The Washington Post reports that the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips.
“[The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act] prohibits places of public accommodations from basing their refusal to serve customers on their sexual orientation, and Masterpiece violated Colorado’s public accommodations law by refusing to create a wedding cake for Craig’s and Mullins’ same-sex wedding celebration,” the ruling states.
The ruling states that Masterpiece “remains free to continue espousing its religious beliefs,” but it is prohibited from “picking and choosing customers based on their sexual orientation” if it wants to remain open to the public.
So, here’s the thing: I’m an evangelical, non-denominational Christian. I have white, black, Hispanic, and Asian friends. I have friends who are male and friends who are female. I have friends who are conservative. I have friends who are liberal. I have friends who are poor, middle class, and wealthy. I have friends who are pious believers and friends who aren’t.
I have gay friends and I have straight friends.
My personal belief is that God wants us to live our lives respectfully toward each other. It doesn’t matter to me that several of my close friends are homosexuals. It’s their life, and their relationship with God, and my only duty is to share my relationship with them. I’m a sinner, and the only being I want judging me for my sins is The Almighty. As a result, my personal belief about same-sex marriages is that I would make those cakes, take those pictures, play that music, print those cards and invitations, issue those licenses… Whatever.
What makes me upset when I read that the court will force a Christian to close his business because of his strongly held beliefs isn’t that I “support discrimination.” That’s not what I believe. I oppose discrimination, and I personally would not knowingly do business with one that discriminated (barring a valid business reason like a women-only health club). I also flatly refuse to accept discrimination on the part of any government entity, or any laws that would legally enforce discrimination (re: Jim Crow).
What I do believe is that the government shouldn’t have the power to tell someone that, just because they’ve opened their own business, they must violate their own belief system to continue doing business.
I don’t care what their belief system is. I don’t care if they’re Christians who want to refuse to sell cakes for same-sex marriages. I don’t care if they’re women who want their business to service only other women, or men who only want men in their club. I don’t care if it’s a scholarship intended only for a minority or only for girls interested in a STEM degree. It doesn’t matter to me: No government should have the power to force a private business or other entity to conduct business with someone to whom they don’t wish to sell their wares and services, for any reason.
The problem with assigning so much authority to the State is that such power can be abused so easily. How much of a step is it from forcing people to violate their religious beliefs in their business to doing the same with their children’s education? How much of a step is it from here to forcing people into re-education because they hold the “wrong” religious or political views?
I’m not one for slippery-slope arguments, but I have very serious reservations about the kind of power we’re handing to our government. Progressives are in ecstasy over the elimination of this “conservative privilege,” but I wonder how they’d feel about the pendulum swinging the other direction? What if those women-only health clubs were challenged successfully in court? What if private scholarships for homosexual or minority students were likewise deemed illegal?
Again, my personal stance is that I’d bake the stupid cake and do the best damn job I could at it, but I’m not the baker. Jack Phillips’ personal religious belief system is that he shouldn’t support same-sex marriage through his business. It should be the position of the State to not interfere with that, no matter how politically popular it may or may not be.