“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”
As I sit here at Masterpiece Bakery writing this blog post and reflecting on the decision by SCOTUS in favor of Jack Phillips I can't help rejoice in what God has done for Jack, but be a little concerned that SCOTUS didn't go far enough. Undoubtedly, this is not the last we have heard about cases similar to the Masterpiece case.
The good, Jack has been vindicated regarding the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's treatment of Jack's case in particular. Jack, Debbie, and Lisa are thrilled and excited about this ruling. I am rejoicing with them and so are the steady stream of people coming in bringing flowers, balloons, and so on (Romans 12:15).
The unclear, it is not yet known whether this means that Jack can begin making wedding cakes. It seems likely that he will be able to, however, SCOTUS' ruling was sufficiently vague enough to leave this in question. Further, it is likely that if he does, someone will undoubtedly test this issue again. Although the ruling was 7-2, it was also a very narrow ruling.
What the ruling did say is that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was "hostile" in its treatment toward Masterpiece and the free exercise of religious freedom, especially considering other cases that were brought before the commission where the customers went into a Bakery requesting cakes that displayed messages against homosexuality and the Commission ruled in favor of those bakers to refuse to make those cakes. Here is what the ruling stated: "The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices." While this is all good, it doesn't settle the matter for other similar cases.
What the ruling did not say is that businesses are allowed to make the same kind of distinctions that Jack made and refuse to provide particular products or services according to their convictions. It seems likely that this issue will be before SCOTUS again at some point in the future. It should also be noted that the opinion made reference to the timeline of the case. Jack made the decision he made before SCOTUS had ruled on Obergefell and made the recognition of same sex marriage the law of the land. In other words, they did not say that a business was free to do what Jack did in the current legal climate, but that Jack was within reason given the legal climate at that time.
While this is a good ruling, it doesn't really come close to settling the issue.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.