Masterpiece:  Good News, Bad News

Conservatives were excited yesterday over the Masterpiece Cake Shop ruling – and understandably so; Big Left has been on a mission to curtail religious freedom (not to mention undermine the church) as long as I can remember.

Gail Heriot, writing at Instapundit, reminds us  there’s good news and there’s bad news

On the one hand, I’m sure it’s not comforting for the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop to think that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission might have won if its members had only disguised their contempt for people of faith a bit better. On the other hand, as my colleague Maimon Schwarzschild has written in “Do Religious Exemptions Save?,” the alternative—a Constitutionally-mandated duty to accommodate religion—may not work so well either.

The only real answer is a culture that actually embraces actual tolerance – which is something Big Left has been working overtime to extinguish at our universities and in our schools.

17 thoughts on “Masterpiece:  Good News, Bad News

  1. I believe that the decision is more important than most commenters believe. The court found that the commission erred in not acting as a neutral body. It made no attempt to balance religious freedom with the civil rights of the gay couple. Is there any civil rights commission at the city, state, or county level that actually operates as a neutral tribunal? People are usually picked for these posts based on their history of activism or to fill an ethnic/gender headcount.
    Big Left does not want a neutral civil rights commission.
    Ginsberg’s dissent is the usual mess. She simply passes over the neutrality question & makes the bizarre claim that Philip’s bakery discriminated against the gay couple based on their sexual identity: “Phillips declined to make a cake he found offensive where the offensiveness of the product was determined solely by the identity of the customer requesting it.”
    This is not true. If the gay couple had ordered a cake for a heterosexual marriage, Phillips would have supplied it. If they had ordered a wedding cake to be used as a prop in some theatrical production, Phillips would have provided it. Phillips was on record as telling the gay couple that he would sell them anything in his shop — but not a wedding cake to celebrate their marriage.

  2. MP is correct, the major effect of this ruling that can and should be applied widely is that any govt body, whether elected (Mpls City Council) or unelected (Met Council), that does not act as a neutral body when adjudicating citizen issues can be held accountable for that malfeasance. If I were on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission right now I’d be looking for a good lawyer because I’m sure others who ran into the intolerance of the Commission in the past will be thinking of bringing suit.

  3. For my money the USSC got it right with what as practical matter is a narrow decision. Seems the Co. Civil Rights Commission made their judgment based on who was more “righteous”, the religious right of the baker, or the non-discrimination rights of the gay couple. Given the nature of progressives today religious rights take a backseat every time (Islam aside).

    I watched Mr. Phillips giving interviews on Fox News and Fox Business programs this AM, he appeared with his lawyer at his side on both programs. He made it clear that he would’ve provided any of his other products to the gay couple with the exception of the wedding cake stating that the cake which would have recognize their marriage would go against his real religious belief that marriage was reserved to that of a man and a woman. The gays had the option to seek out another baker which could have made their cake for them, instead they chose to sue and ultimately lost. If you ask me the plaintiffs in the original suit against the baker should be paying all the legal bills, and because he felt compelled not to make any wedding cakes (a very big part of his business) while the legal process dragged on he should be compensated for those damages as well!!!

  4. Based on what I’ve read and seen about this decision, my conclusion is that the court punted again. They didn’t make the distinction about religious freedom being assured by the Constitution, so the next case up, regarding refusal of service, a florist that did the same thing, will likely lose.

    We need to realize that the Colorado Civil Rights commission, is made up of transplants from communist controlled California.

  5. The Colorado civil rights commission put itself in the business of licensing hate. Gorsuch found it particularly objectionable that the commissioners made their judgement based on the “irrationality” and “insincerity” of Phillips’ beliefs. It is not the job of government to make these judgements with regard to religion, they are forbidden to do so by the 1st amendment.
    The progressive “license to hate” is working its way into corporate America. You may have heard that Microsoft recently purchased Github, a for-profit code repository, for over seven billion dollars. Github was taken over by the SJW’s a few years ago. Insanity followed. Here are a few samples of the CoC (Code of Conduct) gGithub forces on its customers:

    Our open source community prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. We will not act on complaints regarding:

    ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
    Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
    Refusal to explain or debate social justice concepts
    Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
    Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions
    . . .
    although this list cannot be exhaustive, we explicitly honor diversity in age, gender, gender identity or expression, culture, ethnicity, language, national origin, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and technical ability. We will not tolerate discrimination based on any of the protected characteristics above, including participants with disabilities.

