Because the cake baking controversy of 2014 continues on, Jonathan Merritt has an article at the Atlantic working the angles of how bills like the now-vetoed legislation in Arizona can be used against Christians. The example he offers:

“I’d like to purchase a wedding cake,” the glowing young woman says as she clutches the arm of her soon-to-be husband. “We’re getting married at the Baptist church downtown this coming spring.”

“I’m sorry, madam, but I’m not going to be able to help you,” the clerk replies without expression.

“Why not?” the bewildered bride asks.

“Because you are Christians. I am Unitarian and disapprove of your belief that everyone except those within your religion are damned to eternal hell. Your church’s teachings conflict with my religious beliefs. I’m sorry.”

Here’s why Merritt is wrong in one sentence: The Unitarian baker has to prove why, in the case Merritt offers, there’s a substantial burden on his or her faith.

An appeal to RFRA doesn’t guarantee one a “win.” Contrary to how the legislation is being construed, state-level RFRAs aren’t Golden Tickets allowing anyone to do anything one wants under the rubric of “religious liberty.”

But mind you, as both Powers and Merritt are either unwilling or unable to bring their argument to its fullest conclusion, we’ve come to expect these types of arguments.

More on: Public Life

Articles by Andrew Walker

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