I heard the news minutes after it broke. Two days ago. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips in the highly-anticipated case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
My immediate reaction? I wept. With gratitude and joy. Saying over and over, “Thank You, Jesus!” YET…
A heart-prompting I now recognize as the Holy Spirit’s was also immediate. “Read — study — the Court’s decision.” In other words, “Don’t let your celebration get ahead of the facts.”
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Reading and studying. The Court’s 18-page Opinion, joined by 7 of the 9 Associate Justices. AND…
… the 4-page Concurring Opinion of Justice Kagan, with Justice Breyer… the 12-page Concurring Opinion of Justice Gorsuch, with Justice Alito…
… the 14-page Concurring Opinion by Justice Thomas, with Justice Gorsuch… the 8-page Dissenting Opinion of Justice Ginsburg, with Justice Sotomayor.
I invite — implore — you to do the same: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdf. Perhaps you, too, will understand why the Holy Spirit didn’t want my celebration to get ahead of the facts.
Here’s my “take” on what I’ve read… and the meaning I see, as I read between the lines.
First, my “take” cannot be contained in one post. This decision’s implications are too far-reaching to settle for superficiality. So, I hope you will hang (and engage) with me through the two (or more) posts I devote to this.
The U.S. Supreme Court did, in fact, overturn the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling against Phillips. !!! Concluding it was neither tolerant nor respectful of Phillips’ religious beliefs when it said that Phillips had unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The two core issues? Were Phillips’ constitutional rights to free speech and/or his free exercise of religion violated? The Court ruled conclusively on only one of the two.
The High Court ruled the Commission did not give Phillips’ religious objection the neutral consideration required under the Free Exercise [of religion] Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Commission members publicly “disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable… characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.”
Commission hostility was further evidenced in the different treatment it gave Phillips and several bakers (with objections to anti-gay messages) who prevailed before the Commission.
My greatest concern? Language in the Court’s ruling that LGBTQ activists — including such appointees in politically-slanted Human Rights Commissions) will see as “open doors” through which to strategically navigate in the future.
Their end-game remains unchanged: To overcome (even silence) religious objections of Christian business owners in cases involving products and services ancillary to same-sex marriages. As if love of God’s ways equates to hatred of gays.
The opposite is (should be) true for Christians. But acquiescence to popular opinion is rarely Authentic Love. If it were, Jesus would have foregone the Cross.
See Part 2 on Friday. Meanwhile…
You’ve read the news.
What are you celebrating? Concerned about?
Please post your comments below.
Diana Furr, a.k.a. Abba’s Girl
This blog may have raised questions for you. If you’d like to connect, engage, or get further help from me, you can… EMAIL me at firstname.lastname@example.org; CALL me at 863-446-1660; or request a complimentary initial CONSULT with me at https://calendly.com/diana-furr.