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

Why Gun Crimes Continue In Chattanooga

Despite all of the moaning about guns, relatively little is done to those who commit gun crimes. For example, there is a report that a man (Davonte Ammons)  fired two bullets into a residence where his son and two other people were, and the judge set his bail at $140,000. If gun crimes are so heinous, why not set the bail at something substantive, like $500,000? ... (click for more)

Strays For Carter

For those of you who have visited the Carter home you noticed the dog beds begin at the side door and continue throughout the house ending at the foot of the bed.   Yes, we are dog lovers; we don’t look for dogs, they seem to find us.  Those of you who know my husband might consider him a bit of a bulldog himself, once he has a passion for something he will not let ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

Volkswagen To Spend Up To $14.7 Billion To Settle Allegations Of Cheating Emissions Tests And Deceiving Customers On 2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

In two related settlements, one with the United States and the State of California, and one with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, German automaker Volkswagen AG and related entities have agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 ... (click for more)

Tim Couch Resigns As Silverdale Softball Coach

Tim Couch, who led the Silverdale Baptist Academy softball team to a runner-up finish in the 2016 TSSAA Class 1A state tournament, has resigned as the Lady Seahawks’ coach. Couch just completed his fifth season as the Silverdale coach – the Lady Seahawks went 42-5 -- and it was by far his most successful campaign. “This wasn’t an easy decision, but I’ve been thinking about ... (click for more)

Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Generals To 3-1 Win Over Lookouts

The Jackson Generals used a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts, 3-1.   The Lookouts won the first series of the second half, three games to two.. Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart was the story early for Chattanooga, shutting out Jackson for six innings. The righty got into trouble in the seventh by allowing a walk and a double. After ... (click for more)