Religious Freedom

Where Does the Targeting of Jack Stop?

It seems the State of Colorado will not rest until cake artist Jack Phillips either agrees to celebrate events and express messages against his faith, or goes out of business entirely.

Colorado officials have been targeting Jack since 2012, when two men walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop, his family-owned business, and requested that he design a cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage. Jack politely declined, but offered to sell them anything else in his store or design a cake for a different event.

Jack responded this way because, while he serves everyone, he cannot celebrate every event or express every message. That’s why he doesn’t design cakes for Halloween, or cakes with anti-American themes, or cakes that disparage others. And as a Christian who believes what the Bible says about marriage, he cannot design a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.

For this, the State of Colorado determined that Jack should be punished, and it has been harassing him ever since. The government has continued to do so even after the Supreme Court delivered a strong rebuke to Colorado for its “impermissible hostility” toward Jack’s religious beliefs – beliefs the Court has acknowledged are held by reasonable people of goodwill.

Still, when a local attorney filed another complaint against Jack – this time because Jack’s shop declined to create a cake with a blue-and-pink design celebrating a gender transition – the state used the opportunity to continue its campaign against Jack.

Where will it stop? First, the state demanded that Jack celebrate same-sex marriage through his cake art. Now, it is demanding that he lend his artistic talents to celebrate a gender transition.

In doing so, the state is actually contradicting its own arguments. In its brief to the Supreme Court, Colorado claimed that Jack has the right to decline requests for pro-LGBT messages and designs. So, according to the state’s own logic, shouldn’t Jack be able to decline to design a blue-and-pink cake that celebrates a gender transition? After all, such a design sends a clear message that the status of being male or female can be chosen or changed based on a person’s perceptions or feelings. That certainly qualifies as a pro-LGBT message and design. The state’s double-standard, where it says one thing but does another, demonstrates clear hostility toward Jack’s faith.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the State of Colorado.

It should concern us all if the government can target people of faith and harass them for peacefully living and working according to their beliefs. After all, the government’s role is to protect our ability to live out our faith. But when the government is instead threatening our freedom, we must stand to say: Enough is enough.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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