Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission: LGBT Advocates Seek to Abandon a Vital Constitutional Right

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Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips cracks eggs into a cake batter mixer in 2014 inside his store in Lakewood, Colorado. U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear arguments December 5th on whether a baker who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

In 2012, two men asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop (a bakery in Colorado), to create a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage. Phillips told the couple that he would gladly sell them any of the premade baked items in his store or create a cake for them for another occasion, but he was unable to create a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage. The couple left the store and, shortly thereafter, filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In 2014, the Commission determined that Phillips’s artistic freedom didn’t extend to a choice not to celebrate same-sex marriage (a strange and remarkable decision given the Commission’s subsequent deference toward cake artists who declined to create cakes expressing disapproval of same-sex marriage). The Commission ordered Phillips to celebrate same-sex marriages through his artistic designs to the same extent he celebrates any other marriage. This order forced Phillips out of the wedding industry, which has cost him about forty percent of his business and left him struggling to keep his family business afloat.

The Commission also instructed him to teach his staff, which includes his family members, that he was wrong to operate his business consistently with his religious beliefs. Finally, it directed Phillips to file quarterly reports with the government for two years, explaining to state officials when and why he declined any commissioned order. In other words, Phillips was ordered to provide a defense every time he exercised his First Amendment right to be free from compelled expression. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the commission’s ruling in 2015.

Phillips is going to the Supreme Court to vindicate not only his own First Amendment rights, but also the freedom of other artists to decline to celebrate events or express ideas that they do not support. Thus, freedom for Phillips is freedom for all artists.

As the December 5th oral argument date for his case grows near, the drumbeat proclaiming Jack Phillips must be forced to create a same-sex wedding cake against his conscience grows louder.

The most important consideration in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, we are told, is eliminating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Finally, the state and its defenders claim, the emotional harm felt by prospective customers upon hearing someone disagrees with their actions for religious reasons cannot be tolerated either.

Yet none of what we are being told here is true. First, no “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” has occurred in this case at all.

Phillips is not opposed to serving people who identify as homosexual; he simply objects to the celebration for which he is asked to create a cake — the same-sex wedding.

This becomes even clearer when we understand that Phillips will not create a wedding cake for two men even if they claim a heterosexual orientation, but will create a cake for a wedding between a man and a woman despite them identifying as homosexual.

Thus, Phillips is not acting based on the sexual orientation of his prospective customers; he’s only opposed to what they are celebrating, and asking to not be forced to be a part of it.

The cost of protecting this freedom is minimal, only entailing some offense on the part of the prospective customers, who will now have to go elsewhere to find a cake, most couples inquire with multiple shops anyway, for their wedding ceremony.

The two men who initiated the legal case against Phillips could have visited any one of sixty seven other bakeries in the Denver area willing to create their cake, including one only a tenth of a mile from the Masterpiece Cakeshop.

Instead, they filed complaints against Phillips with the state, which followed up by suing him. But in light of all these providers happy to create the cake, is it really necessary to force Jack Phillips to be the one to do so?

The would-be customers, after getting over their offense at Phillips’s beliefs, could have traveled 500 feet down the street to obtain their cake from someone happy to provide it.

Instead, they want to force Jack Phillips to create it, meanwhile, they had already obtained one free of charge from another bakery by the time they filed charges against Phillips.

Unfortunately, this coercion comes with the heavy price of forcing Phillips to violate his conscience or shutting down wedding cake operations and possibly going out of business.

At a recent practice oral argument, the American Civil Liberties Union claimed that this case is about “full and equal participation in civic life,” and if Phillips wants to say “God blesses this union” for any wedding, he must be forced to say it for all weddings.

Yet if those who want the government to punish Masterpiece Cakeshop get their way, Phillips and many like him around the country will themselves be excluded from full and equal participation in civic life.

Allowing religious business owners to continue to operate their businesses according to their deeply held religious beliefs will not push those identifying as homosexual out of society. However, forcing business owners to violate their beliefs could force many religious individuals out of the marketplace.

The Supreme Court should keep this in mind as it decides this case in the upcoming months.

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Clemson Professor Must Apologize Or Resign After Defaming All Republicans As Racists

This past week an Assistant Professor of Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University, Bart Knijnenburg, took to social media to attack all Republicans as racists deserving of violence and scorn.

Mr. Knijnenburg wrote that “All Trump supporters, nay, all Republicans, are racist scum” on his social media account, comments which have prompted passionate debate. In response to a dissenting comment on his post, he went further writing that “All Republicans, yes, your complacency made this happen. Pick a side: denounce your affiliation, or admit that you’re a racist.” The professor’s comments are derogatory and defamatory to the majority of South Carolina voters and millions of Americans who are supporters of the Republican Party.

I denounce this sort of hate-filled rhetoric directed at Republicans. As you are well aware, the South Carolina Republican Party helped elect our state’s first-ever female, Indian-American Governor in our friend Nikki Haley. U.S. Senator Tim Scott, one of conservative champions of the United States Senate, is the first African American U.S. Senator from South Carolina and he is a member of the Republican Party. The Republican Party is diverse, young, and growing, and it is not exclusive to any one race, ethnicity, or gender. An attack on all Republicans as racist because of the actions of alt-right fanatics in Charlottesville is absurd. The so-called “alt-right” isn’t right, and they certainly do not speak for conservatives like me.

