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The lessons of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case

Lydia Macy, 17, left, and Mira Gottlieb, 16, both of Berkeley, Calif., rally outside of the Supreme Court on the day of the hearing for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, on Dec. 5, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(RNS) — Let’s start with with the lesson for culture warriors on the left: Religious objections to state policies have to be handled without prejudice.

Seven of the Supreme Court’s nine justices, liberals and conservatives, agreed that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted prejudicially in handling the complaint of a gay couple who were refused a wedding cake by Jack Phillips, proprietor of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Most egregiously, one commissioner declared:

Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.

As a result, Justice Anthony Kennedy concluded, writing for the court, the commission had failed to consider the case with “the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”

There is no doubt that, in America today, religious liberty is being advanced as part of a cultural —indeed, a partisan political — agenda. Nevertheless, sincerely held religious beliefs cannot be denigrated and dismissed by government officials. Social liberals will do well to bear in mind that the basic constitutional right of free exercise does in fact extend to beliefs they may find unconscionable.

Now for the lesson for culture warriors on the right: Religious free exercise does not trump anti-discrimination laws.

Yes, wrote Kennedy, also the author of the court’s decision approving same-sex marriage, “the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.”

But “it is a general rule,” the opinion continued, “that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.”

Here it’s worth noting that while the ruling didn’t definitively answer core issues of free exercise of religion, it did do something. The justices appear to have strengthened their neutrality standard for free exercise cases.

In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the court held that “neutral laws of general applicability” could not be challenged on free exercise grounds. Three years later, in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah, it determined that a law that is neutral on its face can nevertheless violate the free exercise clause if it is shown actually to target a particular religious practice. On Monday, the court made clear that a law has to be not only neutral itself but also “neutrally applied.”

That clarification in itself suggests that, if Colorado’s ban on discrimination against gays and lesbians had been handled nonprejudicially, the decision could easily have gone the other way.

Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission erects a stop sign in front of social conservatives who would like to extend free exercise to exempt believers not only from anti-discrimination laws but other (possibly) protected forms of expression, like creating wedding cakes.

At least, it’s a stop sign for as long as the court remains in its current configuration.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

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  • Good analysis, Mr. silk. But I do have one objection.

    The court, and you, by extension, characterized the commissioner’s statement as not being neutral towards religion. I have to disagree with that.

    What he said was: “And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.” He was not denigrating Phillips religious beliefs, but denigrating USING those beliefs to hurt others.
    As I have said many times on these pages, I am not concerned about what someone believes, though I may disagree with it, argue against, point out where it doesn’t comport with fact, etc etc etc. What I care about is what people DO with those beliefs.
    Phillips is entitled to believe whatever he wants to believe about gay people, no matter how stupid, illogical, and abusive of scripture it is. What he is not entitled to do is use his beliefs to harm others, to put himself above the laws the govern all of us, or to claim that my participation in society as a gay man is superseded by his beliefs about what his particular and peculiar version of god demands.
    Imagine! The lives, practices, and beliefs of fundamentalists don’t automatically include the lives, practices, and beliefs of other people who are not Christian fundamentalists!

  • The thing is, the quotation in paragraph 2 is completely factual. So it is denigrating to point out the actual truth.

  • Thanks, Ben. But in this country, religious beliefs do in various cases permit people exemptions from laws that apply to the rest of us. To take one recent example, churches can exclude free contraceptive coverage for their women employees from their health insurance coverage. Conscientious objectors can avoid military conscription. Ever since World War II, when Jehovah’s Witness kids were allowed not to say the Pledge of Allegiance, the federal courts have acknowledged such exemptions—in various circumstances under various legal doctrines. The Court’s point in Masterpiece Cakeshop is that government authorities need to treat such free exercise claims neutrally, not that they need to find in their favor.

  • It wasn’t just side comments, but the actual treatment of the religious objector by the commission and the courts, that demonstrated non-neutrality. The Court compared this case to a case in which a religious person was denied a wedding cake that objected to same-sex marriage (the Jack case). In the Philips case, the cake artist could not be reasonably imputed to be the speaker. In the Jack case, the messages implicated the cake artist’s freedom of expression. In the Jack case, although the message dealt with religion and the person seeking the cake was religious, the commission found (and the courts upheld) that the discrimination was against the message, not the individual. In the Philips case, the commission made no attempt to distinguish between the message and the individual.

