The Point: Religious Freedom’s Roe v Wade?

Will religious freedom be preserved? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

This could be the religious liberty equivalent of Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to use his artistic talents to decorate a cake for a gay wedding.

Clarity is necessary here: Despite what you’ve heard in the media, Phillips routinely serves gay customers. And, the Colorado Civil Rights Commissioned fined him for not baking a same-sex wedding cake at a time when there were no same sex weddings in Colorado!

As Ed Stetzer and I discussed on “BreakPoint This Week,” the Supreme Court’s decision will be monumental. Why did the Court take the case? Is Justice Anthony Kennedy—the chief proponent on the court for LGBT rights—seeking to cement his legacy before retiring? But Kennedy has also been, at times, a religious rights advocate, as in the recent Trinity Lutheran case.

We need to be both informed and vocal about this case. To hear the full analysis, come to BreakPoint.org and click on BreakPoint This Week.

Resources

BP This Week: Religious Freedom’s Roe v. Wade?
  • John Stonestreet, Ed Stetzer | BreakPoint.org | July 21, 2017

July 24, 2017

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  • Phoenix1977

    “Phillips routinely serves gay customers.”
    Except he refuses to give them the same service he gives to others. Sounds extremely discriminatory to me.

    “And, the Colorado Civil Rights Commissioned fined him for not baking a same-sex wedding cake at a time when there were no same sex weddings in Colorado!”
    They actually did not fine him at that moment. They ordered him to offer custom designed wedding cakes for same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples. This was in december 2013, 5 months after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA as unconstitutional, forcing Colorado to acknowledge same-sex marriages from other states, even though Colorado itself did not offer same-sex marriage at that time. When Phillips refused to comply with this ruling he was fined.
    The fact the original complaint was filed in 2012 makes no difference here because Jack Phillips was not fined for refusing to bake that particular cake. It was simply the complaint that put Phillips in the cross-hairs of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

    “Why did the Court take the case? Is Justice Anthony Kennedy—the chief proponent on the court for LGBT rights—seeking to cement his legacy before retiring? But Kennedy has also been, at times, a religious rights advocate, as in the recent Trinity Lutheran case”
    Since the 1960s the Supreme Court has sided against discrimination every single time, even when Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage was defended using religious liberty as defense (Loving vs. Virginia, 1967). Since the Supreme Court accepted LGBT rights as a civil rights matter it’s highly unlikely the Supreme Court will allow religious liberty to be used as a valid defense this time, especially since the 5 Justices who ruled in favor of LGBT rights in Obergefell vs Hodges are still all on the bench, but also because Neil Gorsuch has a history of supporting LGBT rights. so it’s possible, where Obergefell vs. Hodges was a 5-4 ruling this case could get a 6-3 ruling against religious liberty. So I doubt conservative Christians should be this happy about the Supreme Court taking this case. This could very well end religious liberty for business owners, just as Garcetti vs. Ceballos (2006) ended Freedom of Speech at work for government employees.

    • Scott

      It will be interesting… I believe America is still a place where one can object based on conscience. Government should not be able to force a person to do something that violates their conscience and Mr. Phillips has a good argument. This is not a case of discrimination but rather a case of conscientious objection.

      Phoenix I know that you and I disagree on this, but where you are willing to force your ideology on others by way of law, I am not.

      • Phoenix1977

        “I believe America is still a place where one can object based on conscience.”
        It wasn’t in 1967, when the Supreme Court wiped the religious liberty defense off the table in Loving vs. Virginia. And it won’t be now. The United States have too much of dark history when it comes to denying minorities their civil rights. The Supreme Court will lose too much of it’s authority if it turns against civil rights now.

        “where you are willing to force your ideology on others by way of law, I am not.”
        But you are. You are willing to give Christians and other religious conservatives a legal carte blanche to openly discriminate against same-sex couples. Don’t pretend you are any better than me. You are willing to force others the way you think is right just as badly as me.

        This is what I meant when I said Christian rights and LGBT rights are mutually exclusive. This case has 3 possible outcomes:
        1. The Supreme Court rules in favor of Jack Phillips, giving your side the victory and my side the defeat, giving all conservatives carte blanche to openly discriminate against LGBTs and making our lives hell.
        2. The Supreme Court rules against Phillips, handing victory to my side and defeat yours, forcing everyone to treat same-sex couples exactly the same as opposite-sex couples or suffer the consequences.
        3. A Justice recuses him- or herself, creating a potential deadlock in the case. In that case the earlier ruling of a lower court remains, meaning Jack Phillips will still be fined and everyone in Colorado will be forced to treat same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples equaly. But then the ruling would be limited to Colorado only.

