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Supreme Court Made One Step For Bigotry, One Giant Step Backwards For Humanity

June 4, 2018

The Supreme Court today sadly sided with a bigoted Colorado baker who declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of his religious views.  The Court in a 7-2 decision ruled the state’s civil rights commission violated his rights when it did not decide the matter with religious neutrality.

It was a very narrow decision, not unlike many cases which come before the Court.  But the huge take-away from the ruling is that the justices avoided the big question — where to draw a line between religious liberty and anti-discrimination laws.  Many had felt a landmark case might have been shaped by the outcome, but clearly that did not happen.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and made clear that the court’s main issue was how the state commission treated Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

“The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

This is a troubling outcome to this case which might have given the next step to equal justice in the nation for gay men and women.    In a pluralistic society, and especially when it comes to business, there must be strong lines established when it comes to the “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs” so that minorities are not mistreated.

I grew up in a rural and conservative area and can say with certainty that sincere religious beliefs could very well have extended off the charts.  Such as, my “religion” says blacks are inferior, or that my “religion” says I can let my son die because I believe God didn’t want him healed, or that my “religion” says I can’t hire this woman to do a job since my God says women should be barefoot and pregnant.

I know that in some places this decision today will only embolden wacko religious nut jobs in the country to out-do each other with new ways to be heinous.

Meanwhile, I am set to soon start the second of a three-volume set about the maturation of liberty and freedom in the nation.  The Workshop Of Democracy by James MacGregor Burns won the Pulitzer Prize and will argue, as did the first volume, that the American experiment arcs long in its promise for a better nation.  After the ruling today from the Court I may need that infusion of hope from the author sooner than anticipated.

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