  • The issue was and still is what constitutes protected expressive activity in these contexts. The majority opinion does not indicate whether engaging in a creative activity that the creator knows will be used to celebrate some specific event is expressive activity protected by the creator’s free speech rights. There’s no question that artists may reject commissioned works based on the content of the art or the purpose for which it will be used. The question here was whether Philips fell into that category. We are no closer to resolving that question now than we were before the case.

  • The more religion intrudes itself on public life, the more turned off to it people will be and the faster they will leave it. Young people especially are sharp enough to understand that this particular baker picked and chose which Bible verses he was going to use in order to plainly discriminate against certain people he didn’t like, and they are rightly offended by what they see as blatant hypocrisy. The baker could have used the Hassidic Jewish standard of not baking cakes for men who cut their hair or anyone who mixes meat and dairy products (e.g. by eating cheeseburgers) – after all, it’s all there in the same book of the Bible, Leviticus, where it says that it’s an abomination for men to sleep with men.

    People’s right to freely worship whatever deity they like is what religious freedom is about. It’s not about picking and choosing certain verses of your particular holy book (while conveniently ignoring thousands of others) in order to refuse service to certain groups of people you don’t like while operating a business in the public sphere. There have been many bad Supreme Court decisions (Dred Scott v. Sanford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Citizens United, etc.) Just because a certain court ruled a certain way doesn’t make it a good decision. This was a bad decision. Thanks in part to the Supreme Court’s bad decision Bush v. Gore, which gave us George W. Bush and his two conservative judges, and thanks to Mitch McConnell’s theft of the seat that rightfully should have gone to Merrick Garland, the court has lurched rightward and is in the process of undoing the work of expanding civil rights that previous courts over the last century worked hard to achieve, ending centuries of injustice. In a word, we’re moving backwards, which is exactly the way a big chunk of people in this country like it. Sad.

  • True, Mr. silk, as far as it goes. A really bad Supreme Court decision gave companies the rights to impose their religious beliefs on the health care decisions of people who don’t share them. Conscientious objectors can avoid conscription, but the process isn’t a simple on, and provides strict guidelines, as far as I know. The JW’s are following my idea of religious liberty: believe what you like, impose on on your own life if you like, but keep it out of mine that’s what the JW’s do.

    But it doesn’t take away from my point. Nothing the commissioner said was not true. neutral is one thing, true is another. Things to avoid controversy may not be true even if they are neutral, and things that are true may not be neutral. This is a case the court went out of its way on to require neutrality without truth.

  • Interesting analysis over at SCOTUSblog.

    Masterpiece Cakeshop thus represents significant pushback to those who would denounce religious freedom as mere bigotry while claiming to be neutral themselves. Public commentators on national media regularly and casually describe measures promoting religious freedom as “religious bigotry,” an “invitation to discriminate,” “not about religious freedom,” “a fig leaf for intolerance,” or the like. If this sort of language is used or relied on by legislators, or especially adjudicative bodies, it now can be considered clear evidence of lack of neutrality.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2018/06/symposium-and-the-winner-is-pluralism/#more-270974

  • We still need a clearer ruling on where 1st Amendment assertions would conflict with the 14th (i.e., equal protection under the law). Taking any constitutional clause out of context is a lot like taking bible verses out of context, and in this case there was a conflict. The opinion’s reference to the Piggie Park discrimination case suggests that the law can prevail if of neutral applicability, and neutral application.

    The Jehovah Witness case — Barnette v. W. Va. Board of Ed. — started as a religious-freedom case but the majority opinion by Robert Jackson went beyond that, to say that gov’t should not be imposing or compelling speech, be it religious or a pledge of allegiance.

  • As I understand it, the Supreme Court ruled that the Jehovah’s Witness kids were required to say the pledge in 1940. This was changed in 1943 by “West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette,” which ruled that the 1st Amendment prevented the schools from forcing any students to salute the flag or recite the pledge.

  • I say this case is about two bad examples of showing your disapproval of someone. I’m undecided as to whether the lesser loser won or lost.

