Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips opened up recently about the difficulties he faced while his legal case made its way through the court system before ultimately landing before the Supreme Court of the United States.
According to The Christian Post, Philips told Hallowell that he’s received death threats and that his store has been vandalized. He said, “I had a guy call me up one day, said he was in his car, he’s got a gun, he’s on his way to the shop, and he’s going to blow my head off.”
Phillips entered the national discussion on religious liberty and same-sex marriage in 2012 when two men entered his Lakewood-based shop and asked for a wedding cake. Phillips said he “sat down, introduced myself.” At this point, he “knew immediately what my answer would be.” He told them, “I’m sorry, guys, I don’t do cakes for same-sex weddings.” The couple filed a complaint against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
At every point in the long legal battle, Phillips asserted that he was not discriminating against gay people in general but that he believed that his cakes were works of art and he should not be forced to convey a message with which he disagrees. In an excerpt from the book posted on First Things, he explained, “I can and cheerfully will serve anyone. I cannot and won’t communicate every message.” He said that for him, “The message has been important. I think that’s true of any artist.” Phillips wants his readers to know that he is unable to leave his convictions at the door when he walks into work. “If you ask me to separate all of that [his faith in Christ and belief in the Bible] from my work, from my decisions, from my art… I simply can’t do that. Not just won’t–can’t.”
The Supreme Court ruled in Phillips’s favor in a 7-2 decision. They didn’t render a decision on the broader issues of the case, but they did find that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission “showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.” They explained the First Amendment issues at stake in the case when they said, “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 objects to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.”
In an interview with CBN News, Phillips said he wrote the book for his children and grandchildren. He explained, “I wanted them to know the clear, true story of what actually happened because it’s not that easy to go online and find all the– you can find any story that you want – but find the one that actually is true.”
The legal troubles that Phillips has faced for the last decade aren’t over, as he currently is in legal proceedings over a 2017 incident in which he would not bake a cake that celebrated the gender transition of Denver attorney Autumn Scardina. Scardina called the day after the Supreme Court announced they would hear Phillips’s case and asked for a cake that was pink on the inside with blue icing on the outside, Fox News reports. He told Scardina that “this was a cake we couldn’t create because of the message.” Scardina has been open about her desire to change Phillips’s mind about creating the cake and said she would be back in his shop for another cake if the current case is dismissed.
Phillips hopes that his family and those who hear his story know that he did not set out to be known for his stand for the First Amendment. He said he would “like for them to look and not say that I was a big political guy but that I was a follower of Jesus Christ and did my best in my work and family and life and all of my relationships to reflect that relationship with the savior of the world.”
Photo courtesy: ©Alliance Defending Freedom
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”