The Supreme Court and Cake

The Supreme Court and Cake
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Five years have passed since a Colorado baker of cakes refused to create one of his masterpieces for two men who wanted it to celebrate their  “marriage.”  It’s hard to believe that this incident is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. But it is, and the fact that it has reached such heights indicates how far our nation has descended toward destruction of common sense and the commonly held values that formerly undergirded our nation.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons by Michael Prudhomme, CakesMadeEasy.com under the terms GNU Free Documentation License.

Cake maker Jack Phillips says he has a right to refuse the business of a particular customer whose fundamental intention is not to purchase a decorated cake but to use the transaction to force acceptance of homosexual “marriage.” On religious grounds, he doesn’t approve of “gay marriage” and his refusal to build a fancy cake for a homosexual duo supposedly violates a portion of the U.S. Constitution banning discrimination. I searched but I couldn’t find the particular part of the Constitution on which this case is built. Legal beagles claim it’s discrimination, and that’s something terribly bad. Half a century ago, discrimination was so highly regarded that the Herbert-Tareyton cigarette company advertised its product as “the cigarette for discriminating people.” And a common assessment of the esteem accorded discrimination back then insisted that the only people who don’t discriminate “are prostitutes and fools.”

Sadly, commonly held attitudes of 50 years ago have been pushed aside in the rush to overturn cultural, religious, and even economic mores. Some would claim this development to be “progress.” But that’s another word whose meaning has been turned upside down.

Shouldn’t Jack Phillips have a right to refuse the business of someone who walks into his store and intends, not so much to buy a cake, but to have the planned transaction force acceptance of something abhorred by Phillips and many others? Why does Phillips have to provide an approved reason for saying “No” to a potential customer he knows has an agenda that far exceeds buying a cake? Isn’t his business his property, his “castle,” a place where his right to refuse entry to someone is supposed to be sacrosanct?

A deeper look into this matter shows that the homosexual couple seeking a cake from Phillips planned to have it at their ceremony in New York, not in Colorado. They obviously chose to challenge the Lakewood, Colorado, baker’s distaste for gay marriage. So, the issue isn’t really one of mere refusal to do business with someone. It’s about forcing acceptance of homosexual marriage. By definition, marriage has always been the union of one man and one woman. Homosexual marriage is no more a “marriage” than labeling something water when it isn’t a combination of hydrogen and oxygen.

It’s no surprise to find a spokesman for the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) division taking the side of the supposedly aggrieved cake customers. James Essex of the ACLU claims: “You have freedom to believe and to preach your faith until your actions harm other people.” Does refusal to cooperate with the demands of homosexuals amount to harm? If so, what about possible harm done to a baker who refuses to participate, even in a slight way, in a practice he considers reprehensible, even sinful? Also, what about harming the moral character of this nation?

The Supreme Court will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in the fall. The case progressed from rulings at lower levels favoring the claims of the two men who insist that they are victims of unjust discrimination. Phillips’s attorney David Cortman rightly states, “Every American should be free to choose which art they will create and which art they won’t create without fear of being unjustly punished by the government.”

That makes sense, of course. But good sense doesn’t always prevail, especially when so much more than discrimination is at stake. The high court’s willingness to rule in this case about cake signals that there are far more important matters at stake.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American


Is Polygamy Next?

Is Polygamy Next?
by JBS President John F. McManus

Professor William Baude teaches law at the University of Chicago. In his recent op-ed column published by the New York Times, he wrote: “With same-sex marriage on the books, we can now ask whether polyamorous relationships should be next. There is a very good argument that they should.” Relationships that are polyamorous (a word that doesn’t even appear in my huge 1987 Random House Dictionary), obviously refers to more than two persons cohabitating. The word could obviously mean several males, or several females, or any number of each.

Professor William Baude wrote: “With same-sex marriage on the books, we can now ask whether polyamorous relationships should be next (Photo by Mattpopovich [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

The “good argument” for such relationships claimed by Professor Baude stems, of course, from the recent Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. According to that revolutionary departure from several millennia of tradition and legality, two males can marry, two females can marry, and the legal door has been shut to those who believe that the noble institution can be a union of only one man and one woman. Baude does admit that it might be difficult “to modify some of our marital laws … to handle larger numbers of spouses.” He wanders far enough from the traditional view of marriage to suggest that plural marriages might be “very good for children.”

