Some are trying to play the Supreme Court’s Decision down, but Monday was a BIG day.
There I was, trying to enjoy a morning coffee and bagel at a Cincinnati Panera, when history was dropped on America.
When I first saw the news that the US Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the Colorado Cake Baker who declined to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex wedding, I almost jumped out of my seat.
The case – Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission – is one of the most important religious freedom cases ever before the Supreme Court.
Yet as soon as the decision came out, the spin machine got working – calling the decision “narrow.”
In one sense, this is ridiculous. The decision was 7-2, which means two of the liberal justices (Kagan and Breyer) joined with the conservatives AND Justice Kennedy to protect Jack Phillip’s religious freedom.
Yet in another sense, I see where they’re coming from. The court was very specific in discussing Jack’s case, and they went out of their way in the decision to say that this decision doesn’t give all retail shops the right to not provide goods or services for gay weddings.
However, there are 3 key reasons it would be wrong to say that Jack’s victory is essentially irrelevant and that it won’t have a larger impact on the religious freedom debate for years to come.
1) This is how the Court works.
Flashback to 2013. The Court was asked whether the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional in the Windsor case. This law defined marriage for the federal government as only the union of one man and one woman.
In this case, the Court (wrongly) found that the Federal DOMA was unconstitutional because it put the federal government in conflict with some state’s definition of marriage.
In many senses, this was a narrow decision. The Court had the ability to find that all efforts to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman were unconstitutional. But they didn’t. They ruled on the specific issue of the conflict between federal and state law.
Now we know how this story ends – when the Obergefell case eventually got to the Court that sought to overturn a State’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the Court then took on that specific question, and tragically ruled incorrectly again.
But this is informative for the situation we find ourselves in today. The Court likes to avoid writing sweeping decisions with broad implications. Rather, they try to find the specific question to answer. Often you can get signs of where they are leaning on these issues. When you read the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, you see they understand the vast free speech and religious freedom issues on the line in these cases.
2) The Court set an important principle.
Maybe the greatest lie of the political left in these cases is that when anyone enters the marketplace, they automatically surrender their first amendment free speech and religious freedom rights.
The marketplace is “secular” they’d argue. You can have whatever religious beliefs you want, but you must act secular, is what they say.
The Court rejected this idea, and sent a clear message that the Marketplace is neither secular nor religious – it’s neutral. It’s wrong and potentially dangerous for the government to be elevating secular ideals over religious ones. Furthermore, the government should NOT be in the business of deciding what are and are not valid religious beliefs.
This is a HUGE deal.
3) Hostility is central to the left’s playbook
What everyone can agree upon in this decision is that the Court found that the Colorado’s Civil Rights Commissions hostility towards Jack was unconstitutional.
They compared Jack – a Christian businessman and father – to Nazi’s and White Supremacists.
So yes, it’s true, this case was specific to the facts of Jack’s case. But virtually every other case like Jack’s involves INCREDIBLE hostility from the left.
This kind of hostility is the rule, not the exception from the left. If you don’t support gay marriage, you’re a bigot in their eyes and don’t have a place in polite society.
That’s why the Southern Poverty Law Center calls groups like Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council “Hate Groups” – even though ADF and FRC merely believe in marriage between a man and a woman.
My friend and colleague Joe Backholm at the Family Policy Institute of Washington catalogues the left’s campaign of destruction against people of faith here. The bottom line is that telling the left that they can’t be hostile to Christians in these cases is like telling water not to be wet.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this email – KUDOS! I try not to make the Rundown this long typically, but THIS WAS SUCH A BIG DEAL WIN!
Lastly – if you’re grateful like I am to Alliance Defending Freedom for standing up for our religious freedom rights and WINNING at the Supreme Court, will you do me a favor?
Go here, and make a $17 tax-deductible donation to them. We want our friends at ADF to feel the love from the 17th state in the nation!