Jack Phillips’ religious freedom under assault

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jack Phillips is a believer who for almost four decades has worked in the cake industry. During the course of his career he has had a desire to honor the Lord through his business in Colorado. However, in 2012 when a couple walked into his store asking Jack to design a custom cake for their same-sex wedding, he declined.

Sarah Kramer, writing for Alliance Defending Freedom, explained, “Jack serves all people, but he cannot celebrate every event. He believes what the Bible teaches about marriage – that it is the union of one man and one woman. And he should never be forced to violate that belief by using his artistic talents to celebrate an event contrary to that.”

For five years Jack Phillips has been involved in a court battle for his religious liberty. That quest for freedom has found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In my opinion his fight for freedom as a Christian is a preview of what is likely to happen in Georgia if we fail to win our quest for religious freedom here. In other words, when the nine Supreme Court justices rule in Jack Phillips’ case, our freedom is on the line as well.

Alliance Defending Freedom released the following statement delivered by cake artist Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop at a news conference following the oral arguments that took place Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission:

“Good morning! I’m Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. I serve all who walk through my doors, people from all walks of life. I’ve spent many years honing my craft as a cake artist, combining baking with my love of sculpting, painting, and sketching. And I love my craft because a cake is a canvas on which I express ideas, celebrate events, and bring joy to people’s lives.

“One of my favorite parts of my job has always been designing and creating wedding cakes. They allow me to use my artistic vision to create works of art that are beautiful and distinctive and that mark the beginning of something sacred.

“Though I serve everyone who comes into my shop, like many other creative professionals, I don’t create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience. I don’t create cakes that celebrate Halloween, promote sexual or anti-American themes, or disparage people, including individuals who identify as LGBT. For me, it’s never about the person making the request. It’s about the message the person wants the cake to communicate.

“I am here at the Supreme Court today because I respectfully declined to create a custom cake that would celebrate a view of marriage in direct conflict with my faith’s core teachings on marriage. I offered to sell the two gentlemen suing me anything else in my shop or to design a cake for them for another occasion.

“For that decision, which was guided by an established set of religious beliefs, I’ve endured a five-year court battle. It’s been very hard on me and my family. There have been tears and many difficult days for us. We have faced death threats and harassment. I’ve had to stop creating the wedding art that I love, which means we’ve lost much of our business – so much so, that we are now struggling to pay our bills and keep the shop afloat.

“It’s hard to believe that the government is forcing me to choose between providing for my family and employees and violating my relationship with God. That is not freedom. That is not tolerance.

“I’m profoundly thankful to the Supreme Court of the United States for taking my case. I hope and pray it will affirm the freedom of artists to peacefully express themselves in ways consistent with who they are.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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