Kingdom POWER advances whenever Christians stand by faith in the face of opposition. History records that faith spreads explosively in the face of harsh persecution.
Jack Phillips stood by faith when he declined to use his artistic abilities to create a masterpiece cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. After six years of expensive legal losses and vicious personal threats, the Supreme Court ruled in Phillips’ favor.
Because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the Free Exercise Clause with their lack of religious neutrality in adjudicating Phillips’ case. It was their open hostility toward Phillips’ faith that produced this win for him.
Nothing less… and nothing more.
I was hoping for a broader precendent protecting religious liberty for Christian business owners serving the wedding industry. Instead, I anticipate the Court’s decision will actually inspire new rules of engagement for future battles that are sure to come.
It’s almost as if the Court’s overall opinion was intentionally written in a way to signal the conditions under which they would have reached the opposite ruling. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdf
For example, Justice Kennedy took great pains to emphasize that…
“Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights.” (Opinion, p. 9)
Our Christian faith, reflecting Christ’s love, says all have dignity and worth. Yet I wonder…
How and why have our perspectives/ norms/ laws about sexuality (in general) been redefined in the past 60 years? From what the Bible (God’s Word) calls sin to what our culture calls acceptable? From what was unthinkable to entitlement?
“The Court’s precedents make clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws.” (Opinion, page 3)
Are there conditions in which religious objections to supporting same-sex marriage would not be defensible?
… [Phillips’] “dilemma was understandable in 2012… before Colorado recognized the validity of gay marriages… and before this Court issued United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744, or Obergefell [landmark ruling making same-sex marriage lawful nationwide.] Given the State’s position at the time, there is some force to Phillips’ argument that he was not unreasonable in deeming his decision lawful.” (Syllabus, p. 2)
Might similar actions taken by Christian business owners since Obergefell — and, potentially, even future actions by Jack Phillips — be viewed differently?
…“The State’s interest could have been weighed against Phillips’ sincere religious objections in a way consistent with the requisite religious neutrality that must be strictly observed.” (Syllabus, p. 3)
Could the State have found a way to disregard Phillips’ religious objections if it hadn’t been so openly hostile to them?
See Part 3’s Hope-FULL blog on Monday. Meanwhile…
What risks and/or opportunities do you see here for Christian business owners?
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 [email protected]; CALL me at 863-446-1660; or request a complimentary initial CONSULT with me at https://calendly.com/diana-furr.