DHD: A baker’s half dozen
This week’s DHD is committed to a very important legal battle that appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission squarely focuses on the legal challenges between religious liberty and same-sex marriage. Actually, it appears more to be the social approval of same-sex marriage.
Three years ago, I blogged about the progression of tolerance to acceptance to approval of homosexuality. Tolerance is way gone – 10 years, at least, gone. “Acceptance” is what could be considered the proper Christian response, as far as treating those of the homosexual (or LGBT) community respectfully. It is possible to be respectful without approving beliefs and life practices, which is how I describe “acceptance.” As I said then, “The Golden Rule has no exceptions.”
Acceptance, though, is becoming unacceptable. Approval is the expectation in the public square. Here’s what I wrote in 2014:
“Approval is growing rapidly. In some aspects, it is being demanded legally, especially if you are in a business that is involved in weddings, such as bakeries, florists and photography. If you own a bakery, flower shop or a photography service and refuse to accept a request to provide a wedding cake, flowers or take pictures for a same-sex wedding, you may face legal charges. This has already happened in New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, as well as other states.”
Now, three years later, a bakery in Colorado is the focal point. Because of the significance of this case, I’m dedicating all six points this week to Jack Phillips, the baker under fire, and the monumental court battle he is facing. In other words, this week’s Doyle Half Dozen will be a Baker’s Half Dozen.
- Meet Jack Phillips
I begin with introducing Jack himself. This is an excellent 10 min. video. He tells his story with comments from his daughter who works with him and from his lawyer. The video portrays him as a reasonable, caring man. It explains the name of his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, is based on Eph. 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece…”
Watching the video will provide a better understanding of Jack, his business and his desire to honor God through his work.
Masterpiece Cakeshop Goes to the Supreme Court | The Daily Signal
Meet the man behind one of the most important cases being heard by The Supreme Court since Roe v Wade. Help us fight leftist encroachment! 👉http://l.prageru.com/2mlBhuE
Posted by PragerU on Monday, December 4, 2017
- An unexpected advocate
Check out New York Times columnist David Brooks’ piece “How Not to Advance Gay Marriage.” Obviously, by the title, he supports same-sex marriage, but his article defends Phillips.
“First, it’s just a cake,” Brooks wrote. “It’s not like (the same-sex couple) were being denied a home or a job, or a wedding. A cake looks good in magazines, but it’s not an important thing in a marriage.”
Though Brooks and I are polar opposites on the main issue, we share a similar method of appeal. In fact, in a rather Bizarro World fashion, I can appreciate Brooks’ “neighborly approach” as a better alternative than the choice of the two men who instigated this legal battle because Phillips wouldn’t offer them a wedding cake.
“…the neighborly approach would be to say: ‘Fine, we won’t compel you to do something you believe violates your sacred principles. But we would like to hire you to bake other cakes for us. We would like to invite you into our home for dinner and bake with you, so you can see our marital love, and so we can understand your values. You still may not agree with us, after all this, but at least we’ll understand each other better and we can live more fully in our community.’”
When I first read this, I figuratively stood up and applauded. The part I loved the best is “so we can understand your values.” I can’t speak for Jack Phillips, but if I were in his position and the two men offered Brooks’ proposal, I would graciously accept the offer, and then I would let the Holy Spirit move through the whole encounter, knowing that God Almighty could do a powerful work in that scenario.
- Waxing the words of Sotomayor
My favorite blogger Trevin Wax chimed in on the case. He shared a popular conclusion on how the Supreme Court ruling will result. Wax wrote, “…it appears the Court is divided on usual lines, with Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote (what else is new?).”
Check out Wax’s thoughts on Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s final remarks. It’s fascinating how she said, when comparing interracial marriage to same-sex marriage, that there are laws that “forced people to do things that many claimed were against their expressive rights and against their religious rights.”
How Sotomayor views justice is rather scary and an unfortunate misunderstanding. As Wax points out there is a big difference to what is racialized and what is biblically profound.
- Kennedy’s comments and possible conclusions
In this week’s “The Weekly,” an email newsletter of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), a breakdown report is offered after the oral arguments were given in the baker case. As mentioned Justice Kennedy is widely known to provide the swing vote, and in his concluding remarks, ERLC reports, he “expressed concern that, based on statements made by commissioners, the Colorado commission was expressing hostility to religion.”
ERLC quoted Kennedy who said, “It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.”
Those who support Phillips in this case should be leery. As I’ve been told, Kennedy is known to rule opposite from the way he expresses his concluding comments during oral arguments.
- Conservatives convert in arguing for rights
I don’t know if I completely agree with the conclusion in a Washington Post’s article, “Abortion taught conservative Christians to argument for minority rights – as they’re doing today in Masterpiece Cakeshop.”
First, that’s a headline my editor would truly love!
Secondly, conservative Christians have been consistently against abortion and for religious liberty. I guess I’m confused in the writer’s description of “minority rights.” I’m concluding he had problems with the name of Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority” group and has to find a way to make a jab 30-something years later.
Here’s one interesting paragraph from the confusing article:
The question is whether a Colorado cake baker, Jack Phillips, has a First Amendment right to be excused from his state’s nondiscrimination laws, which say that public accommodations — like bakeries — may not refuse to serve people based on characteristics that include race, color, disability, sex or sexual orientation. Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for two men and says he should be excused because doing so would violate two First Amendment rights — the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech. In his view, marriage should only be between a man and a woman — and baking a cake for two men’s wedding would violate his conscience. Perhaps more important, he claims that as a cake artist, he should not be compelled by the government to create messages with which he disagrees.
Something needs to be clarified. Phillips did not “refuse to serve people.” He refused to serve a particular item. If the men requested another baked good in Phillips’ bakery, he would have obliged. By the way, if anybody else regardless of their race, color, disability, sex or sexual orientation ordered a cake for a same-sex wedding, Phillips would not have accepted that order either. So this does not disobey nondiscrimination laws.
- Prayer for Jack
I conclude this week’s DHD with a prayer for Jack Phillips and his legal case.
I thank you for making Yourself known. I thank you for Your Word and how You bring clarity in a confusing world.
Lord, I lift up Jack Phillips to You. I have never met him. All I know about him is what has been presented in this legal case and in the recent video where he shares his story. He comes across to me, God, as a man who desires to serve You through his talents, which You instilled in him. I wonder if Jack knew long ago, when he got into the business of designing wedding cakes, would he have done it knowing such trials would come. That doesn’t matter, though, because You knew.
So, because of Your omniscience and omnipotence, I come to You, asking for Your wisdom, grace and provisions for Jack. It will be a long duration of months until the Court ruling comes. Jack needs you, God. Please bless him in a mighty way.
Lord, the country is aware of this case. The ruling will be significant. But You are more significant. Use this litigation in such a way that many will come to know You as Lord and Savior.
Through it all, may You be glorified.
I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus,