‘Tolerance’ Now Means Government-Coerced Celebration

Jack Phillips owns the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., about 10 miles from downtown Denver. In July 2012, two gay men, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, asked Phillips to provide the cake for their wedding celebration. Though same-sex marriage is not allowed in Colorado — the Colorado Constitution states that "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state" — the two men had been married in Massachusetts.

As acknowledged by all parties, Phillips told the men, "I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings."

Jack Phillips is an evangelical Christian, and his religion does not allow him to participate in same-sex marriages or celebrations of same-sex marriages.

In other words, Phillips made it clear from the outset that he does not discriminate based on the sexual orientation of a prospective customer. He will knowingly sell his products to any gay person who wishes to purchase his baked goods.

Nevertheless, Craig and Mullins went to the ACLU, which then sued Phillips. On Dec. 6, administrative law Judge Robert N. Spencer handed down his decision:

"The undisputed facts show that Respondents [Masterpiece Cakeshop] discriminated against Complainants [Craig and Mullins] because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage, in violation of ? 24-34-601(2), C.R.S."

The section of the C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statutes) cited by Judge Spencer reads:

"It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of … sexual orientation … the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation."

Thus, under penalty of fines and, potentially, jail:

1. Jack Phillips must participate in an event that the Colorado constitution explicitly prohibits.

2. He must do so against deeply held religious convictions.

3. He must do so despite the fact that there are hundreds of other cake makers in the Denver area.

Those who support this decision argue that religious principles do not apply here: What if, for example, someone’s religious principles prohibited interracial marriages? Should that individual be allowed to deny services to an interracial wedding?

Of course not.

Here’s why that objection is irrelevant:

1. No religion practiced in America — indeed, no world religion — has ever banned interracial marriage. That some American Christians opposed interracial marriage is of no consequence. No one assumes that every position held by any member of a religion means that the religion holds that position.

2. If opposition to same-sex marriage is not a legitimately held religious conviction, there is no such thing as a legitimately held religious position. Unlike opposition to interracial marriage, opposition to same-sex marriage has been the position of every religion in recorded history — as well as of every country and every American state until the 21st century.

3. The Colorado baker made it clear to the gay couple — as acknowledged by the court — that he would be happy to bake and sell cakes to these gay men any other time they wanted. Therefore, he is not discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation. He readily sells to people he knows to be gay. What he is unwilling to do is to participate in an event that he opposes for legitimate religious reasons. Until, at the most, 10 years ago, no one would have imagined that a person could be forced to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding.

4. If a baker refused on religious grounds to provide the wedding cake for a polygamous wedding, should the state force him to do so? If a baker refused to provide a cake to a heterosexual couple that was celebrating living together without getting married, should the state force him to?

Some years ago, Jonah Goldberg wrote a bestseller titled "Liberal Fascism." If you think that title is an exaggeration, read the book. Or just watch what liberals are doing to those who oppose same-sex marriage.

In the name of tolerance, the left is eroding liberty in America.

Dennis Prager’s latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

  • Josh

    Firstly, I think it’s ridiculous that someone’s religion would keep them from making a cake for a same-sex couple. Dafuq? This guy isn’t getting into a three-way; he’s not giving the vows, catching the c-ring at the ceremony, or attending the reception to dance to It’s Raining Men. He’s tasked with making a cake. Saying religion prohibits him from that is just stretching out an interpretation to suit prejudice. A reason to remain backwards.

    Secondly, it’s his right to be prejudiced against the couple! If he doesn’t want to make them a cake, it’s his business. He doesn’t have to.

    Government getting involved is ridiculous, pointless, and only sets the stage for further intrusion going forward.

    I don’t agree with this guy. I wouldn’t shop at his store. I find him to be petty and sad. I would tell my friends and family and recommend to people that they went elsewhere. But, as the business owner, the guy doesn’t have to make my dang cake in the first place.

    It’s a beautiful thing, really. He can serve me or not serve me. I can shop there or shop elsewhere. Consumer protections against him poisoning me are one thing; laws to say he must serve me are something else entirely.

    But let’s not get it twisted here. These things aren’t entirely liberal-specific. Many groups cry that they’re soooo discriminated against and that they’re such victims. Religious people who are stopped from discriminating against people based on their religion cry that they’re discriminated against because they can’t freely discriminate.

    It’s all enough to make my head spin around. All I know is that government needs to GTFO. Let private businesses do what they want. The gay couple doesn’t like it? Hey, post your story on Facebook and you’ll probably get a dozen free cakes from sympathetic bakers. Rely on government to handle it for you and you’re only submitting to a power that will turn around and bury you when the winds shift.

  • HobartStinson

    Our government is now electing who belongs to these specially protected classes of people. Who is to say they will do the opposite and start putting people into classes which are discriminated against, then maybe they will start disappearing? . . . Stalin must be smiling in his grave at Obama and the leftist minions in our nation.

