No Cake For You

No Cake For You


Leonard Zwelling

My conservative friends insist that I am a liberal. I did vote for Joe Biden, reluctantly, but given the alternative what else was I to do? I believe that Black Lives Matter has a point. As I recently wrote, I believe that the trans-female athlete competing against other girls is a particularly vexing problem, but one for women’s athletics to solve, not state legislatures. I also believe that there are too many guns in America. While I am myself a licensed to carry Texan, I don’t own a gun. I took lessons, learned to shoot with a Glock-19, and took the exam to be licensed so that I could decide whether or not a gun was a good idea for me. I decided it was not, but support my right to make that decision and the right of all Texans to come to their own conclusions. On the other hand I see no need for assault-style rifles to be in the hands of civilians. One shouldn’t hunt with weapons of war. They have done enough damage to the American people. They need to be banned from civilian ownership.

If all that makes me a liberal, well, so be it.

However, the attached article from The Wall Street Journal of March 23 angers me and if that undermines my liberal bona fides, that’s OK, too.

The piece by William McGurn is all about Jack Phillips, the most famous baker in America. Why is Mr. Phillips so famous? Because he will only bake cakes that do not offend his strict Christian belief system. Basically, he won’t bake wedding cakes for gay marriages nor cakes to celebrate gender transitions. It is my belief that Mr. Phillips is dead right about his authority over his own creations even if I disagree with some of his beliefs. He should not be forced to do something against his religious beliefs and if that makes me a conservative, well, here we go. I also don’t think private businesses should be forced to cover abortions for their workers as was the case under ObamaCare. Private companies have leaders with opinions. If they want to run those companies in a fashion consistent with those beliefs, they ought to be allowed to do so.

Mr. Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado and as far as I can tell that makes him a private small business owner. Neither the government nor another private citizen can force him to bake a cake the writing upon which would offend him or the purpose for which it would be used is against his closely held beliefs. What troubles me is that this is even an issue. For goodness sakes, the government has no right to tell you what to do about your customer base in a creative industry. Yes, the government can legislate against racial discrimination in housing and restaurants, but to make someone bake a cake seems like the government has overstepped. The courts so far seem to agree with this, but this is being challenged again in yet another lawsuit, the one about the transgender cake.

These decisions are not easy and having a knee-jerk response to the left or right is foolish. My brain is capable of simultaneously holding the thoughts that black people are being discriminated against throughout the United States and that a private baker can create the cakes he wants.

I’m not sure what this makes me on the conservative-liberal continuum. I hope it makes me a logical adult. I assume all of you are too and might very well come to different conclusions than mine. Just be prepared to justify your thinking and we’ll talk.

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