Advocates of multiple partners in marriage should be hopeful, claims the professor, because objections to such relationships as those “sometimes come to seem trivial decades later.” And the rest of us should accept these newly crafted trends in a spirit of “humility.”

While Professor Baude seems very comfortable with these possible developments, he throws a bone to those of us (this writer included) who worry what else all of these changes can bring. He closed his article with, “… once we abandon the rigid constraints of history, we cannot be sure that we know where the future will take us.”

True enough, the “rigid constraints of history” shouldn’t be ignored. But there are other restraints even more rigid, such as those issued by the Maker of all of us. Let it be said loudly and clearly that God will not be mocked. Those who are busily redefining marriage may be allowed to have their day, but they too, will eventually stand before Him who sanctified marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And He can be counted on to never alter His view.

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Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Marriage Can’t Be Redefined

Marriage Can’t Be Redefined
by JBS President John F. McManus

One of the unique features of the country known as the United States of America is its Declaration of Independence. And perhaps the most singular of the numerous important affirmations contained therein is acknowledgement of a “Creator.” No qualification is given. The men who wrote and signed the document believed in the Almighty who created “all men.” In their day, of course, the meaning of “men” referred to all persons, male and female.

Supreme Court building (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Jeff Kubina, [own work]).

Belief in a Creator presupposes adhering to those standards of conduct He presents. One of these is the definition of marriage given in Genesis. After recounting the creation of woman from a rib of man, the Creator’s holy book tells us, “Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh.” In simple terms, the institution known as marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Without doubt, this is what America’s Founders believed.

History recounts numerous attempts to overcome this sacred relationship. In their 1848 Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels attacked bourgeois marriage as a hurdle standing in their path to tyranny. Decades earlier, along with their intention to deify sensuality, the 1776 Bavarian Illuminati, from whom Marx and Engels obtained much of their designs, formally advocated repudiation of marriage. Totalitarian libertines throughout history have likewise attacked the very concept of marriage because it has always stood as a bedrock of human civilization blocking their way to totalitarian rule.

An American who might have fallen asleep 60 or so years ago and then awakened today would, without doubt, be shocked to learn that more than half of our nation’s state governments have redefined marriage to include a union between two persons of the same sex. And the Supreme Court has agreed to render its opinion on the matter. A proper decision would state without equivocation that the “Creator” of all has already defined marriage, and it cannot be changed. The definition given us by our Maker is that marriage is the union only between an Adam and an Eve not between some Adam and some Steve.

Speaking before the “Women of the World” gathering at the United Nations early in 2015, putative presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Many same-sex-marriage enthusiasts, including New York Times columnist Frank Bruni who is a proud homosexual, have seconded her attitude. Sadly, these two cultural and religious revolutionaries are hardly alone.

If not blocked, the route being travelled by a growing number will lead to further attacks on the family, eventual state takeover of children, and more. Yet, there remains a huge majority of the American people who don’t agree with a redefinition of marriage and hold strongly to the “cultural codes” and “religious beliefs” openly decried by Mrs. Clinton. Questions remain: Will this still-existing majority gather itself and return the nation to sanity? Or will this shrinking majority collapse, as have others throughout history while they watched in horror the ushering in of a formally established Godless tyranny?

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Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Restraining the Courts on Marriage

Restraining the Courts on Marriage
by JBS President John F. McManus

While it is true that many Americans are woefully unfamiliar with the U.S. Constitution, it is also true that some members of Congress have a deficient appreciation of the document. They know when they have to stand for reelection. And they know the part about receiving compensation for their services. But many seem to have forgotten (or never knew in the first place) that only Congress – not the President and not the federal courts – has power to make law; only Congress can send the nation into war; and only Congress has power to coin money.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) (Image from Flickr by Gage Skidmore Some rights reserved).

Also little known is the portion of Article III which states: “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” In simple terms, this means that the only federal court required is the Supreme Court; all federal district courts could be abolished by Congress. Not only that, Section 2 of this Article gives power to Congress to limit the jurisdiction of all federal courts.

