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Loving Others While Standing by My Beliefs

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
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August 23, 2021 6:00 am

Loving Others While Standing by My Beliefs

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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August 23, 2021 6:00 am

Cake artist Jack Phillips discusses the challenges he's faced since a same-sex couple filed a discrimination complaint against him for declining to create a cake for their wedding ceremony – a case that gained nationwide attention and went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jack describes how his Christian faith has sustained him and inspired others to stand in defense of religious freedom.

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Hi this is Jim Daly with Focus on the Family. I will let you know about an online experience called sea life, 20, 21 in the six episode video series were sharing stories and encouragement that will inspire and empower you to live out your pro-life views. You also discover valuable resources to help you step up and get involved in the cause. This is a digital experience, you and your family won't want to miss all the details are Focus on the life for the commission said that religious freedom was despicable piece of rhetoric and joined it to things oral history like that.

She compared it to the Holocaust into slavery.

That's Jack Phillips describing the difficulty and the pain he and his family have endured after he took a stand for his faith is our guest today on Focus on the Family and you'll hear how he remained faithful to God's word and his convictions, even when met, going all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Your hostess book as president and author Jim Daly and I'm John felt John one of the greatest privileges we've been given here in America is the freedom of worship and God and God had the privilege of going international worker about 70 countries. I've been to Cuba and I think a lot of the people that think Cuba is really good place need to go visit and I met with Christians are people that have been persecuted threatened with their lives. It is not the place that some people like to paint and I would only say that we have the greatest country that's ever been created and I'm speaking from that experience. The First Amendment of the Constitution reads and I want to quote it so that we know it. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. It is plain and simple.

I think it was Supreme Court Justice Scalia who said for a country that separates church and state. We tell people what to do with God a lot. The Supreme Court is not interstate is pretty clear they just need to get out of the way. Let people pursue their conscience and I think were the very you know dangerous tipping point in this country or government is now beginning to tell us what to think what to say what to do and today were going to talk about it. We are, we have Jack Phillips here.

As I mentioned, he's the owner and founder of masterpiece cake shop here in Colorado I Jack and his wife Debbie have been married over 40 years. They have three adult children and he has a riveting story as I alluded to earlier. I he's captured that story in the book the cost of my faith how a decision in my cake shop took me to the Supreme Court and we have that here at the ministry. Just click the episode notes for all the details. Jack welcome back to Focus on the Family. It's an honor to be here.

Jim is good to see you in that I consider you a good friend them. It's been fun in tough circumstances, though they get to know you and your family, your wife Debbie and and your daughter and grandkids. This is been wonderful and let me say, you know, one of the things and I have you know I have developed relationships within the LGBT Q community and what I'm saying them is your pic on the rounded is this this family is such a nice family and in most cases they respond with yeah he's not what we would choose as an apartment is not great to hear the data needed that the. The aroma of Christ is in you and all around you, and that's I think one of the greatest distinctions here year you not looking to pick a fight you are a kind and gentle soul. And I think they just entirely mess that will take effect in our most recent trial.

We actually had a gay activist testify on our behalf because he saw that he knows that that we serve everybody and we just can't crater cake and express every message. People ask us to sows. It's good to hear from your side to yeah and you know I want to get to the more specifics of that whole thing, but this book in the cost of my faith really starts back about who you are and how these values were shaped and I'd like to go back and start in that area and you met your wife Debbie.

I mean I think in high school you know each other out.

It was a year later, his October 1975. I've been at this bakery for year and 1/2 and yeah and now you gave your life to the Lord. Were you guys already married. Yeah, yeah, we've been married. I'm not sure how long. At that point that it was 1978 in the spring. I know exactly when and where.

But I don't have the date yeah I might see you have this experience you, you feel a call from God on your life describe that for some people listening are not Christians you know we have a percentage of the audience that don't have relation with Christ were glad you're listening, but man, we'd love for you to make that next step to a commitment to Christ because that's what it's all about. Yeah. Makes life really full and really good but I was working a night shift at the bakery that worked and midmorning, 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock planning probably while I was headed home from work and I was driving home and nothing particular on my mind and suddenly I felt the Holy Spirit in my car and I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting me that I was a sinner and I needed a Savior like I had been to church in a long time. I quit going to church, probably when I was 17 and at this point in like 23 but all the Sunday school stories I heard suddenly made sense. It God created us to have a relationship with him and that relationship was spoiled by our sin or rebellion against him, and he paid the penalty for that because our sins have to be paid for and the he paid the penalty for that was his son Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead and paying for my sins and I understood all that so clearly in sight. I get it, but I decided to negotiate with them for a minute and go short. I decided you're not yeah this will let me clean up my life a little bit and you'll get a better deal and he said you can't and understood that he did everything and said you're right, I'm yours so you take this powerful experience.