  • Another difference. The JW weren’t forcing their beliefs on others. At issue here, and in cases like Hobby Lobby is whether a seller of cakes — or any other gatekeeper — can impose their beliefs on third parties like customers, tenants, employees, clients or patients. A blanket religious exemption might have permitted more egregious incidents like the Janice Langbehn hospital case.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Langbehn

  • The two prongs of most “religious freedom” bills coming up are (1) the belief that marriage is one man and one woman and (2) that sexual relations should be confined to those marriages, tenets that the baker probably adhered to. The court could have, by a broad ruling in the baker’s favor, raised those two sectarian views above civil laws and, for that matter, other religious beliefs. We dodged a bullet on this one.

    Still, that sort of belief would make religion, Christianity here, seem obsessed with sex and a meddlesome view of family, which would make it seem unattractive to many younger people nowadays.

  • “Still, that sort of belief would make religion, Christianity here, seem obsessed with sex…”

    Seem? Religion IS obsessed with sex. As an Episcopal priest once rightly pointed out to me, “people should be more concerned with the sins that occur between the ears rather than the ones that occur between the legs for they are the more important ones that ought to be addressed first.” Wise words.

  • It’s also something that tends to be a drag on its power. Note Mark Silk’s earlier discussion about Ireland and the abortion vote. Countries like Ireland or Spain, where an established church identified with an older and oppressive civil order, tend to reject its products later, whether it’s bans on abortions or same-sex marriage or whatever.

    I am fully convinced that this extraordinary and incidental cause is the close connection of politics and religion. The unbelievers of Europe attack the Christians as their political opponents rather than as their religious adversaries; they hate the Christian religion as the opinion of a party much more than as an error of belief; and they reject the clergy less because they are the representatives of the Deity than because they are the allies of government.

    In Europe, Christianity has been intimately united to the powers of the earth. Those powers are now in decay, and it is, as it were, buried under their ruins. The living body of religion has been bound down to the dead corpse of superannuated polity; cut but the bonds that restrain it, and it will rise once more. I do not know what could restore the Christian church of Europe to the energy of its earlier days; that power belongs to God alone; but it may be for human policy to leave to faith the full exercise of the strength which it still retains.
    — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  • Ireland should be a cautionary tale for the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for them, I don’t see any self-reflection, only a lot of digging in. Pope Benedict’s vision for a “smaller, purer church” is happening faster than even he could have hoped for. He must be so pleased. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jesus is.

  • We need to face the fact that aggregated personal prejudices against the idea of “the gays taking over” are the most probable explanations of both Putin in Russia and Trump in America. The churches got their negative firecrackers lit in both places BIGTIME on this particular thing, “What if they make YOU bake a cake for a gay wedding? What if they make YOU issue a gay wedding license?” (Never mind that only a tiny fraction of people will ever be in such possible roles in the first place.)

    But, it worked. Republicans got their tax cuts and they got deregulation of corporations on dozens of fronts. The kids will understand what was lost most likely in about 20 years. No going back. The “court of public opinion” screwed up these cases far more egregiously than the parsed language from the seven justices ruling for Phillips. Steamroller is rolling.

  • Exactly the point. Purely theological concerns, to my mind, have no place in the laws that governs all of us. If you have a theological point to make, you had better be ready to provide factual evidence that you actually have a point.

  • We need to face the fact that aggregated personal prejudices against the idea of “the gays taking over” are the most probable explanations of both Putin in Russia and Trump in America.

    Here in America, the idea of “the gays taking over” (a ludicrous thought considering that we represent less than 5% of the population) was no doubt one factor among many that pushed Trump over the edge among a certain group of retrograde citizens, along with Putin’s help on Facebook and Hillary’s lackluster campaign of course. But in Russia? It’s true that homophobia is on the rise there, but it’s being instigated by Putin himself in order to distract the citizenry from the fact that he and his oligarch buddies have raided the public till, making themselves fabulously wealthy at everyone else’s expense. It’s working like a charm. Donald Trump may be despicable but he possesses the uncanny ability to be just as much of a distractor-in-chief as his pal Putin (he’s learned from the master.) So while he and his cronies like Scott Pruitt are raiding the till and feeding from the public trough, Trump’s base will be fuming over wedding cakes. To quote a line from a famous movie, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Unfortunately for The Base, the joke’s on them and they don’t even realize it.

