Watchmen On the Wall - FRC

Prayer Targets: Gen. Jerry Boykin; SCOTUS Same-Sex Wedding Cake Ruling; Culture Impact Training; Call2Fall

June 06, 2018

He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. (Isaiah 42:4)

Dear Praying Friends,

Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin (Ret.), Executive V.P. of Family Research Council, served over 36 years in the U.S. Army, mostly in Special Operations, including the Delta Force, Rangers, and Special Forces. After a tour at the Central Intelligence Agency, he spent four years as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. His several books, include Never Surrender, a Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom. These excerpts are from a letter Gen. Boykin wrote to FRC supporters Monday.

This morning, the Supreme Court narrowly decided in favor of Christian baker Jack Phillips, whose case hinged on whether people can be compelled to use their artistic talents to celebrate same-sex weddings, or other ceremonies against which they have religious objections.

This was a huge victory for all biblically-faithful Americans -- but the fight is unfortunately far from over. You see, the Supreme Court decided that Jack's case was not fairly tried in Colorado, and that he should not be forced to abide by their bigoted ruling.

But they declined to address the central question of the case:

Does our constitutionally-protected freedom of religion allow an American of faith to stay uninvolved in same-sex wedding ceremonies?

You and I know the answer to that question, but powerful, anti-family forces like the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and others are refusing to accept it.

Jack stood up for his Christian faith when he refused to design a cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding. He fought on behalf of all Americans who value religious freedom.

This was one of the most important religious liberty cases in our nation's history, and while it has been decided in our favor, the fundamental question underpinning the case remains contested.

Isaiah 42:4 says, "He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth." And we saw this truth borne out yet again in this morning's ruling on Jack's case.

No matter how long it takes to definitively win the battle for religious liberty, we know that the Lord will allow truth to prevail.

And when the next court fight arises, we must be prepared to step into the fray, just as we did in Jack's case. Can we count on your prayers and support today as we prepare for the next battle? Your support will enable us to build and strengthen our nationwide network of pastors, grassroots Americans, faith leaders, and allies on Capitol Hill. It will help us to register and mobilize voters for this year's elections and to mobilize support for another originalist Supreme Court justice if Justice Kennedy retires this summer.

Today, we celebrate the victory in Jack Phillips's case -- but we humbly ask that you stand with us as we prepare for the next battle in this ongoing struggle for freedom.

Thank you, and God bless.

In 13 years of writing the FRC Prayer Team Targets, I've made a mild appeal for support only twice. FRC has enjoyed huge policy breakthroughs this year. But we are substantially behind budget as we draw near the end of our fiscal year. Fresh funding is sorely needed if FRC is to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Would you consider an offering to help keep FRC's ministries vibrant at this critical time in our nation's history? Please pray with us, and if you are so led, contribute to help support our work!

U.S. Supreme Court Rules 7-2 for Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission -- Justice Kennedy wrote the Court's decision. Roberts, Breyer, Alito, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Thomas concurred with the judgment. Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented.

Kennedy wrote that the "Commission's consideration of the case was inconsistent with the State's obligation of religious neutrality," evidenced first, by comments made by members of the Commission, e.g., "Religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust... 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." Kennedy noted that this statement disparages religion. "By describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical -- something insubstantial and even insincere." The commissions lack of neutrality was evidenced second, by the difference in treatment between Phillips' case and other cases (in which a baker refused to create cakes that communicated negative religious messages about same-sex marriage, but were found not to have discriminated against the customer on the basis of religion). Kennedy pointed to the inconsistency of the Commission having accepted secular objections for refusing to bake an anti-same-sex marriage cake, while rejecting Phillips' religious objection to creating a same-sex wedding cake. He wrote that the decision "elevates one view of what is offensive over another and itself sends a signal of official disapproval of Phillips' religious beliefs."

Kagan concurred, Breyer joining with her, that Jack Phillips was guilty of discrimination, but State decisions must not be "infected by religious hostility or bias."

Gorsuch concurred, Alito joining him, focusing on the disparate treatment between the Masterpiece case and earlier-mentioned cases in which a baker refused to bake cakes opposing same-sex marriage. Gorsuch argued that the cases share "legally salient features," specifically:

  • Both "bakers refused services to persons who bore a statutorily protected trait (religious faith or sexual orientation)"
  • Both "would not sell the requested cakes to anyone, while they would sell other cakes to members of the protected class (as well as to anyone else)"
  • "Bakers in the first case [William Jack] were generally happy to sell to persons of faith, just as the baker in the second case [Jack Phillips/Masterpiece] was generally happy to sell to gay persons."

