A Christian man in Colorado continues to be tormented by militant LGBT activists for standing by his religious beliefs, which — unlike personal identity — are protected by the First Amendment.
In spite of this protection of religious freedom, a Colorado judge ruled this week that Jack Phillips had violated state anti-discrimination law in 2017 by refusing to bake a gender-transition cake for a transgender customer. Phillips was punished with a fine — much to the presumable delight of the activists who continue to target him.
“In Tuesday’s ruling,” ABC News reported, “Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones said Autumn Scardina was denied a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her gender transition on her birthday because of her transgender status in violation of the law.
“While Jack Phillips said he could not make the cake because of its message, Jones said the case was about a refusal to sell a product, not compelled speech.”
According to Jones, “The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as ‘others.’”
The idea that this is about the refusal to sell products to “others” is not true.
If Scardina were to ask Phillips for a standard cake, Phillips would bake it for him, because the bakery does not discriminate against transgender customers. Presumably, all transgender customers can buy cakes at this bakery, but no customers will be sold transgender-themed products.
The same holds true for gay customers, who may be sold standard cakes but not those celebrating same-sex weddings, which Phillips cannot be forced to participate in under the Constitution.
Nevertheless, activists continue to personally target Phillips, who is quasi-famous for winning a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 after refusing to be forced to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
In the interim between that victory for religious freedom and this recent infringement upon it, Phillips has been harassed with requests for products that violate his religious principles and forced to defend his First Amendment rights numerous times.
To Americans who believe that religious and transgender people can share a free country together, which happens to be true, this continued persecution of a Christian man should be revolting.
But this isn’t about balancing religious freedom with the right to demand weirdly specific cakes that celebrate oddly anti-scientific metamorphoses.
This is a question of whether individuals in the United States should be compelled by the government to do things they don’t believe in.
The continued persecution isn’t about anti-discrimination because Phillips serves all customers standard products. It is about power — trying to force him to create specific products that violate his conscience.
Any transgender customer with good motives can purchase a regular cake from Phillips if they wanted to, and patronize a non-religious baker for specific products that happen to be transgender-themed.
But that is not the problem here.
This is about certain Americans who don’t believe individual rights should trump ideology — and they don’t like that in a free country, individuals have the right to refuse their demands.
They believe that when the clamors of a mob are refused, the coercive power of the state must be brought to bear upon the transgressor.
The fact is that we should not be compelling beliefs, especially when those beliefs happen to be false by all available evidence.
Private business owners should have the right not to create certain products for customers, which is entirely different from refusing certain customers products.
But the harassment and the attempted authoritarianism will continue because the LGBT agenda is not a matter of tolerance or equality or fairness before the law.
It is about the promotion and celebration of beliefs not shared by all Americans and the destruction of people who dare not go along with it — rights, freedom and tolerance of people not like you be damned.
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