All errors should be reported to DonSurber@gmail.com

Monday, June 04, 2018

Court upholds freedom of religion

"Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order," Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote for the 6-3 majority in West Virginia v. Barnette, 1943.

The nation was at war. The verdict was issued on Flag Day. The court ruled that the state cannot force the children of Jehovah's Witnesses to pledge allegiance to the flag.

Now what is this nonsense about the state of Colorado demanding that a Christian bake a cake for a gay wedding?

Today's 7-2 decision against Colorado in its vapid battle against baker Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, is a brilliant reminder that freedom of religion is paramount in a secular society.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy went out of his way to make that clear. He quoted a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's disparagement of religion: "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."

Of course, religion also ended slavery. Protestant Church Ladies in the North demanded it.

But why argue with a fool? Justice Kennedy smacked him down.

"To describe a man’s faith as 'one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use' is to disparage his 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 of Colorado’s antidiscrimination law — a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation," the justice wrote.

I can feel the heat from that burn here in Poca, West Virginia.

Kennedy was succinct in the verdict.

"The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion. Phillips was entitled to a neutral decisionmaker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection as he sought to assert it in all of the circumstances in which this case was presented, considered, and decided. In this case the adjudication concerned a context that may well be different going forward in the respects noted above. However later cases raising these or similar concerns are resolved in the future, for these reasons the rulings of the Commission and of the state court that enforced the Commission’s order must be invalidated," he wrote.

"The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market."

The court did not say the state cannot order bakers to bake a gay wedding cake.

But the court told liberals they cannot use gay rights to disable freedom of religion, which is what liberals seek to do.

A wedding cake does not matter much. The Flag does.

Jehovah's Witnesses were not protesting anything. They were not supporting Hitler. They were not saying America was evil. They were simply saying they answer only to a higher authority.

As Americans, we all do, which is why we protect the rights of the religious beliefs of others. Ironically, that is why everyone else should stand up for the Flag.

###

Please enjoy my books in paperback and on Kindle.

Trump the Press covers the nomination.

Trump the Establishment covers the election.

Fake News Follies of 2017 covers his first year as president.

For autographed copies, write me at DonSurber@gmail.com

25 comments:

  1. So, what happens to this 'commissioner.' Does he go on to bigger and better jobs of persecuting Christians? Why is it that nobody ever gets fired on the left? I think it is fairly safe to assume that this guy is a left-wing democrat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing happens to the commissioner because that's under the control of Colorado. SCOTUS only rules on whether what they did was legal, not what to do with those who gave the bad ruling. If they did have that power, then they would be determining what penalty or punishment every judge, commissioner, employer, or anyone else who loses a Supreme Court case would be subjected to. And, as much as I detest what that commissioner and the State of Colorado did to Jack Phillips, I also believe we need to allow for people to make mistakes, be corrected, and then move on hoping they have learned from it. If there is to be any "punishment" then that should happen later after a series of event prove they have not learned.

      Delete
    2. I respectfully disagree with part of your post. In reading Justice Kennedy's decision it's clear that what the Colorado Civl Rights Commission did was not just a mistake. I think that your argument trivializes the dictatorial nature of the CCRC's actions in this case in subverting the First Amendment.

      Bucky

      Delete
    3. Kennedy's decision said the CCRC was wrong. It did not say whether it was done intentionally and maliciously. Again, that was not for the SC to decide in this particular instance.

      However, the big issues remains and that's why Surber's touchdown dance is misguided (nothing new there). The court still hasn't whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people. That was not decided by the SC. A right-wing Washington Examiner legal writer opined that if the CCRC had treated the baker with neutrality and not hostility toward his religious beliefs, then the SC could have easily favored the gay couple in this matter.

      Zregime, you may want to read the above paragraph a few times to fully comprehend before posting.

      Delete
    4. What the situation here calls for is the wisdom of Solomon, and I am here to provide it. The baker should have the right, given his sincere religious beliefs, not to have to bake a special order cake for gay customers, but does not have the right to refuse to sell them a generic cake that is available for sale to all customers who enter his shop. The baker's religious rights are protected, as are the gay customers' rights to receive a service the business offers to other customers. Accordingly, I have cut the cake in half; each party can have their cake and eat it too.

