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Opinion: Protecting all Americans from anti-religious hostility

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June 14, 2018

By: Stephanie Taub, First Liberty Institute Senior Counsel. Originally published on The Washington Times on June 14, 2018.

Seven justices of the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was unconstitutionally biased against the religious beliefs of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

This holding is a win for all Americans who believe that they have a right to the fair administration of the law, without hostility toward their religious beliefs and without being the victim of a legal double standard.

According to the court, the commission showed its anti-religious bias against Mr. Phillips in at least two ways. First, one commissioner — supposedly a neutral, unbiased judge in the case — made multiple comments disparaging Mr. Phillips‘ religious beliefs.

Justice Kennedy was specifically critical of statements by one of the members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. During one public meeting, the commissioner implied Mr. Phillips was “us[ing] his religion” to hurt others, stating that “[f]reedom of religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination” and that it is “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use.”

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