A frisson of delight ran through the Christianity community when it was announced Monday the Supreme Court will hear the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
In 2012, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was asked to bake a fake marriage (or gmarriage) cake for two men. He refused. He told the men, “I’m sorry, but I can’t promote messages that violate my beliefs, though I’d be happy to sell you anything else.”
For his faith and via the machinations of the ACLU — Anti-Christian Liberals Union? — he was hauled in front of a tribunal and told he must bake the cake.
According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the judge ordering the forced fondant “held that coercing Jack to participate in a same-sex ceremony did not ‘unduly abridge [his] right to the free exercise of religion.'”
It was a long legal rode from there to the Supreme Court, which said it will decide whether Phillips discriminated or not.
This is being interpreted as a kind of small victory because, of course, there is the chance the Court sees reason and does the right thing.
Don’t count on it. My prediction is the Court will punt.
The Court punts
When the two same-sex attracted men came to Phillips and demanded a cake, fake marriage was not legal in Colorado, and of course not yet in the United States as a whole. The homosexuals were going to go through a fake marriage ceremony in Massachusetts, where gmarriage was legal. And then the men were going to use the cake made by Philips in a reception to take place in Colorado.
There’s the out.
One guess is the Court will say Phillips didn’t really “discriminate” because fake marriage was not yet legal in Colorado. He was still, they might argue, within his rights to refuse to knead the dough. Why?
The cake was not legally a fake marriage cake, just an ordinary cake, and by law bakers are allowed to refuse to bake ordinary cakes.
This kind of decision will not be satisfactory. What Christians — and Muslims and others of orthodox faiths — want to know is if they are allowed to discriminate now.
Discrimination is necessary
Make no mistake: Phillips did discriminate against the two men, and God bless him for it. Religion by definition is discrimination. A religion eschews one belief and accepts another. A person following his religion acts on these defined beliefs. In other words, a religious man must discriminate if he wants to remain faithful.
Phillips knew the difference between real marriage and fake. His religion does not allow him to participate actively in fake marriages. He discriminated. He should have been allowed to discriminate.