Take Religion Seriously

I have no remarks about Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission other than to note that it is an instance of the inability of many Americans to take religion seriously. The purpose of the free exercise clause is to create legal space to enable people to do what their religion demands that they do. The assertion that religion is merely a pretext for bigoted behavior is an explicit violation of the other part of the majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges which said in part:

…many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises . . . But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied.

I don’t know how the Court will find. We’re in new territory here and I believe that as a society we would be better served if we considered the questions opened by O v. H with understanding rather than impugning of motives.

9 comments… add one
  • Modulo Myself

    We’re not in new territory. Discrimination is discrimination, regardless of religious motive.

    Note that when the Episcopalian Church decided to allow same-sex marriage, nobody for same-sex marriage’s legality made the argument that not giving legal rights to these marriages violated the church’s religious freedom. And from the standpoint of personal liberty, marriage legally is far more important than selling a cake.

    This right was made up a second after the right to discriminate against gay people’s liberty was ruled against. It’s completely cynical and debased way of striking back at gay people.

  • CuriousOnlooker

    I remember a comment I made two months ago about this case.

    Here we go!

  • Modulo Myself

    The real problem for religious right is that being gay is as normal as being straight. And the world is proving this–not because gay people are really normal but because straight people are as perverse as gay.

    That’s why they fall back on theology and/or bigotry. Baldwin’s assertion about white people needing to figure out why they needed so badly to create the nigger applies to why straight people needed so desperately to create the queer.

  • Guarneri

    No shirt, no shoes, no service goes without question. Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket goes without question. We don’t accept AMEX cards goes without question. No discrimination there.

    And of course, if your religious beliefs are that life begins at conception there are plenty of progressives ready to say screw you, your beliefs, indeed, societies standard, is that a women’s rights supercede that of a baby, or of you, right up until birth apparently. But God forbid you don’t want to bake effing cakes for ceremonies contrary to your religious beliefs, despite that fact that the supposedly aggrieved can walk down the street and get a cake there.

    This is nothing more than a group desiring to stuff their beliefs down the throat of another groups.

  • PD Shaw

    Am I getting this right, a Jewish concentration camp survivor has to back a cake emblazoned with NAZI regalia because there is no expressive content?

    I get the sense that this is case for a city too small for more than one baker, and too large for people to be baking their own.

  • Modulo Myself

    You’re not. Nobody is arguing that a Christian baker has to bake a cake depicting Jesus sodomizing St Peter. They’re arguing that a normal bland wedding cake has to be sold to Ted and Jane as well as Ted and Steve. The funny thing is that a Jewish person gets this. We don’t have problems with Jewish bakeries refusing service to patrons they suspect of being anti-semites. It’s just right wing white Christians with their combination of egocentrism, narrowness, and total alienating banality who seem to go out of their way in pathetic minor passive-aggressive power trips to be angry at disagreement.

  • steve

    The problem here is that religious people have acted more like political and special interest groups than religious people. You simply don’t find these claims about cake baking (and those of a similar nature) in the past. Being gay is not the only sin in the Bible (having read it cover to cover more than once). There is no mention in the Bible about baking or not baking cakes for any kind of sin or sinner. If there were prior instances of not selling to divorced people, adulterers (remember that they used to stone those people in the OT) etc, then they would have a case.

    Evangelicals, and others, decided to go heavily into politics in the 80s. Since then it has been difficult to see them as believers. They mostly come across as another group that wants to use the government to have the laws written they they would prefer. If they want to act like political groups, then they should be treated that way.

    This is an old, old argument I have had with my brother, the Southern Baptist minister.


  • Andy

    I don’t think this is as cut and dry as advocates claim. SCOTUSblog has a good summary of each sides argument.


    Ultimately Im troubled by the structure of our anti-discrimination legal regime which is based on class membership.

  • mercer

    “is case for a city too small for more than one baker, ”
    No. It is in the Denver metro area.

    It is also not about the legal right for gay marriage. It is about gays demanding that others celebrate gay marriage or be driven out of business. Google Brendan Eich for another example.

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