This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
And people wonder why conservatives do not trust the left
Dana Pico 6/19/2021 12:01 PM
One would have thought that the Supreme Court's decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018) would have chastened liberals that people's religious freedom is, and ought to be protected, but, Alas!, it appears to have emboldened the left even more.
The Court decided, 7-2, with liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joining the majority, that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted with hostility to the religious beliefs of Jack Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex 'marriage' ceremony.[i] Mr Phillips does not believe that homosexual 'marriages are legitimate, and that baking a wedding cake for such would violate his religious freedom rights.
What the Court failed to do is to rule, explicitly, that Mr Phillips' actions were protected by the First Amendment, and to some on the left, that provided an opening. From The Victory Girls:
by Nina Bookout | Thursday, June 17, 2021
Bake the cake! That’s the ruling from a Denver judge yesterday regarding Masterpiece Cakeshop and owner Jack Phillips.
According to Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones, Jack Phillips can be compelled by law to go against his conscience and beliefs to bake the cake the customer demands.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones said Autumn Scardina was denied a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her gender transition on her birthday because of her transgender status in violation of the law. While Jack Phillips said he could not make the cake because of its message, Jones said the case was about a refusal to sell a product, not compelled speech.
He pointed out that Phillips testified during a trial in March that he did not think someone could change their gender and he would not celebrate “somebody who thinks that they can.”
“The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as ‘others,‘” Jones wrote.
There is OH SO MUCH WRONG with this judge’s ruling!
First of all, Autumn Scardina deliberately sought Jack Phillips out. It is no coincidence that Scardina went to Jack Phillips business the very afternoon after the United States Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ appeal.
Scardina wanted, no demanded, that Jack Phillips make a specific gender transition cake. He refused to do so and, as he’s done before, offered an alternative. Scardina refused. But THEN called back and demanded he bake the cake that shows Satan smoking a joint. Phillips again refused to do so. Scardina complained to the state civil rights commission.
Here’s what Judge Jones refused to consider, IMO, regarding this case. Scardina’s deliberate targeting of Jack Phillips.
It’s not clear exactly why Ms. Scardina wanted a cake featuring Satan, apart from provoking him. When asked why she ordered the Satan cake, she said she wanted to believe Mr. Phillips was a “good person” and hoped to persuade him to see the “errors of his thinking.” That’s some deal for someone you say is a “good person”: Change your thinking or I will try to ruin you.
But according to Jones, Scardina’s request/demand of Jack Phillips was not a set up.
And that, my friends, is a boatload of horsehockey.
First of all, Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission got smacked down hard by SCOTUS on the case. Secondly, even though Jack Phillips was handed a victory, the lawsuit by Scardina was allowed to proceed. Which, as is publicly known, Scardina did deliberately target Jack Phillips, and an activist judge bought into it.
It's simple: Charlie Scardina[ii] is attempting to use 'lawfare' to either force Mr Phillips to knuckle under and go along with the cockamamie notion that girls can be boys and boys can be girls, or to drive him broke and out of business. Beliefs in opposition to what the left say they must not be, cannot be tolerated.
Live and let live? Not something with which the left agree!
Justices Ruth Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, but Mrs Ginsburg has now gone to her eternal reward, and been replaced by Amy Coney Barrett, a strong supporter of religious freedom.
Now the Court has struck another blow for the free exercise of religion:
The ruling described the city’s 2018 move to end its relationship with Catholic Social Services as unconstitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday condemned Philadelphia’s decision to end a long-standing contract with a Catholic social services agency due to its refusal to consider same-sex married couples as potential foster parents.
In a unanimous decision, the justices described the city’s 2018 move to end its relationship with Catholic Social Services, which had cited its religious beliefs about marriage in refusing to work with LGBTQ couples, as unconstitutional.
The ruling is the latest in a series of decisions favoring religious rights since the emergence of a more conservative high court during the administration of former President Donald Trump. But the court’s more liberal justices also signed on to the decision.
It’s likely to reverberate nationwide, with implications for anti-discrimination clauses in government contracts, particularly in the social services sector, where religious providers are common. . . . .
The agency argued that it views the certification of couples as good candidates for fostering children as an “endorsement of the relationship,” and therefore its religious beliefs prevent it from certifying LGBTQ partnerships. Catholic Social Services also noted that it doesn’t work with unmarried couples, either.
There's more at the original. I anticipate an editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer denouncing this decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion of the Court, and, citing Masterpiece Cakeshop, said, "Government fails to act neutrally when it proceeds in a manner intolerant of religious beliefs or restricts practices because of their religious nature." This, to me, is hugely important, because it actually goes beyond Masterpiece; it holds that even a facially neutral regulation -- there is no claim that the city of Philadelphia acted with hostility, as is the case with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in Masterpiece -- that is "intolerant of religious beliefs or restricts practices because of their religious nature" cannot withstand Constitutional scrutiny.
It is clear that, should the case between Mr Scardina and Masterpiece Cakeshop proceed to the Supreme Court, Mr Phillips will, once again, win; Mr Scardina is not, by the refusal of Mr Phillips to bake his ridiculous cake, prevented from having his 'transition' cake to celebrate his birthday baked at all. It is simply that Mr Phillips will not bake it. In Fulton v Philadelphia, it was made clear that, Catholic Social Services not being the only provider of foster care and adoption referrals, homosexual couples or unmarried persons would not be denied the possibility of becoming foster or adoptive parents,[iii] and the Inquirer article notes that Bethany Christian Services chose to change its Christian-based policies to continue to provide such services to the city.
There is a significant difference between conservatives and the left here. Conservatives have not been trying to prevent Mr Scardina from having anyone bake his pink-inside-of-blue cake; they simply hold that if a particular individual does not want to bake it, that is his right. We are (mostly) willing to live and let live. I have no objection to Mr Scardina calling himself a woman; I simply would not call him one myself, and I would object to any government regulation specifying that I must do so.
For the left, that ain't good enough. The left want to use the force of government and the police power of the state to require everyone to go along with their particular beliefs, even trying to consume Harry Potter author J K Rowling, a very liberal woman herself, for not being #woke enough to accept the notion of transgenderism.
This is why surrendering to the left on language is such a bad idea; ever inch given leads to another mile demanded. Even as conservative an author as Mrs Bookout gave in to the language of the left by referring to Mr Scardina as "she" at one point. My Stylebook has not been adopted by any other source of which I am aware, but conservatives should look at it, and consider following it as they can.
[i] Yes, you may infer from my placing the word 'marriage' in single quotation marks that I do not believe that, though legal, a homosexual 'marriage' constitutes a real marriage.
[ii] In accordance with my website’s, The First Street Journal's Stylebook, I always refer to those who claim to be 'transgender' by their birth name and with the pronouns appropriate to their biological sex. From the references I have found, "Charlie" appears to be Mr Scardina's birthname, but the references do not actually specify that.
[iii] It is my that only legally married heterosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children, though I would make an exception for unmarried persons who are already close relatives, as long as they are heterosexual.
Dana Pico is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and alumnus of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and international Commerce, and has written for the Kentucky Kernel, UK's student newspaper, as well as a few articles for the Lexington Herald-Leader, all in the days just after Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. He is now retired and living on his small farm on the banks of the Kentucky River. You can find more of his writings at The First Street Journal.
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