God’s team ultimately wins. Victory is already assured. But in the ever-quickening pace to the final day, the world will seem to have the upper hand. Conservatives need to stand with Jack Phillips. Conservatives also need to be smart. When you start using the government to impose your values on others, the other side will do the same. And, frankly, there are more of them than there are of us so we will set the precedents they then use to ban our values altogether unless our precedents require government neutrality.
Jack Phillips is the Christian baker in Denver, CO, who the hordes of Mordor continually harass. He has lost again in court and should be in your prayers.
Mr. Phillips was previously sued for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. He also won’t make cakes for second weddings after divorce if he is aware of the details nor for Halloween, which he considers a pagan holiday.
Within a mile of Mr. Phillips’ shop are several other bakeries. He is singled out because of his faith. This is persecution. Mr. Phillips believes that to provide goods and services to a gay wedding is to violate his faith in which he sincerely believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
After the Colorado Civil Rights Commission fined Mr. Phillips several years ago and members of that commission compared his refusal to bake a cake to being a Nazi, the United States Supreme Court agreed Mr. Phillips had been unfairly maligned and threw out the case against him.
In an act of retribution, a transgender person demanded Mr. Phillips make a cake for a sex change transition. Again, Mr. Phillips refused. Yesterday, a court again punished Mr. Phillips for trying to exercise his religion through his work.
This will require intervention again by the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Phillips is inarguably being persecuted for his faith. Christians believe in a doctrine of vocation — they are to glorify God in all they do, including their work. Mr. Phillips does not believe he can glorify God while serving those things he believes are an affront to God.
There is, for conservatives, a cautionary moment here, however. Right now, conservatives are agitating for private businesses to do their bidding. Over at National Review, Dan McLaughlin wrote an excellent piece as a rejoined to our mutual friend David French. French argues conservatives are going too far in banning CRT from public schools. McLaughlin and I disagree. But we agree with something French says about the future legal arguments coming from the right. McLaughlin notes that conservatism depends on neutral rules by the state that protect minority rights. If the right can impose on private businesses a ban on diversity training, the left can impose on Jack Phillips a requirement to bake a cake.
Conservatives who dispute this say there is a first amendment angle at play with Phillips, but not bans on diversity training. They stretch outside the current American jurisprudence on the first amendment to argue that.