|Don't pop that cork yet!|
I've been following the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop artist, Jack Phillips for some time. And I'm glad he won the right to refuse to bake a cake for a same sex wedding.
But before you jump up and down and proclaim that we've won for religious liberty, take a look at the decision which was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy with a 7-2 majority (interestingly the same split as Roe v. Wade).
Why am I not popping the cork on the champagne bottle? Because the decision does not proclaim religious liberty, an issue it basically sidesteps. It was based on equal treatment and the obvious hostility of the Colorado civil rights organization that penalized Jack Phillips while upholding the right of other bakers to refuse to bake cakes that offended them. There is much to be concerned about in the decision and the fact that the majority opinion was penned by nominally Catholic Anthony Kennedy, a champion of liberalism and moral relativism. Crisis Magazine made these observation:
...in the 1992 case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Justice Anthony Kennedy...guaranteed unlimited access to abortion in the United States. In that infamous decision, Justice Kennedy wrote that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.” In Obergefell v. Hodges, another decision penned by Justice Kennedy, he wrote: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.”....Justice Kennedy employed metaphysical relativism to ensure that abortion and same-sex “marriage” would remain a prominent law of the land in the United States for many decades to come. These decisions are bad enough without adding a third victory for the Sexual Revolution: Kennedy’s defense of sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
|Jack Phillips celebrates outside Supreme Court.|
In the recently decided case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, LTD v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission suggested that a business owner can believe “what he wants to believe,” but cannot act on his religious beliefs “if he decides to do business in the state [of Colorado].” That is what freedom of worship looks like…. For Jack Phillips, it nearly ended up meaning that he was going to lose his livelihood. In a 7-2 decision, written by who else but Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court finally disagreed with freedom of worship and upheld freedom of religion. [Meaning that you can practice your faith, but only in church, not in the marketplace.]
I say this because the question is not totally settled. When Jack Phillips declined to bake a cake to celebrate the same-sex “marriage” of Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, Colorado had not yet redefined marriage. Therefore, Craig & Mullins could not have their ceremony in Colorado. Their ceremony was actually planned to take place in Massachusetts. Justice Kennedy made note of this fact, making it likely that Mr. Phillips or another business owner will have to go through the same process of prosecution all over again.The other problem with Justice Kennedy’s decision is that he sidestepped Mr. Phillips’s arguments about freedom of speech and focused on the obvious anti-religious bias of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. If the Civil Right Commissioners had been more polite in their comments and had not exhibited such a blatant hostility toward Christianity in other similar cases, might the Supreme Court have upheld the penalties imposed on Mr. Phillips? Justice Kennedy believes it could have. He wrote: “…it must be concluded that the State’s interest could have been weighed against Phillips’s sincere religious objections in a way consistent with the requisite religious neutrality that must be strictly observed.” He also wrote: “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
|Common sense on free speech that isn't so common today!|
Catholic Vote also weighed in on the issue in an email notice to members yesterday writing:
...the Supreme Court limited itself to ruling on the conduct of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. They decided against setting a precedent in this case. In fact, one could easily conclude, based on today’s ruling, that states are permitted to punish wedding vendors who refuse to participate in same-sex ‘weddings’ so long as the state is not overtly hostile to religion while they do it.In other words, as Catholic Vote went on to say, we live to fight another day.
In other words, the Supreme Court did not recognize a robust First Amendment right to religious liberty for bakers like Jack Phillips. They simply said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission went too far.
The Court punted most of the real issues brought up in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case -- leaving Congress or (more likely) a future Supreme Court to hand down a final ruling.
While Kennedy's opinion ignores the free speech aspect, Justice Thomas in his concurring opinion goes into it at length. (Thank God we have a real Catholic on the Court, one who goes to daily Mass!) You can read the entire decision here and Justice Thomas' opinion beginning on p. 38. I haven't read the entire decision yet, but it's on my agenda.
Give thanks to the Lord for preserving the livelihood of Jack Phillips, but keep working and praying for real Religious Freedom and the First Amendment, because it's not over by a long shot! And those who want to send Christians to the gulag never sleep!