Tag Archives: Jack Phillips

Barronelle Stutzman religious liberty case parallels Jack Phillips case

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

Barronelle Stutzman owns a flower shop in Washington state. A gay couple she had served for years decided to weaponize the secular state to punish her, when she declined to participate in their same-sex wedding. In this Fox News editorial, she explains what the gay activists in Washington state government did to her. Those already familiar with the case might want to read her editorial anyway, because it shows that that her case has parallels to the Jack Phillips case that was recently decided by the Supreme Court.

This is a very useful editorial because I think it really shows how to frame disagreement with homosexual redefinitions of marriage in a winsome way. If the police and the government come for you, it’s important to understand how to explain yourself without being more offensive than you have to be.

Excerpt:

I tried to do my work as an artist in ways that honored my religious beliefs, my home state of Washington turned my life upside down. Since then, my state has been prosecuting me because I declined, for religious reasons, one request to celebrate one event for one gay customer – a friend of mine named Rob, whom I’d been delighted to serve for nearly a decade.

The Washington Supreme Court ruled against me last year with a decision that threatens to bankrupt my husband and me. But this week, the U.S. Supreme Court breathed new life into my case, sending it back to the Washington courts for further consideration.

[…]I’m also a Christian, and that affects every part of my life, including my work. Because I believe that all people are made in the very image of God, I serve everyone who enters my shop and treat them with dignity and respect.

She served gay people, but declined to participate in same-sex marriage weddings:

But this doesn’t mean that I can agree to every request. If people ask for custom arrangements to celebrate events or express messages that run up against my religious beliefs, I have to say ‘no.’ (This is particularly true for events like weddings that I personally attend.) Even then, I’ll gladly create something else for them, or sell them any of my ready-to-purchase items.

My relationship with Rob shows this. I served him for nearly a decade. I knew that he is gay, and he knew that I’m a Christian. None of that mattered. We enjoyed working with each other, and we quickly became friends. I was glad to create arrangements celebrating his partner’s birthday, their anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and other important life events. But when he asked me to design the flowers for his wedding, it was a different matter.

Her reason for declining to participate in the same-sex wedding was her own deeply-held religious convictions: (which are protected by law)

My faith teaches me that marriage is sacred, and that it exists only in the uniting of a man and a woman. I cannot create custom floral art, or be part of an event, celebrating a view that contradicts what I believe God designed marriage to be.

She declined the request to participate in the wedding in a gentle way, and recommended other businesses who would do a good job:

So when Rob asked me about his wedding, I walked him to a private part of my shop, took his hand in mine, told him why I couldn’t do what he asked, and referred him to three other florists who I knew would do a good job. Rob said that he understood, and we hugged before he left.

It was the state of Washington that decided to force their secular left “morality” on her. They decided to make an example of her, in order to intimidate Christians into acting like non-Christians on moral issues. (similar to what happened in Colorado with the Civil Rights Commission vs Masterpiece Cakeshop).

But, just like Colorado gay activists in government, they did not apply the law consistently. Christian businesses were persecuted, but anti-Christian businesses were allowed to discriminate against Christians:

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson heard about this after Rob’s partner posted something on social media. Ever since, the attorney general has relentlessly – and on his own initiative – come after me in ways he’s never come after anyone else. He certainly hasn’t done the same to a Seattle coffee shop owner who profanely berated and openly discriminated against Christian customers.

The consequences for Barronelle are the loss of her business and everything that she owns, and hoped to pass on to her own children:

The attorney general doesn’t just want to punish me in my role as a business owner. He’s sued me in my “personal capacity,” meaning that my husband and I are now at risk of losing everything we own.

The attorney general was asked to stop trying to take everything she owned, but he declined to do it. He’s addicted the idea of using the power of the secular government to punish religious people who disagree with him.

I’ve written the attorney general a letter urging him “to drop” the personal claims that risk stripping away “my home, business, and other assets.” He won’t. For him, this case has been about making an example of me – crushing me – all because he disapproves of what I believe about marriage.

