January 09, 2019
These days, baker Jack Phillips is more used to being in court than in his cake shop. What he's not used to -- after the last five years -- is being on the offensive.
The Phillipses' story was supposed to end with a victory at the Supreme Court last June. After a half-decade of legal twists and turns, the justices agreed that Jack shouldn't have to check his Christian beliefs about marriage at his cake shop's door. Apparently, his opposition didn't get the message. People hostile to Jack -- and everything he stands for -- seem intent on making the baker's life miserable.
Their odds of succeeding just went down, thanks to a federal district court that is letting Jack's case against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission go on. Of course, his lawsuit wouldn't have been necessary if the other side had decided to simply leave the Phillipses' cake shop alone. Instead, a customer came knocking on his shop's door with another set-up: a cake celebrating a person's sex change.
Obviously, the shoppers knew Jack wouldn't agree to the order. "Because of Jack's beliefs -- he's a cake baker, of course, but he's also a Christian -- he believes that sex cannot be changed and it's immutable," FRC's Director of Religious Advocacy, Alexandra McPhee, pointed out in a special Facebook Live interview. He turned down the request, so the individual filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission -- the same commission the Supreme Court found guilty of bias last June. Well, apparently, they haven't learned anything from the ruling, since they decided to pursue the investigation 24 days after the decision in Jack's favor at the Supreme Court.
Fortunately, Jack is fighting back. He's sued the individual members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for harassing him for his faith. Those same people tried to get Jack's lawsuit dismissed -- but thankfully, a judge refused, insisting that "evidence of unequal treatment remains." This "disparate treatment," the court said, "reveals" the state officials' ongoing "hostility towards Phillips, which is sufficient to establish they are pursuing the discrimination charges against Phillips in bad faith, motivated by Phillips'...religion...."
Even the liberal cheerleaders at Slate see the writing on the wall for activists determined to make Jack pay. In a surprising editorial, they urge the state's commissioners to let it go. "It is in no one's interest for such a trial to proceed," Eric Segall writes. "...[T]he state will lose this case if it reaches the United States Supreme Court again, which will make matters much worse for [LGBT activists]." In its ruling, Segall points out, at least three of the constructionist justices wanted to rule on the merits of Jack's case -- which would have been a landslide victory for men and women of faith in every business. If the Left keeps prodding, Slate warns, Brett Kavanaugh is likely to agree.
For now, the momentum is on Jack's side -- and a lot of the credit for that belongs squarely in the Oval Office. President Trump made it priority number one -- from day one -- to appoint stricter constructionists than any of his predecessors. So far, he's set records for the pace of those confirmations, which are finally bringing the courts back in line with the Founders' intent. That shift, to judges who respect and understand their constitutional boundaries, is creating a culture where true freedom can breathe again. And that is nothing but good news for Christians like Jack.
For more on Jack's case, check out the full Facebook Live video below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.