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Supreme Court of the United States

When the Son of a World War II Veteran Is Compared to the Nazis

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
November 13, 2017

Veterans Day provides an opportunity for Jack Phillips to honor and reflect on the sacrifices his dad made as a soldier in World War II. And Jack takes pride in his father’s legacy. Wayne Phillips was a Purple Heart recipient and helped liberate Buchenwald concentration camp. 

His grave is only a few miles from Jack’s business, Masterpiece Cakeshop, in a military cemetery. It’s nice having his grave nearby, but it’s not the same as having his dad come into the store, where they could sit down and talk over coffee and a muffin.

Reflecting on his father’s sacrifices also provides Jack a reminder of his own battle. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Jack is fighting for his rights in the courtroom. And instead of being applauded for standing up for those rights, a commissioner on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission compared Jack’s attempt to defend his religious freedom to the distortion of religion by the perpetrators of the Holocaust. That commissioner also called religious freedom a “despicable piece of rhetoric.”

It’s a slap in the face – and far from the truth.

“I don’t have the vocabulary for it,” Jack told The Daily Signal. “But for someone to compare trying to live by your faith to the person who brought on the Holocaust or to slave owners is insulting. It’s ridiculous. I don’t have the word for it. But it’s wrong.”

In 2012, two men walked into Jack’s cakeshop seeking a custom-designed cake for their same-sex wedding. Jack politely declined, but offered to sell them anything else in his store or to design them a cake for other occasions. Jack welcomes all people, but he cannot use his artistic talents to promote and celebrate every event.

That’s a freedom that should be guaranteed in this country. A freedom for which many have fought and died.

He was sued anyway. His case has been ongoing for five years now, and the U.S. Supreme Court will hear it on December 5.

Alliance Defending Freedom has the privilege of standing before the Court and asking that it uphold Jack’s right to decline to express messages and promote events that violate his faith. If we want that freedom for ourselves – if we want to keep the government from limiting our religious freedom and artistic expression – then we must support Jack.

Even though Jack’s dad has been gone for over 10 years, Jack says he knows his dad would be proud of him: “I know my dad would be proud of what’s going on. On the same hand, I’m sure he would be upset with the way the government is treating the freedoms that he fought for.”

Jack knows that his dad didn’t sacrifice so much just to see our freedoms taken away.


Learn more about Jack’s case and stay up to date on the latest developments. 

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Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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