Renews attempt to punish man’s faith despite rebuke by Supreme Court
The state of Colorado, which publicly was rebuked by the U.S. Supreme Court for its exhibited hatred of Christianity in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case only weeks ago, has launched a second attack on the same baker.
This time, it’s because Autumn Scardina, who says he is a man becoming a woman, demanded Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop create a custom cake celebrating that “coming out.”
Phillips declined, as he did years ago when someone demanded a cake celebrating homosexuality, because such a custom creation would violate his religious faith.
It was in that case that the U.S. Supreme Court affirm his right to do so and scolded Colorado for its hostility to Christianity.
Scardina complained to the state Civil Rights Division, which said it was a violation of state law for Masterpiece to insist that it will not “design custom cakes that express ideas or celebrate events at odds with its owner and staff’s religious beliefs.”
However, that statement conflicts with the division’s own rulings in several other recent cases in which customers requested custom cakes of other bakers portraying the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality and the bakers refused.
When complaints of discrimination were filed in those cases, the state concluded that the bakers had a right not to produce something that violated their beliefs.
In response to the state’s continuing vendetta against Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips earlier, has sued the state, the division, the governor and others.
“Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Colorado cannot treat cake artist Jack Phillips differently than others, state officials have continued to do just that in response to a more recent complaint filed against him. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Phillips and his cake shop filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday against those officials for doubling down on their anti-religious hostility,” ADF said.
“On June 26, 2017, the same day that the Supreme Court agreed to take up Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, an attorney asked Phillips to create a cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which the attorney said was to celebrate a gender transition from male to female. Phillips declined the request because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with his religious beliefs. Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in his first case, the state surprised him by finding probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires him to create the requested gender-transition cake,” the legal team explained.
“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” said ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him – something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do. Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”
The complaint, in U.S. District Court in Colorado, states: “The Constitution stands as a bulwark against state officials who target people – and seek to ruin their lives – because of the government’s anti-religious animus. For over six years now, Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips … because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith. After Phillips defended himself all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, he thought Colorado’s hostility toward his faith was over. He was wrong. Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor. This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”
The state of Colorado, in the previous case, “admitted that cake artists – including Jack – are free to decline to create custom cakes with a ‘specific design” that they will not make for anyone,” ADF explained.
“That includes orders for wedding cakes that ‘featur[e] a symbol of gay pride,’ cakes that contain ‘pro-gay designs or inscriptions,’ or cakes with images opposing same-sex marriage. Although the state has repeatedly found no probable cause in other cases where cake artists refused to create custom cakes, the state treated Jack differently when he declined a request for an expressive cake celebrating the idea that sex – the status of being male or female – can be chosen and changed and that it is determined by perceptions and feelings,” the lawsuit said.
“The arbitrary basis on which the state is applying its law makes clear that its officials are targeting Jack because they despise his religious beliefs and practices,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that.”
Those accused of continuing the state’s harassment of Phillips include Aubrey Elenis of the state commission, commission members Anthony Aragon, Miguel Rene Elias, Carol Fabrizio, Charles Garcia, Rita Lewis, Jessica Pocock, and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Gov. John Hickenlooper.
In the previous case, the same conspirators had been accused of trying to force Phillips and his cakeshop staff into a reindoctrination program so that he would be more supportive of homosexuality.
The state’s hatred of Christianity was so openly displayed, the Supreme Court held that the state manifested hostility by “disparag[ing]” Phillips’s religion, describing it as “despicable” and, according to the complaint, “enforcing a double standard.”
The complaint points out that because of Colorado’s attack on Phillips, he has received a number of requests for cakes “featuring Satanic symbols, depicting sexually explicit materials and promoting marijuana use.”
“It is now clear that Colorado will not rest until Phillips either closes Masterpiece Cakeshop or agrees to violate his religious beliefs. The state’s continuing efforts to target Phillips do not just violate the Constitution; they cross the line into bad faith. This court should put a stop to Colorado’s unconstitutional bullying.”
Its violations, the complaint asserts, include the First and 14th Amendments.
“Colorado claims the power to use its public-accommodation law to compel the speech of people who earn a living creating and selling expression. It believes that the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment, provides no protection against the state’s use of its public-accommodation law to compel the speech of expressive business owners like Phillips. … To make that extreme view seem more acceptable, Colorado has announced the general rule that expressive business owners, including cake artists, do not violate the public accommodation law if they decline to create a custom item expressing a message that they would not communicate for anyone,” says the complaint.
The Supreme Court explained to the state that means a cake artist is free “to decline” to sell cakes with messages the baker would not sell to anyone.
“Colorado applied these principles when William Jack, a man who identifies as Christian, filed discrimination charges against three Colorado cake shops: Azucar Bakery, Le Bakery Sensual and Gateaux, [that] refused his cake requests.