When forced busing of school children was ordered by federal courts in the 1970s, then-Congressman Larry McDonald introduced legislation to bar all federal courts from having anything to say about placement of youngsters in schools. He cited Article III, Section 2 as the authority for such a step. His measure didn’t gather enough support in Congress to be enacted but many who served at the time were at least forced to recognize that Congress possessed such power and that it actually existed and could be employed.

On April 22nd of this current year, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) filed H. R. 1968, the “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015.” Relying on Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, he seeks to remove jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and all lower federal courts to “hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage.” Mr. King stated his belief that the Congress could put a halt to the possibility that the Supreme Court would actually redefine marriage in a decision expected in June.

Nine co-sponsors immediately announced their support for H. R. 1968. They are Babin and Gohmert of Texas, Duncan of Tenn., LaMalfa of Cal., Massie of Ky., Palazzo of Miss., Thompson of Penn., Walberg of Mich., and Yoho of Fla.

Commenting on his measure, Congressman King said that removal of federal jurisdiction over the definition of marriage would have no effect on the states, each of which could decide the matter for its own people. But he was especially concerned that a mere five judges at the Supreme Court level could overturn the definition of marriage for the entire country, a definition that has been held for millennia in which marriage is considered only to be between one man and one woman.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has introduced an identical bill in the Senate (S.1080). As of this writing, no Senate co-sponsors have been garnered.

Members of the House of Representatives should be contacted (call 202-225-3121 and email) and asked to support H. R. 1968. Thanks should be sent to Rep. King and the co-sponsors of H.R. 1968. A companion bill in the Senate (S. 1080) has been introduced by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. No Senate co-sponsors have yet been enlisted. Contact (call 202-224-3121) your senators to get them to co-sponsor and support the bill. Utilizing the email link above will send to both the House and the Senate, but be sure to call. Congressmen tell us that phone calls are more effective than emails.

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Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Stop Legalizing Same Sex Marriage!

Stop Legalizing Same Sex Marriage!
by JBS President John F. McManus

There are, of course, many who insist that conferring legitimacy on same-sex marriage is perfectly proper, even overdue. Permit this writer to label the idea absurd, even an attack on civilization itself.

If marriage between two men or two women is legal, even fostered by some in government, then the question ought to arise about how such a departure from previous norms became accepted. The answer is that there has been a turning away from traditional moors by the people, and the emergence of activist judges, even within the highest court in the land, who claim power to set their own rules for the conduct of fellow Americans, or who wink at the discarding of previous norms by their judicial partners.

One can only wonder what will be next. Will polygamy and polyandry be accepted? Will children be targeted? Will any sanctions against what has always been considered aberrant behavior be cast aside?

In just a few years, the nation has gone from a strict view of traditional marriage to open season on its actual meaning. With a large margin, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but the Supreme Court voided it. State after state has bowed to pressure from the homosexual lobby and given a green light to what had previously been termed abominable. Then, in October 2014, the Supreme Court turned its back on marriage by refusing to stop lower court federal judges from canceling existing state laws against the procedure.

Which brings us to the question: Is there any recourse for those who value the traditional moors that have always characterized this nation and Western civilization itself? And the answer is that there are some steps that can be taken – but only if there are enough concerned Americans who demand that leaders take them.

First, there has to be a realization that members of the judicial branch have no authorization to make law. Those who do so should be labeled “judicial activists” and barred from meddling where they have no authorization.

Second, the Constitution’s Article III, Section 1 grants Congress power to abolish federal district courts (called “inferior Courts”) and to remove from office any judges who do not adhere to “good behavior.” Judicial activism is a prime example of bad behavior.

Third, The Constitution’s Article III, Section 2 grants Congress power to limit the court’s jurisdiction over whatever topics it chooses. Congress could have forbidden the federal courts from having anything to say about abortion. In like manner, Congress has the power to tell the Supreme Court and all federal courts that they have no say in marriage.

Will Congress use its constitutional powers to reverse the advances that threaten to overturn the moral base of the great experiment known as America? It’s up to U.S. citizens to push hard for members of the House and Senate to do exactly that.

In 1821, more than a decade after he had left office as President, Thomas Jefferson spoke out about usurpation of authority by the courts. He stated:

It has long, however, been my opinion … that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal judiciary …working like gravity by day and by night, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all shall be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed; because when all government shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided … and will become as venal and oppressive as the government [of King George] from which we separated.

The Jeffersonian warning surely applies today.


Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.