Apparently, it has become a thing to buy celebratory cakes upon the occasion of amputating one’s plumbing. And apparently, Jack Phillips is the only baker in the state of Colorado who can bake such a cake. So just two months after winning a Supreme Court case in the exact same scenario, Christian baker Jack Phillips is being coerced by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to bake a cake for a male individual celebrating his hallucinatory transition to being a female – the Y chromosome be damned.
In June, following the 5-4 victory in the Supreme Court, I warned that Masterpiece wasn’t even a Pyrrhic victory for religious liberty and property rights. Writing for the majority, Anthony Kennedy explicitly said that, generally speaking, one has no property and conscience rights to “deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.” It was just that in this case, the commission was capricious and arbitrary in its enforcement of the rule and exhibited bias against Phillips’ religion.
At the time, a number of “conservative” pundits celebrated Masterpiece as an amazing victory granted to us from Lord Kennedy. But rather than immediately use this fake victory as a PR weapon to actually secure real victories in Congress and state legislatures to bar anti-conscience policies, they placed all their hopes in the courts. After all, it’s a lot easier to imagine you climbed Mt. Everest than actually to climb Mt. Everest. Kind of like a man imagining he is a woman, some conservatives like to imagine they are winning so that they don’t have to engage in actual policy fights.
In the ensuing weeks, a court in Arizona and one in Pennsylvania used the Masterpiece ruling, as I had warned, to coerce private institutions to violate their consciences on behalf of the sexual identity movement. Now we have the exact same baker in Colorado being forced by the exact same commission to bake an even more absurd cake, in a case that should shock the conscience of every American, even putting the religious concerns aside.
One need not be particularly religious to desire not to celebrate someone’s plan to castrate himself. Isn’t it amazing that we now live in a country that is enough “live and let live” that doctors can somehow, without violating the Hippocratic oath, agree to castrate someone and mutilate his body, yet we are not enough “live and let live” to merely allow a private baker to abstain from celebrating this act of self-destruction. Putting the legal issues aside for a moment, this should be a warning to all those who are complacent in this one-sided culture war that this is not, nor was it ever, about “live and let live.” That these culture warriors are bold enough to approach again the one man who just won a Supreme Court decision in a similar case demonstrates they will not let us live until we not only accept but participate in every degree of sexual licentiousness that they concoct from now until the end of time.
In this case, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found “probable cause” that Jack Phillips broke state law by not agreeing to bake this cake. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips, is fighting this order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
My point today is not to gloat and say, “See, I told you so” because the Supreme Court case left religious liberty hanging by a thread. It’s to wake us all up from our slumber. It’s to point out the indefatigable and evil nature of our opponents. They will never stop agitating. It’s to prompt us to push in Congress and in state legislatures civil rights legislation barring any policy forcing private organizations and businesses to violate their consciences. You can’t turn around a bad situation unless you fight for it, and you won’t fight for it so long as you think you’ve already won.
Some conservatives might feel a sense of optimism with the prospect of Bret Kavanaugh replacing Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. But as we’ve seen time and again, we never win permanent victories at the Supreme Court. The Left, state governments, and lower federal courts are too radical. As Vanderbilt Law Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick warned on my podcast, the Supreme Court has become reluctant to categorically slap down lower courts. We cannot rely on SCOTUS for relief. We must take matters into our own hands. This is not even just about religious liberty any more. This is about actual sanity.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.