Religious-rights fight in 9th year: Now state puts Christian baker on trial


The state of Colorado, which was determined by the Supreme Court to have exhibited “hostility” to Christianity in its prosecution of a baker who declined to create messages that violated his faith, now has put him on trial for the same charge.

The trial for Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop began Monday on the charge that he refused to bake a cake celebrating the anniversary of a man’s “transition” to a woman, Courthouse News reported.

The Supreme Court ruled in a previous case in which the state prosecuted him for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He has stated will bake cakes for anyone, but he won’t create any message that violate his Christian beliefs.

The latest case was brought by a transgender lawyer, Autumn Scardina. The court has thrown out one of the counts in the case, an allegation of deceptive business practices, pointing out that none of the statements relied upon by the plaintiff was an advertisement.

Lawyer John McHugh argued Monday on behalf of Scardina before Denver County Judge Alan Jones that Scardina wanted a cake but was refused “based on her identity.”

Scardina admitted she had “vented” against Phillips by writing him emails when his same-sex wedding cake case was going on.

Scardina called him a bigot and hypocrite, according to testimony.

Then Scardina claimed to have forgotten about being upset and wanted Phillips to make a “birthday” cake.

Courthouse News reported Phillips “refused to make a pink cake with blue frosting to celebrate the anniversary of Scardina’s transition, so she filed a new complaint through the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2018 claiming gender discrimination.”

Jack Phillips

“Since this was not his first course with the commission, Phillips sued the state for harassment in federal court. In 2019, the state and Phillips reached a settlement and withdrew their complaints, leaving Scardina where she started with an empty plate. She sued the cakeshop directly in Denver state court in June 2019.”

Phillips’ lawyer, Sean Gates, said the objection was not to the cake or the customer but to the message.

“Jack Phillips’ cakes convey a message,” he explained. “But Jack Phillips is a Christian and his religion affects what he can create. Jack Phillips will make cakes for all people, but he cannot make cakes for all messages.”

Phillips has a policy of declining to make cakes with messages regarding Halloween, alcohol, racism and marijuana/

In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on favor of Phillips. It determined that the state of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission expressed unconstitutional “hostility” toward religion in response to Phillip’s conscience-based defense for his actions.

James Dobson, the noted Christian psychologist, agreed with the Supreme Court that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission is biased and exhibits hostility to people of faith.

“We call upon the Colorado legislature to provide unbiased, fair, constitutional due process for all Coloradoans, including people of faith, and to prevent future hostility by this biased government agency,” he said in August 2018.

It was Diann Rice, then a member of the state commission, who expressed hostility against Christian faith.

“I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination,” she said. “And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”

When Scardina filed the case in 2018, the late talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh commented.

“The latest lawsuit against Jack Phillips is – I’m not making this up, now. The latest lawsuit against Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, is filed by a guy who harassed the bakery for months, requesting things like a cake with a picture of Satan performing fellatio,” he said. “The guy walks in, requested that Jack Phillips bake a cake with a picture of Satan performing fellatio. Of course, Jack Phillips said ‘no.’

“This discrimination suit’s utterly baseless,” he said. “Any person with two functioning brain cells can see.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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