Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop serves all people.
But that’s not what groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) would have you believe. Their latest campaign against Jack has adopted the slogan: “Businesses open to the public should be open to all.”
A slogan with which Jack wholeheartedly agrees.
Suggesting that Masterpiece Cakeshop is not open to all demonstrates a misunderstanding of the facts of the case and a misunderstanding of who Jack is.
This all goes back to 2012, when two men walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop and requested that Jack design a custom cake celebrating their same-sex wedding. As a Christian, Jack believes what the Bible teaches about marriage – that it is the union of one man and one woman. And Jack cannot use his artistic talents to celebrate an event that contradicts that belief.
So Jack politely declined, offering to sell the couple anything off the shelves or to design them a cake for a different event.
Despite this, the couple returned to picket Jack’s shop and then filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. After more than five years of litigation, Alliance Defending Freedom argued on Jack’s behalf before the U.S. Supreme Court in December.
We explained to the Court that Jack serves all people, but he cannot use his artistic talents to celebrate every event.
This was not the first time that Jack had declined a project. He has declined to design cakes for other events as well, including cakes celebrating Halloween, bachelor party cakes, and even a cake celebrating a divorce.
Jack, as a cake artist, should have the freedom to choose which messages and events he celebrates with his artistic talents. After all, when he is designing a custom cake, he pours his creativity, imagination, talents, and heart into the finished product. The government should not be permitted to force him to pour his heart into celebrating an event that contradicts his religious beliefs – the very core of who he is.
If Jack is not free to make artistic or expressive decisions based on his beliefs, that should concern us all.
That would mean that a Democratic speechwriter could be forced to write a speech for a Republican candidate. Or a lesbian photographer could be forced to take pictures for a Catholic conference on marriage.
The ACLU and the HRC might not agree with Jack’s beliefs, but taking away his artistic and religious freedom is not the answer. At least, in a free society it shouldn’t be the answer. In advocating against Jack, they are actually threatening the artistic freedom of all Americans, including those who identify as LGBT.