After customers sued Christian baker Jack Phillips all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court yet lost their attempt to force him to bake a cake to celebrate homosexuality, the state of Colorado wouldn’t let him go. The state’s unelected Colorado Civil Rights Commission strung him up again for declining to bake another cake.
This one was ostensibly to celebrate a transgender person’s coming-out party, but it could have been for any of the many lewd baking requests his Masterpiece Cake Shop received after his case became well-known. The entire case seemed like a setup to use government force to harass Phillips for being a Christian. Phillips’s pro bono attorneys at the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom wrote this summary of the events:
The day that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Jack’s case in June 2017, a local attorney and LGBT advocate contacted Jack’s shop requesting a cake with a pink and blue design celebrating that attorney’s transition from male to female. The request appeared to be a setup—the attorney used speakerphone and asked Jack’s employee to repeat herself so that another person could hear. In the year following that request, Jack received many requests for cakes celebrating Satan, featuring satanic symbols, depicting sexually explicit materials, and promoting marijuana use. At least one of the satanic requests came from the same Colorado lawyer. Jack declined all the requested cakes—including the pink and blue one—because they would have expressed messages that violate his religious beliefs.
That same attorney who had asked for the satanic and transgender cakes then filed a complaint with the commission after Phillips declined. The commission then began its pursuit of Phillips all over again even after he won his Supreme Court case against them.
The Supreme Court voted for Jack 7-2 but largely because, in the course of persecuting Jack for his faith, the Colorado bureaucrats had publicly let slip that their government harassment of him was based on animus against his religion. All they had to do was keep their mouths shut and arguably they could have done the same thing to Jack all over again. It seems, however, that was too much to ask.
As the second case progressed through six and a half years of Jack’s life, more evidence of the commissioners’ anti-religion sentiment became public. Approximately three months ago, one of the commissioners called up a Colorado state representative, saying he or she was scared to publicly tell the truth that the other commissioners were prejudiced against Jack’s faith.
“During the call, that commissioner said that they believe there is anti-religious bias on the Commission,” wrote state Rep. Dave Williams in a sworn statement under penalty of perjury. “Also during the call, the commissioner expressed a willingness to speak publicly about this anti-religious bias, but feared what might happen if they did.”
Then ADF attorneys found current commissioners publicly agreeing with 2015 comments from commissioner Dianne Rice that compared Jack’s Christianity to the ideologies motivating slavery and the Holocaust. Rice’s comments were specifically singled out by the Supreme Court as evidence of the commission’s bias.
That bias aimed to jettison Jack’s constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association, and free expression of religion, all over a cake that could be had from any number of nearby shops. Yet when the commission discussed the Supreme Court ruling in summer 2018, two commissioners openly supported Rice’s comparison of Christianity to Nazism and racism. Here’s ADF:
During that discussion, Commissioner Rita Lewis said, ‘I support Commissioner Diann Rice and her comments. I don’t think she said anything wrong.’ Later, Commissioner Carol Fabrizio added, ‘I also very much stand behind Commissioner Rice’s statements…. I was actually proud of what she said, and I agree with her…. I’m almost glad that something the Commissioner said ended up public and used, because I think it was the right thing.’
Faced with this evidence of their persistent animus against Christians, the commission folded its second case against Jack. But it still maintains the power to do this to anyone at any time, even still based on anti-religious bigotry so long as they keep that to themselves.
There is nothing to stop Jack from getting hauled repeatedly into Kafka-esque commissions that harass people based on whinging from randos that Phillips won’t bake a dildo cake. How is this allowed to happen in the United States of America? What will happen to other targeted people whose cases don’t get noticed or represented by a star-studded legal team all the way up to the Supreme Court?
“When I set out to build my dream of opening my own cake shop, combining my love for art and baking in a family business, I never imagined this chapter would be part of the Masterpiece Cakeshop story,” Phillips said in a statement about the commission’s latest decision. “I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop; I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs. The Supreme Court affirmed that government hostility against people of faith is unconstitutional, and that Colorado was hostile to my faith. That hostility cost me 40 percent of my business and the wedding work that I love to do.”