      Delete
    5. In this case this baker does not prevent anyone --including gays from buying ready made goods. He accepts orders for other types of cake by order (birthday, etc) for anyone -- including gays. What he doesn't do is accept cake orders for 1. Divorce parties (yes, that's a thing now); 2. Lewd bachelor parties & 3. gay weddings.
      It has ALWAYS been about the 'message/act' not the person (and to be discrimination, it has to be about the person). It's not surprising you're unaware of those facts, as the media has made sure to hide them. But its all in the briefs & court records.

      Delete
    6. Anony, before you start getting uppity about deciding who needs to re-read the decision maybe you should check your own reading comprehension. If you don't think Justice Kennedy's ruling implied that the CCRC's was intentional and malicious then maybe you missed the parts about the disparaging language (religion and despicable rhetoric) in their decision and outright hostility to 1st Amendment guarantees. The Justice's disdain couldn't have been more dripping. The CCRC are small-minded bigots who took an ass-whooping for their hostility to religion - which is nothing new for the American left these days.

      Delete
    7. Steady Hoss, I totally agree with what you and another Anon said about Kennedy smacking down the CCRC. Let me clarify that it was not the SC's place to punish the CCRC and that the SC has not clarified anything, it merely tossed the CCRC ruling. The heart of the matter remains unsettled: Can a private business refuse service to gays and lesbians based on religious conviction. The SC did not settle this.

      Delete
  2. I hope Canada's Human Rights Tribunal will pay some attention to this decision. Canada, which lacks the equivalent of our First Amendment, is not a truly free country....which probably explains why Leftists in the US are so infatuated with our neighbor to the north.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not infatuated enough to actually move there, unfortunately. Not even when they sear they will! (Bonus if they do.) -- BJ54

      Delete
  3. If I knew someone had been forced against their will to make any item of food for an occasion, I can tell you for dammed sure I would not eat it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen. Not sure I'd want to know what the extra ingredients would be...

      Delete
  4. ....I agree with Hoss.....remember in the movie "The Help".....the Chocolate Pie scene...?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Frankly, I think not only Kennedy, but Breyer, Roberts, and the Short Shortstop see the writing on the wall. Trump will end the Leftist packing of appellate courts and the do not wish to be seen as being "on the wrong side of history".

    PS Nonsense and the state of Colorado seem to go together.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Y’all brothers and sisters have got this case nailed down. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A free and fair country we may have?

    A free and fair country if we can keep it?

    A glimmer of hope in the darkening shadows?

    Damm I hope so...I love this place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Court should have gone much further and ruled on the core issue of the case (the conflict between First Amendment rights and statutory rights) instead of settling for a procedural slap on the wrist of the CCRC. The Court created the current mess with its opinion in the Obergefell case. The justices should have the courage of their convictions and tell the world whether they still support the First Amendment. There was no better case to bring the matter to a clear resolution. The Court showed us they have the courage of the cowardly lion and the brains of the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. I am totally agreeing with a Surbot. What those cheering this decision don't realize is that the SC ruling is only muddying the waters further. And just 2-3 months ago, the SC refused to take up two controversial gun controls lawsuits brought to it. In the end, this does amplify one thing - this Neil Gorsuch will make the R-dominated SC great again is a lot of hot air.

      Delete
    2. I don't think it's muddying the waters, just sticking to the narrow argument that this case was presenting and not the larger question overall. As for the gun cases; no biggie. Are you arguing that Gorsuch should act more like an activist instead of someone who believes in state's rights?

      Delete
    3. Hoss - The SC decision on the baker gave no clear direction to the elephant in the room. The court still hasn't made clear to whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people. Even conservative legal analysts say this which means everyone sees this.
      As for my Gorsuch remark, all we heard was how conservative causes will sail through the SC with his appointment ... - if anything - such conservative issues such as guns, abortion, and now denying service to gays continues to be ignored.

      Delete
  9. Will Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop be made whole? Will the CCRC have to reimburse him for all his legal expenses, related costs, and lost income? I doubt it.
    I hope he can take them to civil court for expenses, costs, and punitive damages.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The lesson of Kennedy's decision to the administrative state, it seems to me, is "be more subtle in your hostility."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Unfortunately the SCOTUS ruling is pretty wishy-washy and tailored to the specific case. I would have liked it better if they showed some real balls and really affirmed religious liberties. I'm tired of the attacks on Christianity from the left.

    ReplyDelete