    A coding organization that refuses to discriminate on the basis of “technical ability.”

  6. In a nation where church-state separation is constitutionally enshrined, how do sincerely held religious views trump sincerely held civil rights? What if someone’s religious belief would prevent them from providing services to Jews, Blacks or other categories of Americans? Would this also be allowed by this precedent?

  7. Mitch, though it is not a sweeping opinion I think there is a lot of good news in here. First off, think of if Clinton had won and Gorsuch had not been appointed. This actually could have been a different decision. The Colorado Commission could be bold in its intolerance of Christians given they certainly believed that the commissioners were “on the right side of history.” They believed that they could say the intolerant outrageousisms that they did because everyone except bigots believed as they did.

    Gorsuch has much wisdom and perhaps swayed a couple of his associates with a wonderful part of his concurring opinion:
    Quote: “But it is also true that no bureaucratic judgment
    condemning a sincerely held religious belief as “irrational”
    or “offensive” will ever survive strict scrutiny under the
    First Amendment. In this country, the place of secular
    officials isn’t to sit in judgment of religious beliefs, but
    only to protect their free exercise. Just as it is the “proudest
    boast of our free speech jurisprudence” that we protect
    speech that we hate, it must be the proudest boast of our
    free exercise jurisprudence that we protect religious beliefs
    that we find offensive.”

  8. Emery you have to know that what you are suggesting is complete false flag baloney. Plenty of judicial precedent have addressed and rejected the discriminatory practices you try to make comparative.

    I read your post against my recent decision to avoid and not read your posts because my sense is you just try to be a nuisance contrarian. I’ll go back to ignoring your phony input.

  9. Freedom of religion is enshrined in the first amendment, Emery. It’s in the bill of rights. Equal protection usually is derived from the 14th amendment, which s not part of the bill of rights. It is also sloppily written, and was enacted after a good deal of the country was denied political representation (Reconstruction).
    Regardless, civil rights laws generally carve out a religious exception. You can’t force the Catholic church to give communion to non-Catholics (or homosexuals for that matter).
    It is pretty sad that at least one of our major political parties is always seeking to narrow the scope of the Bill of Rights.

  10. It seems that the outcome of this case turned on the gratuitous sermonizing by the hapless member of the Colorado state commission who mocked the idea of the baker holding sincere religious beliefs. The Commissioner’s comments (slamming the baker) are why the baker won in this case.

    “Freedom of religion” means not just that you don’t get to infringe on my practice of religion, but that my practice of religion doesn’t get to infringe on yours. We live in a pluralistic society, which is the fundamental principle of both the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment. I fear that it will encourage more discrimination on “religious” grounds by those who are not Constitutional lawyers, who do not understand the narrowness of the High Court’s ruling. In other words, Kennedy’s decision is bad law and is going to spur all kinds of ugly unintended consequences.

    People have every right to their religious beliefs, but when we start to deny goods and services to people based on their race, religion, or sexual orientation, we are headed down a slippery slope to pre-Civil Rights era abuses.

  11. Emery, you make the same faulty assumption as Justice Ginsburg (and as previously pointed out by MP). Nobody was denied goods or services based on their sexual orientation.

  12. Scotusblog agrees with me:

    I welcome judicial review of decisions by so-called “Civil Rights Commissions.” Especially I would like to see an examination of the weird thing called “sexual orientation” that is a vital part of every human identity, is set at birth,does not vary from birth to death, is not a result of brain function or brain chemistry, or genetics, or pre or post natal environment. It would be interesting to see a lawyer struggle to explain that belief in “sexual orientation” is rational.

  13. If selling someone a wedding cake is participating in their marriage, isn’t selling a gun to a shooter participation in murder?

  14. If the seller knows that the buyer intends to use a gun to commit murder, then yes. Otherwise no.

  15. You mean, if the gun purchaser says: “I’m going to kill someone with this gun?”

    Or do you mean, if the cake buyer says “It’s actually for a bar mitzvah?”

    Pick one and we’re good here.

  16. “I’d like you to make a gay wedding cake. It’s for a bar mitzvah.”?

    The cake requested in the Masterpiece case was objectionable to the baker because he was asked to custom design a cake for that particular purpose.

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