Mat Staver is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the family. He has over 230 published legal opinions and has authored eight scholarly law review publications and 10 books. He has argued two landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s the host and producer of Faith and Freedom and Freedom’s Call.
This week, the Supreme Court declined to hear 2 cases challenging the constitutionality of a Mississippi law. Mat noted that the Supreme Court decided not to hear such cases that allows religious organizations to refuse to hire individuals or provide services to LGBT people in certain situations in which that situation would conflict with someone’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
The court referenced a stigmatic injury to LGBT individuals. Mat explained that they aren’t being physically injured or injured monetarily but that they’re being singled out because of their same-sex lifestyle. Justice Kennedy has apparently put a lot of weight on this point to justify striking down marriage and other laws that would otherwise address this LGBT issue.
In Oregon, Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes my Melissa, declined to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. As 2017 was coming to a close, 3 judges on the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed a penalty of $135,000 against the bakery. Aaron and Melissa didn’t want to violate their Christian faith and promote lesbianism, yet the court gave $75,000 in damages to one of the brides and $60,000 in damages to the other bride. The damage amounts differed because the second bride didn’t hear a quotation from the Bible directly but had it quoted to her later. Apparently Aaron had used the term, ‘abomination’ in the course of explaining his denial.
Mat explained that the Klein’s make a very specific kind of cake. This means that when the same-sex couple made their request to have a cake made with two women portrayed on top of the cake, this would celebrate and promote same-sex unions and that would conflict with the Klein’s religious beliefs. Instead of going ‘down the road’ to get a cake made by someone who might want to participate in the union, they came after the Klein’s.
Mat believes that if the Supreme Court goes the right way by the end of June when they render their decision in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case (Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission) it would be good for the Klein’s case. If they go the other way, not only will it be terrible for the Klein’s, it will be bad news for other Christians in other professions around the nation.
The Klein’s have been ordered to cease and desist from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based upon their beliefs.
As the discussion moved along, Jim had Mat comment on the long term impact of the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, why sexual preference seems to be trumping religious freedom, the nomination of State Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald to become Chief Justice by the Governor of Connecticut, a transgender case in a Wisconsin school district, some good yet some troubling appointments by President Trump, how Christians should respond, and opinions both pro and con from Crosstalk callers.