Religious Liberty vs. Free Expression

Again, while you were planning your Fourth of July activities, during the last week of June, during the closing session of the Supreme Court, two rulings came down.

First, a partial allowance of Trump’s travel ban. A quick take: The ban was for only 90 days. So by the time the Supreme Court takes up the case, it should be a moot point. I believe the court just kicked the can down the road knowing this. It will eventually take up a case on the limits of executive power regarding immigration, even though as late as 2013, they have made their rulings on this quite clear. What probably will be challenged is whatever comes after the ban expires. Just my opinion.

Second, the Supreme Court said it will take up the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a “specialty” cake for a gay wedding. In spite of whatever coverage you may have read or heard on this, as the Trump ban took up most of the oxygen, this is NOT about reopening the case for or against same-sex marriage. He did not refuse a gay couple a wedding cake, as the Associated Press reported, nor did he refuse to serve a gay couple, as The New York Times reported. 

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The fact is, everything in his shop was available to anyone, whether gay or straight. What the bake shop owner, Jack Phillips, would not do was use his special talents in cake artistry to make a unique cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig’s wedding based on his long-standing and widely known religious reasons. The cake the couple wanted was erotic-themed. This case actually centers on whether unelected civil rights commissions are empowered to decide when your religious rights are appropriate.

In this case, the lower courts, like in the Trump Travel ban, took it upon themselves to divine the “real” intentions as opposed to the spoken and written intentions. The lower courts again gave themselves the power to read minds and hearts.

There are a couple of points omitted from the coverage: This incident happened in 2012. This is important. Neither Colorado nor the Supreme Court ruled at the time the legality of same sex marriage.  In Colorado, at the time, it was illegal. This is why, for this case, same-sex marriage is a moot point. A little research would have shown this to the reporters. However, where would the template be?

What the lower courts ruled was that religious liberty takes a back seat to free expression when it crosses hairs with political advocacy or opinion. It gave itself the power to decide when religious beliefs matter to you. You see, in 2014, in the same state of Colorado, a man walked into a bakery (not the same one here) and ordered two cakes in the shape of a bible with these two passages written on them. One: “God hates sin,” Pslam 45:7. Two: “Homosexuality is a detestable sin,” Leviticus 18:22. The baker refused. The case was thrown out.

So, here we are. Two cases where the courts have decided they can divine your true intentions. Not on the cases before them, but on what was uttered in different circumstances. This is the real question before the Supreme Court: Are courts or other unelected officials allowed to read your minds and hearts? Can they use that power to make people see the world their way?

This is what I say. What say you?

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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