  • This is an “opinion” on my part about Putin. I happen to think that his penchant for disdaining the gays in law is the main thing which keeps the Russian Orthodox Church behind him—–giving him electoral victories. Before the Trump election, we even had Evangelicals in this country expressing their preference for Putin over Obama. Why?
    Energy off THIS issue.

    Then along comes Trump with the “art of the (electoral) deal”. He does not rail against the gays. He just promises judges to the anti-gays. Worked like a charm. Deplorable crooks running two big countries.

  • No, Trump didn’t rail against “the gays” during his campaign like so many other Teapublicans, he just whispered to his evangelical supporters in quiet rooms that he’d come through with judges they’d like. Sneaky, but clever maneuver since he didn’t want to offend all those soccer moms in the Philly suburbs. They were too busy carting kids to soccer practice to pay attention to what Trump was saying to rabid evangelicals in quiet rooms.

  • And from Canada, a case attempting to balance religious belief with civil law, in this case, child custody.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/christianity-custody-child-religious-debate-1.4693154?cmp=rss

    The battle was for custody of their baby — who the mother wants to rename Jesus JoyoftheLord.

    They lost.

    Now, in a decision highlighting the tightrope social workers walk in balancing parental beliefs with child safety, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed the Kelowna couple’s claim of religious persecution.

    “This is a difficult case,” wrote Justice Diane MacDonald.

    It is an extreme example, of course, and not in the US, but given any precedent deferring to sincerely held religious belief, this is the sort of thing it makes possible.

  • Word count for this here “lesson for culture warriors on the left” is a total of 237 words. Or 44.2% of “the lessons of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case”.

    Word count “for the lesson for culture warriors on the right” equals to 299 words. Or 55.8% of “the lessons of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case”.

    So much for “handl[ing] without prejudice … the lessons of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case”. In mathematical term, that should’ve been 50:50. But nnnnnoooo ….

  • Look up Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940). There, some JW’s were proselytizing in an obnoxious way in a Roman Catholic neighborhood of New Haven, in apparent violation of a state law. The Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional–a violation of their free exercise right to impose their beliefs on others.

  • No, they were annoying the other people, being rude, and generally jerks. They didn’t use the law to require that people listen to them and do what they were told.

  • Justice Clarence Thomas, (who predicted that the Obergefell Decision would clash with constitutional religious freedom), pretty much said it all. Religious freedom “lived to fight another day” as a result of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. That’s good enough.

    Sure, it’s a mixed bag. Sure, the Gay Goliath is steaming hot for pure REVENGE against Bible-believing Christians and their families. And sure, Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion definitely leaves the door open for such revenge.

    So Christians dare not waste the little extra time and freedom they’ve now been granted. Christians know (or they BETTER know) that Goliath’s attack is forthcoming. It’s a good time for prayer, preparation, and Bible. Re-group and re-commitment.

    But in the meantime … Jack Phillips won.

  • Sure, it’s a mixed bag. Sure, the Gay Goliath is steaming hot for pure REVENGE against Bible-believing Christians and their families.
    nonsense.

  • Of course you’re going to say that it’s “nonsense”, Ben. After all, the last thing YOU and your fellow gay activists want is for Christians to be on full alert, prayed-up and prepped for Round 2. You want us Christians to go back to sleeping at the wheel.

    But I’m hoping that Bible-believing Christians will stay awake, because Goliath seriously intends to run us off the road.

    “The hatred today’s left feels toward orthodox Christianity is fanatical. Remember how Inspector Javert, in Les Misérables, sought pretext after pretext for imprisoning Jean Valjean? So the left will keep hunting Christians. Justice Kennedy has just told them the opening and closing days for hunting season.”

    –John Zmirak, “The Stream” conservative website (also quoted by Dr. Michael Brown at the “Charisma News” site)

  • Purely theological concerns as purely theological concerns, of course.

    As motivation for an individual pursuing a particular law, it’s as valid as any other motivation.

  • As the twice quoted opinion demonstrated, there was plenty said by the commissioners that was not true.

    The SCOTUS did not have to go “out of its way” when the hearings were rife with anti-religious bigotry.