“Jack asked each cake shop to provide quotes for two cakes expressing his religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.”
The cake shops refused, on the basis of their owners’ beliefs, and the state endorsed that position.
The lawsuit states, yet again, that Phillips “serves all people but will not create cakes that express messages or celebrate events contrary to his religious beliefs.”
“Phillips will not create such cakes no matter who requests them.”
The statement is repeated throughout the complaint apparently because the state ignored the Supreme Court’s directions in the previous case and “still harbors hostility toward Phillips and his religious beliefs.”
WND attempted to obtain comment from the governor’s office but was met with a recording that the office was closed Wednesday morning or someone was on another line. A message was left at another number, which had only an answering machine, but it generated no response from the state.
The complaint points out that the Civil Rights Commission member itself excluded anyone who is a Christian “who shares Phillips’s religious beliefs about marriage and sex.”
“Defendant Elenis acted and is continuing to act intentionally either with malice or reckless indifference to Phillips’s and Masterpiece Cakeshop’s constitutional rights,” the complaint states.
The case seeks orders requiring the state to follow its own laws and a declaration that the state violated the Constitution and that its non-neutral commission violated Due Process. It seeks compensatory damages, “including but not limited to damages for lost work time, lost profits, and expenses” caused by “Elenis’ action, “as well as damages for the humiliation, emotional distress, inconvenience, and reputational damage caused by her unconstitutional actions.”
It also seeks an award of $100,000 in punitive damages against Elenis and all costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees as well as an order retaining jurisidiction for the purpose of “enforcing” the court’s orders.
The two Supreme Court justices who dissented in Phillips’ earlier 7-2 victory recently were called out for apply a double standard.
Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg apparently dislike religious bigotry when it’s alleged to be against Muslims and influencing the president’s policies. But when it’s against Christians, and influences a case involving First Amendment rights, it apparently doesn’t matter, the Family Research Council concluded.
“If they believe religious hostility can serve as a basis for relief, as they state in Trump v. Hawaii, they also have to be prepared for to provide that relief for Jack Phillips. Conversely, if a decision can still be valid despite evidence of religious bias (as they argued in Masterpiece), then they should have supported the president’s reasonable national security regulations in Trump v. Hawaii.
“The justices cannot ignore obvious religious bias when it is politically convenient, and turn around and use the same argument to attack other measures they don’t like,” the posting said.
The facts are straightforward. Giving Trump a victory in Trump v. Hawaii, the court’s majority upheld his travel restrictions on unvetted newcomers entering the United States from parts of the world that foment terror.
Some of the locations, obviously, are Muslim majority, but not all. And Muslims are not mentioned in the order.
The two justices, however, pulled out statements from Trump’s campaign two years ago in which he generalized terrorists as Muslim, which many times they are, in seeking a ban.
In the Masterpiece ruling, the majority said the state of Colorado’s case against a Christian baker who refused to use his artistry for a cake celebrating a homosexual wedding, which then was illegal in Colorado, was fatally flawed because state officials attacked his Christian faith publicly, likening Christians to Nazis.
“Sotomayor (joined by Justice Ginsburg) drew from the court’s recent opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission to argue that President Trump’s ‘bias’ against Muslims invalidated the travel ban because government actions cannot be motived by anti-religious sentiment. Yet less than a month ago, Justice Ginsberg (joined by Justice Sotomayor) dissented in Masterpiece, ignoring the blatant religious hostility against Jack Phillips that served as the basis for the court’s ruling in his favor. The position of these two dissenters in Trump v. Hawaii would seem to lead to support for Jack Phillips, but it never materialized,” the FRC noted.
“In Trump v. Hawaii, much biased media coverage obscured the facts of a relatively simple case. President Trump issued a proclamation that temporarily suspended entry into the U.S. of persons from countries which did not provide adequate background check information. It made no mention of any religion (six of the eight countries on the list are mostly Muslim, but the other two were not – and numerous Muslim-majority countries were not on the list),” the posting said.
Sotomayor and Ginsberg claimed that the travel restrictions were aimed at Muslims, and they cited the Masterpiece decision.
But they ignored the fact that they opposed the Masterpiece ruling.
The high court said in Phillips’ case Colorado law protects gay persons “in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members,” but it found “the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
The state officials were handed a tongue-lashing.
“The commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case … showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillip’s faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.
“No commissioners objected to the comments,” the ruling charged.
In fact, the state commission’s hostility toward Christian beliefs became evident at the outset of the case, when one member, Diann Rice, publicly exhibited bias against Phillips during a hearing, comparing him to a Nazi.
“I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting,” Rice said during consideration of Phillips’ case. “Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”
Read more at https://www.wnd.com/2018/08/colorado-attacks-religious-baker-for-faith-again/#kFh911WDCFDqjobm.99