By Nathan Barton
CNN proclaims: “SCOTUS rules for baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.” In the story, we read “The Supreme Court ruled narrowly in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake to celebrate the marriage of a same sex couple because of a religious objection. The ruling was 7-2. The court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs. The ruling is a win for baker Jack Phillips but leaves unsettled the broader constitutional questions the case presented.”
Everyone has chimed in with commentary on it. But I think we need to understand the overall situation, good and bad, and what we can learn from it. Above all, it is not a clear victory for liberty.
As I said, lots of folks have chimed in. Here are a few.
Tom Knapp’s comments are great, in Freedom Net Daily: “Basically the court ruled that the Civil Rights Commission were openly/actively prejudiced against his beliefs and didn’t make an unbiased ruling. The court didn’t reach the actual issues involved e.g. freedom of association, freedom of religion, property rights, etc. So while it’s nice that Phillips prevailed, it doesn’t really settle anything foundational.”
ZeroHedge also has an interesting posting on the entire case, from its origins, although its headline shows ZeroHedge is biased in the case.
Of course, many of the commentaries refuse to (or pretend not to) understand the real issues. Or even the true facts of the case. Some examples:
Raw Story headlines, “Poll: Most Americans oppose businesses refusing to serve gay people” and says in part: “Nearly three quarters of U.S. adults believe that businesses should not have the right on religious grounds to deny services to customers based on their sexual orientation, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday showed. The findings of the poll, conducted Friday to Monday, were issued on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker from Colorado who had refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his Christian beliefs. In the poll, 72 percent of respondents said business owners, because of their religious beliefs, should not be allowed to refuse to serve customers based on sexual orientation, while 14 percent said they do have that right. Another 9 percent said businesses have the right ‘only in certain circumstances’ and 6 percent said they do not know. ” [Again, good comment on this from Steve Trenward: And they have a perfectly good right to oppose, boycott, organize social-media campaigns, and peacefully put those other people out of business; they do NOT have the right (no matter what the law says) to decide how those other people should conduct their own private business dealings]
Of course (and nothing new), the Reuters-Ipsos poll’s very question was slanted. This guy didn’t refuse to serve these two homosexuals, he merely declined to furnish a particular product, based not on discriminating against them, but on his own (well-known) religious and moral beliefs. His self-imposed limits on his art/business were not applied just to work for homosexual “weddings” and not just to certain classes of people, but to specific, and well-defined, products.
But as Steve, Tom, and many others have pointed out, the Supreme Court DID decide narrowly, not in numbers (7-2 is a pretty strong decision these days) but in refusing to address the actual issue at the heart of the matter.
Actually issues, plural. Tom gives some: freedom of association, freedom of religion, property rights, and freedom to conduct their personal affairs (including operating their business) in accordance with their own beliefs, religious or not. Let me add freedom of expression: free speech.
Indeed, Phillips did NOT refuse to associate with these two men: no one claims (except for the extremists) that he refused to do business with them.
But like freedom of association, the freedom necessarily implies freedom NOT to associate. Freedom of speech and expression necessarily grants freedom to NOT speak, to NOT express certain things.
For example. Once upon a time, I designed coats of arms (as used in heraldry) for people and companies (still do but not as a business, generally). If someone had asked me to design one featuring a National Socialist swastika, few would have faulted me for refusing. If I had refused to do one featuring a Star of David, some people would have faulted me for refusing. But most would have understood I was exercising my freedom of expression. But today, if I refused to design one that featured the colors of the homosexual banner, or one that had two women in bridal array or two men in tuxedos kissing, I would (like the guy in Lakewood) be attacked for refusing.
That is NOT liberty, that is NOT freedom supposedly guaranteed by the US Constitution.
And the Nazgul didn’t uphold liberty or freedom. Rather, they attacked the Colorado State Government for its bias, its expressed hatred and loathing for this baker and anyone who agreed with him.
I am glad, very glad, that the Colorado State Government got slapped down. But this ruling demonstrates that the Nine Nazgul are NOT on the side of liberty, of freedom, but on the side of government.
And we can never, ever, depend on them (or the rest of the court system) to dispense true justice in the cause of liberty.