tv Jack Phillips The Cost of My Faith CSPAN August 15, 2022 2:29pm-3:10pm EDT
fast-paced report on the stories of the day. listen to c-span anytime, tell your smart speaker, play c-span radio. c-span, powered by radio. >> today i have a special guest, jack phillips. you may remember him, he may know of him, the owner of the masterpiece cake shop in colorado and he's just been an amazing book called the cost of my faith, how decision in my cake shop took me to the supreme court. welcome. his lawyer is joining us as well. welcome, you guys. >> thank you. an honor to be here today. >> just so my audience is aware, why is your lawyer with us on this interview? >> we are still in court, we just finished our trial and our third lawsuit that we are currentlyy waiting for the judge
to announce his decision on that so my lawyer is here to help guide and protect me and make sure i don't say anything -- >> okay, good. for those who don't remember, fuzzy on the details, tell us -- remind us what happened july 19, 2012 when two gay men walked into your cake shop and asked you to design their wedding cake. >> is a july afternoon, a couple girls were working for me, they were busy in the front so when these two gentlemen came in and sat down, they were both occupied, it was my duty to sit down and talk with them so we made introductions and the one on my right said i am david charlie, what can i h do for yo? we are here to look at wedding cakes, it's our wedding and i said sorry, i don't do cakes for
same-sex weddings and they were like what? i'll make you a birthday cake, shower cake, cookies but i don't do cakes for same-sex weddings. they start swearing at me and flipping me off and i was like i wasn't expecting that. i told them i would serve them anything else in my shop but i couldn't create that particular cake because the iconic nature of the wedding cake. >> was at the first time a gay person asked you to>> design a wedding cake? >> no, it was the fourth or fifth time in the other ones we were able to discuss it and make clear it's not your sexual orientation, it's the nature of cake, the message of wedding cake, it's pretty simply understood, i couldn't create that. >> you talk about this in the book, you say are the kinds of cakes would you not design?
>> before we open, my wife and i had many discussions what the cake shop will look like but we decided before weon opened not celebrate halloween or racist or degrade or democrat other people including people who i identify as lgbt and we had guidelines wl would not cross. >> and after charlie and david stormed out of your shop, you started getting basically legal notices where you found out they were suing you, right? >> right. they stormed out and i started getting hateful phone calls and e-mails within minutes and by the next morning i had a couple hundred e-mails in my inbox, all hateful. phone calls all day long and are not sure how long it took before i got the notice, i think it was october, july to october but i was aware it was filed right at
the beginning. >> when did you realize legal troubles were getting really serious? >> right away. they came in on thursday and by the following tuesday, four days later at connected with attorneys from alliance and freedom and i knew i wasn't going to have to hire my uncle. i'd be regretting it forever because they are the best at this and they been right beside me all the way through and they guided me and coached me and advised me and it's been a wonderful relationship. >> many people as you say in the book, many people have asked you, why not just bake the cake? a lot of questions i feel today
our culture would just kind of look the other way maybe and make a confession and you know, i want to get into legal problems and trouble, i'm just going tont bake the cake and is not a big deal and look the other way, why didn't you just bake the cake? >> like i said, there were a number of cakes we knew we couldn't create like halloween cakes, that comes up every year endd we declined to create those because of my beliefs so that was good practice when these other cakes came up at this is the line in the sand and we knew how to approach that line and be as gracious and kind as i could but this could not cross the line is basically what it is. >> you mentioned in the book you talk about romans 13 in your decision to fight this in court, i'll remind our audience what
romans 13 says, and 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. the authorities that exist have been established by god. consequently, whoever rebels against the authority isre rebelling against what god has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. give everyone what is owed to them, if you owe taxes, pay taxes. revenue, then revenue. if honor and honor. so tell us how your decision to fight this kind of comports with romans 13. >> before the government gives us the option to go to court to defend these things as well as the fact that in our government we have a constitution our government is supposed topo protect, protect our rights,
