In cake case, 7 Supreme Court justices uphold free exercise of religion

By Thomas Jipping | The Daily Signal

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday that a Colorado baker’s right to exercise his religion had been denied when a state agency penalized him for declining, based on his religious beliefs, to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion, and even liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that it took flagrant, ugly, religious bigotry by Colorado officials to reach this result.

In 2012, Colorado did not recognize same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court had not yet recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission had decided in favor of bakers who would not create cakes with anti-gay messages.

The baker in this case, Jack Phillips, declined only to design and create a custom cake for this specific event; he would have sold anything else that was generally available to the public. In fact, he has done such general business with everyone, including gay people, for nearly a quarter-century. You’d think these facts would be enough for a unanimous decision in his favor.

You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

The Supreme Court described, in detail, how the Colorado officials displayed “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [Phillips’] objection.” Members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, for example, “endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot be legitimately be carried into the public square or commercial domain.”

In other words, business owners can believe what they want personally, but may not act on those beliefs. So much for the “free exercise” of religion.

One commission member said that “religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination” and that “it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to — to use their religion to hurt others.” Kennedy noted that “[t]he record shows no objection to these comments from other commissioners.”

America’s Founders not only listed the free exercise of religion as the first individual right protected by the First Amendment, but they also believed that it took precedence over other political priorities.

The United States has signed multiple international agreements asserting that the right to freedom of religion and to “manifest” that belief “either alone or in community with others in public or private” is a fundamental human right. Congress had unanimously declared that the “right to freedom of religion undergirds the very origin and existence of the United States” and “is a universal human right and fundamental freedom.”

The Declaration of Independence states that securing such rights is the very purpose of government. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the U.S. is an original signatory, affirms the duty of governments to protect these rights by law.

And yet, today in the United States, it takes rank bigotry — expressed in public by government officials — to get some action to protect religious freedom.

The decision Monday was obviously correct and should have been unanimous, and perhaps it begins to expose how precarious our most fundamental freedoms really are.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

3 thoughts on “In cake case, 7 Supreme Court justices uphold free exercise of religion

  1. And although the baker remains in business, he chose to eliminate a large portotion of his business, weddings.

    And he has been subject to huge harassment by the very people who demanded heo accept their opinions.

    And he has sufferred a huge financial and time lost over these bogus charges.

    Those two lovers knew they were a set up squad, and did their job of hostility to the highest extent.

    Once in a while, the real people win one in the courts – but at a huge personal cost.

    Remember the Kelo Vs Physer Farma. Your home is only sticks and plaster in the way of ‘better people”. The land is now unused, the whole neighborhood destroyed. Sounds like urban renewal in Burlington and Winooski doesn’t it.

  2. Yes, we are a free country and you can live any lifestyle you want. But that doesn’t mean I have to follow or believe in your Alternative Life Style or agenda.

    Being a free Country, I have my beliefs and I’m not following (PC ) crowd and these whiners don’t have to follow my beliefs. I’m glad to see that Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday to stand with the Baker and his beliefs. It is a free Country.

    These two that brought the lawsuit they could have gone elsewhere but wanted their five minutes of fame (look at us). They tried to force their lifestyle on others.


  3. Under reported because it doesn’t fit the agenda of the Leftist media,alternative lifestyle rights are a protected to a degree that is not deserved by legislatures and Leftist media.

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