Religious Left 7 Myths Masterpiece Cakeshop Jack Phillips

November 14, 2017

The Religious Left’s 7 Myths about Masterpiece Cakeshop

Religious progressives recently filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the blockbuster religious freedom case involving Masterpiece Cakeshop. The brief featured prime examples of the polemic so often employed by the Religious Left. It also promoted at least seven myths about the debate over same-sex marriage and religious freedom.

Nearly 1,300 progressive religious denominations, activist organizations, and individuals filed the brief. They alleged that Jack Phillips, longtime proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was seeking “special privileges” under the guise of religious freedom.

Phillips supposedly violated anti-discrimination laws in his home state of Colorado (specifically, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, aka, “CADA”) for declining to participate in a same-sex wedding. “Friends of the court” (amici curiae) responsible for filing the brief claimed that these anti-discrimination laws trumped Phillips’ First Amendment rights allowing him to follow his convictions.

Amici accordingly urge the Court to reject Petitioners’ plea for a First Amendment-premised exemption,” they argued.

The brief surely served to project the Religious Left values of its authors. It also promoted some erroneous lines of argument. Here are seven myths implicitly and explicitly promoted in the brief:

 

Myth #1: Disagreement over Sexual Ethics Means Denial of Dignity. Amici asserted that their faith traditions demonstrated “religious respect for LGBT persons,” adding that:

Human dignity serves as a point of connection between the crux of this dispute – namely, prohibited discrimination by a business open to the public – and religious perspectives on LGBT persons and same-sex.

The clear implication is that Jack Phillips, along with anyone else declining to participate in same-sex weddings, fails to respect LGBTQ people and denies their inherent dignity. But this is simply false.

As discussed in greater detail in my previous post, Jack Phillips has made clear that he has no objection to LGBTQ customers or employees. He only refuses to participate in same-sex weddings and other celebrations (like Halloween) that violate his conscience. The same is also true for many other religious individuals.

 

Myth #2: The First Amendment Does Not Protect People of Faith in the Public Square. The brief included this troubling statement:

Petitioner Jack Phillips has every right to his religious beliefs concerning marriage and to lawfully act on those beliefs in his personal and religious life. But once he held himself out as a baker marketing wedding cakes to the general public, he became subject to public accommodation laws like CADA.

If the Supreme Court accepts this twisted legal logic, it would undermine the First Amendment rights of Americans to express and act upon their values in the public square. As Jack Phillips puts it, “We don’t want God to be part of our lives on just Sundays. We want Him to be part of our lives every day.”

No one should be forced to confine practicing their faith to their home or place of worship. Constructing a partition between publicly and privately expressing one’s convictions lays the groundwork for widespread curtailing of religious freedom in the United States.

 

Myth #3: Allowing Exemptions to Anti-Discrimination Laws Will Lead to “Blanket Discrimination.” Amici stated that is was “morally wrong and not constitutionally required to permit blanket discrimination in the public marketplace.” It’s one matter to debate whether anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual behavior should exist. It’s entirely separate to grant exceptions to rules for legitimate conscientious objectors. Allowing sincere people of faith to decline to participate in same-sex weddings does not equal allowing “blanket discrimination” across the country.

 

Myth #4: It’s Morally Okay to Bring Fellow Christians to Court over Political Disagreements. Although this was not explicitly stated, this premise is implicitly affirmed by the involvement of “Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Unitarians” in authoring and filing the brief with America’s highest secular court.  These ostensibly Christian organizations and individuals apparently forgot or chose to ignore 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. The Apostle Paul wrote that it was to the “shame” of the Corinthians for bringing legal cases before civil courts:

“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? … To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you.” (ESV, 1 Cor 6:1,7a)

This biblical dictum should give pause to anyone claiming to serve Jesus Christ but brings their Christian brothers and sisters to court to achieve political ends.

 

Myth #5: Same-Sex Marriage is Like Interracial Marriage. It’s a tired old argument. But amici repeated it anyways. They posited a hypothetical situation involving Jack Phillips:

If he refused to bake a cake for an interracial couple on the ground that his religion taught him that marriages can properly exist only between persons of the same race, we respectfully submit that few would give this objection much credence.

But this is not what Phillips asserted. He declined to participate in same-sex weddings to avoid affirming homosexual behavior, a practice which his religious beliefs qualify as immoral. It would be completely different to refuse to participate in interracial marriages because of racist beliefs about the inherent inferiority of other ethnicities, which no mainstream religion affirms.

 

Myth #6: There is a Legitimate Christian Argument for Same-Sex Marriage. No serious interpretation of the Bible concludes that Scripture requires Christians to affirm homosexual behavior. However, amici attempted to convince the Supreme Court of exactly that: “some leaders from unquestionably ‘traditional’ religious groups deem the embrace of civil nondiscrimination to be required by foundational religious tenets.”