And remember that the salary of this fascistic attorney general is funded in part by Barronelle’s own income taxes. She’s paying them to persecute her for her Christian beliefs, because the people around her – some of whom claim to be Christians – voted for bigger and bigger secular leftist government.

Discrimination against Christians

I decided to take a look at the other case that she linked to, to really understand whether the state of Washington had enforced the law differently for different people. You’ll remember that the favorable decision that Jack Phillips got was conditional (in part) on the law being applied inconsistently in his home state.

Here’s the story:

A homosexual coffee shop owner refused service to a group of peaceful Christian [pro-lifers] Sunday and evicted them from his shop.

The [pro-lifers] had been actively engaging people in the city for several days, sharing the gospel, holding signs exposing the abortion holocaust, and handing out literature to people of the streets. According to… Caytie Davis, the group entered Bedlam Coffee to rest and have a drink but did not engage anyone there.

“We had nothing on us, we weren’t distributing anything,” Davis said. “We bought coffee and went upstairs.” Within minutes of their arrival, the barista ran up the stairs and into the back room to alert the owner of their presence.

[…]When the [pro-lifers] asked why they had to leave, the owner told them, “This offends me.”

[…]Jonathan Sutherland pointed out that the literature had been found on public property, but the owner repeatedly cut him off, saying “Shut up! Shut up!”

“We tried to talk to him and he wanted nothing to do with it,” Davis added.

“So you’re not willing to tolerate our presence?” Sutherland asked.

“Will you tolerate my presence?” the man responded. Sutherland assured him they would. “We’re actually in your coffee shop,” he said.

“Really?” the owner demanded. “If I go get my boyfriend and f*ck him in the a** right here you’re going to tolerate that?”

“That would be your choice,” Sutherland answered. But the owner would not be persuaded. “Are you going to tolerate it?” he asked again. “Answer my f***ing question! No, you’re going to sit right here and f***ing watch it!”

“Well, we don’t want to watch that,” said Caleb Head…

“Well than I don’t have to f*cking tolerate this!” the man said. “Leave! All of you. Tell all your f*cking friends, don’t f*cking come here.”

The [pro-lifers] agreed to leave, but Davis took the opportunity as they left to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. “Just know that Christ can save you from that lifestyle,” she said.

“Yeah, I like a**,” the owner responded. “I’m not going to be saved by anything. I’d f*ck Christ in the a**. Ok? He’s hot.”

As they exited… Jes Sutherland commented, “Seattle has proved itself to not be tolerant.”

“Don’t act so f***ing shocked b**ch,” the owner said. “Get the f*ck out.”

The story was also reported on by a neutral source, a local radio station.

The Christians didn’t even ask the gay business owner to cater a heterosexual wedding! They were just refused service for who they were… something that Barronelle and Jack did not do. Naturally, the police and the state of Washington had nothing to say about this.

Finally, some secular leftist journalists are trying to say that what the owner of the Red Hen did to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was OK, because of the Jack Phillips decision. But it’s pretty obvious to anyone who is thinking rationally, that the cases are not parallel. Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman both served gay people for everything except participation in a gay wedding. But the owner of the Red Hen refused to serve people based on religious convictions or political convictions. I would be fine with radical leftists refusing to participate in my heterosexual wedding, too. People on the religious right don’t believing in forcing those who disagree with them to act as if they agreed with them. And we certainly don’t believe in using the government to force them to do it. Fascism is now and always has been a left-wing enterprise, because only people on the secular left look to government as a solution to anything that makes them feel bad.

In Canada, the Christians get jail time for disagreement

By the way, if you want to read an interesting story from The Federalist about how gay activists are using police and courts to go after Christians who say things that offend them, then read about this case from Canada, where a very weird but harmless Christian is being threatened with TWO YEARS in prison for handing out pamphlets warning gay people about the health risks of male-male sexual behavior. Although he cited numbers from the Center for Disease Control for his little pamphlets, this was apparently too much for the Canadian police, and they decided to arrest him and threaten him with jail time. And again, he is paying the salaries of the police, prosecutors and judges through his taxes.

