Denying Business Based on Faith—Is It Unlawful?

You may or may not have heard about a Christian baker in Denver, Co. who denied business to a gay couple ordering a wedding cake. This happened in July of last year and mainstream news and social media got a hold of the situation.

The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, took to their Facebook airways to publish a post about the baker, Jack Phillips, refusing to fill their order. The post went viral in an uproar over civil rights and discrimination.

According to the Denver Post, Mullins and Craig said the situation was awkward and painful.

“We were all very upset, but I was angry and I felt dehumanized and mortified,” Mullins said to the Associated Press.

Tremendous support flooded the couple, with strangers offering their appreciation for their love and commitment, and disdain for a business that would do such a thing.

Meet Jack Phillips—owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop for 19 years and resident of the Lakewood area just outside of Denver. He’s a professing Christian and has turned down business prior to this incident because of disagreements with homosexual relations.

The Denver Post reported Phillips saying, “when I do a cake for a first birthday party, I imagine the family gathered around taking pictures and laughing. When I do a graduation cake, I think of all the hard work it took to get them there. I feel like I’m part of the celebration, and I can’t take part in that kind of celebration (same-sex wedding).”

This brings us to today, where Phillips is facing a court decision that could determine jail time or fines for his actions.

The Blaze reported the Colorado Attorney General’s office is filing a formal complaint against Phillips and his bakery. The complaint describes a possible fine of $500 per instance if Phillips continues to refuse making wedding cakes for homosexual couples and could spend up to one year in jail for the suit. Phillips is scheduled to stand in front of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in September.

Of course, the issue at hand is discrimination.

“If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever,” Phillips said in an interview with CBS News. “It’s just the wedding cake, not the people, not the lifestyle.”

So, is it unlawful to deny wedding cakes to homosexual couples?

The court will probably rule that yes, indeed it is unlawful. Looking at the progression of law over time, you can see court decisions favoring less and less discrimination, no matter the concern of religious freedoms.

But, this progression affects Christians greatly. While we may deny such services, as small as making wedding cakes for homosexual couples, we will be identified as discriminatory although we have the right to exercise our faith.

I call your attention to the first portion of the first amendment of our constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

So our government, our courts, cannot stop us from exercising our right of faith. If so, how does that right get shoved aside concerning discrimination?

Is discrimination in business a more important issue than religious freedom? This is what we need to be discussing. It’s not that Phillips is discriminatory in all of his actions, just in making and selling wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

“I’m not going to change my business because of a petition,” Phillips said to the Denver Post. “I’m just going to do the best I can do to honor Jesus Christ.”

The question for Christians shouldn’t be “why aren’t you more understanding and accepting of people?” The question should be “why aren’t you holding fast to what you believe?”

If we progress with culture, we become hypocrites concerning the approval of homosexual relations. Are we going to be hypocrites of what we believe and let certain God-opposing, sinful actions slip through the cracks, or are we going to be different than mainstream culture and stick with our value of one man and one woman?

The decision is yours. If we don’t talk about it, then we may find ourselves on a slippery slope. So, let’s talk. And let our talk be wholesome and constructive.