Dear Congressman / Senator X:
Colorado’s bakery issue is convoluted. As a technical writer, I’ve unravelled the issue, in the hopes you and others might do something to make it perfectly clear what the First Amendment does and does not protect.
Specifically, today’s headlines proclaimed, “The Colorado Civil Rights Division has ruled that a baker (Azucar’s Marjorie Silva) who refused to make cakes with messages she found offensive did not discriminate.” Last year, however, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that a baker (Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cake Shop) who refused to make cakes with messages he found offensive DID discriminate.
Colorado’s CRD can’t have it both ways, particularly when one finding embraces the First Amendment rights of one baker to refuse to include offensive content while its earlier finding emphatically denied the First Amendment rights of another baker to refuse to include offensive content.
Unfortunately, CRD’s dichotomous, self-contradictory behavior is reflected throughout the nation. In all cases, I find the decisions aren’t being made on the basis of “the supreme Law of the Land” i.e. our Constitution, but on muddy precedence, muddier laws, and the muddiest thinking.
No artisan or business should EVER be forced to do anything that violates their conscience, much less the free exercise of their religion. The later is expressly FORBIDDEN here in America. If I was a photographer and a gay couple approached me to take wedding pictures, I would REFUSE on the grounds that it’s a direct violation of my First Amendment right to freely exercise my religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The United States Supreme Court long ago extended the scope of our First Amendment to the States. This means Colorado’s CRD decision VIOLATES the First Amendment Rights of Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cake Shop.
It all comes down to what is meant by “the free exercise thereof.” If my religion specifically states that I should steer clear of behaviors and thoughts which my religion finds evil, and one or more of our 50 states forces me to do otherwise, it is, by definition, “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” All bakers, painters, t-shirt makers, photographers, and other artisans should NEVER be prohibited from freely exercising their religion. If that means they reserve the right to refuse to include anything on a cake they find religiously or morally objectionable, so be it.
Sadly, the Colorado Civil Rights Division appears more than a bit ignorant when it comes to “the supreme Law of the Land.” Our nation desperately needs clarify on this issue. We shouldn’t have to create laws to protect the integrity of something as clear as the First Amendment. Unfortunately, when state agencies such as Colorado’s CRD can’t seem to understand simple prose, we are left with no other choice in our duty to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. On this matter, Colorado’s CRD, along with those of a number of other states, has become the “domestic enemy” mentioned in our oaths of office.
I respectfully request you give this matter your complete attention, while keeping the crux of the matter firmly in mind, without allowing the liberal media to twist it out of context.