        So one side will win and one side will lose. That’s the situation. No middle ground. The winner takes it all. Still confident this case comes in front of the Supreme Court?

        • Steve

          Phoenix, I think you are mistaken that this would give “all conservatives carte blanch to openly discriminate against LGBTs” and make your lives living hell.
          I know you don’t live in the United States, but the vast majority of people here, including the most conservative people, have no desire to make your lives Hell.
          I really believe that these people wish to practice their closely held religious beliefs and not be forced to endorse/participate in something they are diametrically opposed to. The analogy I think of is if you were forced to go into a Catholic Church and receive Communion. That is 180 degrees opposed to what you believe and you should not have to do that. If your “side” wins (and there is way to much polarization on this) there is no end to what will be able to be forced upon citizens by activist groups. In the Soviet Union with Lenin/Stalin groups were pitted against one another as freedoms were taken away. What groups were in favor shifted according to the whim of the totalitarians. Respect for each other will not be gained by lawsuits and legal rulings. It must be done on the individual level.

          • Phoenix1977

            “I know you don’t live in the United States, but the vast majority of people here, including the most conservative people, have no desire to make your lives Hell.”
            Even if I wanted to believe that history testifies against you. From the (sexual) harassment LGBTs had to endure before the Stonewall Riots to the amicus briefs written by religious conservative organisations in Lawrence vs. Texas and Obergefell vs. Hodges to the constant fear LGBTs still have to endure in 18 states where they can be simply fired for no other reason than being who they are and loving who they do. In virtually every situation where LGBTs have been at the mercy of religious conservatives LGBTs lost and experienced another attack on our person, our freedom or our happiness. We will learn from history and make sure you never get that chance ever again.

            “The analogy I think of is if you were forced to go into a Catholic Church and receive Communion.”
            Funny you should mention that, because that is EXACTLY what LGBTs have done for centuries to make sure they weren’t suspected of “unnatural sexual relations” (wording from the Texas anti-sodomy words that went out the window after Lawrence vs. Texas in 2003) and be prosecuted. And in 18 states in the US, not to mention countries like Poland (very much Catholic) and Czech Republic (Eastern Orthodox and voted against LGBT rights last year in a referendum under a lot of church pressure) that is still the case today.
            So why would we be sympathetic towards you again?

            “If your “side” wins (and there is way to much polarization on this) there is no end to what will be able to be forced upon citizens by activist groups.”
            I told you before, we didn’t cause this. The LGBT community was perfectly happy to be left alone, in 1969. Weeks before the Stonewall Riots in 1969 the LGBT community pleaded to be simply left alone and once again was shot down. And after June 1969, when the NYPD was forced on it’s knees and the city council was forced to allow the first Gay Pride in New York to happen, the LGBT community realized we would not have to hide any longer. That united we would be able to defend ourselves against anyone who wanted to harm us. And we were proven right, with marriage equality as our ultimate goal. But once again you couldn’t simply allow the LGBT community to be.
            We didn’t cause this rift, your people did. We didn’t start this fight with you, your people did. But we will be the ones ending the fight.

            So here we are again, back in the trenches in front of the Supreme Court. But ask yourself this: After Lawrence vs. Texas (2003), United States vs. Windsor (2013), the repeal of DADT, Obergefell vs. Hodges (2015), the removal of homosexuality from the DSM-III and the growing support of same-sex marriage in the US combined with the receding support of religious liberty, what makes you think this time the outcome will be any different?

          • Scott

            I agree with Steve. As I have said many times in many different ways, this is not a case of discrimination, it is a case of conscientious objection. We all have the right to live our lives based on our differing beliefs and one set of beliefs should not be placed above the other. They are just different.

            1. Christians do not want to force our beliefs on anyone… we share the gospel but are required by Jesus NOT to forcefully impose it on others.

            2. You do not need to oppress Christians to be free to live your life.

            3. “You are willing to give Christians and other religious conservatives a legal carte blanche to openly discriminate against same-sex couples.” This statement is simply not true (see above). We (you and I) need enough space to be able to live our lives recognizing two fundamentally different orientations. As Steve says, respect for these differences must be gained on an individual level. Forceful submission has never been the right answer.