A Christian baker from Colorado received an unexpected blessing from the administration of President Donald Trump last week when the Justice Department filed a brief on his behalf to the Supreme Court, which is slated to hear his religious liberty case upon returning to the bench next month.
For Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, the trouble started five years ago when he politely refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. Although he only meant to protect his religious beliefs, he wound up triggering a chain reaction of undeserved backlash.
It included death threats from angry activists, character assassinations from the liberal media, a judgment of illegal discrimination from a Colorado civil rights commission and an affirmation of the commission’s ruling by a lower court.
The tide finally began to turn in Phillips’ favor in late June when the Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal and decide whether he actually discriminated against the gay couple when he refused to bake their cake over his religious objections.
And just on Thursday, he won yet another “yuge” victory when Trump’s DOJ filed an amicus brief defending his decision five years earlier to not bake the gay couple’s wedding cake.
In the brief, acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall specifically argued that allowing the lower court’s ruling against Phillips to stand would create a violation of the First Amendment “where public accommodations law compels someone to create expression for a particular person or entity and to participate, literally or figuratively, in a ceremony or other expressive event.”
“When Phillips designs and creates a custom wedding cake for a specific couple and a specific wedding, he plays an active role in enabling that ritual, and he associates himself with the celebratory message conveyed,” he added. “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights.”
This is good. Very good, in fact.
And according to The Washington Times, the DOJ’s surprising decision to file a brief in Phillips’ case “raises the possibility that the government will also ask for time to argue in front of the justices when the case goes for oral argument.”
That would be even better.
During the administration of former President Barack Hussein Obama, a man who loved sitting idly by as Christians were persecuted, the DOJ said nothing about Phillips, instead choosing to allow him to suffer the indignity of being persecuted for his Christian beliefs.
But with Trump in the White House, it appears those days are finally behind us. Thank God.