Back in March 2013, RedState’s managing editor, Erick Erickson, posted what I think is a seminal piece on the culture wars. It is titled You Will Be Made To Care. The thesis, broadly drawn, is that with the collapse of traditional morality in favor of an if-it-feels-good-do-it ethos, those people who still adhere to traditional morality do not have the ability to say “I don’t care” about [fill in the perversion du jour here]. The forces behind the assault on Judeo-Christian morality, particularly sexual ethics, aren’t interested in carving out space for themselves, they are hellbent on demanding that the rest of us treat their particular perversion with respect and act as though it was completely normal. As Erick says, you will be made to care.
Nowhere has this been more exemplified than in the aggressiveness of homosexual right activists using the color of “human rights” statutes passed by states and municipalities to take revenge upon people who were not sufficiently worshipful of sodomy.
In 2012, two self-identified homosexuals walked into the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, and asked the proprietor, Jack Phillips, to decorate a cake for their “wedding” reception.
In an exchange lasting only a few seconds, Jack declined the request, saying he could not create cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies. Jack offered to make the couple any other type of baked good or sell them a pre-made cake, but, because of his faith, he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex wedding ceremony.
It should also be noted that Phillips’s policy isn’t about homosexuality, per se.
His faith teaches him to serve and love everyone and he does. It also compels him to use his artistic talents to promote only messages that align with his religious beliefs. Thus, he declines lucrative business by not creating goods that contain alcohol or cakes celebrating Halloween and other messages his faith prohibits, such as racism, atheism, and any marriage not between one man and one woman.
Phillips lost his cases in Colorado, including at the Colorado Supreme Court, and his business was ordered to
bugger himself with the cake while the plaintiffs videoed the event “change its company policies, provide ‘comprehensive staff training’ regarding public accommodations discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for the next two years regarding steps it has taken to come into compliance and whether it has turned away any prospective customers.”
In my view, Phillips’s business history and his willingness to work with the gay storm troopers to find a way where they could get their cake and not require him to make it shows this case for what it is. It is a man with legitimate religious beliefs (let me note here, I don’t see a problem with alcohol or Halloween but I understand why some do) of some standing who is being bullied by a couple of self-anointed brownshirts into compliance or bankruptcy combined with public harassment.
These cultural cases are high-risk ones because being on the losing side of the case means either game over (Livingston versus Texas; Obergefell versus Hodges) or game damned nearly over (Roe versus Wade; Doe versus Bolton). But the 7-2 decision today in the Trinity Lutheran case gives me some hope for justice to prevail here. In the majority opinion, they emphasize over and over that the government violates the Free Exercise clause not only when it imposes restrictions upon religion but when it imposes costs upon people for adhering to their religious beliefs. If a man like Phillips is not allowed to live his life and run his business according to consistently held beliefs which really only hurt him because he loses revenue, then religion will have achieved Barack Obama’s goal of being relegated to “freedom of worship.” And that will be on life support.