President Clements issued a well-worded response, but did not call on Assistant Professor Knijnenburg to apologize for his hateful rhetoric. While I appreciate Dr. Clements’s response, it still constitutes a double standard. If Mr. Knijnenburg was a Republican, and he had defamed the Democrats, he would have been escorted off campus by security. It is time that all Americans, regardless of our political party or principles, treat one another with dignity and respect. The hateful rhetoric surrounding race, ideology, and party affiliation has reached a fever-pitch not known since the 1960s, and this tenor is untenable. I do hope that Clemson University President Clements asks Mr. Knijnenburg to apologize, and for his resignation if he does not. Mr. Knijnenburg was also involved with Clemson’s Black Lives Matter spin-off “See the Stripes”. In response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ speaking event (that was scheduled for October 18th, 2016) at Clemson University a group of Left-leaning students and their respective organizations formed the “Anti-Milo Event Committee” to protest against the conservative speaker. The Clemson chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (whose motto is “crush the right”) and “See the Stripes” are the primary instigators of the protest committee. Here, you can listen to an audio recording of one of their meetings, trying to stop people’s right to the first amendment:

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In these difficult times for our country, we certainly cannot afford to have academic leaders using their platforms at public universities to fan the flames of division. I hope that Clemson President James Clements can appreciate this fact.

My Thoughts on Charlottesville

First of all, racism is wrong. And disgusting. And evil. Secondly, what we saw in Charlottesville was racism. In fact, it was terrorism. They can dress it up in their fancy alt-right excuses. They can say it was about free speech, or “putting America first”, or monuments, or the Confederacy, or (some how that I don’t understand) Christianity (should we tell them that Jesus was Jewish?).

These idiots knew it wasn’t supposed to be about any of those things. It wasn’t supposed to be patriotic, Christian, or conservative. This was about losers that crawled out of their mom’s basement in the first time in ten years to have a massive white supremacy rally.

Third, these people are not conservatives. They’re not patriots and they’re not constitutionalists and they don’t represent the American right. These are the guys who peaked in middle school and are still mad about that their frosted tips that they got in sixth grade did not lead them to a life of success. Nobody likes them.

So fourthly, to some of you on the left who are saddling up on high horses: spare me your judgement. We really don’t need your self-righteous condemnation about this being “our people.” I don’t think you want to go there. Because correct me if I’m wrong but, I haven’t heard too many who call out the violence of the anti-fascists by name. I don’t remember you taking the fall for the cops that were killed in Dallas last year and I don’t remember you blaming the left for James Hodgkinson (the congressional baseball practice shooter).

That’s because these anti-fascists, cop killers, and the Hodgkinsons don’t represent the left. Just like these racist bigots don’t represent the right.

Fifth, Donald Trump has not said enough, neither did Obama during his presidency. But the shortcomings of both of them don’t make either one better. Leaders especially need to be able to call out evil in this country by name.

So for all of you alt-right racists, you are irrelevant. I know you’re just being apart of this thing because you want to feel important. But in reality, you’re not. History will remember you as a worthless blob of human fecal matter (in they same way as Hitler and the nazis).

This is America, we are free to disagree, we are free to protest, counter-protest, and fiercely debate. But why would we recklessly waste that freedom for racism and hate? What good is that going to do? What is that going to accomplish? How many lives are going to be lost?

So for those of us who are not on the fringes (on both sides), all we have to do is start a conversation, reach across to the other side, and start listening. We may not ever agree, but as long as we all have the same goal in mind, liberty and justice for all, we’ll figure out a way to get there.


Jesse Watters from Fox News also has some pretty good analysis on this whole Charlottesville situation, you should definitely check it out:

Watters’ Charlottesville Analysis

Kathy Griffin’s Distasteful Act Reflects Media’s War on Trump

It was not really surprising to see comedian Kathy Griffin put out a video of herself holding the bloody, decapitated head of President Trump. This is not surprising because Ms. Griffin apparently lives in a bubble populated by ideological fanatics, some of whom really do wish violence on the president.

In entertainment circles, it is now commonplace to demean Donald Trump in almost barbaric ways. It’s a nasty business and business is good. Stephen Colbert has gone from worst to first in the late night ratings by eviscerating President Trump daily. The cable news programs that also do this have seen their audiences grow as well. Many Trump haters have an addiction and their habits need to be fed. That man standing under the street lamp signaling cars to pull over may be Colbert.

So, Ms. Griffin must have been stunned when outrage came her way. It is clear from the video of her putting together the beheading exposition that she was fully engaged in her presentation and had no qualms about doing it. But almost immediately after she dropped the grotesque image on the internet, she began to get hammered on social media. Presto, she had an epiphany. She made a terrible mistake, she said. The video was not funny. She asked for forgiveness.

