A custom cake baker in suburban Denver can’t cite his religious convictions in declining to make a wedding cake for two men, a Colorado appeals court ruled today.
“Cake artist” Jack Phillips said he gladly serves gays and lesbians in his family business. But, Phillips said, he could not in good conscience design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple when, as a Christian, he believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that not doing so amounts to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation, Associated Press reported.
You’ll recall that Colorado is one of the states that does not recognize religious liberty as a human right:
If you live in one of the non-gray states, you’re at risk.
What’s troubling to me about this is that Phillips was defended by Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom. He is a very capable religious liberty lawyer.
The baker’s lawyer, Jeremy Tedesco, told The Daily Signal that the three judges “got it wrong on all counts” in a unanimous, 65-page opinion.
“He objects to the message, not to their protected status,” Tedesco said of the business owner’s attitude toward Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the two men who wanted him to design a wedding cake. “That’s not discrimination under the law.”
Tedesco, senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, added:
Business owners have a right–especially when they’re engaged in expression, as our client is–to run their business in accordance with their beliefs. …When they’re engaged in expression, [they may] decline to create an expression that violates their convictions.
What’s interesting is that after being denied the cake, the gay couple easily went to another shop and got a cake. There was no harm done.
But that was not good enough for them, hence their decision to involve the state, and punish the Christian for choosing not to celebrate something he disagreed with.
Tedesco says that the baker should not be forced to say something that he violates his conscience:
As The Daily Signal reported, Tedesco argued that compelling Phillips to create a cake for the wedding of two men would violate his First Amendment rights not only to freedom of religion but also free speech or expression.
“The other side of the case thinks there are no First Amendment rights in the commercial context and once you open a business, you cede all First Amendment protections,” Tedesco told The Daily Signal after the hearing in Denver.
The ADF intends to appeal the case to the Colorado Supreme Court, and then to the Supreme Court of the United States. Unfortunately, since Obama won in 2008 and 2012, the Supreme Court is likely to rule against religious liberty. We’ll find out, I guess.
Like Christian ministers across the confessional spectrum, David Wells takes seriously the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew: “I was in prison and you did not visit me.” Minister of evangelism of Pleasant View Baptist Church in McQuady, Kentucky, he has been visiting and mentoring juveniles in the Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center for 12 years.
Not any more. On July 7th, the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) revoked his volunteer credentials and permanently barred him from visiting, counseling or leading worship services for juveniles. He was found in violation of a newly revised departmental policy on “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” because he could not sign a state-mandated statement that he would not use the word “sinful” when talking about homosexuality. The policy states that volunteers:
shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns, and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful, or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The acronym “LGBTQI” stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Intersexed.”
I recommend reading the articles to get the details on the inmates, so that you see what they are in for, what their real problems are, and what it is that the pastor talks to them about.
But I want to skip to the end, which is about the conflict between the gay agenda (don’t offend me by saying that what I am doing is wrong, because it makes me feel bad) with the Constitutional right of religious liberty.
The issue really isn’t the way Wells speaks to the juveniles he ministers to. The issue is what he says. In effect, the DJJ wants to remove the Bible from his hands. The policy equates the teaching of Biblical morality with derogatory and hateful speech.
Removing the Bible from a pastor’s hands is like taking a scalpel from the hands of a surgeon. The policy effectively deletes passages such as Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Tim 1:10 from the New Testament. The words of Scripture are the gifts a pastor has to offer. He’s not there just to counsel the young people. He’s there to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s not hate speech, it’s love speech.
Wells is represented by Liberty Counsel. In a letter to the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, Liberty Counsel explained that the new policy creates an unconstitutional religious test for access to the DJJ. The First Amendment prohibits the government from discriminating on the basis of viewpoint. This detention center may not prohibit the expression of biblical morality because DJJ policymakers object to the Bible.
That’s what the American Constitution says, but the authorities in other states and in federal and military prisons have begun imposing similar restrictions on religious speech. This may become one more aftershock of the Obergefell v Hodges decision. The homosexual equivalency movement wants to insert homosexual activity into the category of a protected class under State and Federal law in order to use the police power of the State against those who disagree with them. It’s one more example of a growing soft persecution underway in the United States.
I have been saying for some time that Christians have been really missing the boat by focusing on charity without theology. We are interested in being nice so we can be liked. We are not interested in telling the truth, so that we can be faithful. We spend all our money feeding hungry people and helping the poor and so on, and nothing is going to defend religious liberty – the freedom to actually treat what the Bible about God as real and serious – in public. Maybe instead of doing nice things, we can try to focus more on doing good things. We can start by not voting for secularists who charm us with their desire solve the world’s problems by redistributing wealth, and instead vote for people who promise to protect our religious liberty and our freedom of conscience. No more giving money to World Vision and the Boy Scouts of America and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We have other things to think about now.
