Roy Exum: A Baker Stands His Ground

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Jack Phillips owns a bakery in Lakewood, Co., which is 15 minutes west of Denver. His shop, the Masterpiece Cakeshop, is a thriving business that Jack has built on Christian principles so it is understandable why he turned down a request for a same-sex wedding cake. He believes a marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

But this week the state’s Civil Rights Commission ruled unanimously that he discriminated against David Mullins and Charlie Craig, saying it was against the law to turn away customers based on their sexual orientation. The commission ordered him to change his store policies immediately and demanded that his staff attend training sessions. Further, for the next two years he must submit quarterly reports that will disclose if he has turned anyone away for any reason. 

Talk about a mess. While 19 states now allow same-sex marriages, in Colorado such a union is considered to be – bluntly speaking – also against the law. David and Charlie were actually married in Massachusetts and wanted a cake in Colorado for a reception for their friends. Jack the baker said he would happily make them a cake but a wedding cake was out of the question. It would be counter to his Christian beliefs. 

Let’s start with the First Amendment of The Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

For the record Jack said he is not changing anything. He’ll quit making wedding cakes if he is forced to do that but as far as his beliefs are concerned, “my old ones are pretty adequate as far as I am concerned. I don’t plan on giving up my faith,” he told Fox News. 

Obviously there are people who are indignant. Nicholle Martin, a lawyer with a group called Alliance of Freedom, said the ruling was “Orwellian” and said people of faith are being turned into “religious refugees” by our increasingly misguided society. “Is this the society we want to live in – where people of faith are driven out of business?” she said on Fox. 

She said the quarterly reports demanded by the Civil Rights Commission are “so Jack can demonstrate that he doesn’t exercise his belief system any more – that he has divested himself of his beliefs. We consider this reporting to be aimed at ‘rehabilitating’ Jack so that he has the right thoughts. That’s offensive to everything America stands for!” 

Katina Banks, the chairwoman on the Civil Rights Commission, took this posture. “You can have your beliefs but you can’t hurt people at the same time,” she said. “Religious freedom is undoubtedly an American value, but so is the right to be treated equally under the law, free from discrimination.” 

Amanda Goad, who is a lawyer for the ACLU, explained everyone in America is free to believe whatever they please “but businesses like Masterpiece Cakeshop cannot treat customers differently than others based on who they are as people.” 

I disagree. While wishing the married couple had simply gone to another bakery, I believe that Jack’s religion trumps sexual orientation. Our nation was set up based on the Constitution and that First Amendment doesn’t come with an asterisk. In the United States there cannot be a law prohibiting the free exercise of anyone’s religion. 

Believe it or not, Jack Phillips doesn’t care. “My God is bigger than any bullies they’ve got. I don’t worry about it. I honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I’ll be true to what He wants me to do. There is civil disobedience,” he admitted, “but I’m not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for this faith to give it up that easily,” he added, saying, “Obey Christ rather than worry about what man can do to you.” 

Ironically, since the Civil Rights Commission rebuked Jack, he has sold so many brownies, cookies and cakes that the Masterpiece Cakeshop has had to suspend making wedding cakes. The cash register is twirling. You see, in Colorado they like it when a man stands his ground. And there is one other thing. Jack said his 87-year-old mother helps out at the shop “and she’s told me she’s not going to be rehabilitated.” 

So there. 

royexum@aol.com

Roy Exum: Fourth Of July, 2015

As one who is about good and fed up with being “socially correct” so less than 10 percent of us can dictate how the other 90 percent of us ought to think, I am going to pause today in order to share a wonderfully fun email that has been around for a while. It is aptly called, “You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop.” Before I do, I got a sweet note the other day from my dear friend ... (click for more)

New Walmart Neighborhood Market Is A Step Back For The East Brainerd Community

Driving out East Brainerd Road recently, I was excited to see that what I thought was the run down strip center being renovated was actually a new Walmart Neighborhood Market.  I believe that this is the same type facility that was proposed for Middle Valley, but was rejected by the local citizens living in that area. I don't recalling hearing anything about any neighborhood ... (click for more)

Muslim Advocacy Group Questions House Arrest For Signal Mountain Man Charged In Threats Against Muslim Village In New York

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York. CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge ... (click for more)

Plumbers Bring Complaints To WWTA; Told New Contracts Are Ready

Several plumbers on Thursday brought complaints to a committee of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) and got little response other than being told that new contracts are ready. Kay Keefe of Keefe Plumbing said the small number of plumbing companies still participating in the program to repair leaky lines to homes, have long been operating without ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Clinches Southeast Division Title

The Chattanooga Football Club clinched the Southeast Division title Saturday night before a crowd of 4,000 plus fans and celebrated with fireworks after the game.  Chattanooga beat visiting Nashville FC 2-0.   Matt Aldred scored the first goal in the 27th minute and Jack Hopkins scored the second goal in the 85th minute.  Chattanooga will host the conference ... (click for more)

TSWA Announces All-State Soccer Teams

 The Tennessee Sports Writers Association recently announced its all-state high school soccer teams. THE TEAMS        TSWA All State Boys’ Soccer teams Class AAA Nathan Djona, Antioch junior forward Avery Cowan, Brentwood senior midfielder Johnny Heckman, Centennial senior midfielder Nick Zalewski, Sr., Cookeville ... (click for more)