This powerful commitment. This brief negotiation with God and it shapes your life. It forms who you are right to your core.

You believe in eternity with God. Right absolutely soon. I start this this bakery for that I had to finish my drive home I was just a few blocks and I had to go home in and tell my wife would. It just happened again just a few weeks earlier. My sister-in-law had invited her to church and she blew up sight Christians are all hypocrites. All that I don't know what it was all said, but it wasn't a friendly conversation. I wasn't there but apparently I told my wife that is what why don't you go to church with her. I don't know why. Apparently she did and she heard the gospel for the first time so I didn't know that when I came home I still have the memory in my mind of you. She just blew up in my sister, not just for asking to go to church.

So when I got home I had to walk in and say hello to her what's wrong and I kind of stuttered and stammered and I became a Christian this morning, expecting the worst. Instead I got me to three days ago. That's fantastic to see God working in both of your lives like that.

I love it and so you leave the corporate bakery scene and you start masterpiece cake shop in Denver at right from the beginning you infuse your faith in your vocation and you put boundaries on the kind of art you would or wouldn't do what were some of those boundaries before we open it we had discussions with the bakery look like in our you make donuts know and I can do that, you know, just good and that's disappointing. I know I so we knew that other, it would just focus on on custom cakes and the cakes that we decided it would make nobody from graduations, especially wedding cakes different things like that but we also decided there were celebrations that we wouldn't create cakes for and among those who be hollowing we decide wouldn't create cakes and celebrate Halloween or cakes that would be anti-American war races cakes takes it would insult people and that even includes people who identify as LGBT.

So we just with the case of a message I have to agree with the message that I'm expressing through a cake and, for that would be cakes to celebrate same-sex weddings and I can't crater cake to celebrate same-sex wedding, a wedding that goes against the biblical definition of weddings now know that the people who would ask that cake, whether they really will secular heterosexual friends ordering it for them.

It would never be the person ordering the cake you would just be the message of the cake that right reassure and again this distinction between having to collaborate with something that you believe in Scripture. I think most theologians would agree goes against what God talks about in the way he designed human things, male and female. The two shall become one flesh in and a lot of people are going freak out at this point, and some in the Christian community that have kind of jettisoned what the Scripture teaches about human design in human sexuality but that conviction is what you've been on trial for right right yet started nine years ago and now two men came into my cake shop so I sat down, made introductions like David Charlie and you. I'm Jack. What can I do for you with her. Look at wedding cakes is for our wedding, so I knew immediately what I was what my answer would be registered no house can phrase it in. So what came out was sorry guys I don't do cakes for same-sex weddings in the boat, stared at me like what you say. They didn't say anything that I can remember, but they were taken aback.

I think either you just said something we can't believe or what.

What did you say this is all making birthday cakes, shower cakes also you cookies or brownies but I just can't crater cake to celebrate same-sex wedding, expecting more conversation that I didn't get it. David stood up, stormed out of the shop with me often swearing at McLeod Lake was that the guy Charlie gets up and his mom apparently was sitting at one of other tables so they got up and went out the other door might want in the world just happened. I need a processing center. Not sure what's what else happened because that's never happened before.

He been in business for almost 20 years, hundreds wedding cakes, lots of happy brides and lots of other occasions that we may cakes for reserve takes to gaze reserve cakes to atheist reserve cakes to anybody who comes in. But that's just a cake that can create nine really hope for more of an opportunity to explains my faith in him gladly serve you that didn't happen within about 20 minutes later the phone rang, and; and I answered the phone. Are you there baker who just turned away a gay couple. What I would never turn away invite you know it declined to create a cake that try to explain to this person that I couldn't create a cake that violated my biblical view of marriage demand is swore at me and hung up. This is twice in 20 minutes. It I don't know what's going on in my head, suspending then the phone rang again and again and again like half a dozen times before he closed the store that night and it is another hour after we close a finely left and the phone kept ringing but I didn't answer it and so I closed up the shop and headed home. Just went to the grocery store local store and thinking. Everybody here hates me there all to call me what's going on in God gave me for sensitivity and said God is not given us a spirit of fear but of love and of power, sound mind, sound mind, said they don't know you that only think about this.

I'm in control of this and from that moment to this I rest in fact, because sovereign over this whole situation was amazing. Jack is you think about this. It is somewhat your living in a time warp because 20 years ago this would never have popped up right right that it is your conscience rights would have been respected and people would have assumed after hearing that that they they would go to a different baker and find the services that they would need and I think this is the biggest problem that were facing right now in the country is that the Christian community is being basically herded into a violation of their conscience that they don't support these things were. The culture is now moved. We haven't moved within the same for 2000 years right, but the culture in the last 10 years has moved significantly and now it they make you to feel like you're the outsider. What's wrong with you. Even their expression in that moment and I know your heart well enough you love everybody was like as a retail I like to write like to work at the end that's not the issue. The issue is just your you can't be compelled to do something that violates your conscience and I'm not sure how we ever are going to get to a place where everybody feels like they're accommodated here.