Gorsuch concluded that "the Commission failed to act neutrally by applying a consistent legal rule," and warned, "the one thing it can't do is apply a more generous legal test to secular objections than religious ones." Gorsuch stated explicitly that "the Commission must afford [Jack Phillips/Masterpiece] the same result it afforded the bakers in Mr. [William] Jack's case."

Thomas concurred with the judgement but only "in part" with the Opinion, joined by Gorsuch (it is not unusual for a Justice to join more than one opinion). Phillips' attorneys (ADF) argued their case based upon the Free Speech guarantee in the First Amendment, however the Justices focused on the free exercise of religion in the First Amendment. Thomas was the only Justice to focus on the Free Speech issues raised, writing, that designing custom wedding cakes is a form of artistic expression, thus requiring they be provided for same-sex weddings was an unconstitutional form of "compelled speech" by the government. He warned "States cannot punish protected speech because some group finds it offensive, hurtful, stigmatic, unreasonable, or undignified."

Ginsburg, joined by Sotomayor, dissented against the majority judgment.

Several other related cases are making their way to the High Court, most notably Arlene's Flowers Inc. v. Washington (State) the case in which the Barronelle Stutzman, a 71-year-old great grandmother and longtime professional florist is asking the Court to overturn the rulings against her by Washington State courts. An unusually aggressive State Attorney General has sought to bankrupt Stutzman's business and personal estate to punish her for faithfully declining to provide creative floral services for a friend and customer's same-sex wedding celebration. Members of the Court will meet this Thursday to decide whether or not to hear her case. Experts say that the Phillips decision did not answer the fundamental question: Are business persons with sincerely held religious beliefs that forbid them to take part in a same-sex weddings protected under the First Amendment. (My edits to Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg's analysis) (Phillips responds; Perkins responds; Travis Weber's analysis; Roll Call)

  • Lord, thank you for this great victory, even if limited. Thank you that the Court has rebuked and held unconstitutional the kind of anti-religious hostility that has been practiced by far too many mayors, attorneys general, legislators, city and county councils, and private organization across America in recent years, hostility aimed at Christians who believe and seek to obey Your word. May the Court's decision temper the attitudes and behavior of those in authority. Lord, vindicate those who have been abused; recompense those who have been harmed. Grant justice to Barronelle Stutzman and others abused for their faith by a system gone awry because of people's failure to regard God or the Constitution. May the High Court soon rule that the First Amendment rights to free speech and religious liberty applies to persons whose faith requires fidelity to the biblical Truths regarding God's created order, and marriage as between a man and woman. Intervene, Lord, for your own honor, the sake of our children, and the survival of our nation. In Jesus Name, Amen! (Dt 28: all; Job 17:2; Ps 43:1-3; Is 40:10; Eze 3:9-10; Hos 9:7; 2 Cor 2:14-17; Rev 12:10)

Watchmen Culture Impact Teams (CIT) Make a Difference -- If you are a pastor, church member or intercessor who wants to see God's people become more effective in impacting our communities, state, and nation, join FRC on June 20 at 7 PM ET for Standing Firm: A CIT Vision and Training Webcast Event. Experts will answer: "What can we do to make a difference in our community as a church?" and "How can we take our Culture Impact ministries to the next level?" FRC will unveil a new digital tool to help individuals be salt and the light in our nation. Speakers will include: Tony Perkins, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, the Benham Brothers, Elizabeth Johnston ("The Activist Mommy"), pastors Mark Harris, JC Church, Mike Whitson, Howard Boyd, Darrel Robinson, and CIT leaders Myron George, Donna Chatham, and Pastor John Mendez, FRC's National CIT Coordinator. To attend in person, watch by webcast, or arrange a viewing for your church or any size group, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Intercessors are needed! Please watch this event and PRAY! Truly being "Salt and Light" begins and continues, empowered by extraordinary prayer.

Finally, 1) The debate over the Phillips case will go on. "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Mt 17:19-21). 2) Help us publicize Call2Fall, (on Sunday, July 1st) by liking us on Facebook and using social media to urge all your friends to participate!

As always, thank you for praying!