The Message A Man Requested Had the Baker Saying No – Now She’s in Trouble

Posted on January 29, 2015 in Marriage, Religious Freedom by

Azucar Bakery

Image Credit: NY Daily News

I don’t even want to talk about a person calling himself a “Christian” wanting a cake with the words “God hates gays” on it; and what the cake was for. I’m angry at the fact that such a person exists and the damage to the Gospel said person is doing. The fact, however, that the cake shop refused to print the message is another story entirely. That is something we need to talk about.

Azucar Bakery in Denver, CO. was asked to print the cake for a man named Bill Jack. Jack also requested the cake to be in the shape of a Bible with an image of two men holding hands with a big X through them. The bakery refused to comply with the request saying the message was “discriminatory, and hateful.”

Who! Wait a minute. I thought business owners had no rights to refuse such requests based on their personal views. I thought “discriminating” against customers because of a business owners core convictions and beliefs was no frowned upon and illegal. Isn’t the idea that business owners are not allowed to refuse such requests at the heart of the Masterpiece Cake Shop story and Jack Phillips, the owner?

In this case, Jack Phillips, a Christian bakery owner, refused to make a cake celebrating same-sex “marriage.” He was sued, convicted of discrimination and told to either start making cakes or shut his shop down. He was further told that he and his staff would be regularly inspected to make sure they were complying with the law and needed to attend a special training to ensure such an event didn’t happen again.

Jack’s crime was simply refusing to make a cake that violated his core convictions and personal views. But, isn’t that exactly what this cake maker is doing by refusing to make a cake she believes to be discriminatory? According to the ACLU the two incidents are entirely different and should not be compared. An ACLU spokesperson told Buzzfeed:

“Folks are trying to compare the Azucar Bakery story to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case… but in fact the two situations are quite different.”

The staff attorney went on to say that Azucar Bakery denied the request “based on a neutral standard of taste that she would apply to any customer,” which is different than what Jack Phillips did, or something like that.

But look at the statement by the ACLU. They admit that the bake shop has a “standard of taste” that is applied “to any customer.” Well, what is this standard? How was it developed? Is it a bakery industry standard applicable to all shops or derived from the personal views of each owner? That’s the problem. And the ACLU – scared out of their shoes that all their cases against Christians are about to be demolished – is trying to desperately to not say that Azucar Bakery denied the request based on the personal views of the owner; because if they said that then every baker has the right to the same “standard.”

Making this point very clear was religious freedom groups that supported the right of the bakery to deny the request based on the core convictions and personal views of the owner. Jeff Johnston with Focus on the Family said this is about free speech and that the same freedom given to Azucar should be given to Jack Phillips and Masterpiece:

“This is a free speech issue, and we support freedom of speech. It’s also a religious or conscience issue — the government should not force people to violate their core beliefs. Just as a Christian baker should not be required to create a cake for a same-sex ceremony, this baker should not be required to create a cake with a message that goes against her conscience.”

Jeremy Tedesco with Alliance Defending Freedom made a similar statement:

“Every American is guaranteed the freedom to live, work, think, and speak without fear of being punished for exercising these very basic freedoms. ADF vigorously opposes tribunals like the Colorado Civil Rights Commission punishing citizens for doing nothing more than exercising their constitutionally protected rights. Ms. Silva should not be forced to use her artistic abilities to further a message with which she sincerely disagrees, and neither should Jack Phillips.”

But Tedesco pinpoints the interest for ADF and every free speech loving American by stating that either the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will punish Azucar as equally as it punished Jack Phillips, or it will tip it’s hand to reveal they are playing favorites, which is sure to propel these cases to the Supreme Court:

“It was clearly Ms. Silva’s right to decline to promote a message with which she so clearly disagreed. The Civil Rights Commission already punished Jack Phillips for acting consistently with his conscience, so it will be interesting to see if the commission disregards the fundamental freedoms of all Coloradans or plays favorites instead.”

I other words, either the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will tell Azucar that they have to make the cake as requested because they are not allowed to adhere to their core convictions and personal views. Or they will exempt Azucar and reveal that it is only Christians that are not allowed to adhere to their convictions. Now you can see why the ACLU is terrified of this case.

As a Christian, I not only disagree with the message Mr. Jack requested for his cake, I support the right of the bakery to refuse to print it.  No person – business owner or otherwise – should be compelled by threat from the government to violate his or her religious or personal convictions. The essence of freedom is in not being compelled to violate one’s conscience and convictions. To force such a violation is to signal the end of freedom.

Keep an eye on this case as it has the potential to change the game in a lot of ways – for better or for worse.

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