Supreme Court UpdateThink you know all about the Colorado cake artist at the center of the Supreme Court case?

You don’t know Jack Phillips!

In December 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips. On June 4, 2018, the Court handed down its decision ruling that the government was wrong to punish Jack for operating his business consistent with his beliefs. It was a significant win for religious freedom in America.

While the media has covered the case extensively, most people don’t know the real man at the center of this story.

Jack had an encounter with Jesus

Both Jack and his wife Debi were raised in churchgoing families, but neither put much stock in what they learned. They started their own family with zero interest in anything related to faith. 

But that all changed one morning as Jack finished a late shift and started driving home.

“I just felt like God came into my car and convicted me of my sins,” he says, recalling the conversation in his heart. “It just took a few seconds. ‘You’re a sinner. You need a Savior. It’s Jesus Christ.’ I said, ‘You’re right. Let me clean up my life.’ He said, ‘You can’t.’ I said, ‘You’re right. I’m Yours.’ So I gave my life to Christ, driving home from work.”

Telling Debi wasn’t so simple. Weeks before, she’d torn into a relative who invited them to visit her church. Jack figured if she learned of his conversion, she’d leave him.

But he couldn’t sleep for the voice in his soul kept urging him to tell her what he’d done. He walked out to the kitchen. “I need to tell you something,” he said. “I became a Christian today.” Tears come to his eyes, remembering what came next.

“Me, too,” she said. “Three days ago.”

Jack wanted to honor God in his business

For Jack and Debi, becoming Christians changed everything. So when Jack started his cakeshop 24 years ago, it was not only to provide for his family and his employees, but also to honor God through his work every day.

The very name of Jack’s shop — Masterpiece Cakeshop — not only reflects that Jack designs artistic cakes, but is a constant reminder to him that he operates his business in service to his ultimate Master — Jesus Christ.

“We don’t want God to be part of our lives on just Sundays. We want Him to be part of our lives every day.”
— Jack Phillips

Jack has always been an artist

When Jack opened Masterpiece Cakeshop, he wanted to use his God-given artistic talents to design custom cakes that were both imaginative and personal.

From an early age, Jack had developed his expertise in painting, drawing, and cartooning. Now he had the opportunity to combine those gifts with his skills as a pastry chef to create beautiful works of art.

“I wanted customers to say, ‘Wow! This isn’t just a bakery … it’s a place where you go to get a cake that’s art,’ ” Jack says.

“Masterpiece implies the artwork aspect, where we take the different artistic tools and colors and pallettes to create the artwork,” Jack says.

But Jack was shocked when not just his business, but his faith, and even his family, became the subject of threats and punishment.
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I wanted customers to say, ‘Wow! This isn’t just a bakery … it’s a place where you go to get a cake that's art.’ ” -Jack says.

Jack was targeted by the state for following his conscience

In 2012, two men came into Jack’s shop and asked him to design a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.

Jack kindly explained that he could not design a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding. Like millions of people across the globe and throughout history, he affirms the biblical teaching that marriage is the sacred union of a man and a woman. He could not design the requested cake because that would force him to violate his conscience.

But Jack told the men that he would sell them anything else in the shop or make a custom cake for them for another occasion.

Unsatisfied, the men swore at Jack and left. He endured weeks of threatening phone calls and emails. But that was only the beginning. Jack eventually received a letter from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. He was being sued, accused of violating the state’s nondiscrimination laws.

When the commission ruled against Jack, he knew that the real issue was not “discrimination” but whether he would be forced by the state to violate his conscience.

“I haven't singled out that one issue as something I won't do,” Jack says. “I don't make cakes for bachelor parties, I don't make Halloween cakes, or anything involving witchcraft.” And he even declined to create a three-tiered wedding cake, split right down the middle, to celebrate a divorce.

Jack was ordered by the state to use his talents to celebrate same-sex weddings in violation of his sincerely held religious beliefs so long as he continues to design wedding cakes. He was also told to reeducate his staff, and to file quarterly compliance reports with the state for two years.

Throughout the entire journey, Alliance Defending Freedom and Allied Attorneys have been defending Jack in court, free of charge.

Alliance Defending Freedom can only defend Jack and others like him because friends of religious freedom from across the country give generously to support our work. And as the facts of Jack’s case demonstrate, that work has never been more needed. One of the commissioners who ruled in Jack’s case went so far as to refer to Jack’s request to affirm his religious freedom as a “despicable piece of rhetoric.”

“When it’s a same-sex wedding, I can’t participate … Because that goes against what the Bible teaches. ”
— Jack Phillips

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Jack Phillips stood by his deeply held religious convictions and placed the future of his business in God’s hands.

We defended Jack all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court

ADF appealed on Jack’s behalf to the Colorado Court of Appeals, but his ordeal was a long way from over. Eventually, after many years his case would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, praise be to God, the Supreme Court has ruled in Jack’s favor.

After everything that’s happened, Jack continues to trust in God’s plan for his life and for the future of his business, Masterpiece Cakeshop.

“I can trust Him and know that God is doing what He’s going to do. And if He’s chosen us to be a part of that, that’s quite an honor.”

Will you stand with others like Jack who are being punished for their faith, to provide the strong legal defense they need?

Please help as generously as you can.

“What’s surprising is that the same government that is supposed to be protecting our rights is actually the biggest threat to them.”
— Jack Phillips

Your gift today is also critical because the income we receive determines the resources that we have to fight for you. We want to be able to provide the strongest possible legal defense for Christians like Jack who are — and will continue to be — threatened with the loss of their religious freedom.

Your gift will further the impact of a $2 million challenge grant!

A generous group of Ministry Friends has given a challenge grant to help defend others like Jack Phillips. These ministry friends have offered a $2 million challenge grant to inspire you to join with them today and defend religious freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom has established a record of success in defending your religious freedom. But your help is critically needed now. Because, for many others, the fight is not over.

God has shown us time and time again that when we stand together to protect religious freedom, we can be victorious. But protecting religious freedom isn’t “someone else’s fight.” It’s your fight. It’s our fight.

About Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

ADF was launched in 1994 by 35 ministry leaders, including Dr. James Dobson, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Bill Bright, and Larry Burkett.

With God’s blessing, ADF has grown from the prayers of those godly leaders to become a major force in the legal battle for religious freedom, winning nearly 80% of our cases, and playing important roles in 54 victories at the Supreme Court of the United States.