Social Media was abuzz with the recent Supreme Court Decision overturning the Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision. In 2012, a baker, Jack Phillips, declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He stated that he would make them any other cake they wanted, just not a wedding cake. His religious convictions prevented him from participating in a ceremony that he did not agree with. The Commission referred the case to a state Administrative Law Judge, who ruled in favor of the couple. However, Phillips did not agree with the way the case was handled, and apparently neither did the supreme court. Was this a 'win' for religious liberty? Bigots? Both? Neither? What was this case really about? Click To Tweet
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the baker, but there has been a lot of misunderstanding over the decision. This case was no longer the couple vs. the baker. This case was the baker vs. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The decision was not centered around whether the baker was within his 1st amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Rather, it was an indictment of the Colorado Commission and the way they handled the original case. The Supreme Court’s decision basically upheld the standards of impartiality that are fitting to the courts. The court does not get to decide whether or not they like a person’s religion. There was clearly bias in the original case, which is why the Supreme Court overturned the original decision. The decision was not about whether or not the baker was within his 1st amendment rights. Rather, it was an indictment of the Colorado Commission and the way they handled the original case. Click To Tweet
So why should Mama Bears care about this?
This is politics, not apologetics. Why are we even discussing this? Summer just started. You’re just trying to keep your children from burning the house down while you take a shower.
This is important to apologetics for one major reason: political scenes like this are becoming the norm, and expressing any support whatsoever for the baker could earn your child the label of “hater” in certain circles. This can be very confusing for them when we are trying to instill in them a love for God and love for others.
What happens when it feels like they have to choose between what the world calls “loving,” and affirming traditional Christian morals? This is such an issue, that Rebekah and I are going to devote a few podcasts to it. This is the first, and it is bringing you all up to speed as to what the decision actually said, and how people are perceiving it. Podcasts to come will deal with issues like “How do we teach our kids to ‘judge rightly?'” (because we are commanded to in John 7:24) and “Teaching our kids to love those who call them haters.”
The language game is a tricky one. It can confuse adults, let alone kids! We cannot assume that everyone is operating with similar definitions of words anymore. The battle for words has become the ground by which we are winning or losing the culture.The battle over words has become the grounds by which we are winning or losing the culture. Click To Tweet
Download the podcast on iTunes or listen directly from the media player above!
People and resources mentioned in the Podcast
- The actual Supreme Court Ruling
- Justice Kennedy – Supreme Court judge, nominated by Reagan
- David French article
- Robert P George – Princeton law professor – article
- Learning the Language of Babylon book
- Romans 14 – chapter on how we can have different convictions, and we must act according to our convictions without passing judgement on our fellow Christians for acting according to their convictions
- Matthew 9:36
- Phileo love – brotherly love
- Storge love – natural, familial love like the love between parent and child
- Agape love – self-sacrificial, unconditional love, like from God to us
- Eros love – erotic love, sexual love
- “Coming from a place of compassion that is also rooted in truth, maybe instead of celebrating the victory in the supreme court today, it’s actually a sad thing ultimately, that a case like this was ever brought before the supreme, that our culture is divided over this. It’s actually a depressing thing that we’re having to fight this. It’s not really anything to celebrate. You can be happy that the limits on religious freedom have been held back, but the truth is, it’s all sad to begin with.” – Rebekah Valerius
- “Religious liberty has been protected, and that’s great. But, it’s how we celebrate it. We need to be cognizant of how the other side is perceiving it. There is an incredible disconnect of what they view our motives as. They cannot hear our motives. There is nothing we can say. It’s impossible, so we have to be aware of that. We don’t want to create unnecessary stumbling blocks.” – Rebekah Valerius
- “We cannot be unaware of how basic Christian morality is being called hatred. They are literally calling it “legislating hatred.”” – Hillary Morgan Ferrer
- “I think the reason why a lot of the media outlets were saying this was a “narrow” victory because it was narrow in scope. The Supreme Court was not finding that the baker was within his rights to decline making the cake, but rather the people who originally prosecuted him were not impartial.” – Hillary Morgan Ferrer
- “I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be—I mean, we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion to hurt others.” Transcript from original Colorado ruling (Tr. 11-12)
- “To describe a man’s faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use” is to disparage religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical—something insubstantial and even insincere. The commissioner even went so far as to compare Phillips’ invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement. . . For these reasons, the Court cannot avoid the conclusion that these statements cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case.” Opinion of the Court, pages 13-14
- “Another example of hostility is the difference in treatment between Phillips’ case and the cases of other bakers who objected to a requested cake on the basis of conscience and prevailed before the Commission. . . the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ religious objection did not accord with its treatment of those other objections. . . [Phillips] argued that the Commission had treated the other bakers’ conscience-based objections as legitimate, but treated his as illegitimate—thus sitting in judgement of his religious beliefs themselves. . . A principled rationale for the difference in treatment of these two instances cannot be based on the government’s own assessment of offensiveness.” Opinion of the Court, pages 14-16
- “It was an indictment on his beliefs themselves. It was calling his beliefs inherently wrong.” – Rebekah Valerius
- “In view of these factors the record here demonstrates that the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of Phillips’ religious beliefs.” – Opinion of the Court, page 17
Have your children been asking about this decision? What are some struggles that you have when discussing topics like this with them? Tell us about it in the comments!
Hillary Morgan Ferrer is the founder of Mama Bear Apologetics. She is coauthor and editor of the Mama Bear Apologetics book, and has been married to her husband, Dr. John D. Ferrer, for over 12 years. She is working on her second master’s degree, and yet can’t seem to figure out the simplest cooking recipes.