Shortly after her regretfulness, CNN fired Kathy Griffin from its New Year’s Eve coverage but gave the story little airtime. Speculation about Russia compromising the Trump campaign drives CNN’s news agenda, and there is little room for anything else.

I take her apology to be sincere. The comedian was just pandering to the folks with whom she hangs.

But all Americans should understand that the demonization of Donald Trump by the left-wing national media has desensitized folks like Ms. Griffin to the point where right and wrong is not even considered anymore.

The anti-Trump media is now the mob holding torches while marching up to Frankenstein’s castle; it is Steven Spielberg’s vicious shark attacking at will.

It all has to do with revenge. The progressive left feels betrayed by the American people who rejected Hillary Clinton and voted Trump into office. So they are going to destroy Trump’s presidency and delegitimize him as a human being in full view of the people who like him. He’s evil, and if you support him — you’re evil too. Thus, the anti-Trump media believes it is justified in bringing harm to the president. It’s for the greater good, you know. We need to send a message.

Of course that rationalization is off-the-chart dangerous.

As stated, it is more than likely that Kathy Griffin believed she would be pleasing her audience while bringing attention to herself. I don’t believe this incident will have any lasting effect or even wise anybody up. But she certainly got the attention.

The brutal truth is that we have become a hateful nation with the media leading the way. There is big money to be made in the destruction industry and few restraints in place. How many news organizations do you think are seeking the truth about President Trump? How many?

The answer may be zero. It is much easier and more profitable to put a cable news panel together and insult the man, or run five “Trump is a jerk” op-eds a day in the paper.

Donald Trump may not fully understand the destructive forces arrayed against him but, if he wants to succeed as president, he should listen up. There is blood in the water and truth doesn’t matter. The anti-Trump media not only wants Trump’s head, but the scalps of those who dare to even give him a fair shake. In many newsrooms, anyone supporting Trump risks unemployment.

So, Kathy Griffin has served up an image that is stark and offensive but also may be prophetic.

There are no boundaries anymore.

May Day Protests in Portland Turned Into Riots

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This was a monologue from Greg Gutfeld on the FoxNewsChannel’s “The Five”:

May Day protests ended with violent rioting in Portland, Oregon. You know Portland, the city that last week canceled a local parade because of violent threats made by leftists. So as speeches and parades disappear because the left promises violence, days later leftists still violently run rampant.

The lesson: once when the threat of violence suppresses speech, actual violence can replace it. There were twenty five arrests of the anarchists; that started fires, property damage, and throwing home-made bombs at police officers.

Anarchists? Is that what we call them? What a fake word. It’s just shorthand for wannabe terrorists; they’re ISIS, but without the goats.

Continue reading “May Day Protests in Portland Turned Into Riots”

On Ann Coulter and UC-Berkeley

As of right now, conservative speaker Ann Coulter is going to speak at Berkeley, I guess tonight? Nobody quite knows what the situation is, whether she’s going to go there, or what she’s going to do. There’s a lawsuit filed against the college by the Republican Committee at the college, saying freedom of speech is being violated because they don’t want Coulter to come this week, they want it next week, or whatever it may be.

I fear for Coulter’s safety and for others, conservative people primarily. I fear for their safety and the others that want to listen to Coulter. These people on the far left are really insane and dangerous. But, is it worth it because people might get hurt?

But also attached to that story of these snowflake fascists on college campuses trying to keep opposing points of view away is a column on free speech by a Provost at NYU named Ulrich Baer.

This is amazing, absolutely amazing. I’m going to quote from this column, because this is frightening. Ready?

So Baer says:

As a scholar of literature, history and politics, I am especially attuned to the next generation’s demands to revise existing definitions of free speech to accommodate previously delegitimized experiences. Freedom of expression is not an unchanging absolute. When its proponents forget that it requires the vigilant and continuing examination of its parameters, and instead invoke a pure model of free speech that has never existed, the dangers to our democracy are clear and present.

We should thank the student protestors, the activists in Black Lives Matter and other “overly sensitive” souls [with quotes around “overly sensitive,” Ulrich’s being sarcastic] for keeping watch over the soul of our republic.

This is so much garbage, I can’t believe it.

Now, what this guy is saying is that free speech is not an unchanging absolute. It’s the old evolution of the Constitution, and that we in the precincts of academia, will decide what’s worthy speech, and what isn’t.

We know that Ann Coulter’s ideas are de-legitimate. That’s what he uses, de-legitimate. Therefore, not worthy of being heard. This is fascism, totalitarianism, Stalinism.
That’s what happened in Russia. The Soviet Union.

So you don’t have any right to say something that’s “de-legitimate.” And this is what is being taught in the nation’s schools. This is New York University. This guy’s a Provost, it’s outrageous. Dangerous.

He’s a fascist, ought to wear an arm band! Really makes me angry. But this is what’s happening.

The only exception to freedom of speech is if your speech is threatening to someone. If you are threatening harm, not putting forth an idea. And it’s not psychic harm, or emotional harm – it’s physical harm.