  • More nonsense. You just can¡t live without your list of super enemies whom you will triumph over in the end because Jesus and all of that. :

    Satan, Hillary, Soros, The Mythical Left who hate you, gay Goliath that wants to crush you.

    Nonsense. Pathetic and silly nonsense at that.

  • The Court’s point in the Masterpiece case never got beyond the fact that the Commission conducted a kangaroo court and the Colorado state courts – all elected – looked the other way at the record.

  • You have the facts reversed.

    Mr. Phillips has his beliefs and the couple in question, with the assistance of the ACLU who nearly fabricated this case, tried to force their beliefs on him.

    The case was a setup from the beginning.

    The Langbehn case involved “a lack of compassion”, not a violation of rights.

  • The Supreme Court decision to which you refer did not give “companies the right to impose the religious beliefs of their owners on the health care decisions of people who don’t share them”.

    What it (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S.(2014)) did was make crystal clear that the Obama Administration’s attempt to gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act through a subterfuge was not going to pass judicial review.

    By the time the next case went to the SCOTUS, Zubik v. Burwell, the government attorneys were compelled to admit that Sebelius had rigged the regulations and the government did NOT need the cooperation of the employers.

    Not ONE employee was denied contraceptive coverage.

  • Yet many aggrieved right-wing Christians will declare that neutrality is impossible AND proof of anti-Christian bias.

  • The sign is right; philosophically it’s not about the cake, it is about the end of the world. The irony is in the cake.

  • ” The hatred today’s left feels toward orthodox Christianity is fanatical. ”

    The inverse of that is exceptionally true — The hatred today’s fundamentalist Christians have toward the secular and the left is fanatical.

    I was working with this fellow employee, a devout religious conservative, some years ago. We were talking about apportionment and the Supreme Court at the time had handed down a decision of some kind concerning that matter. I said to my fellow worker, ‘the Democrats will take advantage of that’. My friend went of the rails and shouted out — ‘kill all Democrats and liberals, kill them, kill them all’. That unecessary response was NOT because he was a mean spirited person because as far as I could know, he wasn’t that type of person. He responded like that because the religious right, who he adored, put into his mind a bunch of hateful jibberish about others different from themselves.

  • Why would a decision by an electorate that is about as Christian as the Bay area be a “cautionary tale for the Catholic Church”?

  • Actually religion is not obsessed with sex.

    You and your friends are obsessed with sex, and with what religion says about it, and wind up obsessed with both.

  • No, the “two prongs” are not ” (1) the belief that marriage is one man and one woman and (2) that
    sexual relations should be confined to those marriages, tenets that the
    baker probably adhered to”. That would be a direct violation of the First Amendment.

    The general form of religious freedom bills follow this quarter century old legislation:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act

    The general approach is to state that the “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”

    Exceptions are made if two conditions are met:

    1 – The burden must be necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.

    2 – The burden must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

  • Religion is not intruding itself on public life any more than it ever has, perhaps less.

    This was a good decision because it avoided dealing with conflicting rights that should be weighed in a clean case where the issues are unmuddled and faced squarely that the state of Colorado muffed this from the beginning to the end by constructing and then endorsing a kangaroo court.

  • I’ve never actually posted anything about Soros — maybe you’re thinking of somebody else — but thanks for bringing him up, all the same.

    (Besides, I’m fairly sure the ADX Federal Supermax Prison can help settle Soros’ hash !!)

  • It is well known that Hillary, Soros, and That Black President are the Evil Axis. Or better yet, from the perspective of REAL CHRISTIANS, they are the Evil Trinity.

  • Just curious how does that affect Trump and the NFL over standing or kneeling during the National Anthem? I unerstand the NFL as a private employer is in a different situation than Trump. BUT what would happen if Trump attempted to enforce his position?

  • Now what kind of prurient interest led you there? Clearly you have a lot of free time on your hands for someone who’s supposedly not gay.

  • The fact that you wrote “prurient interest” speaks volumes.

    The topic was hateful jibberish.

    If you actually familiarized yourself with things beyond your ken once in awhile, your posts wouldn’t read like scripts from a political party.

  • Kill all Democrats and liberals?!?!?

