From the SCOTUS decision on Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, June 10, 2018:
"Phillips too was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case. That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission's treatment of Phillips' case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. 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."
(You can read the full text at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdf.)
I would suspect that everyone in America, and most people around the world, have been aware of the "cake wars" going on in our land. I could just as easily say "floral wars" or a host of other items, since these, too, are making their way through the courts.
Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, won his case versus the two men who used the arm of the law to strike out at him after he refused to design a custom cake for their wedding. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission was rebuked by SCOTUS for their hostility to Mr. Phillips' faith, and he won his case before them.
That much is settled. But in the hours just after the decision came down, as is my wont, I browsed Twitter and online news stories to see how the reactions were going. They were varied, but on the side that was rooting against Mr. Phillips, the reaction of many could be easily summarized by a comment I saw scores and scores of time. It went something like this;
"It's just a (word I can't say) cake. Do what Jesus would have done and bake the (word I can't say, word I can't say, word I can't say) cake!!!"
I am decently well read in legal matters, but I am certainly not a legal scholar, and thus I keep my legal opinions to a minimum. For what it is worth, I believe SCOTUS got it right, but was unduly narrow in the scope of their ruling, and thus ensured that this type of assault on faith is not going away any time soon.
But though I am not a legal scholar, I am very, very well read in Scripture. I passed 50 times through the Bible cover to cover years ago and have not stopped. As such, I find the "Jesus would have baked the cake" argument amusing at best, heretical at worst. Perhaps this can be illustrated by asking if he would have also baked cakes for other different types of behavior that the Bible describes as sinful. And so...
"There we go," Jesus said with satisfaction as he surveyed the simple yet lovely sign he had just hung over his new cake shop in Galilee. Yes, he was the Messiah, but even he had to eat. And since he refused to do miracles for his own benefit, such as turning stones to bread after 40 days of fasting, this cake shop business on the side would help feed him and his disciples as he preached.
It did not take long for the customers to start rolling in. And the first one was a very familiar face, the woman from John 8 who had been taken in adultery.
"Hello again, Jesus!" she said with a smile. "I heard about your new cake shop, and I wanted to be your first customer. I would like you to bake me an adultery cake; I am now dating my best friend's husband and want to celebrate our relationship."
Jesus looked at her in seeming bewilderment. "Um, do you not remember the last thing I told you about that? 'Go, and sin no more?' That will be a verse of Scripture one day, John 8:11, in fact."
Stunned, the lady began to stammer, "But, but, you are Jesus! Aren't you supportive of every choice and every behavior? I hope so, because there is quite a crowd lined up behind me for cakes!"
And there was. Jesus looked up to see the rich young ruler standing in line for a "Money is God" cake, Herod standing in line for an "I love my brother's wife" cake, the Pharisees standing in line for a "Prophet killing championship cake," a Roman soldier waiting for a "Crucifier of the Month" cake and Judas, for some strange reason, wanting a cake designed to look like 30 pieces of silver.
"What are you going to do, Lord?" Peter asked. "Will you bake any of the cakes?"
Jesus looked at Peter with tenderness in his eyes and said, "No, Peter, of course not. Do you remember what I said twice before? 'Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' One day that, too, will be an actual part of the Bible, Luke 13:3 and 5. So, no, I will not bake the cakes.
"But I will, though, do something much more beneficial. Because I love them, I will lay down my life and die for every one of them. I didn't come to celebrate any sin; I came to lay down my life to save sinners."
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.