Cal Thomas: Cake bakers and the rest of us

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, June 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. 

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Nothing appears beyond the reach of the social engineers, not even cake.

REICHARD: Here’s WORLD Radio commentator Cal Thomas.

THOMAS: In a sense the Supreme Court ruling on cakes and conscience could be seen as a lopsided win. It was 7 to 2, after all. The Supreme Court firmly sided with the baker: It said the Colorado Human Rights Commission had failed to take into account that Jack Phillips’s religious beliefs prevented him from making a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

Justice Anthony Kennedy has sometimes sided with the liberal wing of the court, but not this time. Kennedy was highly critical of the commission, which he said had written its anti-discrimination regulations in ways that were hostile to the faith of the baker, Jack Phillips.

But in another sense it was a narrow victory.

Kennedy’s majority opinion specifically noted that the ruling was a narrow one and that the apparent tip in the balance in favor of Phillips was the denigrating language the commission used.

So while Phillips may now enjoy protection, others may not.

Gay-rights activists have other cases before various courts involving businesses and individuals who have refused services to same-sex couples wishing to marry.

The point has been made that no Kosher restaurant would — or should — be compelled to serve non-Kosher food to a customer. The same goes for a Muslim baker, who might refuse to put a Star of David on a cake in celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

As long as cakes, photographers and other services are available in an area, business owners should be allowed to decide who they will serve and who they will not serve.

Beachgoers are familiar with signs that say “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” Is that discrimination? Of course it is. But it is allowed because proprietors have a right to create an atmosphere that is attractive to a wide range of customers.

It seems to me that the goal of the gay-rights movement is to force people who disagree with them based on their faith to deny their beliefs and accept behavior they regard as sinful.

The nation’s Founding Fathers expressly forbid Congress (not states) from establishing a religion so that people might have the right to freely exercise their faith. They wanted to protect people from government intrusions on their practice of faith more than they wanted to protect government from being influenced by people of faith.

Now, if Phillips owned the only bakery in town and there wasn’t another within a reasonable walking or driving distance (or online service), the gay couple might have had a more compelling case. But that’s clearly not the case here.

What’s also clear is that conservative religious people are facing repeated lawsuits and personal attacks, and they want to know, Where are my rights?

In at least this one case, the Supreme Court has sided with them, though the battle is far from over.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Baker Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, manages his shop Monday, June 4, 2018, in Lakewood, Colo. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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