Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Roe v. Wade of Religious Liberty

Jack Phillips, Masterpiece Cakeshop
On Tuesday, December 5, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. 

This case has been called the Roe v. Wade of religious liberty.  As you know, Roe v. Wade is the infamous Supreme Court case in 1973 that legalized abortion in all fifty states during all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever.  Since that time, more than 60 million babies have been killed.  So to call this current case the Roe v. Wade of religious liberty should get your attention.  This is big.  Really big. 

The case is about the clash between religious liberty and same-sex marriage.  Jack Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado.  He is a Christian, and as a Christian he has always sought to integrate his faith into his work.  Part of what that means is that he only designs cakes that would glorify his "Master" -- Jesus Christ.  Therefore Jack has turned down Halloween cakes, cakes that celebrate divorce, racist cakes, atheist cakes, anti-American cakes, or any kind of cake that dishonors God.  And for him, that means he cannot design a same-sex wedding cake.  Jack serves gay people all the time; he just cannot design a cake that dishonors God.

So in 2012 when a same-sex couple asked him to design a cake for their wedding reception, Jack had to decline.  He told them he could sell them pretty much anything in the store, but he could not in good conscience make a same-sex wedding cake.  The same-sex couple cursed him out and flipped him off.  About 20 minutes later he started receiving hateful, threatening phone calls that didn't stop for several weeks.  They initiated a boycott and a protest against his business.  The state of Colorado ordered him to either bake the cake or stop making wedding cakes altogether.  As a Christian, Jack had to choose the latter.  This cost him forty percent of his business, and he had to lay off 6 of his 10 employees, two of them family members.  So now, Jack's case has finally made it to the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments on December 5. 

Here's what's at stake.  Will creative professionals continue to have the right to create artistic expressions that are consistent with their convictions, or will they be forced to create expressions that violate those convictions and to celebrate religious ceremonies that violate their religious faith?  This is not just about Christians.  And this is not about your beliefs about same-sex marriage.  This is about people of all faiths and convictions having the right to live out those convictions not just at church and at home, but in the marketplace.

Kristen Waggoner, ADF
Here's what we're going to do as a church.  Our Christmas Offering kicks off on Sunday, November 19, and we're going to try to raise $1,000 for his case.  As well, on Monday, December 4, the day before the oral arguments, we're going to fast and pray together.  Please consider joining us.  And start praying right now for Jack Phillips and his attorney at ADF, Kristen Waggoner.

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