among them to protect freedom of speech and religion. i didn't want to create that message on the wedding cake it is the right to express my faith so our government is supposed to protect that right and when they weren't, they were steps in our constitution, state and u.s. constitution where we are able to go to a court system and fight. >> the book you said your legal defense was rights of conscious, could you explain what that means? >> rights of conscious, they are asking me to create a message from a part of the speech but asking to make me create a message on a cake and the wedding take as a message in and of itself. if you were to be in a hotel and walk into a conference room, where there for business meeting and he walked into the meeting,
a cake in the corner, he know is not a business meeting, you know without asking anybody it's a wedding to the wedding cake is a message. to create that wedding cake about the bible but finds it, a marriage is between a man and woman so the cake would be a message that would go against my biblical leave is asking me to violate my conscience make this cake and i can't do that. >> what is the distinction between w -- you talk about thi, what is the distinction between freedom of religion people confuse this a lot, and freedom of worship looks. >> the constitution declares it to be freedom of religion so a lot of what freedom of worship is is defined or promoted is what you do in church. freedom of religion is what youo do in your life. in my i case, i want the
government to protect my right to exercise our faith in him at the cake shop, the grocery store, at the park, not just when i'm in the halls of worship in our church. >> the colorado civil rights commission, a panel of seven gubernatorial appointees, they ruled against you, right? then you chose to appeal to the colorado court of appeals. what was the crux of your appeal? >> the same thing, the state was forcing me to the civil rights commission to create cakes that went against my conscience so they were asking the court of appeals to reverse that decision and allow me to obey my conscience and make cakes in line with that. >> in the book you talk about a double standard because there's another denver bakery who didve
something almost identical to what you did but they did not, were not persecuted in any way so can you tell us why that happened? >> there's a gentleman who went to at least three different bakeries and asked them to create cakes shaped like a bible with a message on their, a red circle with the extra silhouette of two men getting married in a message on a cake homosexuality or homosexuality marriage is wrong so he asked the bakeries to create those cakes and they declined because they disagreed with the message on it and that's what we were doing, we were going to serve these people, the two men who served the first time but we can't create all cakes of the civil rights commission said there not turn you away, just the message
and they have that right that i did not have that right. >> bizarre double standard. the commission said some very hateful things about you. you said, he mentioned one of the most painful things about it was -- talk about this a little bit because your dad was in world war ii and he was in the concentration camp, crazy. tell us what was so painful hearing what the commission was saying about you. >> one of theer commissioners, e have it recorded on tape said religious freedom the despicable piece of rhetoric and people have used it to do all kinds of things like slavery and the holocaust so she was comparing my decision not to create a cake a wedding of my faith to the agholocaust the thought this moment either doesn't know what the holocaust is or is ignoring the facts of the atrocities of
it on a basic level. my dad served in world war ii she landed on normandy and gets me every time -- hang on. he brought to germany, a battle of the bulge, would in a mortar attack, he has a giant scar across his back in a purple heart they sent him back into combat again and there ended up being part of a group that liberated the prison camp, the concentration camp and he spoke of the smell but if you look at it from of the pictures are horrific and for this commission to compare this decision to that was crazy the map i have been there and it's very disturbing so tell us the outcome of that
appeal. >> the court of appeals ruled three to nothing in favor of the civil rights commission i lost in the commission against me dance part of which would be that i would need to retrain my staff change my policies and create cakes go against my faith and retrain my staff and my ways and report to the commission orally for two years on that. the retraining was funny because it's a very small shop and my wife and i, my daughter works for me, including my mom in her 80s and she walked up to me one day and said by the way, i will not be reeducated and i said thank you, momma, i appreciate that so for them to do that, that's what the court of appeals initially came back and said, those rulings now stand so our next step is to appeal to the colorado supreme court, state supreme court.
