Renewed discrimination charges against Christian baker Jack Phillips have been waged in federal court – despite his victory in the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) this summer allowing him to decline making a pro-LGBT “wedding cake” – as the state of Colorado is now arguing that the replacement of members in its Civil Rights Commission gives it the right to resuscitate its attack.
“Now, the state is issuing new charges against Phillips for refusing to create a cake celebrating a ‘gender transition,’ ignoring evidence that Phillips accepts all customers while refusing to create messages that violate his religious beliefs,” WND reported. “Phillips has responded with a lawsuit contending his constitutional rights have been violated.”
Does Colo. have it all wrong… again?
Before the Supreme Court corrected the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s (CCRC) ruling – which found that Philips was merely acting upon his religious convictions protected by the U.S. Constitution – the original Colorado panel concluded that his bakery should have been forced to bake a same-sex couple a wedding cake – or be shut down.
“The commission found that Jack Phillips – the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop – discriminated against a same-sex couple by refusing to bake a cake for their wedding,” WND recounted. “The Supreme Court reversed the decision in a 7-2 ruling in June on narrow grounds – concluding the commission did not employ religious neutrality, violating Phillips’ rights to free exercise of religion.”
The controversy is being reignited with a new spin – as the commission is now using a transgender cake instead of a “gay” wedding cake to gain a new brand of sympathy in the name of “equality,” “tolerance” and “anti-discrimination” movement pushing transgenderism.
“The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has been under scrutiny since the Supreme Court ruled in June that it showed ‘clear and impermissible hostility,’ towards Phillips, [as] the high court ruled the commission was wrong for being overtly hostile to him,” CBN News noted. “Phillips argued that he did not discriminate when he refused to bake a gay wedding cake after the commission said he did.”
No – not again …
After its renewed challenge on Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner, Dr. Dobson Family Policy Institute’s Jenna Ellis argued that CCRC is just proving that it should be dissolved once and for all so that it does not continue to overstep its authority in America’s court system.
"The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is not a court of law,” Ellis told CBN News in an interview. “This is not where you have a judge and a jury and actual due process."
She said CCRC’s panel merely promotes the political agenda of elected officials in office – who currently advocate special LGBT “rights” and privileges.
"They are a commission that is just appointed by the governor,” the conservative Christian whose organization is based in Colorado explained. “These are commissioners that don't have to even be attorneys, and what they're doing is making 'findings of fact' and 'conclusions of law' outside of due process."
It was then argued that CCRC simply uses an unfair advantage it has against Phillips to push its pro-LGBT agenda – one that is championed by a majority of commissioners on the panel.
"So Phillips can't opt out of this commission – he doesn't have the right to a jury," Ellis added. "The only thing that they have to do to be appointed as a commissioner is to be part of a traditionally discriminated class."
In an earlier plea, Dr. James Dobson himself demanded that CCRC should be held accountable and radically changed – if it is allowed to exist.
“The state’s second prosecution of Phillips prompted James Dobson – the noted Christian psychologist and founder of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute – to call for reform of the commission, decrying the new claim as ‘a continued attack on the First Amendment and religious freedom,’” WND noted.
Bringing the DOJ into it ...
More suspicion of CCRC’s recent problematic move abounds, as WND reports that a Colorado congressman recently called upon the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the state commission for its questionable behavior.
The additional intervention was requested by Rep. Dough Lamborn (R-Colo.), who asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into the matter with CCRC.
“Both Mr. Phillips and Masterpiece serve everyone,” Lamborn asserted, according to CBN News. “All people – no matter who they are, what they believe or what protected class they belong to – are welcome in Mr. Phillips’ shop and may purchase anything available for sale, but as a devout Christian, Mr. Phillips cannot create custom cakes the express messages or that celebrate events in conflict with his deeply held religious beliefs.”
The congressman went on press his argument that the government should not be allowed to quash the creativity and religious rights of Phillips just to bulldoze forward the LGBT agenda.
“We are stronger as a nation because of the societal contribution of religious Americans like Jack Phillips,” Lamborn continued. “Mr. Phillips and other creative professionals should not be targeted by the government for living consistently with their deeply held beliefs just because an agency director or the government doesn’t like those beliefs.”
After SCOTUS justices scolded the state of Colorado for its “hostility” toward Phillips and other Christians, CCRC jumped back on the saddle and is upping its attack on the already beleaguered baker and trying to justify its new charges.
“But Colorado officials now are asking the court to dismiss Phillips’ claims against them, arguing that since the old members of the commission are gone, the new ones have a restored authority to prosecute Phillips,” WND pointed out. “The state argued the complaint ‘does not allege that any commissioner who is named as a defendant here was also serving as a commissioner when the commission finally decided the 2012 discrimination charge and defended that decision in the Masterpiece I appeals.’”
The bakery owner countered his state with strong arguments of his own, which were naturally discounted by CCRC.
“Phillips’ lawsuit cites the fact that the commission refused to prosecute several homosexual bakers who were given permission to refuse to create a cake with a Bible message that violated their beliefs,” WND added. “But the state says those decisions also were made by previous commissioners, so it should have no ramification on the state’s current prosecution of Phillips.”
The state of Colorado essentially believes and argues that it is above the law.
“The civil rights commission insisted it has immunity to claims for damages, [as it] claims it can order people to violate their faith through its orders to ban ‘discrimination in all places of public accommodation,’ but it doesn’t address the fact that Phillips repeatedly has confirmed he will serve all customers, but has a First Amendment right to free speech,” WND informed. “The commission finding equates ‘products,’ which all persons must be given access to, with ‘messages,’ which are protected by the First Amendment – [and it] argues over and over that it can escape liability because its members changed.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner – whose nonprofit Christian legal firm worked on Phillips’ behalf – explained how CCRC is overtly refusing to accept what SCOTUS has already determined.
“[The state] is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Waggoner argued, according to WND. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him – something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do.”
Listen to the nation’s highest court already …
SCOTUS’s June ruling on the matter in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop clearly makes the argument for Phillips to bake and run his business according to his own sincerely held religious beliefs – without fear of punishment by the government.
"The laws and the Constitution can – and in some instances must – protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views, and in some instances protected forms of expression," the SCOTUS decision reads. "While it is unexceptional that Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion."
Recently outgoing SCOTUS Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy – who was recently replaced by SCOTUS Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh – sided with Phillips in the ruling.
“Justice Anthony Kennedy said when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission made its decision, ‘it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires,’" Fox News recounted. “The opinion says the Commission ‘violated the Free Exercise Clause – and its order must be set aside.’"