Christian baker Jack Phillips is an expert on defending religious freedom by now. He spent the last decade filing briefs and asking courts to protect his right to refuse to provide services that conflict with his faith.
It all began for Phillips after he declined to use his artistic talents to make a custom “wedding” cake for a homosexual couple. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission took him to court, and Phillips eventually argued his case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Phillips won that battle while in the midst of another. After the high court ruled that the commission violated his rights and treated his faith with hostility, Phillips was back in court. A man who “transitioned” asked Phillips to make him a custom cake to celebrate this non-event. Again, Phillips declined, and again, Phillips was back in court.
Phillips appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which recently agreed to hear his case.
“I serve everyone,” Phillips wrote in an op-ed in the Denver Gazette. “I don’t press my views or demand that everyone agree with me. I run my business, grateful for the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces that celebrate important events. I always decide whether to create a custom cake based on the message the cake will express, never on the person asking. When someone requests a design communicating or symbolizing a message inconsistent with who I am, I politely decline because of the message I cannot express.”
Phillips said that his family has received hate mail, letters, phone calls, and death threats — all for refusing to do something that conflicts with his beliefs, which is his right.
“I’ve even been branded a pariah,” he wrote. “Officials and activists are trying to make me an example — ‘Stand up for your beliefs, and this is what happens’ — all because some government officials and free-speech opponents don’t like what I believe. You might think, ‘That’s too bad,’ believing you’re immune to all this — that your beliefs will never be disfavored by those currently in power.”
Phillips expressed a sentiment similar to one I express about racial preferences: a government with the power to discriminate against the “wrong” people have the power to discriminate against the “right” people.
Phillips said that “cultural winds shift quickly. What is considered popular one day may be deemed unpopular or even offensive the next.”
This harassed Christian baker and artist issued a warning:
“Whether you’re an LGBT artist, a Republican artist, or an atheist artist — every photographer, filmmaker, speechwriter, cake artist, and calligrapher should never know what it’s like to face government-compelled speech.”
Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom