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tv   Jack Phillips The Cost of My Faith  CSPAN  August 26, 2021 8:31am-9:11am EDT

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public policy issues, journalism done the old-fashioned way, rigorous based in fact, is the place to go for that. ♪♪ >> welcome, i have a special guest, jack phillips. you may know him, he's the owner of the masterpiece cake shop in colorado and had written an amazing book called "the cost of my faith" how a
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decision in my cake shop took me to the supreme court. welcome, jack, his lawyer is joining us and welcome, you guys. >> thank you. honored to be here today. >> just so my audience is aware, why is your lawyer with us on this interview? >> we are still in court, finished the end of march, we are currently waiting for the judge to announce his decision on that. >> for those who are fuzzy on the details, tell us, remind us what happened on july 19th where two men asked you to design their wedding cake.
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>> coming into the shop, they were both occupied, to sit down and the introductions, on my right, what can i do for you guys, it is for our wedding. i don't do cakes for same-sex weddings. making birthday cakes, shower cakes, i don't do cakes for same-sex weddings which point they went out of the store staring at me. i wasn't expecting that, and anything else, the iconic nature of that. >> was that the first time a gay person asked you to design
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a wedding cake? >> know. it was the fourth or fifth time. the others we were able to discuss it and make it clear it is not your sexual orientation, it is the nature of the message of the wedding cake that is simply understood. i couldn't create that. >> you talk about this in the book, what other kinds of cakes would you not design? >> my wife and i had many discussions what the cake shop look like but decided before we opened, to celebrate halloween, cakes that would be un-american or racist or denigrate other people including people who identified as lgbt, we have guidelines we wouldn't cross. >> when charlie and david stormed out of the shop, you
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started basically legal notices, that they were suing you. >> they stormed out of my shop and i started getting hateful phone calls within 20 minutes, a couple hundred emails, phone calls phones ringing all day long, not sure how long it took before i got the notice. it was october, july to october but it was late filed until the beginning. >> when did you realize legal troubles were getting serious? >> right away. two gentlemen came in thursday, tuesday, four days later, connected with attorneys from alliance defending freedom and
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i knew i wasn't going to have to hire my uncle to help me defend myself, regretting it forever because they are the best at this right beside me all the way through guided me and coached me and advised me. >> many people asked you why not just bake the cake? a lot of christians today in a culture would look the other way and make a concession and i don't want to get into a bunch of legal problems, just bake the cake and it's not a big deal and i will look the other way. why didn't you just bake the cake? >> a number of cakes create, halloween cakes, that comes up every year we decline to create those because of my.
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it was good practice when these other cases came up this is a line in the sand and how to approach that line. is gracious and kind as i could and i couldn't cross the line. >> you talk about romans 13 in your decision to fight this in court. i remind our audience, this is taken from your book, let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which god has established, they authority was established by god. consequently whoever rebels against the authority is running against what god instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
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tell us how your decision to fight this comports with romans 13. >> government gives us the option to go to court to defend those things. we have a constitution the government is supposed to reflect and protect our rights. among them are the right to free exercise, this is what that was. i didn't want great the message of the wedding cake and a right to freely express my faith. government is supposed to protect that right and when they weren't, the constitution, the state constitution and the u.s. constitution where the court system like this.
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>> in the book you said your legal defense was, quote, rights of conscience defense. can you explain what that means? >> asking me to create a message, part of the speech, to make me create a message in the cake and to me the wedding cake is an iconic symbol in and of itself. if you were to walk into a conference room for business meeting and you walk into a conference room and see a 3-tiered cake or something like that in the corner you know it is not a business meeting, you know without having to ask anybody it is a wedding. so the wedding cake is a message. to create that wedding cake the bible defines it as a marriage is between a man and a woman so this cake would be a message that would go against my biblical belief, it is asking me to violate my conscience to create this cake that i can't do. >> what is the distinction
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between you talk about this too, between freedom of religion and freedom of worship. >> the constitution declares it freedom of religion so a lot of what freedom of worship is, promote it as what you do in church, freedom of religion is what you do in your life. in my case i the government to protect my right to freely exercise my faith when i'm at the cake shop or the grocery store the park, not just in the halls of worship in a church. >> the colorado civil rights commission which is a panel of twee 7 gubernatorial appointees ruled against you and you chose to appeal to the colorado court of appeals. what was the crux of your appeal?
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>> same thing. forcing me through the arm of the civil rights commission to create cakes that went against my conscience and the court of appeals to reverse that decision to obey my conscience and create cakes that align with them. >> you talk in the book about a double standard because there was another denver bakery who did something almost identical, but they did not, they were not persecuted in any way. tell us why that happened. >> a gentleman in denver went to three bakeries and asked them to create cakes shaped like a bible with a message, red circle with the x through
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it of two men getting married, a message on a cake about homosexual marriage is wrong and asked bakeries to create those cakes and they declined to do that because they disagreed with the message. that is what we were doing. we were going to serve these people. we can't create those cakes of the civil rights commission said they are not turning you away, only the message but i did not have that right. >> a bizarre double standard. the commission said some very hateful things about you and you mentioned one of the most painful things about it was talk about this a little bit, your dad was in world war ii,
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the concentration camp, which is crazy, tell us what is so painful about hearing what the commission was saying about you? >> one of the commissioners was recorded on tape the religious freedom is a despicable piece of rhetoric and people use it to do all kinds of things like slavery and the holocaust. comparing my position to the holocaust. this woman either doesn't know what the holocaust is or ignoring the facts of it basic level. my dad served in world war ii, landed in normandy. hang on. he fought through france and germany in the battle of the bulge, he was wounded in a mortar attack with a scar across his back with a purple mark and sent back to combat
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again and he was part of it in a prison camp. spoke of that smell and eventually that but the pictures are horrific and for this commissioner to compare this decision to that was ludicrous. >> it is very disturbing. appeal of that was what? >> the court of appeals ruled in favor of the colorado civil rights commission and part of it would be to change my policies. quarterly for two years on that
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and very small shop, various relatives and their 80s say i won't be reeducated. for them to do that that is what the court of appeals came back and said, to the colorado supreme court. >> so like the cultural revolution in china, the reeducation camp. the government, you talked about this before, was there ever a moment through this where you were wavering and
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wondering if you come in, or take the cake. >> i close the cake shop down before, started creating cakes like that, that was never in question. how far could we go, the colorado state supreme court, they have discretion in the state supreme court hearing that case. to appeal to the united states supreme court. we were willing to do that. >> apparently the court was willing to hear your case. tell us what the odds are the us supreme court hearing your case? >> extremely small that you will be heard. competition with 8000, to
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10,000 cases every year. those cases are usually two circuit courts, ninth circuit and fourth circuit rules differently on two things so the circuit split so they have to testify, constitution can't be one thing in california and another in florida. has to be the same across the board. they are dealing with larger cases and my case came from not a circuit court but a standalone case and basically the court of appeals so didn't make it to the state supreme court but the odds are against us. you have to have four justices agree to take your case. at least four have to go over every aspect of your case. the energy to take this case to court.
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>> what was it like when you found out you were going to the supreme court. what are you feeling? >> one of the craziest days of my life. there's a website called scotus blog and you can follow any case you want to. i followed my case for months. they had it in front of them. i knew it was a conference tour every week and trying to the end of the court session through december, last week of court and watching my computer and had scotus blog turned on confident we would get a decision. it was on screen, five words, masterpiece cake shop has been
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granted, it gets me still, four five years ago i can't breathe. i couldn't breathe, had to text people, the only one i had to talk to besides myself was a homeless man so i turned to him, to the supreme court, looked at me, got to go to court but don't need a parole officer. to understand the gravity of the united states supreme court, people say i will take this to the supreme court, don't understand how it works. it was an incredible thing. >> the essential point to take it to the supreme court, was it about freedom of speech? >> guest: we asked to reverse it based on speech and religious components.
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>> host: june 4th, 2018, you won at the supreme court, a 7-numtwo ruling, ginsburg and sotomayor, that was an amazing location. >> just as emotional a day, more surprise, until the last day. looks like they win. what has happened. it is an incredible day.
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>> host: it is a david and goliath story. it is amazing. this is interesting. what's the key to winning the case according to the supreme court, why did they rule in their favor? >> of the factors we talked before the commissioner conferring my case to the holocaust, how they phrase it, the other component, was the inequity the commission, the other 3 bakeries of the nile are creating cakes, those two things to that whole decision. >> host: you mentioned the commission's actions violated the free exercise clause.
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what does that mean again? the free exercise clause? >> congress shall pass no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. innocence they were saying you can have your religion, you can do whatever you want, you just can't exercise it in your cake shop, you can only do it in the church. not establishing the exercise clause, i can't exercise my faith, openly hostile to that. >> host: you had three weeks to calm the normalcy again, a local denver attorney, a transgender attorney walked into your cake shop and filed charges against you. what was that like?
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>> guest: this attorney called us, the first crazy day today i would take 20 or 30 calls that particular day looking at the records, they called us that day and requested another case which, on the outside and to celebrate attorney gender transition, to create any other cake, create custom work for you and not create that cake. fast-forward 3 weeks after the court rules in our favor we got noticed the civil rights commission took of the complaint that was filed for and said there was probable cause to pursue an identical
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case. >> host: you talk about it in the book but i can't process it in my brain, the supreme court ruled in your favor how could this happen again? >> guest: not sure how good an analogy this is but if i were speeding down my street and get a ticket and go to court they are saying i'm speeding down the street again and getting a new ticket. i'm not able to base my new ticket to be the speeding ticket last year. now you have a new one. the cases were similar or identical in nature, two separate charges. the court's duty is to file complaints, see if there is probable cause. the commission, appointed by the governor, they have probable cause.
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>> how did that case end? how did that case end? >> guest: two years ago in march we were ready to go into the deposition and as we sat at the conference table and court reporters and videographers ready to take down every word and tried to destroy me in the next 6 hours they said we have to have a meeting. .. the meeting was to say this is the vehicle we want to use, we are willing to dismiss the charges and had a lawsuit against them also in federal court. it was based on the fact we had a recording of the same commission saying they embraced the hostility so if they were to go forward it wouldn't be
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>> and go ahead. >> yes, but it's still not over because on june 5th, 2019 autumn sardini filed a new case against you. why did that happen? and where are you in that case? this attorney had a decision to appeal the case or wait over the time period over 90 days and then file a civil lawsuit against me and now it's not the state suing me, it's an attorney suing me personally and just this past march a few weeks ago we were in court and just like this, the judge in his chambers in denver and i was there in in and my wife and my daughter and myself and the
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attorney and we had the trial and direct examination, cross examination, all of these things and then we're now waiting for the judge to announce that decision. >> wow. and how soon -- how soon will you know that decision? there's not a timeline, it could be this afternoon, it could be next week, it could be july. so we're just waiting, waiting and waiting. >> yeah, and are you-- in the meantime, are you still able to create custom cakes? >> we are. we've just decided through all this and until it's fully resolved, we won't create wedding cakes or anniversary cakes in that field and there are practical reasons for that as well as emotional reasons, logical reasons, but until those are resolved, this is our biggest time of year with graduation cakes and you know, birthday cakes, shower cakes, those, we do those all the time. >> and can you mention daniel
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and them being in exile and how you mention in your book, how did you draw inspiration from schadrak and his friends story? >> for a couple of ways, they were this their own home village, they weren't in jerusalem and they had to do what the king wanted them to do and the king was a ludicrous evil man and it wouldn't be a sleeping pill or anything like that, it could be a gruesome death, but they were willing to stand and do what god wanted them to do, what they knew was expected from them from the law in israel and to obey and honor the lord god jehovah. >> and i say in my book, they refused to bow down to culture basically is what they were doing. >> right.
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>> they were willing to go into a fiery furnace rather than compromise their conviction like you did. there was no fiery furnace. >> and our god is able to deliver us, but if he doesn't, still, we'll obey him and we're going through the courts, if we win great. if not, we're still going to do our best to obey. >> and you talk about, also, just in a personal-- on a personal level, you talk about how the cake shop over the years brought you and your father closer together because i think you said that when you were young, you weren't really that close with him and there was kind of a distance and, but the cake shop really brought you closer. tell us how that happened. >> well, i never saw my dad, he never came to baseball games, i didn't play baseball anyway, but we would play catch in the field and fishing. and he had a job to do and i had friends and we didn't have an opportunity to be really
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close. i love my dad and he loved me. >> and when we opened the shop, i was nervous to tell i was going into business myself because he was a meat cutter and he hated working with the public. he says i don't care what you do for a living, son, don't work in the public. working in a bakery is fine, i'm in the back doing all kinds of things and when it's time to open my own cake shop how am i going to tell my dad i'm going to do this and not only working with the public, but be the one in charge with everything. and when i told him. that's great, when, where? how do we get going? and he came in the first day and unlocked the door to the shop and every day since then. let me hang this up. they've got the phone upstairs. you see how many calls we get a half hour the first phone call and then the day ms. scardina called, it was ring, hang up,
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ring, hang up. >> and my dad helped me do the remodel and here virtually every day. we opened in '93 and he passed away in '96 and those three years were valuable to me and he would be here every day and have muffins and coffee, a gregarious guy though he said he'd never work with the public, but there still wasn't anyone that wouldn't come in the shop he'd try to be friends. >> and how has all of this drama for the last nine plus years, i guess it's nine years. >> almost nine. >> almost nine, how has this been on your family? >> it's been good, it's drawn us closer together. i have a sister who lives in indianapolis and talk to her regularly and another sister across town and i see her two, three times a week and pray for us and my mom passed away in november and she was here working up until, i think she was 88, 89 years old and the
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last three, four years she wasn't here, but it's been great. my daughter works for me and it helped her, too, this whole case to wake up. the bible talks about, tells a parable about 10 virgins waiting for a wedding feast and they were all asleep because it happens in the middle of the night in the can you will -- culture and five are prepared for the wedding ceremony and five are not. that's a great parable and also in my mind spoke to me that i was asleep, too, just like all 10 were asleep. five were prepared and got it, prepared for this battle, but until that day came i was asleep and talked this over with my daughter and she says the same thing. she had a wake-up call and it just changed, the whole thing has changed her life spiritually. she was a follower of jesus
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before that and now she's a dedicated follower of jesus. >> that's amazing. >> this is an interesting factoid from your book. how did you could many up with the name masterpiece cake shop? what was the story. >> that goes back, when i graduated high school i needed a job and a man that lived near me had a shop, and a hundred employees and donuts. and after i got acclimated to this i could do this long-term and i'd like to own my own bakery and one day i found out the owner of the bakery brought in another bakery and brought in cake decorators, and rather than a hundred cakes at a time.
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they were making one cake at a time. and i have an artistic background and i knew at that point when he brought them in, that's what i was going to do with my future i'd own my own bakery and use the canvas of a cake and hopefully turn it into art. and i came up with the name almost immediately and i'm not generally that creative with words i'm creative with the other physical media, sculpting, painting, those things and the name came to me right away, masterpiece cake shop and art, cake and you're not going to walk in and think you'll get a loaf of bread or a pie, hopefully an artistic cake and part of the masterpiece, also in my mind, master, the first syllable, the first part of that reminds jesus on the mound, and can serve two masters. i come into the shop and think
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who am i going to serve today and write out masterpiece, i always think master, i see that word embedded there and who am i going to serve and live my life and run my shop in a way that honors jesus christ. >> yeah, that's a great name. and so you mention that in the book, that part of the reason you did all of this fighting that you fought in court is for future -- part of it is for future generations, what do you mean by that. >> one of the reasons i wrote "the cost of my faith", and i wanted to put down writing a story, details of what happened especially for my kids. i have three kids. my daughter works for me, i have a son in california and another daughter in canada and i wanted them to be able to understand and know exactly what happened and further than that, i wanted my grandkids to
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be able to have an account because your a -- you can find any version of it on-line. and i realized three, four, five years ago, how long ago that this is not jack phillips so he can start making cakes again. this is for every american to be able to live and work freely according to their conscience without fear of punishment from the government. and so we were hoping to continue to fight for everybody. and we're defending the rights of the people who are suing us because they may not value all of those rights now, at some point they might and they would wonder what happened to them. let's fight for them now. >> exactly, yeah. and the last chapter of your book is called lessons learned and what was one of the most important things you learned through all of this. >> i think that's one of the most important things, that this is not about me, this is about everybody, but one of the
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most important things for me is that i need to remember who the master is and who i serve every day as i go through every phase of my life, whether i'm working, whether i'm mowing my yard, christ is my lord and savior and god is in control over everything and these issues. >> yes, and i know, i'm sure-- i know the answer to this question, but i'm just going to ask. >> sure. >> knowing all that you know now and all you've gone through the almost last nine years, would you still make the same decision back in 2012? >> absolutely. if i sat down with those two men that day in 2012 knowing this was ahead of me, i would have said everything i said word to word and i wish i had more time to explain it to them. what i said to them in 19 words and 40 seconds was i will serve you, but i can't create every
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cake that people ask me to create because of the message involved, and i would be more than willing to fight for this for their sake, my sake for my kids' sake. >> what's it like, you mention in the book you're known as the guy who wouldn't bake the cake. what's that like to have that out there? >> i wish i was the guy who rather wouldn't bake the cake, but the guy would serve everybody, but wouldn't create the cake because of that message. it is what it is and people sometimes recognize me, hey, you're that guy and gives me the opportunity not only to explain the case, but quite often to share my faith. >> well, guys, i highly recommend this book. the book is "the cost of my faith", how a decision in my cake shop took me to the supreme court with jack phillips and jack, i thank you so much for being on the show and it's soen--
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so encouraging. it's so encouraging, i think it will edify your faith as in your experience and your daughter's faith and i think it will encourage people, it will help people strengthen their own convictions about certain issues of the christian faith and so, god bless you. you're a trooper and thank you for being on the show and i'm excited to-- i look forward to hearing the outcome of this latest cake. >> thank you, mr. cook. it honestly is such an honor to be on the show today. >> thank you, jack: and thank you, jonathan. >> thanks so much. >> have a great day, guys. you, too. >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every sat american history tv documents america's stories and on sundays book tv brings you the latest nonfiction books and
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