>> that sounds very cultural revolution in china. the reeducation camp so the government, you talked about this but for but the government is essentially ordering you to violate your conscience, was ythere ever a moment through ts tier or second tier, where you would like sort of wavering country wondering if you should just give in and do what they said or just bake the cake? >> no, i would close the cake shop down before i would create cakes like that, that was never in question. the question was how far could we go, but they take us to the next step? i learned colorado state supreme for an united states supreme court discuss which cases they take and they declined to hear my case so i thought it was over
and done but there was only one option left and that was to appeal to the united states supreme court so we were willing to doo that. >> apparently the court was willing to hear your case and tell us the odds of the u.s. supreme court carrying your case. >> the odds u are extremely smal you will be heard. they are petitioned with 8000 to 10000 cases every year and the only grant 70 or 80. those cases are usually like two circuit courts, ninth circuit and fourth circuit ruled different on two different things so the circuit split so they have to justify that the constitution can't do one thing in california and another in florida, it has to be the same across the board so they are dealing with larger cases and for my case we came from not a circuit court or district court
or any large thing, it was a standalone case and basically we were coming from a court of appeals. the odds are incredibly against us. we have to have four justices agree to take your case so all for, at least for have to go over every aspect of the case to make sure it's worth their time and effort and energy it would take to take the case to court and we thought that. >> what was it like when you found out you were going to the supreme court? what were you feeling? >> that's the craziest case. there's a website called scotus log which stands for supreme court of the u.s., a website you can follow any case you want but they are looking at and i followed my case for months as it was listed which means they had it talked about it and will
come out next week and they split off and split off so i knew it was being touched on every week and it was going to the end of the court session for they break into summer and was the last week of the court and i was watching my computer and had the log turned on. i was hoping to get a decision whether denied or if we were granted and it was on the screen, the cake shop has been granted. it gets me still, this is like four or five years ago and still, i can't breathe, i couldn't breathe and, i had to text people, the only one i had to talk to at the shop besides my family was an homeless man and i said get to go to supreme court and he said yeah yeah. [laughter] but a parole officer to understand the gravity of the net is too preach state supreme
court, i'm going to take us to the supreme court, they don't understand how it works so for them to grant it was incredible. >> i can't remove her, i think you mentioned in the book, was the essential reason was about freedom of speech? >> we asked them to reverse the case based on both the speech and religious components. >> than june 4, 2018, you one at the supreme court it was seven to two ruling, ginsburg and sotomayor of course but obviously that was an amazing occasion, or set like when you one? >> that was just as emotional a day as the day they granted us. i was even more surprised because this was three works weeks before the end of it and i
was confident they were not going to make the announcement w until the last day they said we have masterpiece and it looks like they win 722 and i'm sitting at my computer like what just happened? the phone starts ringing and people are driving by and honking and waving and it was an incredible day. >> is like a david and goliath story, amazing. he mentioned the book -- this was interesting, was the keys to winning the case according to the supreme court? why did they rule in your favor? >> one of the keyni factors was the hospitality we talked about before, the commissioner took my case compared to the holocaust, i forget how they phrased it. impermissible hostility or whatever and the other component was the inequity the commission
would come after me for my case and there were three bakeries denying creating these cakes and those two things were key to that decision. >> you mentioned the commission's actions violated free exercise clause, what does that mean again? free exercise clause? >> congress shall pass no establishing religion prohibiting the free exercise thereof so in essence, they were saying can have your religion and do whatever you want, you just can't exercise it in your cake shop, just in your church so the establishment clause, they weren't establishing exercise clause that i can't exercise my faith, they were openly hostile to the.
>> then you had three weeks after you one, three weeks of kind of calm normalcy again but then suddenly you are back where you started because a local denver attorney named autumn gardena, a transgender attorney walked in your cake shop ended up filing charges against you, what was that like? >> on thehe timeline, this our attorney called us on the first crazy day in court, my average day, take 25, 30 phone calls for cake orders, that particular day looking at records, we had calls in thisne attorney called us that day, the day the court granted our case and requested another cake which essentially was a message we couldn't create, a cake blue on the outside and pink on the inside and those colors were to celebrate his attorneys gender
transition from anti- one so again we said we will create any other cake you like but not any but we will check other cakes out. so then fast forward to the day three weeks after the court ruled in our favor, we got notice civil rights commission had taken up the complaint with his attorney and filed the year before and said there was public cause to pursue an almost identical case again. >> that's what i don't get and you talk about in your book i still can't process it, if the supreme court ruled in your favor, how couldld this happen again? >> i'm not sure how good of an analogy this is and you can correct me but it's like if i were speeding down my street and get a ticket and i go to court and be it, they are saying i am speeding down the street again ran a red light and get a new ticket, i'm not able to face my
new ticket, we took that speeding ticket, now you have a new one so the cases were similar or identical in nature but to separate charges so their duty is to file a complaint and see if there is probable cause. the t commission, and appointedy the governor, they decided they had probable cause to pursue. >> and how did that first case autumn gardena and? >> two years ago in march who ready to go into deposition and as we sat down at the conference table with court reporters and videographers ready to take down every word as the attorney tries to basically destroy me in the next six hours, they said we need to have a meeting and as
the recorder rights, the meeting was to say this is a vehicle we want to use so we are willing to dismissll charges. he had a lawsuit against him also in federal court and got the suit. it was really based on the fact that had the same commission, new commission saying they embraced the hostility of the first commission so if they were to go forward, it would not be successful, they knew they would lose so they would rather drop the case and go ahead with it. >> but it's still not over because june 5, 2019, autumn filed a new case against you and i don't know how much you can talk about it but why did that happen and where are you in that case? >> this attorney had an optionas of appealing the commission's decision to dismiss the case so rather than appealing that,
waited whatever the time period, over 90 days and filed a civil lawsuit against me now this is not the state suing me, this attorney is personally in this past march a few weeks ago we were in court and the judge was in his chambers in denver and i was discussing it with the lines of freedom, we were put on the witness stand, my wife and my daughter and myself and the attorneys gardena and a couple of other people, we have that trial, cross examination and all of those things and we are now awaiting the judge to make that decision. >> and how soon will you know that decision? >> is not a timeline. it could be this afternoon, next week, july -- so we are just waiting. >> in the meantime, are you still able to create custom cakes? >> we are.