    And you say he isn’t like that, isn’t mean spirited?

    Of course. He’s EXACTLY like that.

  • BobWorld likes to hang out there, but he doesn’t go for the ads and the photos, only for the anti-religious sentiments he digs up.

  • I’ve never met a single heterosexual who bothered spending any time at all on web sites dedicated to LGTB issues. Not one. But like you say, it’s probably for the mining potential in the comments section that lures him. Speaking personally, I cannot imagine spending even a nanosecond dredging up commentary on the far right, which would of course produce an avalanche more in the way of virulent invective than anything the left could ever come up with. But I have more pleasant things to do with my time.

  • “Its not about a diner, it’s the end of the world”
    If Bruce Patterson was in 1964.

    Oh no!

    Your bigotry doesn’t have color of law!

    Segregation is seen as a bad thing!

    It’s all over!

    LMAO!

  • By what government means could Trump “enforce his position”?

    The answer appears to be “none”.

  • Not quite sure what the relevance is. There’s something totally different about regulating the ways you can express something and the government telling you i what you must express. Of course, there’s a lot of room for debate about what constitutes compelled speech.

  • The relevance is the reasoning in the case as to when and for what reasons expression may be regulated or suppressed.

    It also makes clear, except to some of our resident ideologues, that the notion that baking custom cakes is NOT an expression under the First Amendment is absurd on its face.

  • https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/310/296/case.html

    No, it did not involve “their free exercise right to impose their beliefs on others”, which does not exist.

    “There was no showing that defendant’s deportment was noisy, truculent, overbearing, or offensive; nor was it claimed that he intended to insult or affront the listeners by playing the record; nor was it shown that the sound of the phonograph disturbed persons living nearby, drew a crowd, or impeded traffic.”

    “Held, that defendant’s conviction of the common law offense of breach of the peace was violative of constitutional guarantees of religious liberty and freedom of speech.”

  • Christianity is absurd on it’s face: virgins don’t give birth, and Jesus said nothing whatsoever about homosexuality. Christians just made all that stuff up for attention.

  • In this case, they’re obsessed over the contents of individuals’ pants and what they do with them in the bedroom, both before and after they get married.

  • Yes.

    Executive Orders direct government personnel in the Executive Branch to perform or refrain from performing an act within the Executive Branch.

    Do, for some reason, believe that NFL players are in the Executive Branch government service?

    If not, what action or inaction could the President order affecting football players?

  • Go to Federal court, recite Barnette, which is about as on point as can be, and get an injunction to stop whatever he ordered.

  • If you want to see the development of hate, look or participate in blogs on the Christian News Service. As a “lib”, I and others must have horribly thick skins. I am very concerned that this hate will inspire the transition to fascism.

  • Your complete lack of interest in other people’s opinions demonstrates itself in your wall-of-ignorance posts.

  • If I actually read something of yours that exhibits a scintilla of understanding of any position other than whatever you happen hold that day at the you post, I’ll fall out of my chair.

  • You and the Colorado CRC are obviously on the same page, with the same kangaroo court intolerance of religious convictions, and the same cynical disbelief in the sincerity of people who hold them. And yet your prejudices are invisible to you, as they apparently were to the CCRC. And not only invisible, but seen through the looking-glass, become the sins of those you criticize. It’s called “projection, ” and, fortunately, the SCOTUS was able to see through it.

  • Oh no! I disapprove of attacking other people in the name of their faith! Just like in all of our civil rights laws and Constitution!

    Apparently, you are hostile to my sincerely held belief that such objections are similar to other pernicious ones of the past. There are plenty of religious believers who not only say the same thing as I do, but claim God supports them.

    I do not doubt bigots sincerely hold their beliefs at all. I just have a dim view of those who think it is a “get out of jail free card” when it comes to laws of general application to protect the public. Discrimination is a legally recognized harm.

    Kennedy said himself in the decision that if he had to decide it on the merits of the arguments presented, the baker would have lost (see pgs 2 & 10 of the decision, already quoted elsewhere in this discussion).

  • The SCOTUS saw through it, but you can’t – and apparently never will. Enjoy your bubble. Facts will eventually penetrate it, but until then…you’re home free.

  • They even saw through the nonsense argument of the baker and said so much.

