The Supreme Court announced Monday it will tackle a culture war powder keg – should a Christian baker who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds be forced to participate in a gay wedding?
In other words, do gay rights trump everyone else’s rights?
The justices said they will consider a case involving Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. The issue: can the government coerce a person to create artistic expression that communicates a message with which he fundamentally disagrees?
“There are a number of artists across this nation who are being coerced into violating their religious convictions or having to choose between their right to create artistic expression that is consistent with their faith,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner told me. “This kind of government coercion is unconstitutional.”
I wrote extensively about Mr. Phillips in my latest book, “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.”
In 2012, Mr. Phillips was approached by Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The men were going to be married in Massachusetts and they wanted the cake shop to bake a cake for their reception which was to be held in Colorado.
Mr. Phillips politely declined – explaining to the gentlemen that he would make them any other type of baked item they wanted – but he simply could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith.
Mr. Craig and Mr. Mullins pitched a hissy fit and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
It did not seem to matter that the gay couple was able to obtain their rainbow-themed cake for free from another nearby cake artist.
Lower courts ruled that Mr. Phillips discriminated against the gay couple under Colorado law. He was ordered to make cakes for homosexual newlyweds and to file reports for two years to show that he was abiding by anti-discrimination laws. He was also ordered to “reeducate” his staff on discrimination.
It’s hard to imagine a time in American history where Christians were treated with such disregard and shuttled off to reeducation camps so they can be deprogrammed.
Ms. Waggoner said this could be a history-making decision for the Supreme Court.
“At issue is whether an American has a right to speak and live consistent with his beliefs on what marriage is – and consistent with his religious convictions,” she told me.
It’s been a difficult time for Mr. Phillips and his family-owned bakery.
Ms. Waggoner said the state’s civil rights commission compared the baker’s stance to “slave owners and perpetrators of the Holocaust.”
“He lost nearly 40 percent of his business based on what the Colorado courts did,” she told me.
And there are many other Christians across the fruited plain who are suffering much like Jack Phillips has suffered – simply for following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“I would urge them not to violate their religious convictions because not only is it their duty to God to be acting consistent with their conscience, but it is their First Amendment right secured by the Constitution,” Ms. Waggoner said.
And it is our responsibility as God-loving patriots to stand alongside Jack Phillips as they wage this legal battle. We must stand together in the face of adversity.
First, the LGBT activists came for the flower shops and the photographers. Then, they came for the bakers. And unless we draw a line in the sand, they may one day come for you and your business.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.