This article appeared in the far left UK Telegraph. (H/T Dina)
New banning orders intended to clamp down on hate preachers and terrorist propagandists should be used against Christian teachers who teach children that gay marriage is “wrong”, a Tory MP has argued.
Mark Spencer called for those who use their position in the classroom to teach traditionalist views on marriage to be subject to “Extremism Disruption Orders” (EDOs), tough new restrictions planned by David Cameron and Theresa May to curb radicalisation by jihadists.
In a letter to a constituent, Mr Spencer, the MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, insisted that Christian teachers were still “perfectly entitled” to express their views on same-sex marriage – but only “in some situations”.
Christian campaigners said Mr Spencer’s remarks confirmed what they had previously warned: that those who believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman would now be “branded extremists”.
[…]Ministers have signalled that the orders, expected to be a key plank of the Government planned new Counter-Extremism Bill, would be used not only curb the activities of radical Islamist clerics but those who promote other views deemed to go against “British values”.
According to the MP’s letter, the anti-terrorism laws would be used whenever teachers taught children that redefining marriage was wrong. This is the view of every Bible-believing Christian, by the way. Defending the standard definition of marriage is now the equivalent of advocating for Jihad, in British schools.
I did a quick search to see what really is going on in the UK with freedom of conscience, free speech, and so on, and I found this story:
A Christian registrar who claimed religious discrimination has today been denied an appeal by the European Court of Human Rights, in a move described as a “sad day for liberty of conscience”.
Lillian Ladele was claiming religious discrimination after being forced out of her Islington Council job over her conscientious objection to same-sex civil partnerships.
She was seeking to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights after losing a 5-2 majority decision in January.
Two other Christians, Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane, also had their applications for appeal turned down.
It’s a good idea, when deciding who to vote for, to look at other countries to see where the policies being put forward today have led. One policy that led to a terrible place, especially for men and children, was no-fault divorce. Today, we have same-sex marriage, which denies children access to their biological mother or father, or both, and makes relationships about the needs of selfish adults, instead about the needs of children. And in the UK, speaking against this second redefinition of marriage is now a crime.
Hoping to harness the momentum generated by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing gay marriage, congressional Democrats on Thursday unveiled sweeping legislation that would extend additional rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The Equality Act – introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in the upper chamber and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., in the House – seeks to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections against racial and sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
[…]The measure would prohibit discrimination against LGBT persons in categories ranging from employment and housing to education and jury service, and would broaden where discrimination would be illegal in a “public accommodation” to include everything from shopping centers and banks to travel agencies and funeral parlors.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for greater LGBT rights, 31 states do not have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill has 190 Democrats sponsors, and 0 Republican sponsors.
In a previous post, I explained that only states that have “non-discrimination” laws are able to punish Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc. We are seeing the punishment of pro-marriage people in the states with these “non-discrimination” laws, e.g. – Oregon, New Mexico, Washington and so on. See the map below for more.
But this “Equality Act” bill would make all 50 states allow these kinds of punishments against people who disagree with same-sex marriage. The laws really are anti-religious-liberty laws, because they force you to agree with the gay agenda, or else face consequences. They force you to violate your conscience, just because you don’t agree with redefining marriage. If this law passes, it means that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage being the same as child-centered natural marriage would be a potential target for the federal government.
Marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson writes about a new law crafted by the Human Rights Campaign, which I’ll talk more about later.
Politico is reporting that the so-called “Equality Act” will be introduced today in Congress. The bill is the brainchild of the Human Rights Campaign—an influential, sophisticated and lavishly funded LGBT activist organization.
The “Equality Act” is a misnomer. The bill does not protect equality before the law, but unnecessarily and unjustly violates freedom by creating special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This proposed legislation would add “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) to more or less every federal law that protects on the basis of race. It goes well beyond the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—which would have added SOGI only to employment law.
ENDA, which was first introduced in Congress in 1994, has been defeated each and every Congress. When it was first introduced, ENDA included only “sexual orientation,” but in 2007 “gender identity” was added to the bill. Thankfully, ENDA has never been made law.
Nevertheless, having expanded the bill from including sexual orientation to also including gender identity, activists have also extended this misguided policy well beyond employment—to “credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations.” These SOGI laws must be resisted, as I explain in chapter six of my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.”
The Advocate reports that the “Equality Act’s” special privileges would apply to “public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend” people who believe that marriage is the union of man and woman. That’s right: the bill says that religious freedom needs to take a back seat to special SOGI protections.
