By Michael Ashcraft —
Being the Left’s cause célèbre for persecuting Christians is no piece of cake.
Just ask Jack Phillips. The Colorado baker politely declined to decorate a cake for a homosexual wedding because of his Christian convictions. He offered to sell the gay couple anything else in his store.
Instead of going down the street to another baker, that couple sued in 2012. The State of Colorado joined with fines and punishments. The Left, which sees the cake as a symbol of the continued fight for Civil Rights since the 1960s, made the targeting of a simple baker a high priority for the national spotlight.
Ultimately, Jack’s legal case made its way to the Supreme Court in 2018, where the justices found that the State of Colorado violated the neutrality laws with an overt hostility towards religion. Disappointingly, they came up short on clearing up the emerging conflict between civil liberties versus free religious exercise.
Behind the matter of the cake lurks bigger questions: Will churches eventually be forced to marry homosexual couples? Will they be obligated to ordain LBGT as clergy? Will passages of the Bible be removed or changed? Will the State take over the church?
Most importantly, can Americans depend on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion and prohibition against government involvement in issues of faith?
The 2020 presidential election figures in. Whoever occupies will appoint countless federal judges and Supreme Court judges that will likely settle those unsettling questions.
Jack is back — in the news and in court.
This time a transgender woman, Autumn Scardina, is suing because Phillips declined to design a cake celebrating Autumn’s transition from man to woman.
What’s obvious was voiced by Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group defending Phillips. The suit is perpetrating “harassment… because he won’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience.”
“This attorney’s relentless pursuit of Jack was an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the marketplace and financially ruin him and his shop,” Warner said to NBC.
“Colorado just seemed to be looking for opportunities to punish me for my faith,” Phillips said.
Jack came to Christ from a family of Christians. Initially, he wasn’t much moved by the faith of his parents, but one morning God confronted him.
“I just felt like God came into my car and convicted me of my sins,” he told ADF. “It just took a few seconds. ‘You’re a sinner. You need a Savior. It’s Jesus Christ.’ I said, ‘You’re right. Let me clean up my life.’ He said, ‘You can’t.’ I said, ‘You’re right. I’m Yours.’ So I gave my life to Christ, driving home from work.”
Telling his wife Debi about the divine encounter had Jack terrified. Just weeks earlier, she had lashed out at a relative for her faith.
Jack couldn’t sleep.
The next day, he mustered his courage He found Debi in the kitchen. “I need to tell you something,” he said. “I became a Christian today.”
“Me, too,” she replied. “Three days ago.”
Tears came to his eyes.
From then on, Jack and Debi wanted to make Christ the center of their lives, home and business. He launched his cake shop in 1993 and named it Masterpiece Cakeshop, a double meaning that implied the work of the Master in Heaven. He would honor God with his vocation.
We don’t want God to be part of our lives on just Sundays. We want Him to be part of our lives every day,” he says.
Little did he realize that God would call on him to glorify Him in a bigger way — in the Supreme Court, where he won a victory for Christians everywhere.
A bigger victory is still needed. The high court has yet to decide on the bigger questions of religious liberty, which will undoubtedly be impacted by the outcome of Nov. 3rd’s election.
“This new lawsuit is nothing more than an activist’s attempt to harass and ruin Jack because he won’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience,” says Waggoner.
Michael Ashcraft teaches journalism at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.