Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Baker’s First Amendment Rights

From The New York Times:
You need the First Amendment precisely when your ideas offend others or flout the majority’s orthodoxies. And then it protects more than your freedom to speak your mind; it guards your freedom not to speak the mind of another. Thus, in classic “compelled speech” rulings, the Supreme Court has protected the right not to be forced to say, do or create anything expressing a message one rejects. Most famously, in West Virginia v. Barnette (1943), it barred a state from denying Jehovah’s Witnesses the right to attend public schools if they refused to salute the flag. In Wooley v. Maynard (1977), the court prevented New Hampshire from denying people the right to drive if they refused to display on license plates the state’s libertarian-flavored motto “live free or die.”

On Tuesday, the court will consider whether Colorado may deny Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the right to sell custom wedding cakes because he cannot in conscience create them for same-sex weddings. Mr. Phillips, who has run his bakery since 1993, sells off-the-shelf items to anyone, no questions asked. But he cannot deploy his artistic skills to create cakes celebrating themes that violate his religious and moral convictions. Thus he does not design cakes for divorce parties, lewd bachelor parties, Halloween parties or same-sex weddings.

Colorado’s order that he create same-sex wedding cakes (or quit making any cakes at all) would force him to create expressive products carrying a message he rejects. That’s unconstitutional. Some fear a slippery slope, arguing that anything can be expressive. What if someone refused to rent out folding chairs for the reception? Or what about restaurant owners who exclude blacks because they think God wills segregation? If we exempt Mr. Phillips, won’t we have to exempt these people from anti-discrimination law? (Read more.)
 From Matt Walsh:
 The First Amendment is on trial, not Jack Phillips. If Phillips loses, free speech is effectively finished in this country. If a Christian business owner can be forced by the state to create something that goes against his deeply held religious beliefs — beliefs shared by a majority of the world, by the way — then what function does the First Amendment really serve?

Phillips doesn’t need the First Amendment when he makes a birthday cake. He doesn’t need it when he cooks a batch of brownies. He doesn’t need it when he’s doing innocuous things that no one — not even the gay lobby — could possibly find offensive or upsetting. He needs it precisely when he’s faced with the dilemma that Mullins and Craig presented. He needs it when he makes a decision, grounded in his religious convictions, which will be upsetting to a powerful group like the LGBT lobby. If he doesn’t have it then, he doesn’t have it at all.

If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the gay lobby, what next? If gays have a mystical right to force their fellow citizens to participate in their gay weddings, where does that right end? I’ll tell you: it doesn’t. If Phillips goes down, the churches will be next. And why not? If we’ve just established that gays are a special and superior class of human beings, and their desire for a cake decorated a particular way now must supersede everyone else’s First Amendment rights, why should the churches be exempt? Indeed, if Phillips doesn’t have the right to withhold his cake, why should the local priest have the right to withhold his church? He doesn’t, in that case. He won’t. Mark my words. (Read more.)
 More from Matt Walsh:
A person does, usually, basically, according to our modern laws, have the right to be served by an establishment that’s open to the public. Now here’s the good news: the gay couple were served. They were allowed to enter the store and they were allowed to purchase any item they desired. They could have walked right in and shouted, “We’re gay and we’re buying cookies!” And nobody would have stopped them from buying the cookies. Or cake. Or whatever they wanted. Phillips did not refuse to serve them. Rather, he refused to serve an event.

Ah. So that’s the right? They have a right to compel someone to provide a service, or create a product, for any event they’re planning? But wait. Nobody even pretends that this is a universal right. Again, it is understood that a Jew cannot be conscripted to serve a Nazi rally, a black person cannot be forced to serve a Klan meeting, a Muslim cannot be compelled to serve a conference of pork enthusiasts, a gay man cannot be told that he must create special cupcakes to be enjoyed at the next Westboro Baptist demonstration. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

This is an example of the power of the State over individual freedoms and religious freedoms such as forcing a Catholic hospital to perform abortions. By the way, it was not the baker who filed the was the homosexual couple. Even the liberal media believes that filing such a suit was over the top.