You can call it a “narrow win” and dismiss his beliefs all you want. Jack Phillips doesn’t care. For him, he’s back to focusing on his business, and business is booming.
Phillips was the first individual to go before the Supreme Court in a religious liberty case dealing with whether or not Christian businesses could be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding if doing so violated their religious belief. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission ended with a 7-2 verdict in his favor, although it wasn’t as ringing of an endorsement as one might have hoped.
The decision centered on a clear animus by members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against Phillips’ Christian faith as opposed to a blanket vindication for the First Amendment rights of religious businessmen in respect to the right of refusal when it comes to business that violates their faith.
“We have had so many people coming by to support us as the case has gone on, and there has been an outpouring of love and support since the decision came down,” Phillips told the Christian Post in an email.
“The state’s targeting of my beliefs cost me 40 percent of my business and forced me from 10 employees down to four. But we’re so happy to be busy doing what we do best at our shop.”
According to Phillips, since the ruling came down he’s had three times his normal amount of customers at the shop, meaning that happy days may be here again for Masterpiece Cakeshop.
“We’re also eager to start designing custom wedding cakes again,” Phillips said in the emails.
“A cake is a canvas, and I’m really looking forward to creating beautiful art that celebrates such a special day.”
While Phillips has received death threats, the community has mostly been supportive since the decision. Over 400 people gathered outside the shop to celebrate the Supreme Court victory earlier this month, and even members of the LGBT community have been civil.
“Since we won, we’ve seen far more support than negativity,” Phillips wrote.
“Even people who don’t believe what I do about marriage, including many who identify as LGBT, have been so encouraging. Tolerance is a two-way street. If we want freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to those with whom we disagree. Most people get that.”
Of course, if the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had gotten this perhaps we wouldn’t be in these straits to begin with. And there are plenty of people who still have an animus against Phillips, although they’re not expressing it quite as formally as the Commission did.
“While we’ve seen much support, it hasn’t all been positive. Throughout the case, I received a lot of harassment, profanity-laced phone calls, and even some death threats. The threats got so bad at one point that my wife was afraid to set foot inside our own shop,” Phillips wrote.
“Even after we won the case, a group of people showed up at my shop to protest. I offered them cookies and told them to stop by anytime.” The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty group that defended Phillips, said that, “The protesters politely (and some not-so-politely) declined the cookies.”
“Certainly, you never get used to hostility, misrepresentation, or death threats,” Phillips said. “We’ve had to deal with our share of hatred directed at us. But most people in our community and our customers know that we serve everyone — we just don’t celebrate every event or express every message.”
And that’s what the Constitution allows. Kudos to Jack Phillips for standing up for his rights in the face of adversity — and thank the Lord that his business seems to be returning.
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