    Why are you so hostile to my sincerely held beliefs?

    You clearly think your own beliefs are the only ones which have merit and that other opinions cannot be tolerated. Just like what Kennedy was talking about!

  • I am “hostile “to your “sincerely held beliefs” because they’re wrong. But I regularly “tolerate” wrong beliefs (contrary to your prejudiced assumption) because I’m not the judge of what beliefs are wrong, or how they’re wrong. There is another, higher, judge for that, and He has already set the standards for Reality and the beliefs concerning it. I try to conform my own beliefs (and my behavior) to that standard, but in the meantime, I “tolerate” (put up with, patiently endure) wrong beliefs such as yours because the standards for beliefs that are compatible with Reality have already been set, and it’s ultimately your responsibility to bring your own beliefs into line with it. In the context of this conversation, my responsibility is to remind you of Reality and your responsibility to it, not to enforce your subjective recognition of its truth. God will take care of that one, in due course. It’s not me or my deliberately tolerating attitudes you need to worry about – it’s the Judge, who, by all accounts, is considerably less “tolerant” of BS.

  • Actually in this case I think he really DOESN’T get it. He is leaving out certain key words that he probably doesn’t know the meaning of.

  • There was no “imposition of beliefs on others” What was “imposed” on others was the JW’s right to PROCLAIM their beliefs…and since it was a”right,” it was clearly not an “imposition,” but a recognition of their pre-existing freedom of expression. Constitutional jurisprudence owes a lot to the JWs.

  • Now you are belittling my deeply held beliefs, just like the Colorado Human Rights Commission was accused of doing. You are nothing but a big hypocrite.

    You are hostile in general. So many different kinds of people you feel obligated to hate and attack. Must get tiring.

    “I’m not the judge of what beliefs are wrong”

    But you already said, “I am “hostile “to your “sincerely held beliefs” because they’re wrong.

    So which is it? Are you judging beliefs or not?

    “Reality and the beliefs concerning it. I try to conform my own beliefs (and my behavior) to that standard”

    Sounds like you want reality to conform to your beliefs. So you declare things to be so, even though they are really just what you believe.

    You accused me of being intolerant of sincerely held beliefs, yet you were entirely hostile to ones when presented.

    I did not do anything like that.

    Bye bye hypocrite.

  • Being intolerant of intolerant people is the issue, not bigotry. That’s coming from one direction: “I don’t need to serve you the same way I serve everyone else because of my religious beliefs.” What about the laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of religious belief in every state, and sexual orientation in Colorado and 20 other states?

    “My religious beliefs put me above the law.”

    What I find interest is your NOT saying that masturbake was wrong, only that the Civil Rights commission was mean to him.

  • Here’s your chance.

    Let’s post your version of what spuddie said, the one with the missing words, and his version of what he said, with a link. Then let’s go to SCOTUSblog, perhaps, where we can see what the Supreme Court actually said.

  • What about the laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of religious belief in every state and sexual orientation in Colorado and 20 other states?

    Either they are unconstitutional, or they going to be.

    Also, and this has pointed out enough times you ought to be getting the message, the problem was not that ” the Civil Rights commission was mean to him”, it was that they denied him due process.

  • My chance to what? Make the potato look foolish? Already done. I’m having fun with this!

    But hey, you’re smarter than the potato and have a bit of education going for you. See if YOU can find what is missing from L’il Tater’s quote:

    —if a baker refused to sell any goods or any cakes for gay weddings… the State would have a strong case

    There are four words missing from the beginning, and some additional material omitted in ellipsis. He left them out because (a) he copied and pasted the quote from a dishonest liberal rag, (b) he didn’t understand their significance, or (c) he deliberately intended to misrepresent the opinion.

    Go!

  • He can rescind his invitations to the White House. He can take his ball and go home pouting all the way.

  • But I knew this fellow employee before this ever happened and he didn’t come over as such a person capable of such anger. In a sense, it wasn’t so much what he said as it was the ‘shouting voice’ he used to say it. I maybe giving him the benefit of the doubt. Still, the Religious Right is not a warm and fuzzy bunch and I’d rather blame them and their mean spirited influence over him.

  • There is a lot of poison being spread these days. Not all of it is spread by the religious.

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