I don't think it's possible because somebody loses here either your conscience rights.

Your religious conviction loses or their right to get a cake from you loses now the issue there. The amazing thing is, there's plenty of bakers will bake them. That cake, but they want to make an example out of you. In that context, what have you suffered from. I know you've had death threats. How has your family responded that you got beautiful grandkids.

I mean describe that for us what it's like to take a firm position with a loving heart in a culture that is now sending you death threats well.

Our family is we encourage each other. We've grown collectively much stronger through this whole thing. I have a nephew who has come to faith in Christ because of this situation the only why would they be attacking my uncle you know he's such a good guy and on and from there led to faith in Christ. But we encourage each other we bill each other up with the states in the first ruling that on the way to the US Supreme Court said that if I were to continue making wedding cakes that make temporary couple that came in so there was a choice. If you're going to make wedding CF to make weddings a go get your faith and so the choice was easy on docket make wedding cakes under choices difficult at the same time because it was a large percentage of our business. So let's let's move ahead that life continues you're getting harassment and we get that and you know, again, even in our tone of voice.

I think that I can get a little defensive about this because I feel I feel for you that all you're doing is trying to be a good Christian man and all of a sudden the whole world coming down on you and in I know like you, we as Christians need to have a heart for everybody. LGBT Q everybody the people work in the abortion industry. We know that nobody is beyond the reach of God and it is in Romans to forward it says it's God's kindness that leads one to repentance, so we want to express that.

But the same time were saying.

Can you just leave us alone and so what happened when you got the letter informing you that hey were taking this up with higher authority yet it is actually when you look at the challenge of the US Supreme Court's masterpiece cake shop versus Colorado civil rights commission so was that the state coming against me, not the two men, but the two men filed a complaint with the state and so yeah the Colorado civil rights commission is part of the executive branch so the governor appoints the commissioners and then you go to an administrative law court which the governor also points the judge of that administrative law court so being a governor appointed judge is part of the executive branch is not part of the judicial branch so you're going into their courtroom with their judge in their complaint now and so you know you're going to lose so we did lose it. Then we filed the appeal to the next step which was to the Colorado Court of Appeals. So now you're in the judicial system in case what happens. They have a three-judge panel and so ADF but when their staff attorneys and to help with that and we lost three to nothing and so were were done and this week appeal to the Colorado's color a state Supreme Court, which we did in the cause state supreme court has discretion over which cases they take and he declined to take our case and so at that point you're done in the state.

The only one.

One opportunity for justice left and that's the United States Supreme Court. So let's get into you. You get the thumbs up that the Supreme Court can review the case and how to go about thinking about that preparing for that.

What happens with Ellis quite today. It was the last day of the session 8 conference my case, which means that they look in my case, a record number of times for the Supreme Court, and they would look at it set aside look at and set aside. So I'm waiting the entire year. Pretty much from October to June through the whole session and find the last day watching on my computer a website that monitors the Supreme Court and since it masterpiece cake shop has been granted in chokes me up today that that day I couldn't call anybody. I couldn't talk to anybody for a while. You're all I could do is text and send emails because I couldn't speak. I just lost my voice is such a powerful thing. But there was one person must shop that I could share it with, and is a homeless guy who comes in.

So I told him hey I get to go Supreme Court and he looked at me and he said yeah.

I gotta go to court on Wednesdays.

He needed a parole officer I didn't betcha, so that start off of a long string of things from that was June 2017 until December 5, 2017, when we actually appeared at the court for arguments. Yeah. So when you wrap it all up, Jack. I mean, these are substantial cases for the Christian community and I know there's gonna be division within the Christian community. Let's acknowledge that some people would say Jack is bake the cake and I get it and that may be their choice and they might embrace that as a Christian baker but for you it was convictional you don't mean any ill will toward anyone but for you as a Christian you want to live your faith according to the tenets of your faith and that's what you were on trial for basically what was their decision. In the end and have that play out because a lot of people that I talk to. It was kind of you know, not exactly what everybody wanted, but it was a step in the right direction. Yet in the end in June 2018 so six months after the arguments, the court released their opinion and we 172, and many people say that it was a narrow opinion that it's still an opinion that people that the other courts have used in different cases, just the last few weeks the case involving adoption agency in Philadelphia. Fulton case, they referenced our case in the US Supreme Court. Again this is why this is so important. It is, and it's important to know Christians will stand up for what they believe because God will give us the strength and he will supply everything we need and promises that as we go through these trials. He's he's there more than adequate health and basically they said the commission in Colorado was harassing you and your religious convictions.

