They are what happens when [Default] takes top spot when someone else loses
I’ve been beating this drum since news of the ruling and dropping strongly worded corrections in every media comments section that crossed my screen since. Every MSM outlet, as well as nominally left-of-center sources, keeps talking about a ruling in favor of the baker. It would be far more apt to describe the ruling as against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission because of the comments of commissioners. The decision from SCOTUS is no solution to the ongoing problem, but rather puts the cowardice of this court’s majority in the spotlight because they could have opted to render decisions that specifically favored the plaintiff and didn’t. Did I say spotlight? That would require the media to actually pay attention. Cynic that I am, I can’t tell if this act of judicial malfeasance is because the SCOTUS majority is a bunch of robed buffoons or if they knew exactly what they were doing.
As much as I support equal rights, I also oppose what I think of as compelled speech. The baker in question isn’t one who routinely misspells kids’ names on birthday cakes from some grocery store display case. I’ve seen enough cooking shows that I’m willing to consider him an artist. Now, I might not be an artist, but hypothetically, if I were a ghostwriter and some neo-Nazi twit were willing to pay big money for me to write a glowing puff piece for Nazis, there’d be no end to my FU’s. If they tried to compel me to do it by force of law, I would absolutely feel my right to free speech had been infringed. It’s the same with the baker. “Make me something that exudes a celebratory spirit for a wedding of which you don’t approve…or else.” I’m not okay with that no matter which way it slices. Justice is blind and carries a two-edged sword.
But if SCOTUS had made it about compelled speech, they’d have opened a can of GOP worms regarding the NFL and standing for anthem. They’d have undermined state GOP laws compelling doctors to repeat debunked anti-choice myths (dare I say lies?) at abortion clinics. Such a decision could have had ramifications regarding GOP “scientific” statements dripping in religious edict.
Instead, they made it about the commissioners’ disparaging remarks, e.g., that using religion as a shield for discrimination is “despicable.” Unfortunately, the deeply held convictions of the commissioners wasn’t up for inspection, but here’s a thought. In a country where 75% of Americans identify as Christian, one has a pretty decent 3:4 chance of guessing an American’s faith as Christian…even those commissioners. Is my guess about their faith correct? It doesn’t matter. It could be, and maybe should have been inspected more closely in the courtroom.
And as my discernment leads me to believe, there’s a strong majority of Christians who absolutely would see the use of religion and profanation of the sacred as a shield for discrimination as despicable, even sacrilege. Such sacrilege maybe not even one whole step from taking the Lord’s name in vain because the implication is “God ordains my bigotry.” But we’re not supposed to wonder about the conflict of deeply held convictions in this case, maybe because that issue, too, would have led to deeply anti-GOP conclusions later on down the road. I think if the commissioners’ deeply held convictions did influence their invective, they were wrong (even when I agree with them) to let their faith guide their execution of government power against a citizen, especially if the end result were to compel speech. It would be a classic case of when one person’s rights bumps squarely into another’s.
We’ve got separation of church and state for a reason, and it cuts both ways. But…if SCOTUS had entertained that approach to defend the baker from potentially religious edicts coming from a government office, then they would have opened the Kim Davis can of worms again with an outcome no good for GOP-endorsed official government religious edicts. There’s so much to be disappointed about with this case, but it makes me even more angry at our mass media juggernaut for so lazily spinning it and applying so little analysis that their presentation emboldens the bigots once again. At some point the distinctions between incompetence, malfeasance, dereliction of journalistic duty, and complicity become so blurred as to no longer matter when the outcome is so egregiously bad for the American people.