Highlights from day one of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case

Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom argued Jack Phillips’ case before the Supreme Court. (Photo: Jeff Malet/The Heritage Foundation) Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom argued Jack Phillips’ case before the Supreme Court. (Photo: Jeff Malet/The Heritage Foundation)

I thought it might be worth reading about the first day of arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Not only can we find out what is likely to happen, but we’ll also learn how the ADF lawyer Kristen Waggoner is making her defense.

The Daily Signal reports:

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a closely watched case dealing with free speech, religious liberty, and same-sex marriage.

Specifically, the justices considered whether the state of Colorado can force Jack Phillips, a Christian baker, to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding against his deeply held religious beliefs.

Attorneys for Phillips clearly explained that he seeks to exercise his freedom only to speak messages that he agrees with, while still welcoming all customers into his store. The First Amendment’s free speech and religious liberty clauses protect his freedoms to do just that.

In a lengthy and charged oral argument, the nine justices wrestled with how Americans who hold different views on marriage in our post-Obergefell society can continue to live with each other in mutual respect.

Here is the key that might predict the outcome, from the Supreme Court’s swing vote:

In one of the most charged exchanges of the day, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger about whether a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who compared Phillips to a racist and a Nazi demonstrated anti-religious bias—and that, if he did so, whether the judgment against Masterpiece should stand.

More:

After disavowing the commissioner’s comments, Yarger argued that the ruling should still stand. But Kennedy returned to the issue again, telling Yarger that “tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual. It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.”

Kennedy also pointed out there were other cake shops that would have accommodated Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the same-sex couple who requested a cake for their wedding.

In a similar line of questioning, Justice Samuel Alito pointed out that the state of Colorado had failed to demonstrate mutual tolerance when it only protected the freedom of cake artists who landed on one side of the gay marriage debate—namely, the state’s side.

When three religious customers went to cake artists to request cakes that were critical of same-sex marriage, those cake artists declined—yet Colorado did not apply its anti-discrimination statute to punish the artists. But when Phillips declined to create a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, Colorado imposed a three-pronged penalty that drove him out of the wedding cake business, causing him to lose 40 percent of his business.

[…]In the exchange with Alito, the Colorado solicitor general said that cake artists could not discriminate on the basis of identity, but could discriminate on the basis of messages. Gorsuch later responded, saying that’s exactly what Phillips has argued.

It was also made clear that Phillips was not discriminating against identity, but just refusing to agree with the state’s position on same-sex marriage.

During the oral arguments, the court appeared to recognize what is patently obvious from the facts. Phillips welcomes all people into his store, encourages them to buy off-the-shelf items, and will make custom-designed cakes for them provided they don’t ask for items that violate his beliefs.

He has served gays for the 24 years his store has been in operation and welcomes their business to this day. He does not discriminate against anybody because of their identity.

So comparisons to shopkeepers in the Jim Crow South who sought to keep the races “separate but equal” are a smear that divert attention from the real issue: Phillips simply disagrees with the state on the issue of marriage.

More:

Finally, the oral arguments revealed the scope of how far the state of Colorado is willing to go to impose its views of marriage on citizens. In one line of questioning from Roberts, Colorado admitted that it would force Catholic Legal Services to provide a same-sex couple with legal services related to their wedding even if it violates Catholic teachings on marriage.

And in questioning from Alito, the ACLU answered that the state could force a Christian college whose creed opposes same-sex marriage to perform a same-sex wedding in its chapel.

I was listening to the latest Ben Shapiro podcast, and in the last 10 minutes, he talked about the case. He pointed out that at the time when Phillips refused to participate in a same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage was not even legal in Colorado. Nevertheless, Colorado went after him. Hard. I think they secular left is going to lose this case – it’s just too much fascism. Too much intolerance.

You can read more about Kristen Waggoner here. She’s also arguing the Arlen’s Flowers v. the State of Washington case. A great lady. A real hero.

If you’re looking for a great book to read on what comes after same-sex marriage and how to discuss and debate it, read Ryan T. Anderon’s “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Liberty“. It’s the best book for laymen on the subject. Really helps you to know how to talk about this issue. I had to do it a week ago with one of my atheist co-workers who asked ME out to lunch to talk more about his spiritual journey. If you don’t read, you can’t defend.