One Victory in the Long War for Freedom of Speech and Religion
The Supreme Court decision supporting Christian cake-baker Jack Phillips was momentous. Not so much for what was gained, as for what was nearly lost. And while Christians have reason to celebrate, their freedom to live by Christian precepts continues to hang by the slimmest thread.
Prepare, brothers and sisters. The fight is far from over. Victory is far from assured.
Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fragile, kept alive by the will of the people. Once people see no reason to defend them, those who want them abolished can easily do so.
In our day, those freedoms seem less valued than any time in yours truly’s memory. There seem fewer willing to preserve them and even they appear less and less willing. This is the consequence of losing the culture war of the past half century. Make no mistake, Christians lost that war as evidenced by anti-Christian hostility pervasive in the media, academy and halls of government.
Consequently, authoritarian, godless interests that would do away with basic freedoms of speech and religion today pose perhaps the greatest threat in nation’s history.
It was the United States two centuries ago that institutionalized these rights, as had no nation before. These freedoms were deemed so integral to the new country that they were listed first among those enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
But as godless secularism and the ridiculous relativistic notion that no way of life is superior to another grew in popularity and support, not only have defenders of the freedoms of speech and religion rapidly diminished in number, but their passion has waned just as dramatically.
Today it is fashionable to openly attack people of faith, and possible to do so without paying any price. Indeed, the media and academy applaud Christian bashing when they aren’t in the forefront of the bashing. Today it is more often than not the case that Christians buckle under the weight of cultural, government and political pressure. We seem to think if we go along, we’ll get along. This is a fatal miscalculation.
Those opposing Christian precepts don’t seek our cooperation. They seek our submission. And that means leaving Christian doctrine on the shelf with your Bible when you venture into the world.
The attack on our historic constitutional rights, which were our Founders’ attempt to codify our God-given rights, long ago passed the point of absurdity. Now a man can declare he is no longer a man, but a woman instead, even though he retains all the male genitalia he had at birth. To speak out against this absurdity risks ostracization by the culture and even punishment by the government. Now a man can “marry” a man and the government weaponizes this unnatural union with the power of the state to force compliance and even participation by those who find it to be the sinful act it is.
This is why this week’s Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case was such a momentous moment.
Don’t be fooled. The 7-2 Supreme Court ruling that sided with Christian Baker Jack Phillips could have been and probably would have been 5-4 against him except that the freedom-haters over-played their hand.
Had Colorado’s commission simply avoided saying what they obviously believe about the Christian faith, they probably would have prevailed at the Supreme Court. Instead, they openly expressed their contempt and hatred for Christians and Christian doctrine. One commissioner went so far as to liken Phillips’ refusal to bake a birthday cake for a homosexual couple to the holocaust. A commissioner flatly told the Christian baker he could not expect to live by his Christian beliefs if he intended to do business in Colorado.
These obvious Christian-hating comments and others like them were a bridge too far, even for some of the liberal justices of the high court. As Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, the commission “exhibited clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs.”
Mind you, Kennedy is the darling of the homosexual movement. He was the deciding vote to manufacture out of thin air the “right” for same-sex marriage. But the over-the-top hateful rhetoric of Colorado’s commissioners was too much even for this champion of normalizing perversity.
This is how close Jack Phillips and any other Christian who desires to be exempt from society’s mandates that they support degenerate, sinful behavior came to being silenced completely. Had those commissioners so full of anti-Christian animosity simply kept their mouths shut and ordered Phillips to obey the law, Kennedy and the two liberals who joined him in supporting Phillips very likely would have voted the other way.
The 7-2 vote to uphold Phillips’ right to refuse to bake a homosexual celebration cake would have been 5-4 against him. And a precedent would have been established, as was the 5-4 precedent that created a faux constitutional right for same-sex marriage in 2015.
Christians can count their blessings that God apparently was watching over this case. We can be thankful for the arrogant hubris of those who worship at the altar of governmental secularism. Had they merely been diplomatic, their side may well have prevailed. Their hubris was their Achilles’ heel.
Going forward, it’s a pretty good bet the anti-Christian forces that demand Christian faith be removed from public expression and the public square won’t be so headstrong again. As one wag put it, if they are just nice about it, they can win and wipe away Christian convictions from public life.
Many Christians lament involvement in politics. With good reason. Politics is worldly, often dirty and repugnant. But we’ve seen what happens when Christians sit back and enjoy their Christian lives without defending the governmental apparatus that insures them the right to do so. Same-sex marriage was one. Constitutional approval of baby murder in the womb, another. And, if we permit it, the next example will be coercing bakers, photographers, florists and other Christians in the marketplace to support and engage in practices that violate their principles, or pay the price in bankruptcy, by going out of business and even going to jail for refusing.
Doctors may think the baker’s case doesn’t relate to them. Until the government insists doctors must perform abortions and violate their Christian beliefs. Churches may think the baker’s case doesn’t relate to them. Until the government sides with the homosexual couple that demands they be married in the sanctuary. Christians may think the baker’s case doesn’t relate to them. Until they look around and find themselves in the same predicament as doctors, churches and bakers.
The battle continues. Christians would be wise to support appointment of new justices to the high court who recognize the value of the freedoms of speech and religion. Or expect to pay the price.
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