Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Court Rules in Favor of Christian Baker

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A California judge ruled Monday evening that a Christian baker who faced losing her business because she refuses to bake cakes for same-sex "weddings" cannot be compelled by the state to do so.

Is the tide is turning on religious freedom?

You will recall the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear another case similar to this last December.

The case---Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission-- involves Christian baker Jack Phillips whose biblical beliefs do not allow him to celebrate so-called same-sex "marriage."

Jack has maintained that he will not use his artistic gifts to celebrate something that violates his biblical beliefs.

The homosexual activists have insisted that Christian bakers and florists should be compelled to bake cakes or decorate with flowers for all "marriages" not only heterosexual ones.

In this Bakersfield case, Christian baker Cathy Miller was facing discrimination charges for the same reasons as Phillips---deeply held biblical religious beliefs.

Two lesbians came to her shop to order a "wedding" cake. Cathy respectfully declined because of her biblical beliefs.

Rather than going to another bakery, the lesbians went after the Christian.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing petitioned for a restraining order against Cathy and her bakery trying to force her to bake the cake---demanding she bake cakes for same-sex "weddings" or stop making cakes altogether if she refused.

Cathy told the press, "My conscience doesn't allow me to participate in certain activities that are contrary to my biblical beliefs. I pray we can all come to an understanding so that we can continue to get along."

Hardly the words of a troublemaker or homophobe.

The problem in these cases has been that the agenda of the homosexual activists is more import than the cake, or flowers, or photographs, etc.

Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled Monday that "her decision to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex weddings is protected by the First Amendment."

He said, "The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered."

"Furthermore, here", he says, "the State minimizes the fact that Miller has provided for an alternative means for potential customers to receive the product they desire through the services of another talented baker who does not share Miller's belief. Miller is not the only wedding cake creator in Bakersfield. The fact that Rodriguez-Del Rios [the lesbians] feel they will suffer indignity from Miller's choice is not sufficient to deny constitutional protection."

This cuts to the very heart of the matter. I don't know about this case specifically, but I do know for a fact that bakers and florists here in the Northwest have been targeted by homosexual activists who knew the business owners beliefs before they approached them, then after being declined have punished the Christian by filing charges against them---and then inciting others to boycott the business and picket the business with an intent to shut it down and bankrupt it.

This was the case with Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon.

Oregon Court of Appeals Judge Chris Garret ruled last December that their sincerely held beliefs were not enough for them to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex "weddings."

Garret said, "The Kleins seek an exemption based on their sincere religious opposition to same-sex marriage; but those with sincere religious objections to marriage between people of different races, ethnicities, or faiths could just as readily demand the same exception. The Kleins do not offer a principled basis for limiting their requested exemption in the manner that they propose, except to argue that there are 'decent and honorable' reasons, grounded in religious faith, for opposing same-sex marriage."

This is the narrative that President Obama pushed, and has become the mantra for the attack on religious freedom---particularly biblical "Christian" religious freedom.

The Kleins lost their business in 2015 after they were ordered by Oregon's Bureau of Labor and industries to pay damages totaling $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex "wedding"---a cake that any number of other bakeries in Gresham would have been happy to bake.

The Bakersfield judge has taken a different look at religious freedom and accommodation.

Judge Garret says the state must ensure an accessible public marketplace free from discrimination and no vendor can may refuse to sell their wares or goods based on the gender identification of their customer.

However, he makes the case that while this would apply to, say, tires or other commodities in shops, this is different.

"The difference here," he says, "is that the cake in question is not yet baked. The State is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of a marital union her religion forbids. For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment."

This is exactly the case Christian lawyers have been making on behalf of their florist and baker clients---including the case made to the Supreme Court last December in the Jack Phillips case.

Daniel Piedra, the director of the Freedom of Conscience Fund who defended Miller in this case, said in a statement yesterday, "This is a major victory for faith and freedom because a judge indicated in his ruling that the State cannot succeed in this case as a matter of law."

The tide is turning.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.