BIG NEWSColorado ends crusade against Jack

Despite winning at the Supreme Court, Colorado cake artist faced new threats – and he won again!

You may recognize Jack Phillips. He’s the Colorado cake artist who was at the center of one of 2018’s most-talked-about U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Although Jack won an important victory at the Supreme Court, the State of Colorado didn’t get the message. It targeted him again!

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission set its sights on Jack Phillips, targeting Jack because of his Christian faith. That was clear when it allowed other Colorado cake artists—but not Jack—to decline to create custom cakes that expressed messages that the artists considered objectionable. And it was even clearer when some members of the commission made hostile statements against Jack. One called his religious-liberty defense “despicable” and compared him to perpetrators of the Holocaust.

The hostility toward Jack’s faith was so obvious that the United States Supreme Court rebuked the commission. In a 7-2 decision, the high court condemned Colorado’s “clear and impermissible hostility toward [Jack’s] sincere religious beliefs.” The Colorado government should’ve learned its lesson then. It didn’t.

Less than a month after the Supreme Court decision in 2018, the Colorado government targeted Jack again.

But there is good news! On March 5, 2019, the state of Colorado dismissed its most recent case against Jack.

Faithful prayers and financial support have helped provide a strong legal defense for Jack in the face of these government efforts to strip away his religious freedom. But there are many more like Jack who are still fighting, and they need an ally who will stand with them. They need you.

Already, a generous Christian family has answered the call and provided a $2 million challenge grant to help defend people like Jack. Will you give today to further the impact for freedom during this very critical time?


Why was Jack targeted?

For over six years, Jack suffered. He faced threats and government punishment simply because he runs his business according to his faith. Jack declined a request to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage.

Jack explained that he would be happy to design a cake for the customers for a different event, or sell them anything else in his shop. But he just could not create a cake expressing messages and celebrating an event that conflicted with his deeply held religious beliefs about marriage. Still, the couple filed a complaint, and the state of Colorado punished Jack for living in accordance with his faith.


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“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

In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court finally gave Jack justice when it handed down its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Jack won in a 7-2 ruling that upheld his religious freedom.

In its decision, the Supreme Court made clear that the government had been hostile to Jack’s freedom of religion. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that “the Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral towards religion.” The Supreme Court decision made it clear that the government must respect and show tolerance for people of faith and their religious beliefs.

But although the highest court in the land ruled to protect Jack’s freedom, he then faced a new threat from the state.

Jack was tested again

In June 2017, on the very day that the Supreme Court announced its decision to hear Jack’s case, an attorney called Jack’s shop asking for a custom cake. The attorney wanted a cake that would be blue on the outside and pink on the inside in order to reflect and celebrate that attorney’s transition from male to female.

"Colorado just seemed to be looking for opportunities to punish me for my faith."
– Jack Phillips

Although it seemed obvious that Jack was being targeted and set up, his shop treated the lawyer the same way that it would have treated any other customer in that situation. Jack’s shop politely declined to create a custom cake expressing a message that conflicted with his faith.

Jack has never before created a cake like the one this attorney requested. He believes that God creates us male and female. This means our sex is a God-given, biological reality, not something we choose or change.

Once again, Jack acted based on his conscience. He did not turn his back on his beliefs. And he did not give into those who would punish him for living out his faith.

Threats and harassment from the state

When Jack declined this request, the attorney filed a complaint with the same Colorado agency that prosecuted Jack before. The agency did not take a position on this complaint while the Masterpiece case was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. But less than one month after the Supreme Court condemned the state’s anti-religious hostility toward Jack in the first case, the state agency made its first finding against Jack in this new case. Obviously not getting the Supreme Court’s message the first time, the state decided to target Jack again.

“The Supreme Court made it clear that Colorado can’t treat me worse than other cake artists because of my religious beliefs,” said Jack. “But I faced a new complaint for declining to create a custom cake that expresses a message I would not communicate for anyone—something Colorado has repeatedly said other cake artists have the freedom to do. Colorado just seemed to be looking for opportunities to punish me for my faith.”


Enough is enough

Alliance Defending Freedom defended Jack once again. But this time, we didn’t sit back and watch the state sue Jack. We filed a lawsuit against the relevant state officials.

We had to put an end to this harassment.

Opponents of religious freedom want to strip away our freedom to live and work consistently with our deeply held beliefs. And they’re going to extreme lengths to punish those—like Jack—who are willing to stand for their faith.

Praise God that Jack refused to give up his freedom without a fight. He knows it’s not just his own religious freedom on the line—
it’s yours too.

Thankfully, God continues to provide us with the resources we need to fight back. Through God’s blessing and your prayers and support, we are winning case after case across the nation, even at the highest court in the land.

God has rewarded Jack’s courage and your generosity with two important victories. And it is our prayer that God will use your gift today to protect religious freedom as important battles continue across the country. He is the source of our hope. And when we stand together to defend religious freedom today, we can be victorious.

Jack had an encounter with Jesus

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

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. 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.”

“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 wanted to honor God in his business

For Jack and Debi, becoming Christians changed everything. So when Jack started his cake shop in 1993, 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 it’s a constant reminder to him that he operates his business in service to his ultimate Master — Jesus Christ.

 
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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 Phillips

Jack has always been an artist

When Jack opened Masterpiece Cakeshop, he wanted to use his 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 palettes to create the artwork,” Jack says.

Still trusting in God

Jack was shocked when his business, his faith, and even his family became the subject of threats and punishment. But through it all, Jack continued to trust in God’s plan for his life and for the future of his business.

Will you stand with other people like Jack who are still being threatened with punishment for living out their faith, to provide the strong legal defense they need?

Please help as generously as you can.

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

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

A generous Christian family has given a challenge grant to help defend people like Jack. 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 people like Jack, the fight is not over yet. And they cannot fight these expensive legal battles on their own.

God has shown us time and time again that when we stand together to fight for 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 favor and 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, including nine victories at the Supreme Court of the United States in the last seven years.