At what point does this become harassment of Jack Phillips for his religious views?
A new lawsuit has been filed against Masterpiece Cakeshop according to CBS 4 Denver. This is the third time that baker Jack Phillips has been sued for “discrimination” for refusing to bake and decorate cakes that are against his traditional, Christian views.
The latest lawsuit has been filed by Autumn Scardina, who has a bit of a history with Phillips.
Scardina, a local transgender woman and, (according to Newsweek, a lawyer,) had been contacting the bakery run by the devout Christian to request cakes that would be deliberately offensive. Jack Phillips believes that Scardina has done so several times.
The first instance was the day of the Supreme Court decision that was 7-2 in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop. That lawsuit was filed by Phillips against a Colorado “Human Rights Commission” that punished him for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
That day, Masterpiece Cakeshop received a request for a birthday cake for Scardina, but with a catch. The cake was to be pink on the inside with blue frosting to celebrate Scardina’s transgender identity. Scardina’s lawyer called the cake a simple birthday cake on Thursday, but previous reports indicate that the cake was to celebrate a gender transition.
Another request on the same day (which Phillips believes was also Scardina,) was from a “member of the church of Satan” requesting a cake to celebrate Satan’s birthday.
“I’m thinking a three-tiered white cake. Cheesecake frosting,” the customer wrote in the June 4 email, according to Phillips’ lawsuit filed in Denver’s federal court on Tuesday. “And the topper should be a large figure of Satan, licking a 9” black Dildo. I would like the dildo to be an actual working model, that can be turned on before we unveil the cake.”
The email continued: “I can provide it for you if you don’t have the means to procure it yourself,” according to the civil complaint.
Philips “politely declined.”
“Cheesecake frosting” in itself is a bizarre request, but the rest of it is just over the top cray-cray.
Newsweek queried other local bakeries and found that all but one would refuse to bake the Satan cake.
Weeks after the three-tiered “Satan licking a dildo” cake request, two people entered the shop asking for a cake with a pentagram on it. When Phillips asked for a name one individual said, “Autumn Marie” which leads Phillips to think that this is a form of harassment.
Phillips said that these types of requests for cakes are increasing.
Last September, Phillips received an email requesting a cake for Satan’s birthday to include “red-and -lack icing” and “an upside-down cross under the head of Lucifer,” the complaint states.
Phillips answered back saying he was not going to bake it because it would have “expressed messages in violation of his religious beliefs,” according to the complaint.
Then came another order by telephone.
The complaint suggests that Phillips took note of the “caller-identification screen” reading “Scardina.”
In that call, the complaint states, Phillips “believes that the caller was Autumn Scardina” who wanted a red-and-black theme cake with “an image of Satan smoking marijuana.”
It is unclear what baked item is the center of this third lawsuit, but it seems to be pretty clear the types of items that Scardina has requested in the past.
CBS 4 Denver reports that the latest lawsuit was filed on Wednesday on behalf of Autumn Scardina by attorneys Paula Greisen and John McHugh. Clearly, Scardina is upset that the previous lawsuit was dismissed.
“The second round was dismissed, frankly, without our input,” Greisen told CBS4. “They disregarded Ms. Scardina and the merits of her claim.”
The newest lawsuit claims Phillips discriminated against Scardina and used deceptive and unfair trade practices.
“The dignity of all citizens in our state needs to be honored. Masterpiece Cakeshop said before the Supreme Court they would serve any baked good to members of the LGBTQ community. It was just the religious significance of it being a wedding cake,” Griesen said. “We don’t believe they’ve been honest with the public.”
The previous lawsuit filed by Scardina as well as this one cites that during the original litigation regarding the same-sex wedding cake, Jack Philips said that he would make “any” cake for an LGBT client except for a wedding cake. This is completely disingenuous, as Phillips has repeatedly stated that there are several types of items that he will not make because they violate his religious convictions.
A formal statement was later distributed on his behalf by Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Jim Campbell, whose firm represented Phillips in the Supreme Court case:
“A new lawsuit has been filed against Masterpiece Cakeshop that appears to largely rehash old claims. The State of Colorado abandoned similar ones just a few months ago. So this latest attack by Scardina looks like yet another desperate attempt to harass cake artist Jack Phillips. And it stumbles over the one detail that matters most: Jack serves everyone; he just cannot express all messages through his custom cakes.”
Source: CBS 4 Denver
This latest lawsuit requests a trial by jury and would bypass the state of Colorado, which the Supreme Court decision found had been harassing Phillips for his religious views via the “Human Rights Commission” decisions against him.
Watch the news report:
This should be interesting. The Supreme Court had skirted the main issue of opposing rights, but it seems that activists want a clear decision on the ability to suppress religious views when it is convenient.
This is a very important case where religious freedoms are concerned.
Stay tuned for updates.
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