Black Leaders Defend Colorado Baker in Supreme Court Homosexual Wedding Cake Case

The Rev. William Avon Keen, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Virginia, joined conservative black clergy in launching a campaign Oct. 23, 2017, in support of a Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a gay wedding. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

A group of African-American rights activists have spoken out in defense of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop as his religious freedom case will be argued before the United States Supreme Court in December.

Three conservative African-American public policy groups — the Frederick Douglass Foundation, Star Parker’s Center of Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) and pro-life activist Ryan Bomberger’s Radiance Foundation — launched a new website titled in support of Phillip’s First Amendment right.

The website was announced at a press conference outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on Monday in which a handful of African-American activists and leaders spoke in defense of Phillips.

Among those who spoke at the press conference were Dean Nelson, the chairman and co-founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, and Rev. William Avon Keen, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Virginia, which was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Jack is somebody to be admired and someone who is standing for what he believes in,” Nelson, who is also the head of African-American affairs at the social conservative advocacy group Family Research Council, said in a video featured on the new website.

“Wherever there is a person who is degraded, Frederick Douglass insisted that those people needed to be supported and to be advocated for,” Nelson continued. “I think Jack’s story is a powerful story of how a person who loves people can be twisted with a culture that has demeaned and castigated him.”

Phillips was found guilty of violating state discrimination law by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2014 after he refused to bake a cake for the wedding of Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012.

Although Phillips sells baked goods to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, he objects to participating in certain events that violate his religious beliefs such as gay weddings and even Halloween cakes. The commission ordered Phillips to undergo sensitivity training and change his policies to conform to state law.

Although Phillips appealed, he lost his case before the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2015 and in 2016, the state Supreme Court decided not to hear the case. However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided this summer to take up the case.

Leading conservative religious liberty groups have referred to the case — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — as one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases “in our lifetimes.”

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Source: Christian Post