Shortcuts & Delusions: Colorado & Petty Disagreements

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This past Tuesday, SCOTUS heard the “Colorado baker case.” If you’re not aware, the case stems from when a gay couple, David Mullins & Charlie Craig, entered Jack Phillips’ bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood and asked him to bake a cake for their wedding, to which Phillips replied, “I ain’t baking no cake for no fags. Get out of my bakery, you fags. GOD HATES FAGS!” Mullins & Craig then minced out of the bakery while gasping and lisping, “Oh my Gaaaawwd. What. A. Jerk,” and “This guy is so not fierce.”

OK, none of them said anything like that. But Mullins & Craig sued Phillips for discrimination, and now SCOTUS has to rule in favor of one of the two parties because Mullins, Craig and Phillips are children who can not solve a petty disagreement. If I was a Justice, I would cast a vote for neither side, and write a dissenting opinion that reads, in its entirety, “The plaintiffs and defendant need to go sit in their respective corners for ‘time-out’ and then go to bed without dinner until they can learn how to get along.”

Lakewood is the fifth most populous city in Colorado, located just west of Denver. If you Google “Wedding cake bakeries in Lakewood, Colorado,” 10 other bakeries pop up that make wedding cakes Mullins & Craig could have gone to after being turned away by Phillips. Rather than say to Phillips, “OK, fuck you, we’ll take our money somewhere else,” they are literally making a federal case about it.

And what sin exactly would Phillips commit if he were to bake a cake for Mullins & Craig? It’s been a while since I’ve been to CCD, but I recall Jesus saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” not “Don’t sell anything to a sinner.” If Phillips feels the heat of fire and brimstone for making a cake for a gay wedding, he can always go to confessional, right? And hopefully the priest would say, “Really? That’s what you’re confessing? Take a walk, dummy, confessional is for serious business.”

The hyperbole on display by plaintiffs, defendant, and media commenters, whether they are of the journalist or social variety, is embarrassing. Mullins and Craig are not suffering discrimination and treatment on par with blacks in the South during Jim Crow, and Phillips could bake a thousand cakes for gay weddings and he wouldn’t be any less pious, devout or free in his expression of religious beliefs.

The issue of gay marriage is a civil and legal one, not a religious one. Gays’ Constitutional right to marriage is one of legal recognition. No church, synagogue, temple, mosque, mandir, gurudwara, etc. is being forced to perform the ceremony, and no parishioners are being forced to attend and recognize it.

Phillips is conflating baking a cake for Mullins & Craig with taking part in a gay wedding, or endorsing it. In reality, he’d just make money on a cake. I very much doubt Mullins & Craig asked him to depict a scene of sodomy or offensive language. The baker should have just been a baker and taken their order; instead he made a mountain out of a mole hill, and in response, Mullins & Craig did the same.

If I had to bet on the outcome, based on Kennedy being the deciding vote, I’d bet Mullins & Craig win. But rest assured, the majority opinion will cite some convoluted reason for it, like the Third Amendment or Dred Scott. SCOTUS seems to take great pains to arrive at decisions as though legal theory and the Constitution combine to form a Rube Goldberg Machine.

This case isn’t about cakes, discrimination or Constitutional rights. That’s a facade to make it seem more important for society than it really is. This case is about two sides being so self-righteous and certain in their positions that they are unable to consider the mere possibility that there is some space for reasonable compromise or for one side to just let it go. Sometimes you should just drop it, and sometimes you should just give in. Sometimes you are told no, and you just have to accept it, or you have to do something that you just don’t want to do.

Whatever happened to basic common decency? Answer: it’s been supplanted by grievance culture, and both the mainstream Left and Right indulge in it to an unhealthy extent. As George Costanza said, “You know, we’re living in a society! We’re supposed to act in a civilized way!”

 

And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.

 

Image: The Denver Post

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Dillon Eliassen is the Managing Editor of Being Libertarian. Dillon works in the sales department of a privately owned small company. He holds a BA in Journalism & Creative Writing from Lyndon State College, and needs only to complete his thesis for his Master’s of English from Montclair State University (something which his accomplished and beautiful wife, Alice, is continually pestering him about). He is the author of The Apathetic, available at Amazon.com. He is a self-described Thoreauvian Minarchist.

