Huckabee on SCOTUS Ruling: ‘A Vital First Step,’ but Much Still to Be Decided
High court, in its bakeshop case decision on Monday, didn't address larger point of religious liberties versus individual rights
After Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, liberals donned digital sackcloth and ashes while conservatives celebrated as if they’d won the gold in the civil rights Olympics.
But, but, but …
“The high court didn’t address the larger issue of religious liberties versus individual rights,” said Fox News host Laura Ingraham Monday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a guest on the show, agreed.
He pointed out an important aspect of the case that some people are overlooking: The shop owner regularly sold off-the-shelf goods to people who are gay, and he also declined to offer certain Halloween-related creations because those, too, violated his conscience.
“The government can’t tell an artist what kind of art to produce,” said Huckabee.
"It was a vital first step to say that you can't have the government just telling people what they will believe and how they will practice their craft," he added.
"There's very little guidance to the lower courts," Ingraham noted, referring to the limited nature of the case's broader applicability.
Law professor Mark Rienzi, president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, agreed with both Ingraham and Huckabee that the case represents a good first step.
"It's not really about a cake. It's about some people trying to drive out religious beliefs that they think are illegitimate and wrong," said Rienzi on the program.
"A lot of other religious Americans of faith have to be willing to fight for their own rights," said Ingraham.
The cakeshop case represents neither a major loss for LGBTQ advocates nor a major win for First Amendment advocates. For the most part, it's a rightful win for one man, plaintiff Jack Phillips, and a slap on the wrist for some brazenly biased members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCCR).
Phillips, an evangelical, declined to create a custom wedding cake for gay patrons in July of 2012. The couple filed a complaint, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) agreed with them that Phillips had discriminated against them. Phillips appealed.
Though he won his case in the nation's highest court, he won because the governmental decision-making body in Colorado was overtly biased against his Christian faith. Had the CCRC's members been less vocal about their biases, the case perhaps could have gone in the opposite direction.
Phillips won because the governmental decision-making body in Colorado was overtly biased against his Christian faith.
Where the CCRC erred, according to the court's decision, was in its open antagonism toward the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner and its assumption that his deeply held religious beliefs were irrelevant, shameful, or flatly immoral.
Meanwhile, the country will continue to grapple with whether the newly minted, SCOTUS-created right to gay marriage trumps, is equal to, or is subordinate to constitutionally enshrined rights such as the right to freedom of speech and to freedom from governmental interference in the practice of religion.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.