By Irene F. Starkehaus -
Back in 2012, a cake maker by the name of Jack Phillips refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple (Charlie Craig and David Mullins) on the grounds that doing so would violate his conscience and religious principles. Mr. Phillips explained that he would be glad to bake anything else for them, but his religious beliefs precluded him from making them a wedding cake.
Seeing as how Jack Phillips is apparently the only baker in the greater Denver area and is therefore responsible for depriving all gay people everywhere of the constitutionally protected right to delicious confections, the ACLU filed a complaint on behalf of Mr. Craig and Mr. Mullins stating, "…the baker's religious beliefs don't give him a right to discriminate and violate Colorado law." The specific Colorado law in question is the 2008 Public Accommodations Law on sexual orientation and identity.
Judge Robert N. Spencer agreed with the ACLU and ordered Mr. Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop to serve gay couples. Quoting from CBS News in Denver:
The order says the cake-maker must "cease and desist from discriminating" against gay couples. Although the judge did not impose fines in this case, the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes.
According to a CBN news report:
Mr. Phillips was ordered to make cakes for same-sex weddings.
He was ordered to put in place new policies to comply with the judge's ruling.
He was ordered to reeducate his staff about the new policies.
He was ordered to submit quarterly reports verifying his compliance with the commission's ruling.
There is now a post from January 12, 2015 from a Washington Times reporter Valerie Richardson stating that a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission by the name of Diann Rice is on tape during a July 25th hearing equating the actions – or rather, the inactions of Mr. Phillips in his refusal to bake a cake – to Nazis and slaveholders:
"I would also like to reiterate what we said in the last meeting [on Mr. Phillips]. 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," Ms. Rice said at the July 25 hearing…I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination," Ms. Rice said. "And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use — to use their religion to hurt others."
Slavery and Nazism because an artisan and private business owner wouldn't bake a cake. I guess the political rhetoric isn't too over the top, hmm? For the record, Merriam Webster's dictionary defines the word slave in this way:
A person held in servitude as the chattel of another.
Not to be too pedantic about this, but the person who is being forced into servitude of another in the State of Colorado is Mr. Phillips. He does not wish to make wedding cakes for gay couples. He has been ordered by the State of Colorado to make wedding cakes for gay couples. Forced labor…ah, but perhaps not exactly forced labor? He does retain his right to close his bakery, give up his chosen profession and serve no one. Vive la liberté.
Following the rationale of Merriam Webster's dictionary, the members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission are the slaveholders of this scenario by definition. To that end, the State of Colorado should probably think about forming a commission that will oversee the writing of the next edition of Merriam Webster's dictionary to make sure the meaning of slavery conforms to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's requirements.
And then, of course, there's the perfunctory Nazi reference applied to anyone who won't comply with bureaucratic group-think…thank you, Ms. Rice for your conscientious service to stereotype. The Nazis to which I assume Ms. Rice of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission referred were members of the national socialist government of Germany which ruled from 1933 to 1943. According to Wikipedia, in March 1933, the Enabling Act, an amendment to the Weimar Constitution allowed Hitler and his cabinet to pass laws—even laws that violated the nation's constitution.
With that power established, the Nazis created bureaus, departments and commissions to regulate and reduce individual liberty as a means of enforcing their socialist policies. They picked arbitrary groups to scapegoat, and legislation soon deprived those individuals of their right to work. They were forbidden to own businesses or work in retail shops, drive cars, go to the cinema, visit the library or own weapons.
So you know Louis Brandeis – darling of the Left? He was a progressive and "militant crusader for social justice" just around the time that Europe was exploring Marxism and all of its iterations. Brandeis became the original architect for America's modern understanding of the Constitution's tacit rights regarding privacy. Offering many explanations relating to communication and anonymity, Brandeis referred to an individual's right to privacy as the right to be left alone.
This from the Harvard Law Review published December 15, 1890:
"The common law secures to each individual the right of determining, ordinarily, to what extent his thoughts, sentiments, and emotions shall be communicated to others. Under our system of government, he can never be compelled to express them (except when upon the witness stand); and even if he has chosen to give them expression, he generally retains the power to fix the limits of the publicity which shall be given them. The existence of this right does not depend upon the particular method of expression adopted. It is immaterial whether it be by word or by signs, in painting, by sculpture, or in music. Neither does the existence of the right depend upon the nature or value of the thought or emotions, nor upon the excellence of the means of expression. The same protection is accorded to a casual letter or an entry in a diary and to the most valuable poem or essay, to a botch or daub and to a masterpiece. In every such case the individual is entitled to decide whether that which is his shall be given to the public. No other has the right to publish his productions in any form, without his consent. This right is wholly independent of the material on which, the thought, sentiment, or emotions is expressed. It may exist independently of any corporeal being, as in words spoken, a song sung, a drama acted. Or if expressed on any material, as in a poem in writing, the author may have parted with the paper, without forfeiting any proprietary right in the composition itself. The right is lost only when the author himself communicates his production to the public, -- in other words, publishes it. It is entirely independent of the copyright laws, and their extension into the domain of art. The aim of those statutes is to secure to the author, composer, or artist the entire profits arising from publication; but the common-law protection enables him to control absolutely the act of publication, and in the exercise of his own discretion, to decide whether there shall be any publication at all. The statutory right is of no value, unless there is a publication; the common-law right is lost as soon as there is a publication."
What's that got to do with the actions taken by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in commanding Jack Phillips to bake? Mr. Phillips is not selling mass produced, prewrapped Twinkies and the argument is not over one of two hundred cupcakes that he whips up to stock his bakery shelves. We are specifically discussing wedding cakes which are complex structures that are highly individualized for each and every client. What he creates for a potential wedding couple is edible sculpture that represents a unique form of artistic expression.
According to the thesis regarding the right to privacy that Louis Brandeis penned a century ago, each and every wedding cake Jack Phillips makes or doesn't make belongs to him until he receives money in return for it at which time he forfeits any rights to the wedding cake. The law protects his right to bake or not to bake. He can never be compelled to create a wedding cake. In the exercise of his own discretion, he has the constitutional right to decide if he will sell a wedding cake for any reason.
This is not just an argument over gay rights versus religious liberty. The argument will ultimately be the basis for governmental justification for controlling free speech. We have already come to a moment in our history when our government has claimed the fictional right to oblige the citizenry to purchase the products it deems necessary. Lord help us if we institute the fictional right of the government to compel someone to create. Imagine how quickly that will transcend the mere act of cake making and become the legal compulsion to write or paint or sing from a government mandated political perspective. Not only will the government have established their control over your spending, it will also have effectively suppressed dissent.
And that means that regardless of your political, religious or sexual orientation, if you are to be consistent in your expression of outrage over acts of tyranny with regard to the massacre of writers working for Charlie Hebdo, then you must also be outraged over this governmental power grab…je suis Jack Phillips.
Ah! That Lady Liberty! She's so demanding.
Post script: Current pop narratives insist that the refusal of Jack Phillips to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins and other gay couples is morally equivalent to the 1960s Woolworth lunch counter segregation in Greensboro, NC.
The Woolworth boycott differs for many reasons, not the least of which is that Woolworth voluntarily changed its policy after the chain incurred nearly $200,000 in lost revenue over the negative publicity from persistent demonstrations and sit-ins. No government intervention was required. Woolworth was desegregated, serving blacks and whites alike thus establishing that equality is best achieved through free market capitalism.