Hundreds Gather to Support Colorado Cake-Baker Before Supreme Court Case
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Hundreds of believers rallied in Colorado to support Masterpiece Cakeshop's Jack Philips, who is in the middle of a critical Supreme Court battle for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
Philips says baking a cake for a gay marriage conflicts with his religious beliefs. That didn't keep the Colorado Civil Rights Commission from ruling that he violated anti-discrimination laws. Now, he will face the Supreme Court next month to defend free speech.
Leaders from the Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, and Mormon communities came together to offer their support Wednesday at Colorado Christian University.
"We are here to send a strong message to our nation. We stand with Jack Phillips and good people of all faith and no faith who support freedom of conscience and freedom of religion," Jeff Hunt, Centennial Institute Director said during the rally.
While no one knows how the justices will rule, everyone knows the decision will have big implications for faith communities.
"I don't know how the justices will rule in this particular case, but I do hope they will treat this very important liberty with reverence," said Denver attorney and law professor Stephen Collis, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"If it is wrongly discarded as nothing more than a justification for bigotry, every single one of us will lose, and I do mean every single one of us, including those people who think they oppose Mr. Phillips," he said.
Yaakov Menken, director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said Phillips' case is particularly important for Jews because so much their religious observance is based on their actions.
"Need I tell you that this is dangerous to no one more than Jews because our religion is all about action? The way we tie our shoes in the morning is a religious act," Menken said.
"So no, if you tell us we have freedom of speech and freedom of worship but we cannot let religion guide how we do business, that is not religious freedom," Menken said. "And we Jews have seen this before. We have long, bitter, deadly experience with governments trying to force us to follow earlier versions of political correctness."
Mr. Phillips, who is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says this case isn't about discriminating against gay people -- it's about the message.
"I've turned down a cake order for an anti-LGBT message and I turned down a request from someone asking for a cake that would disparage their boss," he told the crowd of about 400. "But again, it's never about the person making the request. It's about the event."
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