we decided to all of this until it's fully resolved, we will not create anniversary or wedding cakes or anything in that field and there are practical reasons for that as well as well as emotional and psychological reasons but until those are resolved, this is our biggest time of year with graduation cakes and birthday cakes and shower cakes and all of those. >> you mentioned shadrach, misha and bendigo and daniel. exile in babylon and i mentioned them, i have a chapter in my book on them but you mentioned in your book, how did you draw inspiration from this story? >> a couple of ways. one, they went in there home village, jerusalem. they had to do with they wanted to do and they were wicked.
they were willing to stand. in israel and honor the lord god jehovah. >> i say this in my book, they refused to bow down to culture basically what they were doing and willing to go into fiery furnace rather than compromise their convictions just like you did. there's no fieryry furnace. >> was still obey them and we are going to the courts and if we win, great. if not, will still do our best. >> you talk about the cake shop over the years brought you and
your father closer together. when you are young, you were that close in and there is a distance of the cake shop brought you closer, tell how that happened. >> it seems like i never saw my dad, he never came to baseball games, i didn't play baseball anyway but he would take me fishing but he had a job to do and friends so we didn't have the opportunity to be really close. i love my dad and he loves me but when we opened the shop i was nervous to tell him i was going into business myself because he was a meat cutter hated working with the public he said i don't care what you do for a living, just don't work in the public so working a bakery is fine, i'm in the back. when i decided to open my own cake shop, how am i going to tell my dad i'm going to be working with the public with
people who's in charge of everything? when i finally told him he said that's great, how weet get goin? he came in the first day we opened the shop every day then -- let me hang this up here. the got the phone upstairs. you see how many phone calls i get. it's been a half-hour. the day gardena calls and the other day court granted it was like ring, hang up. ring, hang up but anyway, my dad then came down and helped me with the remodel and finish up virtually everyday, he passed away and 96 so those three years were valuable because he would come in every day and have muffins and coffee and though he said he'd never work with the public, the present anybody would come in and run off the
back. >> how has all of this drama for the last nine plus years, i guess nine years, almost nine, how has this been on your family? >> it's been good, it brought us closer together, i have sister in indianapolis and i talked to her regularly and another sister, i see her two or three times a week and they support us and my mom passed away in november but she was here working until she was 88, 89 years old. the last three or four years she was. but it's great, my daughter works for me andau it helped her in this case, to wake up to the bible, she talks -- she tears tells a turk parable about ten virgins waiting for a wedding feast and they were all asleep because it happens in the middle of the night in their culture and saying the bridegroom is coming, all ten of them wake up,
five of them were prepared and five were not. it's a great parable but in my mind, it spoke to be that i was asleep, to just like all ten of them were asleep, five of them were prepared and god prepared us for thiss battle but until that day came, i was asleep. ... experience. >> how did you come up with the name, what was the story? >> the man across the street owned a bakery with 100 employees and conveyor belts and he was gracious enough to hire
me. one day they brought in cake decorators and i'd never seen that so rather than making 100 at a time, they were making one at a i knew at that point that's what i was going to do in the future is open my own bakery someday. it would be a bakery where i would turn into to help people celebrate and i came up with a name almost immediately and i'm not creative with words, i'm
creative with media, painting, those kindsof things but the name came to me right away . a masterpiece in my mind. arctic shop says kate, you're not going to walk in their thinking you're getting apply . and part of the masterpiece also in my mind master, the first part of that phrase reminds me of jesus that no man can serve two masters and as i come into the shop, i think my going to serve today ? as i write out the masterpiece to this day i've pretty much always thought master and i said that word r. and i want to live my life and run my shop in a way that honors jesus christ >> that's a great name. so you mentioned that in the book that part of the reason you did all this fighting in court is part of it is for
