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Archive for December, 2017

Jack Phillips_SCOTUS

Mary Torres holds up a rolling in in support of cake artist jack Phillips outside the Supreme Court n Washington on Dec. 5.  (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

In perhaps the biggest story of this past week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The case involves the Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, who in 2012 refused to make a custom wedding cake for a same sex married couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. This set in motion a legal battle that saw Mr. Phillips, a Christian, dragged before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which did not look kindly on his appeals to free speech and the free exercise of his faith.

“I can believe anything I want,” said Commissioner Raju Jaram, “but if I’m going to do business here, I’d ought to not discriminate against people.” According to this same article, Phillips was ordered to stop discriminating against gay people, document any customers he refuses to service, provide antidiscrimination training for his staff, and report quarterly for two years.

One commissioner likened Phillips’ actions to those of the Nazis.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal organization representing Jack Phillips, argued this week before the Supreme Court that the baker’s First Amendment rights were violated by the Commission’s ruling. According to her, the Commission also violated Phillip’s religious liberty by attempting to force him, “to sketch, sculpt, and hand-paint cakes that celebrate a view of marriage in violation of his religious convictions.”

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Martin Luther

Just over a month back, Protestants celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It was a noteworthy occasion. October 31, 2017 marked 500 years since a little known Augustinian monk nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door and changed the course of history.

But while as Protestants we look back with joy at Luther’s bold stand against the papacy and proclamation of the Gospel of Justification by Belief Alone, not everyone was or is so appreciative of his achievements and the achievements of the other Reformers. But to call them unappreciative is really far too mild. The truth is, Luther and his contemporaries were hated unto death by representatives of the Roman Church-State (RCS), who did everything in their power to frustrate the spread of the Gospel in the 16th century.

And their efforts to quash the preaching of the Gospel did not stop in the 16th century, but continue unabated to this day. One example of this is the way the Pope Francis and the RCS attempted to co-opt this year’s Reformation Day celebration and turn it into a great big group hugging, Kumbaya singing rapprochement between Rome and her erring children, the “separated brethren” of the Reformation.

But Rome isn’t the only false church singing a false Gospel siren song in the hopes of wooing Protestants onto the rocks of works righteousness. No, Eastern Orthodoxy wants in on the act too.

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