6 COMMENTS

  1. You can’t be serious. How is it possible to not only Not have any relevant knowledge pertaining to the case, but to also not realize what exactly is at stake? Mullins and Craig asked to bake a cake for their gay wedding and Phillips politely declined. Then they sued him for discrimination. He did not make a mountain out of a mole hill. The Colorado Supreme Court demanded he has to sell wedding cakes to everybody DESPITE his religious convictions. To comply with the law and his conscience he stopped selling wedding cakes to anybody and lost 40% of his business. At the Supreme Court his defense even said he would sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, but refused to create celebrating something that he disagreed with. As in, he wasn’t willing to use his right to free expression to create something he did not disagree with. If the state will force you to ignore your religious convictions on baking a cake, you can be damned sure they’re willing to force you to ignore your convictions on anything else. What’s at stake is freedom of conscience, YOU deciding whether something would offend his religious conviction is exactly, and how he should run his business is, as I understand it, antithetical to what libertarians continuously and vocally condemn.

    Honestly, this was like reading a Cracked article, disappoint.

  2. I say we force Dillon Eliasson to write a glowing article, no – series of articles about the greatness of the state and socialism and if he refuses, he’s being a big baby and making a mountain out of a molehill and can’t be an adult.

  3. This is not a legal discrimination issue for the courts to decide. This is a free market issue. He does not believe in same sex weddings for religious reasons. Politically correct yes or no, morally correct yes or no, right, wrong or indifferent? It is his business and property. He was not mean, degrading or inflammatory. If this couple felt strongly about being discriminated against their correct course of action is to inform people and businesses in their demographic and networks who may then exercise their right to not to spend money in his business.
    If liberals keep trying to force their morals on others through the courts eventually they will not even be able to wave their banners in celebration because the walls they have built will be so encroaching they won’t be able to move freely themselves.

  4. Be careful with broad sweeping statements regarding practicing Christianity. What you describe is Catholicism. There are many Christian religions that are not Catholic, nor do they have a notion of the Confessional. You and I do not get to decide what is ‘Sin’ for another person or even if the other person should be subject to the notion of ‘Sin’. Your opinion essentially tells the owner to ‘suck it up, sin (violate his religion) and beg for forgiveness later.’ In this scenario the only person’s personal liberties being infringed upon is the baker. Freedom is an important issue. The right to practice one’s religion is the most fundamental of personal liberties. The gay couple could go elsewhere and the free market sort it out. Hence, the only liberty lost here is on the part of the baker. I do agree with your position that this should not be a matter in the courts.

  5. I think Dillon Eliassen completely missed the boat on this topic. The angle he took to write about this issue, I assume “humor” was his direction, did not work for me. I am interested in reading compelling arguments for BOTH sides of this issue, and was disappointed after reading this. I think this case is a BIG DEAL, and needs our attention.

  6. I’m used to better researched articles than this from BL.
    In specific, the following two phrases set a tone after the initial weak attempt at humor:
    “I recall Jesus saying “Hate the sin, love the sinner, …” – except that Jesus never said that, and Phillips never contradicted that, and
    “… not “Don’t sell anything to a sinner.” ” – and Phillips never said *that*.

    Phillips has expressed complete willingness to sell Mullins and Craig an of-the-shelf wedding cake. The only thing Phillips is not willing to do is use his artistic talents and skills to specifically decorate a cake *in a rainbow theme” which very specifically celebrates a same-sex marriage *as a same-sex marriage*. In other words, Phillips’ take is that he is being asked to create an artistic work (which is, legally, “speech” even when commissioned) that specifically promotes an event which he finds religiously offensive.

    Mr. Eliassen compounds his error by displaying further his lack of knowledge concerning the case when he suggests that both parties are being childish and unwilling to compromise. According to Phillips, he suggested a specific baker to Mullins and Craig who *would* bake and decorate the cake they wanted, as well as offering an off-the-shelf design. As far as I have been able to find, Mullins and Craig have not denied this claim. That kind of reasonable behavior is far removed from the childish go-to-time-out-corners behavior described by Mr. Eliassen.

    To make a comparison, Mr. Eliassen is a professional writer and editor. Would Mr. Eliassen accept a commission to write an article extolling the virtues of Stalin’s actions in causing the Holodomor, or would he politely decline?
    I suggest that if Mr. Eliassen has the right – the responsibility, even, to politely decline, then Mr. Phillips has – and has acted upon – that same right and responsibility both to decline, and t be polite about it.

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