Christian beliefs are being attacked again in Colorado, as the state decided to go ahead with a suit against cake baker Jack Phillips, claiming he discriminated against a transgender. Phillips has already fought and won a limited case in the Supreme Court when he was sued for refusing to make a same-sex couple wedding cake for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins. But now he’s being dragged into court again for standing up for his Christian beliefs.
“At this point, they’re just targeting Christians. This is outright Christian persecution,” said Phillips’ friend, Jeff Hunt, to CBN News. Hunt is a policy analyst at Colorado Christian University.
Last year, Phillips refused to bake for Denver attorney Autumn Scardina. The request was for a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside, which Scardina revealed was to celebrate her transition from male to female. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission said this was discrimination.
In the lawsuit, Phillips’ attorneys say he “believes as a matter of religious conviction that sex — the status of being male or female — is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed.”
The lawsuit also claims that the state violated his First Amendment right to practice his faith as well as the 14th Amendment right to equal protection, and seeks $100,000 in damages from Aubrey Elenis, director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.
Same Idea, Different Approach
In June, the Supreme Court ruled with a 7-2 vote that the Colorado Commission showed “anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make the cake.” The commission was believed to have been too “hostile” in its attempts to sanction him for refusing to make the same-sex couple wedding cake, so this time, it appears, they are taking a slightly different approach with transgender requests.
Constitutional attorney Jenna Ellis said, “The Masterpiece [Phillips’ cake shop] decision was very particular to the commission, to say ‘you cannot be overtly hostile.’ So now what they’re doing is they’re just going to say, ‘Well, we won’t be as obvious about our hostility, but we still want to go after Jack.”
…celebrate messages that go against our sincerely-held religious beliefs…
Deputy Attorney General LeeAnn Morrill told Senior Judge Wiley Y. Daniel that the commission has used the state’s anti-discrimination law to “protect people who have faced bias because of their faith,” and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said “the case should be dismissed because of state efforts to enforce its order against Phillips.” Still, Judge Daniel allowed the case to move forward, stating he needed to hear more evidence before making a decision. A hearing is planned for February to decide whether to proceed.Jack Phillips
Phillips’ friend Hunt is deeply concerned over the commission’s newest attack on the cake baker. “They’re actually striking back and saying ‘this is just outright persecution,’” he said. “You’re not interested in stopping discrimination. You’re interested in hunting Christians down.”
“Even after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission heard from the US Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision, including Obama appointees, telling them to stop targeting people of faith, the government essentially ignored it,” Hunt said.
Ellis warned that Christians need to be diligent and should be very troubled over this latest attempt to force a business owner to go against his faith. “This is about whether or not the government can compel you or me to say something and to embrace and celebrate messages that go against our sincerely-held religious beliefs,” she said.