Jack Phillips: Which Constitution will the Supreme Court Use?
By Bryan Fischer
The homosexual agenda is the greatest threat to religious liberty in our nation’s history. That’s why the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, being heard this week by the Supreme Court, is so important. It’s an opportunity for the Court to stand athwart moral anarchy and yell “Stop!” If the Court fails in its constitutional duty, the light of religious liberty in America will flicker and then fade into complete darkness.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was sued by two homosexuals for politely declining to bake a cake which celebrated their same-sex marriage. This was at a time, by the way, when homosexual marriage was still illegal in Colorado.
Phillips never has discriminated against homosexuals or anyone else in the ordinary course of business. When someone walks in and asks for a cupcake, or a birthday cake, or a muffin, he never asks them for proof of sexual orientation. But baking a cake which has a pro-gay-marriage message on top is different, for creating such a cake requires him to violate his own conscience. No matter, said the Colorado courts, we don’t care if violates your conscience or the Constitution or all that is right and decent and holy, you will bake that cake or you will be punished.
How this case is resolved will depend on one simple thing: which Constitution the Supreme Court uses to adjudicate this case. If the justices use the Constitution as mangled beyond recognition by Anthony Kennedy and other activist jurists, the Constitution with “emanations,” “penumbras,” and ruminations about the “mystery of human life,” they will easily find against Mr. Phillips and uphold whatever punishment the government of Colorado thinks Christians must suffer for believing in natural marriage.
If, however, they use the Constitution of James Madison and the Founders, the one that enshrines “the free exercise” of religion as the first right protected in the Bill of Rights, they will find decisively for Mr. Phillips and uphold the foundational American principles of freedom of conscience and freedom of religious practice.
Madison’s Constitution, you will notice, does not just protect freedom of religious belief or freedom of worship, although it certainly protects both. No, it unambiguously protects the free exercise of religion. Freedom of belief is an interior process, and none of the government’s business anyway. Restricting this right to freedom of worship says that the First Amendment only protects religious Americans one hour a week, the hour between 11 am and Noon on Sundays.
Ah, but the free exercise of religion is a right all Americans, including Mr. Phillips, possess 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They actually get to exercise the principles of Christian faith, actually use them and put them into practice in the way they run their families and their businesses. It is a right they carry with them at all times, since it is an inalienable right, a right which no man and no institution and no agency of government has the moral authority to strip from us, since it is a gift to us from the Creator.
Under the Founders’ Constitution, the free exercise of religion is not just a right that churches possess. No, it is a right that every single, individual American possesses by virtue of the fact that he is an American. In fact, the truth of the matter is that churches have the right to the free exercise of religion not because they are churches but because every individual member of their congregations possesses that right.
Phillips contends that it is fundamentally anti-American for him or for any other American to be forced to produce a message that violates his conscience and everything he holds sacred. And of course, he is right about this.
Several years ago, lesbian writer Tammy Bruce exposed the despotic inclinations of Big Gay in the case of two Oregon bakers, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were fined $135,000 and put out of business for doing what Jack Phillips did. But, said Ms. Bruce, to be forced to do work against your will is slavery, and to be forced to do work against your own conscience is tyranny. Surely America is better than that.
Bottom line: the Founders’ Constitution protects liberty and prohibits tyranny. Anthony Kennedy’s constitution does neither. We are about to find out which of these two constitutions the Court believes is the supreme law of the land. Whether we are still “the land of the free” hangs in the balance.