Paul L. Caron

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Phillips: The Cost Of My Faith

Jack Phillips (Owner, Masterpiece Cakeshop), The Cost of My Faith: How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court (May 25, 2021): Why I Didn't "Just Bake the Cake":

The Cost of My FaithMy decision in the cake shop that summer afternoon in July 2012—and my continuing decision to stand by it ever since—has cost me at least tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and eight years and counting of physical threats to my family, insults to my character, and untold hours tied up in legal action of one form or another. Given this, I’m sure there’s an excellent chance that you’re wondering, “What on earth is this guy’s thing about marriage? Is it really that big a deal? Is it really worth all of this pain and aggravation?” Or, as many people have put it, “Why not just bake the cake?”

My hesitation was not with the men making the request. My objection is never to the person, the customer, asking me to create a cake with a particular message. My objection—in this case—is to the message itself. I can and cheerfully will serve anyone. I cannot and won’t communicate every message.

I have demurred from creating a lot of non-wedding cakes. I don’t do Halloween cakes, for instance. I personally cannot see Jesus celebrating that day, or encouraging me to do so, especially if the motivation is to glorify things the Bible so explicitly condemns. ...

Where do we think artistic creativity comes from? Something outside of ourselves? Of course not. It’s water from the fountain of our soul. It comes from that deep-down place inside each of us where our experiences, our understanding, our intuitions, and our deepest beliefs and convictions about life all stir together. Those can’t be separated from each other any more than you can sift out the various ingredients from a cake after it’s baked.

That’s why I say that I’ll serve any person, but I won’t communicate all messages. Serving people is merely about recognizing each individual as a person worthy of respect, made in the image of God. I’m not trying to force any person to see the world the way I do, or to embrace my beliefs about God and the Bible. If you want to reject Jesus and purchase a cupcake, go ahead. I’ll gladly sell you that cupcake, and a cup of coffee to go with it, maybe even engage in a conversation about our differences.

But asking me to draw on my creativity to communicate a message I believe is wrong? That’s asking me to stop being me. To change my own relationship with the Lord. To deny the deepest convictions of my heart, and pretend I haven’t learned the most difficult lessons of my life, or that they don’t matter. That’s not something any person has the right to ask of another. Or a command any government has the right to force one of its citizens to obey.

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