IRD’s United Methodist Director John Lomperis, who received his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, recently noted:

Today even liberal biblical scholars admit the clear facts that every time homosexual practice is undeniably mentioned in the Old or New Testaments, it is condemned.  No serious biblical scholar today has offered any example of any verse that clearly, unambiguously, and non-speculatively affirms homosexual practice.

However, these facts don’t stop religious progressives from speculating that the Bible actually does support homosexual practice. (For example, one activist identified biblical patriarch Joseph as transgender because his multicolor coat was actually a “princess dress.”) Thus they continue lobbying to make civil and ecclesiastical law more accommodating of same-sex marriage.

 

Myth #7: The Supreme Court’s Decision Won’t Undermine Religious Freedom. It would make the Supreme Court’s decision easy if siding against Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop actually made no difference on the question of religious freedom, as religious progressives argued in their brief:

Affirmance poses no threat to religious liberty, either on the facts of this dispute or in general. To the contrary, reversal would upend longstanding Free Exercise jurisprudence by granting Phillips the unilateral right to excuse himself from generally applicable legal duties having little or nothing to do with his actual religious exercise.

But the truth is that countless other business owners and artists will be affected by this decision.


9 Responses to The Religious Left’s 7 Myths about Masterpiece Cakeshop

  1. David Fischler says:

    In some ways, the most disturbing (as well as hypocritical) of these myths is that religious people lose their First Amendment rights when they enter the public square. This is essentially a Soviet view of religious freedom, wherein you are free inside your own skull and, at most, inside the four walls of a religious building, but heaven forfend you should venture outside those two locations and assert anything contrary to the received wisdom of the state.

  2. Believer says:

    MYTH 8 – Homosexuals have a non-discrimination civil right to “identify” to be the opposite sex and believe, for example, a man has a right to identify as a “woman,” but Jack has no right to identify as Christian and an artist or else he is “discriminating against homosexuals.”

    Homosexuals are in fact discriminating against Jack to then deny his civil right to identify as a Christian artist. Homosexuality is not a race it is a false religion and Jack chooses to celebrate events that are consistent with his faith.

    • Shield says:

      Gay people don’t “identify” as the opposite sex. They identify as the sex they were born with. If they “identify” as anything, they identify as “attracted to the same sex”.
      Gayness is also not a religion, false or otherwise. I’m really not sure what you mean for a comment like that to do, seeing as it would be immensely more difficult to convince a court to refuse to provide services to someone on account of their religion than on account of their sexuality.

  3. Lamar Aiazzi says:

    Hopefully, with all of its glaring falsehoods, the Amici Curiae brief will be disregarded by the court as having no merit.

  4. Tom wiles says:

    You can call it what ever you want but if it is contrary to the word of God it is sin period. God is God he does not change Jesus said I am the same yesterday today and forever. Remember every knee shall bow before almighty God. I don’t worry about being judged by man I worry about being judged by the God that created me. Just because people try to change the laws that help us here on earth doesn’t change God. Remember Gods ways are not mans ways. I will pray humbly for those that think they can go against God and win because they are fighting a loosing battle. I have read the back of the Bible and God wins. God Bless America and God help us Lord and return us back to you Father.amen.

  5. Shield says:

    There is also no difference between refusing to provide services to a gay couple and refusing to provide services to an interracial couple. It is foolish and historically revisionist to insist that religion played no part whatsoever in the creation and sustained existence of miscegenation laws. There is documented evidence to the contrary, and it still exists today, though deprived of effect mostly. In any case, the prohibition is “do not lie as a woman lies with a man”. There exists no injunction against selling a product one advertises as available to the public if the person offering to purchase the product happens to be gay. Or should Christian realtors refuse to sell gay couples homes for fear that housing them would affirm their living together spousally?

    • jerry says:

      The Scriptures are loaded with passages accepting intercultural acceptance and marriage. There is nothing but negative statements about homosexuality in the Word. There is some ambiguity in selling property. Selling real estate leaves the buyer the freedom to do what they want with it. Renting is another matter. And if I were a landlord, I as a Christian I would have a great aversion to renting to a homosexual couple.

    • myth buster says:

      What is being objected to is not selling a product, but approving of sin. Jesus’ harshest words were for those who led others into sin: “You cross the sea to win a convert, and when he is won, you make him twice the child of Gehenna as yourselves,” “It would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea,” and “You have made [the Temple] a den of thieves!” To show approval of sin is worse than committing it yourself.

  6. Chuck Lane says:

    Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to day and for ever. [Hebrews 13:8]

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