Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado and who won a historic victory against the state in 2018 in defense of his First Amendment rights, has for the third time found himself dragged through court where he was targeted and, in yet another gross display of judicial malfeasance, ultimately fined $500 this week for exercising his religious beliefs by refusing to make a celebratory “transition” cake for a man who believes he’s a woman.
That man, who also happens to be an attorney, admittedly singled Phillips’ bakery out to make his blue-to-pink “transition cake” on the exact same day in 2017 that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ case alleging the state had violated his religious beliefs by attempting to force him to pay a fine and attend a diversity training program after he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple all the way back in 2012.
In 2018, Phillips won a partial victory in the case after the court ruled the state of Colorado had, in fact, unconstitutionally targeted him due to his religious beliefs.
But the court never actually ruled on whether it was legal for Phillips to have declined to make the cake in the first place, deciding only that the state had clearly and unconstitutionally penalized him due to his religious beliefs and therefore violated his First Amendment rights. The somewhat ambiguous ruling left the merits of the case – i.e., whether a Christian baker whose business is open to the general public can, in fact, refuse to make cakes for events they find morally objectionable – still floating in a legal gray area.
So far, Phillips been sued three times by militant LGBTQ activists determined to make him the poster child for what happens if you don’t bow to their agenda. Two of those lawsuits were brought by Autumn Scardina, a biological man who believes he’s a woman, and who deliberately singled out Phillips and his bakery for another round of left-wing activism following Phillips’ victory at the Supreme Court. In a clear and admitted attempt to make a point, Scardina demanded the Christian baker make a birthday cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to symbolize Scardina’s transition from male to female. Scardina’s openly stated goal was never to get the best cake to celebrate the event, but rather to either force this religious baker to make it, or to drag him into court for refusing.
In this latest round of harassment, the state of Colorado went after Phillips yet again for allegedly discriminating against Scardina, a case that was eventually dropped after Phillips and his attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom sued them right back. Scardina then went after the baker in state court for personal damages.
"The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as 'others,'” Scardina’s attorney wrote.
This week, a Colorado court ordered Phillips to cough up the maximum $500 fine for having denied Scardina his cake.
The case is perhaps even more revealing than any blue-to-pink confection would have been, and exposes the ugly, hypocritical truth behind the LGBTQ activist community’s push against “discrimination.” Scardina not only made it as intentionally obvious as possible that the cake he was demanding was meant to illustrate his gender transition -- something Phillips had already publicly stated went against his deeply held, religious-rooted beliefs in unchangeable biological sex – he also openly admitted, and even advertised, that he’d demanded Phillips’ bakery make the cake to stir up another controversy and force a discrimination lawsuit against a baker he knew would refuse to make the cake.
But, of course, this was never about cake at all.
It’s about progressive leftism doing what it does best: demanding –and, if necessary, forcing – compliance from anyone who doesn’t tow the ultra-liberal line.
A cursory search of bakeries in the Lakewood, Colorado area show no shortage of available cake-makers (well over a dozen, in fact), most of which wouldn’t have hesitated to make Scardina’s pastry. If this were truly about buying a cake to celebrate one’s gender “transition,” the options were plentiful, and Scardina could have easily gotten what he wanted and everyone could have simply carried on with their lives. But that wasn’t the goal. It was never the goal.
His purpose, expressed openly in a slew of interviews and court documents, was to intentionally target this Christian baker who’d already made it clear that he wouldn’t put his personal artistic efforts behind any project that violated his moral conscience as a Christian. By creating a one-of-a-kind piece of edible artwork specifically meant to commemorate one’s gender “transition,” Phillips felt he was being compelled to participate in a celebration that went against everything he believes about gender, biology, and the God-ordered structure of the universe.
Now, perhaps Scardina doesn’t agree with Phillips’ deep connection between the cakes he makes and the messages they’re meant to convey. Perhaps to Scardina, a cake is a cake, and the intent behind the buyer’s order shouldn’t matter to the man smoothing out the buttercream. But that’s not the point. The point is that Phillips, as a baker and an artist, has the right to determine what his art means to him, and behind what ceremonies, events, and celebrations he’s willing to put that talent. He also has a right to live his life and run his business according to the faith that is foundational to his existence, and to be left alone by the state while doing so.
But the name of the game isn’t tolerance, regardless of how the left attempts to spin it – or, at least, used to. What began as a seemingly innocent demand to “live and let live” has become an open threat to drag a person into court and ruin their livelihood if they don’t proactively comply with the progressive agenda – a natural progression anyone with half a brain could have seen coming, and which many of us predicted back when the militant gay marriage brigade was screaming that religious folks stay out of grown adults’ private bedrooms.
Now, what started behind those bedroom doors has now barged into bakeries and demanded at the point of a government-held gun that Christians violate their own convictions and comply, bigot. No longer is it enough to simply be “tolerant” – now, you must support. You must affirm. You must agree. And if you don’t, you must at least fake it well enough that you abandon your own integrity to appease the demands of the lynch mob that stands with lit torches, ready to burn you and your livelihood to the ground if you decline, while the state stands nearby with containers of gasoline, ready and willing to lend a hand.
This was never about tolerance. It’s about submission. It always has been.