That was in the decision correct right. The commissioners at one .1 of their meetings said that when the commission said that religious freedom was a despicable piece of rhetoric and joined it to think it will history like that. She compared it to the Holocaust into slavery and for them to compare to the Holocaust was specifically egregious to me because my dad fought in World War II. He fought in France and fought in Germany and he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he got a Purple Heart for a mortar attack, a big jagged scar on his back. The passion up and sent back into combat again and he ended up being part of a group that liberated Buchenwald concentration camp and he saw what concentration camp was like and for her to compare my decision not to create a cake that violates my faith with the horrors of the Holocaust was even too much for the Supreme Court, they held out in our favor that this commission was held impermissible hostility to me. My faith and they were required to be neutral so that hostilities when things it gave us the victory and Jack again that this is where people can pray and you're not the only person I mean there are forests that are facing this ruin actually the woman up in Seattle whose loss elderly woman who's lost all of her savings and everything else because of the conviction she didn't want to do same-sex wedding with the floral arrangements and the point of this is this is really good for us to pray for you in that regard that harassment is not ended. The lawsuits have not ended it it the there's just something that the Lord has for you that you've got to be a little bewildered by like Lord, why am I the bull's-eye but you overcome that and that's why want people to hear how we can manage that rent saying woe is me, Lord, thank you for this burden and I'm glad to move forward with it, but you put it in your words and I just know you well enough to know I think I hear approaching it, but the hostility is not ended as the point and you have another lawsuit pending correct will have to know that God is going to be faithful to us so even in our current court situation.

The person that's suing me has informed me face-to-face and then again under oath that if I were to win this case or if it were to be dismissed for any reason that I would get a call the next day with another cake and we would start all over again.

This person also asked us to create a cake depicting Satan smoking marijuana. So these are messages that I can express through cake but we know that this battle is not can and even if we go to the Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals rules in our favor. The Supreme Court rules in our favor situations I can change because this is a world it is lost in sin and God sent his son to redeem.

You seem to be at the point of the spear as the cultures changing like I've talked about Christian universities are coming under some significant pressure to allow same-sex couples to live in the dormitories, etc. there's just a an onslaught of you better change what you believe and get with the program. Are you going to be incorporated to be in jail or unit defined what you think God is teaching you and and then teaching the rest of us in the Christian community about the country we live in the world we live in what faith is about. It goes back for me to that day my car on the way home from work. When I surrendered my life to him. I knew that meant all of my life.

I didn't know what that would mean going 20 years down the road, 30, 40 years down the road, but I know that he's in control of the universe. He's going to do what's good and what's right, what's just and the he will do its best for his glory.

And if you Susan. These court situations and these others things in our life to him glory. And in were willing to do that. Happy to do that because he so good that I can trust him with whatever he does with these situations do not get resentful or how do you deal with those feelings of resentment which Christians are not called to be. I get that being human.

How have you managed not lashing out at those who were trying to really do you harm, loaded the two men that suit me the first time, the attorney who suing me know. The commissioner said the hateful things about about us as a people of God created in his own image, and he desires he desires a relationship with them as well.

And if I were to lash out.

I might be the only witness that they have been if that's what your God means to you and you want revenge on us. I don't want any part of it. So he's also given us than the grace to be kind and gentle and and not defend their lifestyles or anything like that. But when people come against them to mean and say hateful things about people that are suing me my responses to be gracious in defending that these people are people who are created in God's image and God wants a relationship with them in their they don't even know me. They don't hate me right.

And God wants us to respond in kindness to them but it's so nonhuman to do that in our flesh wants total hash back at them and go to war with them and that's not what I read in the New Testament, and you've been such a good example of that. Jack they have picked on the wrong guy and I'm glad I'm sorry for you, but I'm glad that God is using you to demonstrate his character.

I can't think of a better person, Jack, that the Lord could have put in this crucible than you. Thank you for being faithful in every direction and you're just such a powerful witness for the Lord, thank you so very much event will what a remarkable story with her today and I hope you've been inspired by what you've heard from Jack in his heart for God's heart to stand on principle that stories captured in this great book. The cost of my faith.

How decision in my cake shop took me to the Supreme Court and will encourage you to stop by the episode notes or call 800 the letter a in the word family to get your copy in this kind of conversation is reflective of our hearts. At Focus on the Family we want to encourage you in your faith and would love for you to join the supporting we do today. The gift of any amount either monthly pledge or one-time gift will send Jack's book to you as I think you the cost of my faith.

How decision in my cake shop took me to the Supreme Court. Don't we call 800 a family or stop by on behalf of Jim Daly and the rest the team here.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ

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