Eric Freehling’s “Local religious comunity weighs in on cake controversy” (June 10, Page B1) was a balanced report, giving space for those who disagreed with the Supreme Court’s “Masterpiece Cake” decision to air their views.
With all due respect, the case was not about serving a gay couple, as Colorado baker Jack Phillips had done on prior occasions, but about a commission that believed that the government has the power to compel a business owner to make a product in violation of his own religious principles.
The majority decision upheld the principle that in this country, officers of the court must grant a fair hearing for all parties, even when they disagree with world-views held by either party in the suit. Every American of good will should be outraged by the disdainful treatment shown to Mr. Phillips when Colorado Civil Rights Commissioners derided his faith, as would likewise be true had the plaintiffs in this case been similarly castigated for their own life-style choices.
Even more egregious: commissioners voiced their opinion that the free exercise clause of the First Amendment was a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” How can anyone so antagonistic to the United States Constitution be seen as a legitimate arbiter for justice in the U.S. legal system?
In this nation, religious views pose far less potential for tyranny than do government authorities.
In closing, we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have made sacrifices for the sake of conscience. A text revered by Jewish and Christian believers alike is found in the Tanakh (the Christian Old Testament). In Daniel, chapter 3, when the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone in his kingdom fall down and worship his statue, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego refused to comply, because to do so would have been to commit the sin of idolatry. In our day, believers may be called to resist official edicts to bow our knee to some particular ideology. May the True and Living God grant us strength, and by His grace, may all citizens of our nation strive to show dignity and respect to everyone, for we are all created in the image and likeness of God.
,em>The writer is pastor of Muddy Creek and Unionville Evangelical Presbyterian Churches in Center Township.