  • HobartStinson

    Government thought-police. No one can stand up against the homosexual lobby anymore. You cannot oppose homosexuality or its many offshoots including same-sex marriage. What a travesty! Our nation, which used to cherish religious freedom and free-speech, now openly forbids it. Where is this leading? Only worse places, people. Wake up. Let baker’s be bakers and express not only their personal beliefs but their religious ones too. OPPOSE SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND ITS MAFIA!

  • guest

    Your title”Government-Coerced Celebration” reminds me of an explanation that Shostakovich gave for his Symphony #5. He said ” It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, “Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing,”
    Another thought, what if it was a wedding between mixed faiths and a very orthodox baker would not bake a cake for a mixed wedding…they would force that?
    Another example, the story of that Neo-Nazi who wanted to “celebrate” his child’s birthday with a cake that said, “Happy Birthday, and the name of that infamous dictator(Y’mach s’hmo)”, not only did the baker not have to bake it, the family got their children removed from the home.
    I read an interesting thought last week….”gay” people are not a special class of people, like racial, or gender, or religion, or disability they are just people like everyone else and do not merit a special classification. It says a lot about a society that defines people by the most private activities of their lives.

    • JMax

      Denying a mixed faith marriage a cake would be illegal discrimination based on religion.

      The Neo-Nazi is not a protected class.

      “It says a lot about a society that defines people by the most private activities of their lives.”

      Exactly! So why should a baker deny service to a couple that HE defines by the most private activity of their lives?

      • Guest

        Why is it based on religion?
        The baker would be “discriminating” against WHICH religion?
        He is only saying,
        “I’m not allowed by my religion to participate in this “celebration.””
        There should be more valid reasons for making, “protected classes,” a private activity in one’s home does not establish a “class” of people.
        The baker did not define them by their private activity, it is they who define themselves by that private activity by talking about “marriage”.(by making a private activity, public, they force him into the situation which otherwise he could/and would overlook.)

        • JMax

          It doesn’t matter “which religion”. He is discriminating based on the religion(s) of the customers. There is no other concern by the baker in that case other than their religion.

          The baker is not repeating vows, walking up the aisle, or in any way “participating” in a celebration. He’s baking a cake and delivering it. Done.

          Private activity has nothing to do with it. Regardless of what you think is a “valid” reason for a protected class, the people’s elected officials have decided on their behalf what is a valid class of people for purposes of discrimination.

          The couple doesn’t define themselves by a private activity. They define themselves by who they love.

          The baker has decided that his deep religious convictions should apply not only to himself but to others as well. If his convictions forbid same sex marriage, by all means he shouldn’t marry someone of the same sex. For anyone else, it’s none of his concern.

          • Guest

            I disagree in both cases.

            One cannot uphold religion freedom by forcing another to abandon his religious beliefs.

            The delivery involves the exposure to a potentially sinful environment. Some believe that “woe to the sinner, woe to his neighbor.” That is a religious belief, How does this law trump one’s right to practice one’s faith in one’s own manner?

            “They define themselves by who they love.”

            Loving someone is not homosexuality. That is defined by a sexual act. People are free to love whomever they choose but it is irresponsible of society to give that love a public definition such as “marriage.” Marriage is a societal contract and, so far, the State of Colorado has not given this type of contract social status. It is clearly a case of legislating from the bench and that is not something that was decided by election.

            Those lawmakers, you mentioned, were coerced into that position by misleading arguments, false news reports, and fear of being labeled as “bigots.” In fact the fear of being labeled as what is implied by that word has been the major reason a majority of people now support same-sex “marriage.” That and the retreat of strong religious beliefs.

            You know, the reason that the Biblical Sodom was destroyed was not because people(men) engaged in that activity that the city’s name implied. No, it was because judges made laws (and the population supported it) that anyone who did not follow their definition of morality were to be persecuted and punished. Punishing people for righteous behavior is really the sign of a corrupt society.

            I am glad for this Colorado family for one reason. They are able to get the merit for suffering for their religious convictions. Something like that is sure to give them much merit, on the scales of justice that really matter.

          • JMax

            “One cannot uphold religion freedom by forcing another to abandon his religious beliefs.”

            Of course they can. Mormons are forced to abandon bigamy. Rastafarians are forced to abandon ganja.

            “The delivery involves the exposure to a potentially sinful environment.”

            Huh? A church is a sinful environment? How about the Moose Lodge? The Elks Hall? How about the country club?

            “Some people believe…” Some people believe there is nothing wrong with same sex marriage.

            One can practice their own religion in their own manner until that practice enters the public or butts up against the laws of public accommodation. You can’t take communion where open containers of alcohol are not allowed. You may not be able to baptize people in a public fountain.

            “Loving someone is not homosexuality.”

            It is if it is romantic love of someone of the same sex. It is if it based on a romantic attraction to a person of the same sex, Is an elderly gay person who has lost their partner no longer a homosexual? Of course they are. Is a person who is attracted to the opposite sex but is a virgin or celibate not a homosexual? Of course they are.

