Religious freedom is the foundation of the American Dream

By Tom Quiner

DownloadedFileYou own a bakery.

You’re Catholic.

You are in love with your faith and strive mightily to live your faith, not just in your private life, but your public life.

One day, two men walk in your door and ask you to bake them a “wedding cake.”

You tell them that because of your religious convictions, you cannot honor their request, that your faith defines a marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The men sue, citing discrimination.

Welcome to the flashpoint of modern culture, where tolerance meets intolerance.

The ACLU filed such lawsuit against a Colorado bakery for just that reason. The legal director for Colorado’s ACLU branch, Mark Silverstein, explains:

“Religious freedom is a fundamental right in America and it’s something that we champion at the ACLU. We are all entitled to our religious beliefs and we fight for that. But someone’s personal religious beliefs don’t justify breaking the law by discriminating against others in the public sphere.”

The couple in question got married in Massachusetts, since so-called gay marriage is not legal in Colorado. So the question is, is the bakery guilty of discrimination?

The attorney for the bakery, Nicolle Martin, says no:

“We don’t believe that this is a case about commerce. At its heart, this is a case about conscience. It brings it to the forefront. I just don’t think that we should heighten one person’s beliefs over and above another person’s beliefs.”

The clash of ideologies over what is “intolerant” is illuminated in a case like this.

To the liberal, the owners of the bakery are being intolerant. They view their actions as discriminatory and, even more, bigoted.

In other words, they are intolerant of religious convictions when it comes to the issue of sexual attractions.

To the conservative, the gay couple are intolerant. Recognizing their union as a marriage is a serious contradiction of their Christian faith. The couple is forcing them to make a choice: violate your faith, or face the possibility of being fined or going to jail.

Vice President Joe Biden expressed the liberal view on this type of issue in his debate with Congressman Paul Ryan in the last election cycle. He explained that he accepts his Church’s position that life begins at conception, but that he can’t impose his view on someone else. However, he is fine with the other side imposing their view on all Christians.

This case is certainly not about discrimination.

Would the bakery have baked the wedding cake for a man and woman with same-gender attractions who were getting married?


Would the bakery have baked the wedding cake for two men with opposite-gender attractions who were getting married?


The issue here is all about religious liberty and living our faith publicly. Vice President Biden is an embarrassment to Catholics everywhere in his tolerance for intolerance against Christians. He represents the intolerant view that your faith must be kept behind closed doors if it clashes with liberal ideology.

The First Amendment which protects our religious conscience is under unrelenting attack from the intolerant Left. If they win and snuff out our religious liberty in the public square, we have no America.

Religious freedom is the foundation of the American Dream. It’s why this country was formed.


  1. Bob Vance on June 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    You can’t legally own slaves any more even though for years you could. One of the biggest arguments for slavery was that it was a “God-given” right.

    There is no state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with respect to public accommodation in these 32 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

    These are the 18 states where refusing service to gay people is illegal: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin (also in the District of Columbia).

    • quinersdiner on June 7, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      You’re not comparing apples to apples. The bakers weren’t trying to take away anything from the couple. In fact, the bakers have no say in the Massachusetts law which sanctioned the so-called marriage. They simply chose to exercise their Constitutional First Amendment rights. On the other hand, the gay couple are trying to club the bakers over the head to acknowledge something that is a lie in the eyes of their faith. Why would the gay couple be so intolerant?

  2. Bob Vance on June 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I really doubt you will go to hell for making a wedding cake for a gay couple. Technically speaking, wouldn’t a Catholic cake maker have issues with any non-Catholic customers? How do they get past that moral dilemma?

    I would guess most people would avoid any controversy surrounding their wedding day. I would not want someone providing anything for my wedding knowing the provider disapproved. Would they do their best? I know of no such lawsuits regarding wedding cake providers.

    In Iowa, the law states that you can’t refuse service to someone just because they are gay. You have every right to disapprove of the wedding. You have every right to stop providing wedding cakes all together. You just can’t single them out when refusing to make their wedding cake.

  3. chicagoja on June 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Excellent post. Religious freedom in America is equated with freedom in general because the citizens’ rights flow from God. Absent that, the State will tell you what rights you have or don’t have.

    • Dave on April 20, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Do you think the law is attacking religous people?

      • quinersdiner on April 20, 2016 at 10:12 am

        Which law? Most states had laws which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. So-called gay marriage was largely imposed by unelected judges. Court decisions have sometimes been unfairly applied to harm people of faith, preventing them from exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

  4. violetwisp on June 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Cases like this are intriguing! Do the good Christian cake bakers refuse service to heterosexual couples on their first marriage who have had prior sexual relations with other people? Do the good Christian cake bakers refuse service to heterosexual couples on their second or third marriages? Because these are seriously sinful situations that clearly go against the Bible’s teachings. Where does the Bible say that same sex marriages are sinful? Nowhere.

    If you’re going to judge other people’s marriages at least be consistent and keep it in the line with the divine rule book. Anything else clearly looks like discrimination.

    • quinersdiner on June 8, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Hi Violet: Wonderful to hear from you. Great follow up questions. The same principles of religious liberty apply in situations where someone doesn’t want to do business with someone because they are divorced.

      As to the second question, what does the bible say about marriage, let me simply offer an excerpt from Catholic Answers which states things pretty well:

      “The Catholic Church takes a very high view of marriage and human sexuality. As the account of Genesis shows, marriage and sexuality were created by God and given to mankind as gifts for our benefit. Scripture records God’s statement that “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). As a result, “a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Some may forego the good of marriage to serve a higher calling (cf. Matt. 19:10-12), but it is a good nevertheless.

      “Marriage is a conduit through which God’s grace flows to the couple and their children.1 The Catholic Church understands marriage between a baptized man and woman to be a sacrament, a visible sign of the grace that God gives them to help them live their lives here and now so as to be able to join him in eternity.2 For Catholics, marriage is social as well as religious, but its religious.aspects are very important. The Bible repeatedly compares the relationship between man and wife to that between God and Israel (cf. Hos. 9:1) or between Christ and his Church (cf. Eph. 5:21-32). For Catholics, marriage is a holy vocation.

      “Since the Church sees marriage as holy, it believes it must be treated with reverence. It also recognizes that marriage is basic to the health of society and therefore a public institution that must be defended against harm.

      “Marriage is a public institution. Consequently, proposals that could harm the institution of marriage must be subjected to the same sort of objective analysis that we give any public policy question. Marriage is not just a private matter of emotion between two people. On the contrary, its success or failure has measurable impact on all of society. Rational analysis yields solid, objective reasons for limiting marriage to one man and one woman-reasons anyone can agree with on purely secular grounds.”

      Of course, there are other passages in scripture that equate homosexual activity with sinfulness.

      Thanks for writing.


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