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Everybody, it seems, has an opinion about Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker in whose favor the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a 7-2 decision. Sadly, not everybody has taken the time to review the facts of his case.
The high court determined that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission exhibited anti-religious bias when it ruled against Phillips. The state commission sided against Phillips when the baker declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver cited his biblical belief in marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.
Regrettably, many — including some Christians eager to present themselves as more loving and compassionate than Phillips — have twisted the actual facts and circumstances of the baker’s case.
The idea that Phillips “refuses service” to gays and lesbians as a general business practice is rampant. It’s also untrue.
“I told these two men when they came in my store, ‘I’ll sell you cookies, brownies, birthday cakes. I’ll make you custom cakes. I’ll make anything for you.’”
He serves anybody who walks in his shop’s door. He just doesn’t create any message. And for him, a wedding is a sacred rite, a religious ceremony. He can’t in good conscience endorse a wedding that goes against his faith.
“I told these two men when they came in my store, ‘I’ll sell you cookies, brownies, birthday cakes. I’ll make you custom cakes. I’ll make anything for you,’” Phillips told NBC’s “Today” show, referring to the gay men who sued him.
In the same interview, the baker noted: “I don’t create cakes for Halloween. I wouldn’t create a cake that would be anti-American or disparaging toward anybody for any reason, even cakes that would disparage people who identify as LGBT. It’s just cakes have a message, and this is one I can’t create.”
Phillips stood up for what he believes. In a free nation, he has that right.
Similarly, religious freedom gives those who disagree with Phillips the right to express their opposition.
But critics — particularly those who claim to be followers of Jesus — owe it to Phillips to educate themselves on the real facts before casting stones at him.
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