            “It is clearly a case of legislating from the bench and that is not something that was decided by election.”

            No it is not. The judge didn’t make up this decision out of thin air. He said that the baker violated the law. The section of the C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statutes) cited by Judge Spencer reads:

            “It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or a group, because of … sexual orientation … the full and equal enjoyment of
            the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation.”

            This is legislation which comes from the legislation which is elected by the voters.

            “Those lawmakers, you mentioned, were coerced into that position by misleading arguments, false news reports, and fear of being labeled as
            “bigots.”

            Blah, blah, blah bulls**t.

            “In fact the fear of being labeled as what is implied by that word has been the major reason a majority of people now support same-sex “marriage.””

            Bulls**t.

            “That and the retreat of strong religious beliefs.”

            Legislation should have no connection whatsoever to “strong religious beliefs”.

          • Jeff Webb

            >>Is a person who is attracted to the opposite sex but is a virgin or celibate not a homosexual? Of course they are.<

          • JMax

            Corrected. Thanks for the heads up.

          • Guest

            Well JMax, I can see that I’m truly outclassed by you in argumentation. I’m a novice at this who speaks from the heart and you are probably well practiced.

            Somehow, I don’t think that those who founded this country had this in mind but I really can’t prove it. It seems to me that this abandonment of basic morality and slavish attitude to “freedom” at all costs by the current judiciary will, in the end, G-d forbid, be the end of the US, as we know it. All hailed the “Arab Spring” for the new-found “democracy.” If the Western World is not governed by reasonable requests for morality, a stronger master will come and replace this country of moderation. You should hope you don’t live to see it, when moral lapses we take for granted are met with draconian measures..(G-d forbid)
            Unfortunately, our children will not be so lucky.

            Good luck and G-d bless.

          • JMax

            Those who founded this country didn’t have a lot of things in mind which is why they allowed for an amendment process. In fact they purposely left a lot of things vague because they couldn’t agree on exact terms and meanings.

            Not killing, stealing, or lying is “basic morality”. Telling people whom they should love and marry is not. The “current judiciary” is more conservative than liberal and they decide cases based on the laws passed by the people’s representatives and the Constitution as the judge exactly did in this case.

            The “end of the U.S, as we know it” seems to happen every few years. Most of the time that’s a good thing. Things will never be the way they were. It’s a lot like raising a child, watching them mature and move out an onward. Things will never be the same, and some of it we don’t like. But it’s the natural order of things and generally for the best.

          • Guest

            Well if you look at the title of the author’s book…he has hope for “American Values”. I’m not sure, if it becomes a state of thought police, like I mentioned was the downfall of Sodom, I can share that hope for America. Generally, thru out history, one sees that hedonistic cultures have collapsed and, for a time, become dominated by more primitive forces. We are really seeing a culmination of the “Enlightenment” Period. History does not change that fast, movements take a while to culminate, and we are seeing the culmination of that period. The Jews were in Egypt longer than this country has been in existence and have waited almost 2 millennia to be restored to sovereignty in the Land.Some tend to think on a 20th Century scale…fast…fast, but really G-d has a lot of patience and this has been just a fleeting period.
            Let’s hope, judging from these recent events,that He also has much mercy.
            And I would petition those who initiated the suit against the baker to also have a little mercy on the man who is just doing what he thinks is right (and his family could suffer economic hardship from this) and do not try to dominate his life, and to please drop the suit.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    To be fair traditionalists have had poor arguments against same gender marriage. Worse many agree with the idea. (having bought into the idea their bigots if they don’t) The publisher Pelican books, in their “History of the World” documents a marriage in ancient Sumeria (circa 3000+BC) The marriage (according to the author) would be recognized today. In that it was a community enforceable compact (contract) of a monogamous union between one man and one woman. Thus it has always been. Whether God fearing Bible believer, or God denying atheist, Creationist, or evolutionist, the natural order of sexual relations makes babies. AND MAKES THEM BY THE BILLIONS. We’re at some 7 billion persons on earth and counting. Babies it turns out, consume vast resources. At some point in history (as documented by Pelican) our ancestors invented civilization. They did it with community enforceable monogamous compacts we call MARRIAGE. Marriage was not about sex, it was about the consequences of sex, and It instituted the first ever basic HUMAN RIGHT. The right of a child to be raised by their own father and mother. (presuming they live) That this most basic of all rights, is passing un-noticed in to the night, is the true tragedy of our age. As a result mothers are aborting their babies, fathers are abandoning their children, (in the highest numbers history has ever seen) and sex is now simply about pleasure (and the heck with consequences). If indeed sex is only about individual pleasure then Gay marriage may have a place. BUT, if marriage is about a well raised next generation, then marriage is about the traditional family. And the RIGHTS of their children to be raised by their own two parents.

  • Wheels55

    What ever happened to “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”?

    • JMax

      I saw that sign myself last Saturday in a restaurant. My immediate thought was “No you don’t.” And rightly so.

      • Luis

        Yes, they do.

        • JMax

          Refuse service to black people?