My thoughts exactly

Seriously, this is exactly what I first thought after hearing about the Supreme Court’s recent decision (the one allowing an evangelical Christian baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple). I took it as permission for hypothetical baker me, as an atheist, to refuse service to evangelicals if I so choose. Why wouldn’t that be just as valid?

And broadening it ever so slightly … it’s my business; I should be able to serve or refuse to serve anyone I want. A disapproving public can always boycott me and put me out of business. That’s the way the market works. But of course the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says I can’t refuse service based on race, color, religion or national origin.

So I do not understand how SCOTUS reached this particular decision. It’s a refusal of service based on the baker’s religion. And how they can say it’s a limited decision that does not set precedent. Really? Isn’t that like telling a jury to disregard testimony they just heard? I’ll bet there are lawyers across the country right now thinking about how to use this decision to defend a refusal-of-service case.

Of course it was a lot more complicated than this. The decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is explained by Wikipedia:

While journalists and analysts believed that the Court would make a landmark decision in the case, the Court instead ruled on more narrow grounds, ruling (in a 7-2 decision) that the Commission did not employ religious neutrality, violating Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips’ rights to free exercise. The Court reversed the Commission’s decision, and avoided ruling on the broader intersection of anti-discrimination laws, free exercise of religion, and freedom of speech.

Or, again from Wikipedia:

By failing to act in a manner neutral to religion, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In other words, the CCRC lost; the baker won.

Still sounds like precedent to me.



Categories: Law, Religion, Society, Supreme Court

15 replies

      • johnthecook…This recent ruling by SCOTUS in the ruling of Masterpiece Cakeshop,Ltd is sure to open a can of worms I can already smell here in Arizona.On a completely different note…WHY would anyone seek the services of an entity that is totally and completely against everything the requesting party is against.It does not make sense. Could I as a Christian demand that an Atheist print shop print my Gospel tracts?

        • I, as an atheist, would, if I was a printer, print your gospel tracts; so long as you paid for my service it would not worry or concern me one iota: also being a socialist if one of the GOP came to me to print their propaganda I’d print that too.
          Just business. as the godfather was wont to say 🙂

        • John, it already stinks in Colo., where this bakery is located.

          It’s quite possible that in this case the gay couple did not know the baker was a Christian. Or perhaps they properly assumed it didn’t/shouldn’t matter and the baker would serve them regardless. Certainly you could ask (a demand should not be necessary) an atheist print shop to print your Gospel tracts. Most would do so without question. Printing is their business, and religion — yours or theirs — would have and should have no bearing.

          The cartoon is actually a bad example because atheism is not a religion and has no “beliefs.” Atheists are indifferent to the religious beliefs of others and would not refuse service to someone based solely on a that person’s religious beliefs.

          • johnthecook…I think the cartoon is a good example.It acuterally reveals the moral character of the person behind the counter or the business owner, who may or may not be the person behind the counter.
            I must take exception that atheism has no beliefs. NOAH WEBSTER’S 1828 American Dictionary Of The English Language clearly states ATHEISM,n. The disbelief of the existence of a God,or Supreme intelligent Being.
            DISBELIEF,n. {dis and belief.} Refusal of credit or faith; denial of belief. Our belief or disbelief of a thing does not alter the nature of the thing. Tillotson

  1. Also a die-hard – and proud – atheist, that cartoon came to my mind back when the baker first denied service. Of course I was outraged but then someone pointed something out to me….. I am not a baker but I do build websites. If some Nazi-skinhead racist m-f-er came to me and wanted to hire me to build a hateful white supremacy website for them, I sure as hell would say “no.” No ifs, ands, or buts. No way Jose.

    So, with that in mind, what right do I have to decide what that baker finds offensive and refuses to do business for?

    I see both sides of the coin on this one and both agree and disagree with both sides.

  2. Seems clear to me that the gay couple had many other options and that they did want to make the point. Pursuing the case must have been expensive and time-consuming. So, like you and Michelle, I can see both sides of this. I think SCOTUS did too, which is why they kicked the can down the road. Culture changes incrementally and this was one such increment.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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