futuregenerations, what do you mean by that ? >> one of the main reasons i wrote it when i was approached with the idea as i wanted to put down writing a story details of what happened especially for my kids. my three kids, my daughter works for me in california and i have another daughter in canada and i wanted them to know what happens and further than that i wanted my grandkids to be able to have an account because you can find any version of it you want online and i wanted them to have mine and i also realize three or four or five years ago oliver long ago that this is not about jack phillips, let's fight and so seeking start making cakes again. this is for every american to be able to live and work freely according to their conscience without fear so
we're hoping to continue to fight for everybody's chances , we're fighting for the rights because at some point they might and they will wonder what happens to their rights and who's fighting for them now? >> in the last chapter of your book called lessons learned and what was one of the most important things you learned? >> i think that's one of the most important things is that this was about everybody . one of the most important things for me as i need to remember who the master is and who i serve everyday through every phase of my life when i'm working, mowing my yard or whatever . my lord, my savior and god is in control over everything and the way he wants this universe is good . >> i know the answer to this
question but i'm going to ask , knowing all that you know now and all you've gone through the last almost nine years, would you still make thesame decision back in 2012 ? >> absolutely. if i sat down with those two men that they knowing this was ahead of me, i would have done everything i said it word for word. i wish i had more time to explain it to them what i said to them in 19 words and 20 seconds was i will serve you but i can't create a case that allows me to send a message that's involved and i would be more than willing to fight for this for their sake, my sake andmy kids say . >> you mentioned this in the book, you're known as the guy who wouldn't make the cake . what is that like to have that out there? >> originally it was the guy with big the cake because of
that message but it's still is what it is and people sometimes recognize mewhen i'm out in public and say you're that guy and gives it me the opportunity not only to explain the case but quite often to share my faith . >> guys, i highly recommend this book. the book is the cost of my faith. how decision in my cake shop took me to the supreme court with jack phillips and jack, thank you so much for being on this show. i really recommend this book because it's so encouraging, i think it will edify people's faith as you said it did your faith and this whole experience and your daughters faith and it will encourage people.i think it will help people strengthen their own convictions about certain issues of the christian faith . so god bless you. you're a trooper and thank you for being on this show and i am excited.
i look forward to hearing the outcome of this latest case . >> thank you mister cook. it is such an honor to be on this show today. >> thank you jack and thank you jonathan. >> takes so much. >> have a great day guys. >> you to. >> watch book tv on c-span2 or find it online anytime at booktv.org. it's television for seriously readers. >> c-span shop.org is c-span online store. shop through books, home decor and accessories. there's something for every c-span fan and every purchase helps support ournonprofit operations . shop now or anytime at c-span shop.org.
former house majority leader dick army talked about his memoir leader which examines his time in congress and the legislative successes the republicans had during the 1990s. >> as a young entrepreneur minded member of congress, i could innovatelegislation because i knew what the rules were . thanks largely to david hobbs who taught me the ropes. but if you know the institutional structure and the procedures and the protocols and if you dare to believe they will be counted on, you can exceed in your individual initiatives. you can't in the world that doesn't have that structure. now, i look at the congress today and i feel bad.
i remember the people that i served. i remember the democrats who were in charge of everything but each and every one of those grumpy old men had served this nation in the service of its defense. they knew the sacrifice of that service. they understood the cause of liberty that they had paid for. >> watch this program anytime online at booktv.org. search tran five or leader. >> i'm pleased to introduce today's reader. james carroll is a busy man, he's been a playwright, professor with honorary degrees from several universities and between all that he's had time to write 12 novels and eight works of nonfiction including the cloister and constantine's sword. his hauthorship ran in the boston globe and his other writings have appeared in the