colorado.
Phillips has been targeted by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission since 2012 for declining a job to design a same-sex wedding cake because it violates his religious beliefs. He sells cakes to anyone who comes into his shop and declines other types of design jobs that also violate his beliefs, but because this one case crossed the gay rights agenda, he came into the liberal officials’ crosshairs. They put sanctions and punishments on him that nearly drove him out of business, and were openly hostile and dismissive of his First Amendment right to freedom of religion. One commissioner even called religious freedom “a despicable piece of rhetoric,” and others supported her.
This already went to the Supreme Court, which reprimanded state officials for their hostility to Philips' religious rights. You’d think being slapped down by the SCOTUS would have sent a message, but no: a liberal transgender activist lawyer deliberately went to his shop and demanded that he design cakes celebrating transgender issues and, for good measure, Satanism. When he, of course, refused, the activist filed another complaint. Instead of telling the plaintiff that the SCOTUS already slapped the state down on this issue so go pound sand, the officials once again tried to destroy Philips’ business.
But after over six years of battling, neither he nor his attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom were in any mood to put up with more religious persecution. Phillips said the state was "relentless in seeking to crush me and my shop for living consistently with my deeply held religious beliefs." So they filed a big lawsuit against the state.
Having already lost in the Supreme Court 7-2, state officials had an inkling that this was going to end badly for them. Tuesday, they announced that they have agreed to end their actions against Philips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, and in return, he will drop his lawsuit.
Philips said, “Today is a win for freedom. I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect.”
While I’m relieved that Philips (whom I’ve interviewed on my TBN TV show) will not have to go through this ordeal a second time, it’s bad enough that he had to go through it even once. Activists to legalize same-sex marriage campaigned on a claim that people of faith who disapproved had no reason to oppose it because it would never affect them. But no sooner had the SCOTUS ruled in their favor (while unconscionably dodging its duty to clarify that First Amendment rights would remain supreme) than Christian business owners found themselves being targeted for destruction for declining to participate.
It’s long past time that we rejected the scurrilous notion that simply holding a Constitutionally-protected, traditional Biblical view of marriage is some kind of “hate crime” against gays that calls for persecution by the state. You can’t demand respect for one lifestyle while showing no respect for others, or protect one set of beliefs and persecute another. You’d think some things were such basic hallmarks of citizenship that they'd go without saying, but some people need to have it explained to them by the Supreme Court more than once.
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