Technology giant Apple claims to be a defender of First Amendment rights but an attorney-writer says the corporation refuses to apply that right to a Christian artist.
In April, Apple CEO Tim Cook accepted the Free Expression Award from Washington, D.C.-based Newseum. He later delivered a speech about the importance of free speech, including the importance of corporations using their voice to express their so-called corporate values.
Masterpiece case topic of debate
A landmark religious liberty case, set to be heard before the nation's high court next month, was the subject of a moot court debate in Washington, D.C.
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum hosted a debate between the (ACLU) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). They're representing different parties in the legal case Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The case will be heard Dec. 5 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom says the First Amendment has long protected citizens from being forced by the government to speak a message or to create art celebrating ideas that they disagree with, and it does not matter whether that decision is popular or not.
"It is precisely unpopular decisions about speech that need the most protection," he tells OneNewsNow. "The question in this case is whether this long-standing principle will falter in the face of heavy, cultural pressure."
"The bakery seeks a constitutional right to deny equal service in violation of Colorado's anti-discrimination act," an ACLU spokesman says of the legal case. "But the Supreme Court has never accepted that theory and has rejected the constitutional right to discriminate claims of entities ranging from law firms and labor unions to private schools and universities to restaurants and hotels."
The debate featured moderators Adam Liptak (New York Times), Mark Sherman (Associated Press), Kate Shaw (ABC News) and Alex Swoyer (Washington Times).
A post-debate story published by The Christian Post can be read here.
In an interview with OneNewsNow, National Review writer David French says Cook was right that corporations are collections of individuals, and these individuals have values and ideas, and corporations should feel free to express the values and ideals of the people who lead the corporation and the people who work there.
"That was all good and right," French says of Cook, "and then he turns around and he has Apple sign an amicus brief in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case."
OneNewsNow has reported repeatedly on the landmark legal case set for Dec. 5 oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.
OneNewNow has also reported that several big-name corporations, working with homosexual activists, have signed their well-known names to an amicus brief that opposes Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips.
Referring to the legal argument, French says Phillips refused to create a custom-made cake and for that Apple and others are defending the State of Colorado for punishing him.
"And so all of those eloquent words from Tim Cook turn out to be more like, Free speech for me, but not for thee," French observes.
Apple did not respond to OneNewsNow's request for comment but the company and its allies have said they support inclusivity and defend non-discrimination laws.
Echoing what others have said to defend Phillips, French says it can't be proven that he turns away customers based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation. A homosexual who wants a "Happy Birthday" cake would not be turned away, he says.
"But he will not create cakes that deliver a message that he disagrees with," French says of Phillips.
OneNewsNow has pointed out, in fact, that Phillips has said he has turned down orders for bawdy bachelor party cakes as well Halloween-themed cakes with demonic-looking designs.
All things considered, French sees the Masterpiece Cake Shop case as being about compelled speech.
"In other words, they're trying to make the state force this baker create a design that he finds distasteful," he says. "That is forced speech. That is compelled speech. That is the most extreme kind of First Amendment violation and that's what companies like Apple are advocating for."