The Advocate also reports that the “Equality Act” would require that “sex-segregated facilities must admit individuals in accordance to their gender identity.” That’s right: the bill would require biological males who identify as women to be able to use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
[…]SOGI laws can have serious unintended consequences. They threaten small-business owners with liability for alleged “discrimination” based not on objective traits, but on subjective and unverifiable identities. They expand state interference in labor markets, potentially discouraging job creation. They endanger religious liberty and freedom of speech. And they mandate employment policies that, with regard to many workplace conditions, violate common sense.
The ENDA bill is a nightmare for religious liberty. If Anderson thinks this bill is worse, that should tell you something about how far the left is willing to go to compel celebration of same-sex marriage.
I want to remind my readers of two things about the Human Rights Campaign, which Anderson said is behind the bill.
Second, after a gay activist named Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council with guns, the Human Rights Campaign pronounced the Family Research Council a “hate group”. The FRC is a respected conservative, pro-life, pro-family think tank. Corkins was convicted for domestic terrorism for attacking them with guns. And the HRC called the FRC a “hate group”, even after the attack. And now they are supporting this “Equality Act” bill.
A document provided to Breitbart News shows the investment banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase has joined a long line of major corporations in putting pressure on employees to sign up for the cause of gay rights. And they have not-so-subtly let each employee know not signing up will be noted.
Employees are being told “to help create an environment for open and honest dialogue.” The document notes descriptors such as “wife” and “boyfriend” are frowned upon, and “partner” is preferred. Not referring to your wife as your wife “offers up the opportunity for more inclusive conversations.”
[…]JP Morgan urges employees to “print and display your ally placard,” which implies the recalcitrant will be noticed.
The document tells employees to “explore your personal beliefs, use inclusive language, avoid making assumptions by asking conscientious questions, increase your awareness about issues impacting the gay community, include LGBT issues in your everyday life, attend events that celebrate diversity and inclusion, and speak out against hurtful comments.”
[…]Besides the gay pride placard each employee is supposed to display in their workspace, perhaps the most intrusive article in the documents calls upon employees to “include LGBT issues in your everyday life.” JP Morgan brass want employees to “include [LGBT issues] in your life and conversations, just as you would any other topic.”
Employees are urged to “take some time to listen to music, see movies or read books and magazines by and about gay people…there’s no substitute for knowledge.”
[…]This follows a controversy last year when JP Morgan Chase sent each employee a survey asking them if they were a “gay ally.” JP Morgan employees reached out anonymously to Breitbart News and other outlets about the pressure put on them to violate their own religious consciences.
Now imagine that you are working for this company or another like it and they are asking you to wear a symbol of the gay agenda on your desk. What exactly are you supposed to do, as an observant Christian, Muslim or Jew? Your Scriptures don’t condone you doing that, but your performance review or promotion may depend on being a “team player”. Should you violate your conscience for the sake of your career? Well, you might be tempted to do it if you were supporting a wife and several children, but maybe not if you were single. You might be tempted to do it if you had a lot of outstanding loans, like student loans . You’re more likely to have unpaid student loans if you chose to study something easy like English than if you studied petroleum engineering. You might feel more obligated to violate your conscience if you had many children, instead of just a few or none. You might feel more obligated to violate your conscience if you were making payments on an expensive house and/or an expensive car. You might feel more obligated to violate your conscience if you didn’t have a strong enough resume to get another job.
Do you see how all your life decisions fit in with this? Your freedom to honor your conscience or not depends on the decisions that you make. Your choice to do hard things instead of easy things will affect whether you have freedom to follow your conscience or not. The time is coming, and is now here, when your religious liberty will hinge on your seriousness about life decisions. Were you self-controlled? Were you self-disciplined? Were you self-sacrificial? Did you do things that you didn’t feel like doing in school, at work, and with money? If you were prudent and said no to fun, travel, spending, etc. then you can more easily afford to have religious liberty. Think about the threats before they happen, and make good decisions in your early life. Build yourself a castle with your decisions about education, work and money, so that you don’t have to care when non-Christians force you to choose between God and your belly.
Here are a few verses that were significant to me when I was in high school and college, and had to make the decisions that would either leave me with freedom or force me to comply with the JP Morgan Chase people in the world:
28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
I think it’s always a good idea to think “how will I make decisions that allow me to achieve the practical result of what these verses are saying?” We want to be obedient to what God says, not to what our feelings say. It may feel good to indulge our feelings, but that never works if we are trying to be serious about achieving real-world results. Feelings only work in the movies.