Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple who was getting married.
This decision only scratches the surface of the issue. It does not give every Christian who works in a creative field (baking, photography, etc) permission to refuse services for a same-sex wedding.
I’m not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar but it appears to be on an inevitable crash course for another Supreme court decision. Is it a matter of individual liberty? Whereby a person reserves the right to refuse service? Or is it discrimination and the violation of law?
People on both sides of this issue are very polarized. If private business owners do have the legal right to refuse service, some draw analogies to people refusing services to African Americans before passage of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s.
Persecution takes a variety of forms. There are absolutely people who seek to persecute Christians for their beliefs under the tyranny of law. With Jack Phillips, a couple attempted to force this man to comply. There have been numerous legal victories for the gay rights movement over the last few years. But some seek to crush any dissenters. There have been other businesses who have faced threats, backlash, and thousands of dollars in legal fees for standing by convictions.
Today’s decision does not further enshrine religious liberty. It has more to do with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and their hostility towards Phillips than if Christians have a general liberty to refuse services in situations which conflict with their faith.
Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.