Jack Phillips, the Christian baker in Colorado who was sued for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding reception, and who is awaiting judgment in the Supreme Court, was taunted last month by a customer targeting Phillips’ Christian beliefs who asked him to create a cake celebrating Satan’s birthday.
The September 30 email requesting the cake for Satan, obtained by The Daily Signal, read:
I would like to get a quote on a birthday cake, for a special event. It is a cake that is religious in theme, and since religion is a protected class, I am hoping that you will gladly bake this cake. As you see, the birthday cake in question is to celebrate the birthday of Lucifer, or as they (sic) are also known Satan who was born as Satan when he was cast from heaven by God.
The email also asked Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to quote a price for the cake, adding that the customer wanted an “upside down cross, under the head of Lucifer.”
The customer mockingly referred to Phillips’ Christian beliefs, stating that because Phillips viewed himself as a moral person he should support the customer’s religious beliefs:
I thought I would seek you out, to bake this cake since you appear to be a very moral person since you refused to bake a cake for same sex couples. And since religion is a protected class, I hope you will be willing to bake this cake, so my small group of religious friends can celebrate the birthday of Lucifer this coming November, just a few days after Halloween.
But the customer’s targeting of Phillips may backfire big-time.
Jeremy Tedesco, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom which is defending Phillips in court, pointed out that the Supreme Court would have to deal with forcing Christians to violate their religious beliefs by aiding Satanists’ beliefs. He told The Daily Signal:
The request for Jack to make a cake celebrating Satan proves the danger of using these kinds of laws to force people in the artistic profession to create artwork that violates their beliefs. The request from the Satanists is essentially the same as the request that Jack Phillips received from the same-sex couple to create a cake that violates his beliefs, because in both instances, the requester can say the law covers my request. For the Satanists, they’re going to say it’s religious discrimination for you to say no to a cake that I’m requesting because of my protected status. If we’re going to live in a world where these kinds of laws can be used to force people like Jack Phillips to create cakes that violate his beliefs about marriage, we’re also going to have to live in a world where people can be forced to create cakes celebrating Satan.
And the taunting of Phillips hasn’t stopped; lawyers told The Daily Signal that Phillips received another request in October to make a cake showing Satan smoking a joint.
In 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig of Colorado got married in Massachusetts, then asked Phillips to make their wedding cake. When he refused, they joined the American Civil Liberties Union to sue Phillips, arguing he violated the state’s public accommodation law. Phillips argued that the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited Colorado from enforcing its civil-rights law against him under these circumstances. Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop on Dec. 6, 2013.
As Eric Rassbach and Hannah Smith, deputy general counsel and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, note:
In cases involving the religion clauses of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has frequently rejected compelled participation. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette– which was brought under the free exercise clause – the court protected Jehovah’s Witnesses from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, while allowing school officials to conduct the pledge recitation with willing participants. In Girouard v. United States, a case concerning a conscientious objector to combat service, Justice William Douglas wrote for the court that “[t]he test oath is abhorrent to our tradition.” And in Torcaso v. Watkins, the court held that a state requirement to swear publicly to a belief in God in order to become a notary public violated the free exercise clause, rejecting “the historically and constitutionally discredited policy of probing religious beliefs by test oaths or limiting public offices to persons” with particular beliefs. …
The Supreme Court should recognize that the state may not use its monopoly of force to require religious dissenters to take part in ceremonies in general and wedding ceremonies in particular. Government-forced participation in or celebration of particular ceremonies goes against the grain of our constitutional idea and violates several specific provisions of the Constitution.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is expected to be argued before the Supreme Court starting December 5.