Monday, August 20, 2018

ADF cannot be trusted to be truthful

Jay Hobbs
Jay Hobbs is deputy director of media communications for Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT hate group. On Friday he wrote: Colorado Hauls Vindicated Christian Baker Back To Court On New Trumped-Up Charges. Oh, poor Jack Phillips. The nerve of the state to simply not allow him to violate nondiscrimination laws. Tsk, Tsk.

What happens when the Klansman down the street won't serve Jews because of his religious objection? Under the law, the Christian Identity Church is the legal equal of the Baptist Church. The dogma and the number of adherents are both irrelevant. At least they are supposed to be.

According to Mr. Hobbs:
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court chastised the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in a 7-2 decision, for its hostility toward Jack’s religious beliefs and for treating him worse than they did other cake artists. But the state is running Jack through the wringer for a second time. Once again, Jack, though his Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, has been forced to defend the very Christian principles that have made him who he is.
Hobbs is implying that there is some relationship between the past instance and the current case. That is untrue. Given the introduction of dogma, whatever happened to the “Christian principle” of render unto Caesar …?

Hobbs would like people to believe that the case, in and of itself was hostile and that is not true. The Court was explicit:
As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. No commissioners objected to the comments. Nor were they mentioned in the later state-court ruling or disavowed in the briefs filed here. The comments thus cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case.
[…]
the record here demonstrates that the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious beliefs.
The truth is that the commissioners demonstrated abject stupidity. There was no earthly reason for them to comment at all. Had they simply asked the appropriate questions and then adjudicated the case, we would not be here. Moreover, the record should have included legal reasoning to support the notion that refusing to bake anti-gay cakes (there was a case) was not the reasonable equal of refusing a same-sex couple.

The Court also ruled (emphasis added):
Nevertheless, while … religious and philosophical objections are protected, it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.
They cite the precedence established under Newman v. PiggiePark Enterprises (note 2) and others. This case was a slam-dunk if only the commissioners had not shown outward disrespect of, and hostility to, religion.

Hobbs drones on:
The latest charge comes courtesy of a lawyer who called Jack’s shop multiple times on the very day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Jack’s case in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
[…]
the lawyer called Masterpiece requesting a custom cake, blue on the outside and pink on the inside, to celebrate a gender transition. Just like in 2012, when two gentlemen asked Jack to design a custom cake for their same-sex wedding, his shop politely declined the request but offered to sell the caller anything else in the shop or to design a cake for a different occasion.
I notice that, at no time, does Hobbs use pronouns in regard to the attorney who is a transgender woman. Did the shop “politely” decline before they hung up on Autumn Scardina, twice (she has a name, Mr. Hobbs)? Offering to sell something other than what the customer wanted only makes the situation worse because of the obvious dishonest attempt to obfuscate bigotry.

The Supreme Court left Colorado's anti-discrimination law intact. Does it cover gender identity or does it not? It is a very simple proposition and Phillips doesn't get a religious pass. What ADF constantly seeks is Christian Privilege.
Outlandish as it may seem, that “incident” was enough for the state to find probable cause that Jack was out of compliance with state law. If the commission has its way, Jack would be forced not only to begin designing cakes celebrating gender transitions, but also might be ordered to file quarterly “compliance” reports telling the state which custom cake requests he declines and why.
“Outlandish?” Hobbs is no stranger to bigotry himself. If anything is outlandish it is Phillips rejection of medical science and the realities of transgender people. Apparently those are subservient to very ancient texts of unknown provenance.

Hobbs is either obtuse or ignorant:
But this is America. We don’t allow the government to bully people just because it dislikes their religious beliefs. Quiet, faithful folks like Jack should be free to live out their dreams and follow their consciences without fear of government hostility.
So now the enforcement of a nondiscrimination law is bullying. If some Muslim decided that serving Christians was a religious problem there would be no end to the denunciations by ADF and its supporters. I'll remind Mr. Hobbs of something else that the Supreme Court said:
Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great weight and respect by the courts.
That case was a slam-dunk if only the Colorado commissioners had kept their mouths shut. I would argue that the above paragraph applies equally to transgender people. Perhaps more so because they are more vulnerable. As Hobbs said, this is America. We are a secular society and we tend to treat people equally in public accommodations.

There was a time in this country when Jews faced enormous obstacles and discrimination at the hands of these same Christians. That was based squarely on religious beliefs. Jews (including me) merit no more consideration than LGBT people. Some would argue less because religion is a choice while being LGBT is involuntary.
The state’s decision to target Jack again underscores just how little it respects his right to freely live out his faith. In round one at the Supreme Court, the state wrote in a brief stating Jack had the freedom to decline to create a cake with a message that he wouldn’t communicate for anyone.
Enforcing valid laws is not targeting anyone. It is Mr. Phillips who demonstrates the lack of respect. Even if he subscribes to moronic religious dogma claiming that transgender people do not exist, what possible difference does it make to him or his free exercise of religion if he bakes a cake for people he disapproves of? No one is asking him to alter his beliefs or the way he practices his religion.

One final dose of disingenuous bullshit:
That was then, and this is now. The state is now moving the goalposts. In its current targeting of Jack, the state is opening the door to force him to make virtually any cake a customer demands. At the end of the day, the only constant seems to be that you can’t be Jack Phillips and hope to freely live out your faith in the state of Colorado.
Given the fact that the Supreme Court did not invalidate Colorado's nondiscrimination law it affirmed its enforceability. No one is moving the goalposts. It is the same law. It has not changed. And, yes, Phillips should simply bake any cake asked of him with exceptions for obvious bad taste.

The bottom line is that once again Phillips has broken a perfectly valid law approved by the legislature and enacted with the governor's signature.

I have likened the original case before the Supreme Court to something similar to a thief who gets caught with the stolen goods in his house. The case gets tossed on appeal because the cops did not have a warrant. If he steals again and if the cops execute a proper search warrant and then find the stolen goods in his home he is going to get convicted without possibility of having the conviction overturned on appeal.

The first time around, Phillips broke the law but the Supreme Court found that the trier of fact was biased. Case tossed.

Now he has broken the law again. If the civil rights commissioners follow the guidance of the Court they will find Phillips guilty again and the ruling will stand. Phillips is suing the state. That is likely to get dismissed but it serves ADF's objectives as they will raise a great deal of money. Taxpayers get the bill for the tax deducted contributions and immense court costs.

Hobbs argument is that because the first case got tossed all subsequent cases should get tossed. That is simply not how things work.

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