June 26, 2017
If anyone’s under the influence of the media and questioning President Trump’s results after six months, look no further than the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Neil Gorsuch. This morning, after waiting through a string of Monday court announcements, Americans concerned about the relentless assault on religious freedom finally got the word they’d been waiting for -- justices have agreed to hear the case of Christian baker Jack Phillips. For men and women of faith, who’ve been in the fight of their lives for their First Amendment rights since Obergefell, it’s a hopeful sign that the days of persecution against believers like Jack may be numbered.
Like so many Christian businesses, the war on religious freedom came to the Phillips’s front door when two men visited Masterpiece Cakes in 2012 and asked for a same-sex wedding cake. Jack was kind -- but firm -- in his conviction that he wouldn’t participate in a ceremony that violates his faith. Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig offered a choice gesture and stormed out. Later that day, they turned to social media, launching a campaign to force Phillips into submission. It didn’t work. “We would close down our bakery before we would compromise our beliefs,” Phillips told reporters.
Ironically, business only boomed. People flocked to the Colorado cake shop to show their support. They understood, as we do, that this was never about discriminating against anyone. Like Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State, Jack is happy to serve everyone. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake -- not the people, not their lifestyle.” All Christians are asking for is the same tolerance that liberals already enjoy. Instead, the Left seems intent on punishing anyone who thinks like 53 percent of Americans on marriage. And in the process, they’ve done an incredibly effective job answering their own question -- how will my same-sex marriage affect you?
Of course, Masterpiece Cakes isn’t the first bakery liberals have tried to stick a fork in. The clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriages continues to explode in businesses across America, where everyone from family farms and butchers to B&Bs and bakers are trying to come to grips with this brave new world of political correctness. As we warned in 2015, the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling didn’t decide anything. In fact, all it did do was put this court-created right on a collision course with the constitutional right of religious liberty.
“If Jack can’t make wedding cakes,” his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, “he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice.” Tragically, it’s a choice more Christians are having to make. Finally, the Supreme Court has a chance to rule that the government has no authority to force Americans like Jack Philips to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they morally oppose. With Justice Gorsuch on the bench, we’re more optimistic than ever that the court will uphold our nation’s long tradition of respecting religious liberty. That wouldn’t just be a victory for Masterpiece Cakes but every Christian suffering under the government’s heavy hand.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.