Gay-friendly restaurant refuses to serve Christians … What happened to “bake the cake, bigot”?
· · Dec 15, 2022 ·

In the recent oral arguments of 303 Creative v. Elenis, our newest Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, concocted a hypothetical situation as she grilled lawyers representing a Christian website owner that doesn't build websites for same-sex marriages. In Jackson's make-believe scenario, an old Christian lady named Helen started a business called "Grandma Helen's Protestant Provisions" and, as the name implies, catered only to Protestant Christians.

Jackson pressed attorney Kristen Waggoner whether Helen could deny non-Protestants her food. Waggoner did an honorable job explaining to the esteemed justice that she was comparing apples and oranges. In Jackson's scenario, Helen isn't engaging in speech, and compelling her to serve everyone isn't government-compelled speech. In the case of the website company, it is clearly an example of compelled speech if the government forces a Christian to create something that celebrates a sinful act.

Justice Gorsuch further clarified that same point, explaining that Lorie Smith (the Christian website owner) is "an individual who says she will sell and does sell to everyone, all manner of websites, (but) that she won't sell a website that requires her to express a view about marriage that she finds offensive."

It's an almost identical philosophical argument as existed with Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips. The shop served all customers – gay, straight, and every which way in-between. But, as a professing Christian, what Phillips refused to do was create a specialty cake with language that celebrated a sinful union. The government attempted to compel him to engage in speech that it preferred, but he resisted.

There are, of course, a multitude of questions rational people can and should ask about these kinds of situations. For instance, is there anyone who pretends this isn't targeting by LGBT activists? There are a multitude of cake shops and a bevy of website designers to choose from, after all. Yet curiously, the offended gay couple always seems utterly disinterested in supporting small businesses that support them. That seems counterproductive, no?

Beyond that, the attempt to use the gun of government to compel speech that we like portends a frightening future for freedom of association.

  • Should the government be able to force Jewish cleaners to clean the offices of a neo-Nazi organization if they refuse?
  • Should the government be able to force an atheist landlord to rent his property to a church if he doesn't want to?
  • Should the government be able to force an electrician who is a retired cop to do re-wiring for the BLM "Defund the Police" headquarters?
  • Should the government be able to force a homosexual florist to provide Easter lilies for churches that renounce homosexuality?

It's that last question that perhaps deserves the most attention given that it really isn't a hypothetical situation at all. In hindsight, I wish Kristen Waggoner would have responded to Justice Jackson by asking her thoughts on Metzger Bar and Butchery.

Imagine the scene in the courtroom as Waggoner read the Richmond, Virginia restaurant's recent social media post aloud:

Just 90 minutes before the Christian ministry's private party was set to begin, the Bar and Butchery canceled on them because their LGBT staff members didn't want to serve Christians. They felt "uncomfortable" and "unsafe." Is that the new standard? Should Jack Phillips simply tell gay couples that he feels "uncomfortable" and "unsafe" making a cake for them? Ditto that for Lorie Smith and her websites?

If that defense is reasonable in the eyes of the law, how can religious expression not be? Remember it was President Bill Clinton who said this while signing the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993: "Our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties."

It's clear that a new day has dawned in America: One where the government seems content to force Christians like Jack Phillips or Lorie Smith to choose between their convictions and their way of life.

One where Christian ministries like the Family Foundation of Virginia can have their events canceled 90 minutes before they start simply because they hold orthodox Christian beliefs.

One where Christian actresses like Candace Cameron Bure face harassment for choosing to use her talents on a network that promotes godly themes in its movies rather than networks that promotes sinful ones.

As one gay commenter noted:

In case she's wondering, that right there – aggressive, fascistic bullying of the LGBT lobby – is the real reason Ketanji Brown Jackson and her fellow justices are hearing these religious liberty cases, not some sudden surge in Christian bigotry.


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