The Continuing Threat to Religious Liberty

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Source: National Review

by RYAN T. ANDERSON

What’s at stake and what to do about it Two years to the day after the Supreme Court redefined marriage in Obergefell, the Court announced that it would hear a case about the extent to which private parties may be forced to embrace this new vision of marriage. The case involves Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex-wedding reception. There was nothing remarkable about Phillips’s decision. With every cake he designs, Jack believes he is serving Christ. He had previously turned down requests to create Halloween-themed cakes, lewd bachelor-party cakes, and a cake celebrating a divorce. Yet Jack was never reprimanded over those decisions. He found himself in hot water only with the same-sex-wedding cake. The immediate question before the Supreme Court is whether it’s constitutional for Colorado to penalize Jack under its “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) antidiscrimination statute. But the case has implications for millions of believers from every walk of life and, beyond that, for the health of our culture and our constitutional system of ordered liberty. While there has always been disagreement about what religious liberty requires in particular cases, the idea of religious liberty as a fundamental human right has more or less been a consensus in America. It became controversial only in recent years as the government tried to force religious conservatives to violate their beliefs on sex and marriage, and as liberal advocacy groups decided that civil liberties aren’t for conscientious objectors to the sexual revolution.

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